Developer Access to iPhone’s NFC Chip Coming in iOS 11

Developers coding for iOS 11 will be able to create apps that can read NFC tags, opening the door for the wireless exchange of information between an iPhone and various connected devices in a user's environment.

The NFC chip in the iPhone is currently only used to handle contactless Apple Pay transactions and Passbook check-ins, but a new framework detailed in a developer resource published shortly after Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference keynote on Monday lays the foundation for multiple use cases by third-party apps.


Called "Core NFC", the framework will allow apps to read Near Field Communication tags that are compatible with the NFC Data Exchange Format (NDEF), which is supported by iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus handsets. The developer support document overview describes the possibilities afforded by the new framework like so:
"Your app can read tags to give users more information about their physical environment and the real-world objects in it. For example, your app might give users information about products they find in a store or exhibits they visit in a museum."
Apple has limited third-party access to NFC hardware since it first appeared in the iPhone 6, and has closely guarded the technology, as evidenced in the company's ongoing spat with Australian banks eager to use Apple's Wallet NFC implementation in their own apps.

However, the possibilities for NFC outside of banking look set to expand with Apple's next-generation mobile operating systems. Indeed, Apple also demonstrated a new use case for NFC in Watch OS 4, which will allow the Apple Watch to interface with gym equipment and transfer fitness data like heart rate and calorie burn between devices in real time.

How privacy concerns surrounding NFC interfacing will be overcome remains to be seen, but it should be interesting to see the various use cases developers can come up with once iOS 11 launches in the fall.

(Via Engadget.)

Related Roundups: iPhone 7, iOS 11, WWDC 2017
Tag: NFC

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Apple Offers External GPU Enclosure to Developers As Valve Opens Door to VR Mac Gaming

Apple announced a new version of its Metal graphics technology during Monday's keynote at the Worldwide Developers Conference. As part of macOS High Sierra, Metal 2 will officially support external GPUs, allowing any Mac with a Thunderbolt 3 port to benefit from graphics hardware powerful enough to run demanding virtual reality applications and games.

The native VR support in macOS High Sierra also opens up the possibility for Mac owners to hook up VR headsets to their computer for the first time. And in a concurrent related announcement, Steam game platform creator Valve also revealed in a blog post on Monday that it is making a beta version of its SteamVR software development kit available on Mac, offering players the same 360-degree, room-scale tracking as the Windows and Linux variants.

On the development side, we have worked closely with Epic and Unity to make Mac extensions of content built on those engine technologies as simple as possible. Extension tools for those engines, and others, are available as part of this beta.

We've also worked with Mozilla to help enable WebVR support on Firefox, so macOS-based web developers can start trying out VR.
In addition to the Valve partnership, Apple announced it is also selling its own external graphics enclosure to developers who want to work on graphically intensive VR and 3D applications and games, although Apple noted that external GPU support likely won't arrive for consumers until spring 2018.
Apps that use Metal, OpenCL, and OpenGL can now take advantage of the increased performance that external graphics processors can bring. The External Graphics Development Kit includes everything you need to start optimizing advanced VR and 3D apps on external graphics processors with macOS High Sierra.
Apple's External Graphics Development Kit comes with a Sonnet external GPU chassis with Thunderbolt 3 and 350W power supply, an AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB graphics card, a Belkin USB-C to 4-port USB-A hub, and a promo code for $100 towards the purchase of a HTC Vive VR headset.

The External Graphics Development Kit costs $599 and requires a Mac with Thunderbolt 3 running the latest beta version of macOS High Sierra. The other caveat is that customers have to be a member of the Apple Developer Program to be eligible to purchase the kit.

The kit can be bought directly from Apple's website, although Apple cautions that the HTC Vive promo codes have limited availability and are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.


