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Screenshot by Axios

Apple's big annual developer conference usually serves as a prelude of what's to come, with Apple previewing the software that will power the fall's new iPhone and Mac updates. And Apple did that, previewing Mac OS High Sierra and iOS 11, due this fall.

  • This year, though, the company is debuting new devices at WWDC, including new iMacs (and a tease of a high-end $5,000 iMac Pro coming in December), new iPad Pro tablets as well as some under-the-hood enhancements to its notebook line.
  • It also is releasing a Siri-powered $349 home speaker, called HomePod, coming in December.
  • Beyond that, Apple also announced peer-to-peer payments using Apple Pay and some early, but important moves into augmented and virtual reality.

One More Thing: Michelle Obama is delivering a speech at WWDC on Tuesday.

For those that want more, here are all the key things that Apple announced in its two-hour-plus keynote:

  • Cook says Apple will have six big announcements and starts with TV, confirming that, as expected, Amazon is bringing Prime Video to Apple TV. Apple will have more on tvOS later this year.
  • Apple Watch: Apple's Kevin Lynch is showing WatchOS 4, an update to the Apple Watch software, including a Siri-powered watch face. Other faces include the Toy Story characters: Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear.A new feature will let Apple Watch exchange data with gym machines, meaning that you can send heart rate to a treadmill from a watch, and it can get information such as the incline from the workout machines.Developer preview of watch OS 4 is available now and will be out for consumers as free update this fall.
  • Mac OS: Next version is mostly a refinement of current MacOS Sierra, called "High Sierra" (Apple has done this before -- i.e. when it went from Leopard to Snow Leopard)Among the features is update to Safari that lets users block autoplay video and those annoying ads that pitch you on the thing you bought once on every site you visit.Apple will work with partners like Shutterfly for new printing options from Photos app.A more modern file systemSupport for external graphics cardsVR support from Steam, Unity and Unreal ("You might just be seeing more from us later today on this topic," Craig Federighi teases.)High Sierra developer preview now, public beta later this month and consumer release in the fall as free update
  • iMacNew iMacs with brighter displays, Intel's latest "Kaby Lake" Core i7 processors and support for more memoryTwo Thunderbolt 3 ports in addition to standard USB ports, discrete graphics on 4K, 21.5-inch model, faster graphics on large modelshipping today, with 21.5-inch model starting at $1099, a 4K 21.5-inch model for $1299 and the 5K, 27-inch model starting at $1799Apple also gave a "sneak peek" at an even more high-end $4,999 iMac Pro due out in December. Will come in space gray color, have an 8-core Intel Xeon processor, with option for 18-core Intel chip and have "workstation power" including AMD's workstation-class Radeon Vega chip. (Apple had said it was going to offer more professional-grade iMac options earlier this year, when it announced it was revamping Mac Pro, but that new design won't be ready until next year.)
  • Screenshot by Axios
  • Mac Notebooksalso getting faster Intel chips, with 13-inch MacBook Pro starting at lower $1299 priceshipping today
  • iOS 11 Cook makes expected joke about Apple turning it up to 11iMessages will be stored in the cloud and be synchronized (so you can delete a message and have it really be gone). The other big deal is that your messages don't have to take up gigabytes of space on the phone.Person-to-person payments coming to Apple Pay, integrated into Messages as iMessage appMore developer options to tap into SiriCapturing photos and videos in new formats Apple says offer better quality and compressionDevelopers can take advantage of the depth information captured by the dual cameras on the iPhone 7 PlusIn Live Photos you can trim video or make a different frame the key photo (Google had this in their Motion Stills app). Can also do a bunch of other effects, like looping video and long-exposureIn Maps, indoor mapping for malls and airports, lane guidance and speed limit infoA "do not disturb while driving" option that hides many types of notifications. (You can click "I'm not driving" if you really want to use your phone) More machine learning-based features that developers can add to their apps, including computer vision abilitiesAs it has long hinted, Apple getting into augmented reality space, offering developers "ARKit" to make it easier for developers to add virtual objects to real imagesApple is redesigning its 9-year-old App Store with separate tabs for games and for other types of apps; Marketing SVP Phil Schiller notes 180 billion apps have been downloaded and notes $70 billion paid out to developers, 30 percent in last year alone.New Files app lets you get documents not just from device, but also third parties like Google, Microsoft and Box.Some cool options for scanning documents and annotating screenshots using iPad, Apple Pencil and iOS 11.Developer preview today, public beta later this month and shipping in final form this fall.
  • iPad New 10.5-inch iPad Pro model that fits in roughly the same package as current 9.7-inch model with more screen.Brighter displays for both new 10.5 inch model and for larger-screen iPad Pro, a new A10X processor Apple says offer 30% better performance. Also, support for HDR video, faster 120Hz refresh rate.Both models will start with 64GB of memory (double the previous iPad Pro models)The 10.5-inch model will start at $649 and the 12.9-inch model will start at $799. (additional memory and cellular connections available for additional money.)You can order the iPad Pros now and they will start shipping next week.
  • HomePod SpeakerDue out in December in the for $349, powered by Apple A8 processor, same used in some iPhones. "It's perhaps the biggest brain ever in a speaker," Schiller said. Naturally, it has Siri and ties into Apple Music. It can handle reminders, control HomeKit devices, deliver sports, news and traffic info.
  • "We want to reinvent home music," Cook said. Schiller disses competition, saying that others have good speakers, but no assistant, and those with a good assistant aren't great speakers. "None of them have quite nailed it yet," Schiller said.Apple also touts privacy, saying nothing gets sent to Apple until you say "Hey Siri"Will launch in US, UK and Australia this year; other countries next year.

We're covering the event live, so check back often for more updates...

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3D printing's next act: big metal objects

Chief Scientist Andy Bayramian makes modifications to the laser system on Seurat's 3D metal printer. Photo courtesy of Seurat Technologies.

A new metal 3D printing technology could revolutionize the way large industrial products like planes and cars are made, reducing the cost and carbon footprint of mass manufacturing.

Why it matters: 3D printing — also called additive manufacturing — has been used since the 1980s to make small plastic parts and prototypes. Metal printing is newer, and the challenge has been figuring out how to make things like large car parts faster and cheaper than traditional methods.

Updated 2 hours ago - Technology

Mayors see cryptocurrency as a way to address income inequality

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

At the U.S. Conference of Mayors' meeting in D.C. this week, there's buzz around the idea of giving cryptocurrency accounts to low-income people.

Why it matters: Cities have been experimenting with newfangled ways to address income inequality — like guaranteed income programs — and the latest wave of trials could involve paying benefits or dividends in bitcoin, stablecoin or other digital currencies.

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Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized COVID patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated" — Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February
  2. Vaccines: Team USA 100% vaccinated against COVID ahead of Beijing Olympics — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America — Annual COVID vaccine preferable to boosters, says Pfizer CEO.
  3. Politics: Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates — Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults — Beijing officials urge COVID-19 "emergency mode" before Winter Olympics.
  5. Variant tracker