Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference kicked off in San Fran overnight with their customary keynote setting the tone for the days ahead. As expected there was plenty of information on Apple’s OS front with both macOS and iOS receiving plenty of attention. Absent (and pretty normal for WWDC) was the lack of any hardware announcements with Apple generally opting to do this at smaller, more intimate press events.
Performance was something Apple wanted to make a big deal of on iOS. The new iOS 12 will make a number of under-the-hood improvements to make the operating system run faster and preserve battery life. Of biggest importance though, the improvements promised for the iOS to come to older phones that Apple have been accused of ignoring in the past.
Animoji got a love of love, tongue detection, new characters and their own take on Samsung’s animated person called Memoji, all are things I’ll likely never use but popular amongst iPhone X users.
Apple’s move into “digital health” follows Google’s almost to the letter with an Apple spin. Called “Screen Time” the new feature will collect a series of metrics about how you use your iOS devices and sync the stats across all you own. Once a week a report will be issued with details on how many times you’ve picked up your device, what apps prompted you to the most, what you spent the most time using and more. In addition to reporting Screen Time will allow you to set time limits on your own app usage however unlike Google’s you can dismiss the timer and snooze it to remind you again later.
A demo of Apple’s new ARKit 2 which allows multiple people to participate in the same AR space together meanwhile FaceTime gains support to handle conversations with an impressive 32 people at once.
Finally, iOS’s notifications are finally getting cleaned up. The bird’s nest is being simplified into groups meaning your notification centre becomes useful again in the best way.
Betas for iOS 12 are available now for registered developers with the final expected to come this September.
macOS “Mojave” joined the dark side, clearly not watching the prequels! “Dark mode” will turn your status bar and dock black as well as areas of apps depending on whether or not the developer has made use of the standard UI libraries.
Probably most significantly however was the announcement that many of those annoying apps you can’t delete from your iPhone are now coming to macOS. While that’s not particularly exciting in its self the fact that it’s Apple’s way of saying “hey guess what, we’re combining iOS & macOS” and we’re testing it out with our own (shitty) apps. The apps making the migration leap include Apple News, Voice Memos, Home, and Stocks
If your desktop is icon-hell with a million things all over the place the introduction of desktop “stacks” might be something you want to invest in when the new macOS releases in October. Stacks allow you to create piles of files on your desktop which fan open when clicked on, similar to folders that you place in the dock.
Taking a leaf out of iOS 11 macOS is getting a new screenshotting system that will allow you to markup your screenshots via Quick Look potentially a death knell for a slew of 3rd party applications. There will also be a lot of new “permissions” being requested akin to iOS. Apps will need to request your permission before using details like your location and other details.
Lastly Safari is getting even more security conscious blocking Facebook and other third party trackers straight out of the box.
Beyond the two operating systems Apple announced updates for WatchOS in the form of walkie-talkie functionality and a teeny-tiny WebView for devs to push things like a restaurant’s menu to. Watches will also get a new Podcasts app that people have been screaming for now since what feels like the dawn of time. My only hope is that with this and the changes behind the scenes to allow it, third party devs like PocketCasts can do the same and this doesn’t mean forcing me back into Apple’s Podcast app.
Lucky last, Apple TV get support for Dolby Atmos. Apple will update their catalogue immediately for titles that they can, my only wish now is that Sonos comes out at their conference this week and announce they support it too.