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10.5-Inch and 12.9-Inch iPad Pro Models Gain All-New Leather Sleeve and Apple Pencil Case Accessories

With the debut of new iPad Pro models today at WWDC, Apple has introduced a few new accessories for its tablets. Two of the new additions to the iPad Pro accessory line are called the Leather Sleeve for 10.5-inch iPad Pro and the Leather Sleeve for 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and they include a sleeve for the iPad Pro as well as a slot for users to store their Apple Pencil. The cases cost $129.00 for the 10.5-inch iPad Pro and $149.00 for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

To match, Apple has also debuted a new $29.00 Apple Pencil Case, which acts as standalone storage for Apple's stylus accessory. Both the Leather Sleeve and Pencil Case come in Saddle Brown, Taupe, Midnight Blue, and Black.


Users interested in the more traditional Smart Cover can buy a version of Apple's popular case for their new 10.5-inch iPad Pro at a price of $49.00, in seven colorways: Mist Blue, Pollen, Flamingo, White, Pink Sand, Midnight Blue, and Charcoal Gray. A Smart Keyboard for 10.5-inch iPad Pro is up for sale on Apple's website at $159.00.

Both iPad Pro sizes have received new Leather Smart Cases as well, with the 10.5-inch iPad Pro version costing $69.00 and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro version costing $79.00.

To stay up-to-date on all the latest WWDC news, or to catch up with anything you might have missed, be sure to check out the MacRumors WWDC 2017 event recap post here.


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Apple Shares Full Video of Today’s WWDC Keynote on its Website

As Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference keynote has wrapped up for another year, the company this afternoon posted a full video of the event on its website. The video lets anyone who might have missed the event catch up with all of the reveals on their own time. As is customary, Apple is expected to upload the WWDC 2017 keynote to YouTube and iTunes at sometime today as well.

Apple has also shared the videos that debuted during the keynote to its YouTube channel, including the humorous look at a world without apps, called "The Appocalypse," and a few new iPad Pro commercials. Check out the full list of videos below:


- Introducing iMac Pro
- iMac Pro — Power to the pro
- The New iPad Pro — On Any Given Wednesday
- Introducing HomePod
- iPad Pro — A whole new kind of computer
- iPad Pro — So many things to love
- WWDC 2017 — APPOCALYPSE

In addition to the videos posted online, you can catch up with all of the WWDC 2017 coverage by checking out our list of keynote highlights below, which encompass all of MacRumors' event coverage shared today. Articles range from Apple's all-new OS announcements, like iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra, new hardware refreshes of the MacBook and iMac with brighter displays, refinements coming to Siri, AppleCare+ Mac support, and the all-new HomePod.

Software Announcements


- Apple Confirms Amazon Prime Video Coming to Apple TV Later This Year
- Apple Announces Siri, Kaleidoscope, and Disney Watch Faces in watchOS 4
- watchOS 4 Bringing New Interface, Apple News, New Music App & Gym Machine Support
- Apple Pay Gaining Person-to-Person Payments Within Messages in iOS 11
- Apple Reveals 'Do Not Disturb While Driving' iOS 11 Feature to Hide Unnecessary Notifications
- Apple Reveals Redesigned App Store for iOS 11 With Design Similar to Apple Music
- Apple Releasing 'ARKit' for iOS Developers to Fuel All-New Augmented Reality Apps
- Apple Announces iPad-Specific Abilities for iOS 11 Including Support for Drag-And-Drop
- Apple Announces New 'Files' App Coming With iOS 11
- Apple Reveals 'macOS High Sierra' With APFS, Metal 2, and Refinements to Safari and Other Apps
- iOS 11 Preview: Enhanced Siri, Voice Translation, Unified Control Center & More

Hardware Announcements


- Apple Announces New 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro Models With Advanced Displays
- Apple Updates Entire MacBook Line-Up With Kaby Lake CPUs, Faster SSDs, and Graphics
- Apple Reveals New 'iMac Pro' Built for Users With Demanding Workflows, Starting at $5K
- Apple Unveils $349 HomePod Smart Speaker to be Available in December
- Apple Refreshes 21.5-Inch and 27-Inch iMacs With Brighter Displays, Kaby Lake Processors, and Faster Storage
- Apple Releases Wireless Magic Keyboard With Numeric Keypad
- Apple Debuts New Summer Apple Watch Bands, Including Rainbow Pride Woven Nylon Band

