Summer is finally here, and the reason we know that for sure is that Apple has just opened the doors to their annual June WWDC (World Wide Developer Conference). In the opening keynote speech, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook and his fellow Apple Execs announced a myriad of new software features coming this Autumn across all platforms. This year’s keynote only focused on new software features so unlike some previous years, we had no new hardware announced. Don’t go anywhere just yet hardware fans. There was plenty to get excited about on the software front and below is a summary of all the main announcements:
Apple traditionally has a great record in supporting their products with free software and security updates for many years, far beyond their Android rivals. iOS 12 is no exception. It is due to be released this Autumn and will be available on the iPhone, iPad and iPod and the same devices that run iOS 11 will run iOS 12; here’s the full list of supported devices.
This year Apple has promised iOS 12 will have a big focus on performance and responsiveness, promising apps will launch 40% faster and the camera app will launch 70% faster on older phones. Of course, all of this is very welcome news, but we do like new toys to play with and thankfully we did see plenty of new features announced. Here are the best bits :
A new feature called Shortcuts. Any app can expose quick actions to Siri e.g. say “I lost my keys” and Siri will automatically open your Tile app to find your keys. You can create your own shortcuts using the new Shortcuts App. Siri will also offer suggestions based on your schedule, app usage, emails etc.
Updated with new tuning tool & grouped notifications, finally.
Performance improvements, multiplayer support and improved face tracking.
Multi-user AR Augmented Reality also arrives i.e. two users can see the same object and share the AR experience together.
Apple worked with Pixar to create a new file format for AR called USDZ bringing features such as Optimized for sharing, Open-file Format, Compact single File & Universal Scene Description.
Apple showcased a new in house developed App called Measure which allows you to easily measure real world objects. Pretty useful for the amateur DIY enthusiasts no doubt and takes inspiration from a popular existing AR app.
A new App that provides a weekly overview of your iPhone usage. You can set time limits for certain apps and it will tell you when you have reached this limit. Parents will be given tools to monitor their children’s phone usage and can set allowances/limits and various other controls.
Up to 32 people can participate. It automatically expands the tile of the person speaking or you can manually highlight a person to make their tile larger. Facetime is beginning to have features found in dedicated telecommunication products/services.
Improvements to the Search tool making it much more powerful. A new Tab called ‘For You’ with suggestions using AI to identify your friends in a photo and share it with them easily.
Memoji means you can create an Animoji of yourself. There are also new messaging effects.
Now supports 3rd party navigation apps e.g. Google Maps.
Reading Now feature & a redesigned Books Store.
Do Not Disturb
Updated with bedtime feature so you can turn notifications off.
Apple News and Stock App
Updated and Integrated together.
But it wasn’t all about phones.
macOS 10.14 Next version is called Mojave
Very much an iterative update with the emphasis on Security/Privacy updates and some new features. Tim Cook said, ‘Apple loves the Mac’ and despite what many analysts predict, he explicitly said they have no plans to merge macOS & iOS. Here’s the list of the main new features in MacOS Mojave:
Expanding on the existing limited dark mode, It not only turns the UI dark, it also switches the wallpaper, the window chrome, and the content of windows(where 3rd party apps support it).
Security Controls and Safari Privacy
Greater protection on how apps handle/use your data, similar to controls within iOS. Much more control over your privacy whilst browsing in Safari e.g. you can turn off social media links within websites.
Redesigned App Store
Mirroring the redesigned app store from iOS11, new features such as app preview, curated apps and app of the day now appear in a much more modern UI.
Desktop Stacks, Dynamic Desktop, Quick Look, Finder updates, Apple News, Stocks & Voice Memos apps.
Now at last on the Mac. This means you can control your Homekit devices form your Mac without having to pickup your iPhone.
Watch OS Announcements
watchOS 5 is big on activity and connection improvements. Best bits include:
Syncs across all your apple devices.
Activity App Updated
Yoga, hiking and automatic workout detection along with start and end.
New App allows you to chat to a friend like a walkie talkie!
Siri Watchface Updated
Siri Shortcuts – Similar to the iOS new feature
Along with all these innovations, Apple Watch users will also enjoy:
- 3rd Party apps on watch face
- Raise your wrist to talk to Siri. No more “Hey Siri”
- Notifications improvements
- Apple Watch app support Students ID’s
- Customizable Control Center
And If You’re An Apple TV Owner – tvOS 12
tvOS 11.4 brought Airplay 2 just recently but Apple saved some new features for their next major update with tvOS 12. Here are the highlights:
Now supported. Apple TV is now the only streaming device that supports both Dolby Atmos & Vision.
New feature which works in supported apps.
Featuring footage from the ISS(International Space Station).