Apple announces upgrades across all its Macs at WWDC 2017
Apple has announced hardware upgrades across its entire Mac line, including spec boosts for the iMac, the MacBook and the MacBook Pro. The company also unveiled what it's calling its most powerful computer ever, a brand new iMac Pro.
Mentioned as part of the keynote at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference, the most notable upgrade is the arrival of Intel's latest seventh-generation Kaby Lake processors across all of Apple's MacBook Pros and iMacs.
That should mean better performance with less power across the board, as well as more capable graphics.
iMacs were the first group of computers mentioned by Apple. The display resolutions on the all-in-ones are staying the same, but the underlying technology is getting a boost to provide 500 nits of brightness, which should lead to a 43 percent increase in brightness over the older models.
The 21.5-inch models can now fit up to 32 GB of RAM, with up to 64 GB available on the 27-inch models. Combined with the Kaby Lake upgrades, users should see significant performance improvements, though Apple didn't quantify the speed boosts.
Graphics are also getting an upgrade on all iMac models: The top-end 27-inch 5K edition can now fit the Radeon Pro 570, 575 and 580 graphics cards, for example.
Judging by the demos we saw at WWDC, part of the thinking behind these upgrades is to finally get Apple a seat at the table in the realm of virtual reality. With the new hardware and new software partnerships announced by Apple, it's now possible to develop VR games and apps straight from an iMac.
Prices are sticking at US$1,099 for the entry level 21.5-inch iMac, while the top-end 27-inch 5K model stays at $1,799. There is a drop for the 21.5-inch 4K iMac though, which is going down to $1,499 for the cheapest configuration.
As for the MacBook and MacBook Pros, the new Kaby Lake processors make them a more compelling proposition. The basic MacBook is also in line for a faster SSD, Apple says, while the long-neglected MacBook Air will be getting a processor upgrade to an as-yet-unspecified Intel model.
Prices remain largely unchanged despite the specs bump: the MacBook starts at $1,299, the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar starts at $1,799 and the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch bar is $2,399 and up. The one difference is a drop to $1,299 for the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro.
In short, the machines you can now buy from Apple are faster and more capable than the ones you could buy yesterday, with improvements in display technology, graphics power, and processing speed. The new models all go on sale today.
Apple also had time to show off a brand new iMac Pro coming to its range soon: fitted with a Xeon processor with up to 18 cores, Radeon Vega graphics, a maximum of 128GB of RAM, up to 4 TB of SSD drive storage and four Thunderbolt ports, this is a serious machine for serious users.
Apple is calling it the most powerful Mac it's ever made, and you'll need to pay for the privilege of using it – prices start at $4,999, with no release date yet announced.
As for the software running on all these machines, WWDC also saw Apple announce macOS High Sierra, the successor to last year's Sierra. The operating system, available as a free upgrade later this year, brings with it a smarter Safari, a revamped file system, and better graphics processing, including (surprise surprise) native VR support.
Product page: Apple