Miscellaneous


- Live Coverage of Apple's WWDC 2017 Keynote: iOS 11, macOS 10.13, Notebooks, iPad Pros, and More
- Apple Store Back Online, New iMacs, Mac Notebooks, and iPads Available for Purchase
- First Beta of iOS 11 Now Available for Developers-
- Apple Seeds First Beta of macOS High Sierra to Developers
- Apple Shares First Ads For New iPad Pro
- Apple Releases First Beta of New WatchOS 4 Operating System to Developers
- Apple Provides First Beta of tvOS 11 to Developers
- AppleCare+ Now Available For Mac With Accidental Damage Coverage
- Apple Releases macOS Sierra 10.12.5 for 2017 iMacs and Touch Bar Update for 2017 MacBook Pro

This post will be updated throughout the day as new stories are posted, and when Apple shares the keynote on YouTube and iTunes.

Related Roundups: iOS 11, WWDC 2017
Tag: macOS

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Apple Unveils $349 HomePod Smart Speaker to be Available in December

Apple today announced its plans to "reinvent home music" with the unveiling of its newest product, HomePod, a wireless speaker powered by Apple's A8 chip with Siri integration that's just under 7 inches tall.


Apple reinvented portable music with iPod and now HomePod will reinvent how we enjoy music wirelessly throughout our homes,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “HomePod packs powerful speaker technology, Siri intelligence and wireless access to the entire Apple Music library into a beautiful speaker that is less than 7 inches tall, can rock most any room with distortion free music and be a helpful assistant around your home.
HomePod is a combination of high quality music playback speakers and smart speaker systems that are on the market today. The HomePod can intelligently detect the space it is in with "spatial awareness," which the company said provides better quality audio playback than its competitors.

HomePod has an upward-facing woofer and an array of seven beam-forming tweeters. It has a six-microphone array that can detect commands even when music is playing loudly. When there are two HomePods in a room, they will automatically detect each other and optimize music playback complementarily. Setting up a new HomePod works similarly to AirPods set up--simply holding an iPhone near a HomePod will pair it.


HomePod automatically works with an Apple Music subscription and can play back playlists, radio stations, and more content found within Apple Music. Siri commands will let users direct the HomePod to play music, add songs to playlists, and even answer music trivia questions.

Siri will also act as a home assistant and include support for News, Messages, Podcasts, Stocks, Weather, Reminders, alarms, timers, sports and traffic. HomePod will also be a HomeKit hub and let users control lights, blinds, locks, and other accessories by voice, even when users are away from home.

The HomePod will launch in December for $349 and will be available in white and space gray in the US, UK, and Australia to start.

Related Roundups: Siri Smart Speaker, WWDC 2017

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Apple Announces New ‘Files’ App Coming With iOS 11

As predicted, Apple today announced a new iOS 11 app called Files at its WWDC Keynote in San Jose, California.


The new Files app for iOS brings together files and documents stored in the cloud across various apps and services, including third-party cloud storage like Box, Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive.

With an interface similar to Finder on the Mac, Files for iOS lets users organize and structure their files with proper folders and subfolders, with various file-based options available at a touch.

Earlier today, a new placeholder app listing for a "Files" app appeared on the iOS App Store. iOS 11 is expected to be released by Apple in the fall.

Related Roundup: WWDC 2017

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Apple Announces iPad-Specific Abilities for iOS 11 Including Support for Drag-And-Drop

At WWDC today Apple revealed a collection of iPad-specific abilities coming to iOS 11, including a new dock, multitasking features, new app switcher, and drag-and-drop abilities.


From the new dock, apps can be dragged and instantly added into Slide Over view, where users can drag images, text, URLs and more across a variety of different apps. A new QuickType keyboard will be more productive as well, with users able to get access to different punctuation within specific key bindings.

Related Roundup: WWDC 2017

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Apple Announces New 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro Models With Advanced Displays

Apple today announced a new 10.5-inch iPad Pro and a redesigned 12.9-inch iPad Pro at its WWDC keynote on Monday in San Jose, California.

