First look: From cute to badass, Apple’s new hardware impresses

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The best gesture in iOS 11 isn't just for iPad.
The best gesture in iOS 11 isn't just for iPad.
Photo: Apple

Three of the new hardware products Apple unveiled today at WWDC 2017 won’t be available until then end of 2017, but thanks to a hands-on section Apple hosted to developers, you can already get an idea of what it’ll be like to use the new iPad Pro, iMac Pro and HomePod.

Press members have been busy playing with the new products all afternoon and the early impressions are overwhelmingly positive. Of course, some issues on the iMac Pro and HomePod may still need fixing before launch, but it sounds like fans will love them.

iMac Pro

wwdc
The new iMac Pro is a beast.
Photo: Apple

Badass Design

The new iMac Pro comes in an all-new space gray color making it look more badass than any iMac before. It won’t be cheap either. Prices will start at $4,999 and you’ll probably be able to spend more than $10k on the higher end models.

All that cash might be totally worth it though based on early reactions. Apple didn’t let reporters play with the new iMac Pro, but here’s Slashgear’s thoughts on the machine after admiring it from a distance”

“There’s something about the Mac-maker’s combination of style, hyperbole, and pure performance that is bound to give desktop computer upgraders pause if they’re poised over buying another workstation.”

HomePod

Apple's new HomePod smart speaker is ready to rock your house.
Apple’s new HomePod smart speaker is ready to rock your house.
Photo: Apple

So Cute

Despite some fans hating HomePod’s design on Twitter, most outlets had a favorable view of the little speaker. “Cute” appears to be the most popular adjective when describing HomePod.

“I just spent a moment with Apple’s new HomePod intelligent speaker, which kind of looks like a mesh-wrapped Mac Pro,” writes The Verge. “It comes in black and white, and it’s cute. Like a cute little ovoid thing.”

While some critics say it looks like a roll of yarn, others have suggested it’s more like a marshmallow or smaller Mac Pro.

Superior Sound Quality

A number of speaker’s from HomePod’s competitors were available in the testing area to show off the device’s audio quality. Reporters had rave reviews for the speaker, saying it tops Amazon’s Echo speaker.

“On sound quality alone, Apple’s new speaker is in a different league to the Echo – a far better sound with crisper vocals and deeper base than Amazon’s tubular rival,” said the Financial Times. “Compared to the Sonos Play:3, which costs a little less than the HomePod at $300, Apple’s device was again the superior device…I also had a chance at WWDC to hear a combination of two HomePods together, which packs quite a punch. Even with a single speaker, it’s clear that Apple does not envisage this as a kitchen-countertop speaker or a deskside assistant.”

iPad Pro

The 10.5-inch iPad Pro brings a bigger display in a familiar form factor.
The 10.5-inch iPad Pro brings a bigger display in a familiar form factor.
Photo: Apple

Impressive Display

With the new iPad Pro, Apple has boosted the display’s brightness by 50%. The refresh rate has also been doubled to 120Mh, making images look crisp while video is smoother than ever before.

“Up close, the screen was very impressive,” writes Laptop Magazine. “I could make out every drop of water on a high-resolution photo of a flower, and the viewing angles were the best I’ve seen from an iPad yet.”

Superb Software

One of the new iPad Pro’s best features is the software that comes with it. iOS 11 adds some serious new tools that make the machine a true PC replacement.

“After using the iPad Pro for just a few minutes I’ve pretty much determined that a dock is one of the simplest and yet best things Apple could have done for iPad,” writes The Verge.

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