Apple Event: iPad Pro and Mac Get Upgrades, Watch Gets an AI Boost

By Tripp MickleGadgetsDow Jones Newswires

Apple Inc. on Monday hosted a news-packed conference that included the announcement of updated iMac and iPad Pros as well as software updates like a person-to-person payment system for Apple Pay and a platform for developers to create augmented reality apps.

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The company also said it is injecting more artificial intelligence into its Apple Watch, updating software to automatically surface information for users and revising its music feature to show playlists and album art.

The updates played a central role at Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference, a gathering of 5,300 developers who create the apps central to the iPhone and other devices.

Apple said it is updating its iPad Pro with a 10.5-inch retina display and a refresh rate the company said is twice as fast, making videos smoother and crisper. Smaller exterior borders around the screen make the display 20% larger than its predecessor.

Sales of iPads have fallen for three straight years, and the tablet category overall has slowed as consumers embrace detachable products like the Microsoft Surface, a tablet that comes with a keyboard. The iPad Pro has tried to address that with a smart keyboard sold separately, but it has been unable to return Apple's tablet to sales growth.

New software for the iPad will feature a dock at the bottom of the device, so that users can move in and out of apps more simply. It also has drag-and-drop capabilities so that users can transfer information from a website into an email with ease. The result is a system that has more of the functionality of a computer.

Apple Pay, meanwhile, is being updated with a new payment-to-payment system, allowing users to send money to friends and family within the iPhone messages system.