The new 10.5-inch iPad Pro has a 20 percent larger display, made possible by reducing the tablet's borders by 40 percent, yet it still weighs just 1 pound. It allows the display of a full size onscreen keyboard and enables users to attach a full size Smart Keyboard. Apple will offer the new Smart Keyboards in 30 more languages.


Both new iPad models come with new displays, featuring True tone, wide color gamut, ultralow reflectivity, 600 nits brightness, and HDR video support.
“These are by far the most powerful iPads we’ve ever created with the world’s most advanced displays featuring ProMotion, the powerful new A10X Fusion chip and the advanced camera system of iPhone 7,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of Product Marketing. “Together with iOS 11 these new iPad Pro models will radically change what users can do with iPad.”
A new screen technology called ProMotion also brings dramatically improved display performance, doubling the display refresh rate to 120Hz, making for smother, more responsive content. It also works more accurately with the Apple Pencil, offering an industry-leading 20 milliseconds.

A dynamically adjusting refresh rate also features on the new displays, which adjust depending on the content being viewed, with intelligent energy saving. Apple says the new iPads have the same 10 hours of battery life. An A10X six-core Fusion CPU, with a twelve core GPU powers the new models, offering over 40 percent faster graphics performance.

The 10.5-inch iPad Pro will start at $649 with 64GB storage and Wi-Fi only, and $779 for 64GB storage and cellular capabilities. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro starts at $799 for 64GB and Wi-Fi only, and $929 for 64GB with cellular. 256GB and 512GB storage capacities are available for both models, which all come in silver, space gray, gold and rose gold. Both tablets can be ordered today and are available next week.


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Apple Releasing ‘ARKit’ for iOS Developers to Fuel All-New Augmented Reality Apps

Apple today revealed "the largest AR platform in the world," which it's calling ARKit. In a demo, Craig Federighi showed off features of the enhanced AR integration into iPhone, including improvements that will be coming to games like Pokémon Go.


The company noted that thanks to ARKit's integration within iOS, users won't need any special equipment to take advantage of the augmented reality features.

Related Roundup: WWDC 2017

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iOS 11 Preview: Enhanced Siri, Voice Translation, Unified Control Center & More

Apple's senior VP of software, Craig Federighi, took to the stage at WWDC today to give a preview of iOS 11, showing off new features like a smarter Photo Library and a redesigned Control Center.


Messages is set to receive a redesigned app drawer that makes it easier to use apps and stickers, while a more optimized device storage system will make Messages backups smaller and faster, with messages stored and synced across devices over iCloud. Beginning iOS 11, for the first time, Apple Pay is also integrated into the Messages app.

Siri is will become more naturally spoken, with a new voice powered by deep learning techniques. Also set to feature is a beta translation feature that will allow users to get live translations between English, Chinese, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. More languages are promised by Apple in the months to come.

Lastly for Siri, a new on-device learning system will enable the virtual assistant to understand what a user is likely to want depending on circumstances and time of day. User data will be synced across all devices on a user's account with end-to-end encryption.

Control Center will be substantially redesigned to appear on a single screen and fill the bottom half of an iPhone's display, implementing 3D Touch for sub-options within buttons, and sliders to adjust volume and brightness. The Lock Screen and Notification Center will be unified on a single screen, with a swipe up or down from the Lock Screen offering immediate access to notifications.

Apple Maps will include detailed shopping floor plans for shopping malls in Boston, Chicago, Hong Kong, and London, with several other major cities also covered and additional ones to come. Major airports will also be included in the floor plans, while lane guidance and posted speed limits will be displayed during navigation.



Apple is introducing an optional Do Not Disturb While Driving feature in iOS 11 to prevent distracted driving. HomeKit will also support a new AirPlay 2 protocol for supporting speakers, with a Shared Up Next feature for the protocol where multiple connected users can edit a party playlist. A new MusicKit API will let third-party developers get full access to Apple Music in iOS 11.

iOS 11 will also bring several new features specifically to the iPad for its larger screen, including Drag-and-Drop, a new customizable Dock, a redesigned app switcher, and more.

Related Roundups: iOS 11, WWDC 2017

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