At Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) today, the US-based tech giant announced the latest slate of performance updates to their software and hardware products. Targeting software developers and other high-end users, the event was highlighted by the announcement of significant upgrades to their computer’s graphics and processing capabilities—or in architect’s terms—the components required to work on projects like creating content within a VR experience or real-time 3D rendering.
Apple’s Mac computers will see boosted specs across the board. The most recent line of MacBook Pros, released last fall and criticized for their below-industry-standard numbers, will be equipped with the Intel’s “Kaby Lake” processors for increased performance. But it’s the stalwart iMac that will receive the biggest upgrades this time around: in addition to the Kaby Lake processors, the iMac line (including a brand new tier, the iMac Pro) will be loaded with new graphics cards that will improve speed by up to 3 times, allowing you to work more efficiently in programs like photoshop or rendering engines.
iMac 21.5 inch: Intel Iris Plus 640 with 64MB eDRAM – 80% faster graphics
iMac 21.5 inch Retina 4K: Radeon Pro 555 & 560 with 4GB VRAM – 3x faster graphics
iMac 27-inch: Radeon 570, 575, & 580 with up to 8GB of VRAM
These new GPUs, paired with updates to iOS (“High Sierra”) mean that the iMac will be capable of supporting VR. A demo at the event illustrated this power by placing an Apple developer within a VRStar Wars environment, where she was able to manipulate and interact with the scene, including building and moving TIE fighters and dodging a lightsaber attack by Darth Vader – all powered by a single iMac.
Other updates include iPad AR software for developers. One company confirmed to be making a new ARapp is IKEA, who will use the ‘ARKit’ to build software that will let you place IKEA furniture into your own home (or tiny studio apartment).
Apple also revealed the sequel to architect-favorite puzzle game Monument Valley, which features beautifully stylized MC Escher-type structures that players must navigate their way through.
For more from the Summer 2017 WWDC event, check out coverage from The Verge.