Apple WWDC 2018

Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference. June 4–8. San Jose.

Apple kicked off the WWDC’18 keynote with a beautifully-created David Attenborough-styled video, poking fun at developers. If you didn’t catch it already at the keynote, make sure you check it out!

Google gave us a handful at the Google I/O 2018 , and as always, got me thinking if Apple could even try to catch up with Google. This article is the long extended version of that answer :)

Let’s see what Apple’s got cooking for us, for the next 12 months.


iOS updates, here we come..!!

Apple has a new file format — USDZ, that’s capable of containing 3D graphics and animations. A number of pre-installed apps like Safari, Messages, and Mail will support USDZ, allowing us to preview these 3D objects, or place them in the real world through AR.

The Measure app functions as a measuring tape, and uses AR to detect shapes, lines, and 3D objects.

Shared Experiences let nearby users experience their own perspective of a shared virtual environment, allowing for real-time multi-user gaming.

Siri Shortcuts lets you record and link a voice command with a sequence of actions, in a Siri-supported app, and lets you use that command in Siri, to make the app perform those actions.

Siri Suggestions remembers your usual routine of actions and suggest those actions on the lock screen. It also works in the search screen, by suggesting actions based on your location or calendar plans. Siri can also offer suggestions on the lock screen, to turn off notifications for apps which haven’t been used in a while.

The new Shortcuts app lets you create a sequence of actions across multiple apps, and lets you do all this with a simple command of your choice.

iOS 12 places a huge focus on performance improvement, becoming almost twice as fast when performing actions on the iPhone. iOS 12 will support the same devices that support iOS 11.

The Photos app in iOS 12 will offer suggestions extra search filters, effects to apply on photos, and automatically detect users in a photo, and suggest sharing the photos with those users.

The News app update gives you an Apple-curated list of articles, with top stories, trending stories, and personalized stories, and lets you follow sites and news outlets.

The Stocks app will have a list of articles from Apple News related to the stock market and business, and will also support the iPad.

Voice Memos looks a lot cleaner, and will support the iPad and sync all your audio across devices through iCloud.

iBooks gets a design overhaul, and (prepare to get your heart broken) will now be called Apple Books :(

CarPlay will support third-party navigation providers.

Do Not Disturb during the night will not show you any notifications, to avoid getting distracted when you get up for a short restroom break in the middle of the night. Do Not Disturb also gets new time settings to automatically exit the DND mode, whenever you want it to.

Notifications from the same app get grouped together to reduce unnecessary clutter on the lock screen. The lock screen gets a lot smarter by letting you change notifications settings for any app, directly from a notification on the lock screen.

The Screen Time app offers a deep insight on the time spent in each app, number of notifications sent by each app, the number of times the phone was picked up, and a lot more. The App Limit feature in this app lets you set a restriction on the time limit for any app, to help reduce excessive time spent in any app. Parents will be able to access their children’s screen time information, and will be able to set limits, restrictions, and time allowances on their children’s devices.

FaceTime will support group video calls of upto 32 people simultaneously. Anyone in a group-messaging conversation will be able to join or leave a video call, whenever they wish.

Animoji in Messages now supports tongue detection, and user-inspired easily-customizable Animoji, called Memoji (pronounced me-moji *insert facepalm emoji here*)

iOS 12, will be available for free, as usual, when Apple announces its next lineup of devices a few months from now. Developers, however, can get their hands on the beta today.


macOS

macOS Mojave (pronounced Mo-ha-vae) is the official successor of macOS High Sierra.

Mojave has a beautiful alternative Dark Mode.

The Use Stacks option on the Desktop groups files on the Desktop based on kind, date, or tag. Goodbye, cluttered desktop!

The Finder gets a new Gallery view which gives a big preview of any selected image, video, presentation, document, PDF, or spreadsheet.

The Finder gets a bunch of superpowers, like quickly displaying file details, and providing contextual shortcuts such as rotating a selected image or creating a PDF with the selected images. These shortcuts can also be automatable actions customizable by the user.

Quicklook gets the ability to edit any image or trim any video, without the need to open it in any editing app.

Screenshotting is now supercharged with the ability to edit screenshots, and record videos of the screen.

Continuity on macOS now lets you use your iPhone’s camera to snap a picture or scan a document, and send it back to the Mac, for easy importing.

The News, Stocks, and Voice Memos apps are also added to macOS, and are very similar to the redesigned apps on the iPhone. The Home app from the iDevices is also added to the Mac to wirelessly control your smart home.

Apple tightens up security by asking the user permission, before any app accesses any critical data on the Mac.

The Mac AppStore follows the footsteps of the iOS AppStore, by providing stories, editorials, video previews, top charts, and recommendations to help users to discover new apps.

Get a more detailed look at macOS Mojave, here at Apple’s site.


A Sneak Peek

Craig Federighi addresses the rumor if Apple is in the process of merging macOS and iOS, for which he answers in the negative. Instead, Apple is working on using a part of iOS in macOS, to make it easy for developers to bring their iOS apps to the Mac. The News, Stocks, Voice Memos, and Home apps show how far along Apple is in this process. This technology will be available to third-party developers in 2019.


watchOS

watchOS 5 will now be able to track yoga and hiking, in addition to supporting the other forms of exercise and equipments.

Apple Watch will also notice increase or decrease in heart rate and activity, and alert you if you have begun or ended a workout without setting it on your watch.

The Walkie-Talkie app on the Apple Watch…. well, the name pretty much covers it.

Siri Shortcuts, already mentioned in iOS 12, will also be available on the Apple Watch, ready to tap on the lockscreen, chosen by Siri based on our phone usage pattern.

Third-party apps too will be able to provide these Siri Shortcuts, and to play audio in the background.

Hey, Siri. From today onwards, you won’t hear ‘Hey, Siri’, because just raising my wrist activates you.

Apple Watch also gets support for Podcasts, interactive notifications to respond to a notification without opening the app, and the ability to load web pages linked in a mail or a message.

Catch a glimpse of what watchOS 5 has to offer, here.


Apple TV

Apple TV gets support for Dolby Atmos, and all supported content will be upgraded to Dolby Atmos Sound for free.

The Apple TV app gets Live News, in addition to the already-supported Live Sports.

Fighting with your sibling for the Apple TV remote? Not any more, since iOS 12 adds the Apple TV remote to the Control Centre.

Check out the new tvOS here.

That’s it for everything Apple had for us, during the keynote.


My take on the event

So, does Apple have enough to catch up with Google? My answer would be a firm ‘No’.

Yes, there definitely has been a lot of work done behind the scenes, for Apple to show us what it did. But, from a user’s point of view, a lot of the stuff shown today are just eye candy, and don’t have much use unless you have a bunch of friends who use iDevices. Some of the stuff was what Google has already got in Android.

Some of the other stuff, namely Siri Shortcuts and Desktop Stacks will prove to be useful, no doubt. Only when we get our hands on iOS 12 and macOS Mojave, will we know how much more Apple has bettered them. If I ignore the fact that Apple put me to sleep and made me drop my phone (thrice!), I’d have to say that the event was quite okay.

Did you watch the event? What did you (not) like? Let me know in the comments!

Charles Samuel D'Monte

Written by

Book-lover, Tech-lover, Amateur Photographer, Always-looking-for-something-to-write-about-er