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Edi­tor Alan Stone­bridge is still reel­ing from the WWDC cav­al­cade of news.

Ap­ple Took us by sur­prise at its World­wide De­vel­op­ers Con­fer­ence. Nat­u­rally, we were ex­pect­ing a lot of ex­cit­ing news about the next round of op­er­at­ing sys­tem up­grades, but the com­pany didn’t stop there. It re­vamped most of its Mac lineup, ex­panded that range with a brand new model for cre­ative pro­fes­sion­als, un­veiled a new size of iPad Pro, and ma­jorly en­hanced the dis­play in both ver­sions of its pre­mium tablet. This is­sue is packed with de­tails about all of these things, and re­ac­tions from our colum­nists David Chartier and Bri­anna Wu. Nat­u­rally, I’m ex­cited about the op­er­at­ing sys­tem up­grades, but one thing stood out at WWDC, and has been rolling around my mind ever since the event: aug­mented re­al­ity (AR). Even ahead of WWDC, it was no big se­cret that Ap­ple would throw its weight be­hind the tech­nol­ogy, which su­per­im­poses com­put­er­gen­er­ated im­agery on top of the real world by way of a de­vice’s cam­era; in Fe­bru­ary, Tim Cook told UK news­pa­per The In­de­pen­dent that he views AR as “a big idea, like the smart­phone.”

In that in­ter­view, Cook also said: “I get ex­cited be­cause of the things that could be done that could im­prove a lot of lives. And be en­ter­tain­ing.” Look­ing at the AR demos that formed a lengthy seg­ment of Ap­ple’s WWDC key­note ad­dress, you’d be for­given for think­ing AR is mostly about the lat­ter – and I’m sure there’ll be plenty of fun ex­am­ples flood­ing the App Store to­ward the end of the year. Think about the ways doc­tors and med­i­cal stu­dents, real estate, and tourism, to name a few, could use the tech to en­hance health­care, busi­ness, and learn­ing. The re­designed App Store in iOS 11 will be a beau­ti­ful place to show­case all of this.

Whether we’re talk­ing en­ter­tain­ment or se­ri­ous ap­pli­ca­tions, I haven’t been this ex­cited about the fu­ture of apps in a long time. Per­haps not even since the App Store opened in July 2008 and turned the iPhone from an in­trigu­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions de­vice into… well, any­thing de­vel­op­ers could make an app for.

alan stone­bridge, Edi­tor Twit­ter: @maclife

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