WWDC 2018 - For Consumers

Earlier this week, my friend and I watched Apple's opening Keynote for WWDC and I took notes for coverage. That said, there was so much to get through for iOS, watchOS, tvOS and MacOS. There are more outlets that can speak with greater authority to the announcements, so I wanted to keep this brief and focus on features for consumers.

iOS

- iOS 11 is a sluggish mess - considering the power of Apple Processors, iOS 11 hamstrings a device in real-world usage. iOS 12 focuses on performance, improving the speed of things such as opening the camera or the keyboard. It also goes all the way back to iPhone 5S and iPad Air.

- "Siri Shortcuts" is the second headline feature in iOS 12. While Siri is lagging behind alternative digital assistants such as Alexa, being able to create your own phrases and associated shortcuts for Siri is a step in the right direction.

- Facetime is getting a huge boost: in fact it'll now support group chats of up to 32 people. The UI looks cool, adjusting the size of each tile based on the current speaker. You can also add Animoji.

Apple introduces group FaceTime calls at last in iOS 12

- Speaking of Animoji, you'll now be able to create your own! Dubbed Memoji, they're actually really customisable. New Animoji's have also been added (T-Rex FTW!). Oh and Animoji's now track your tongue as well. So that's... nice? On a similar note, Messages and Facetime are getting Snapchat-esque stickers.

- For parents out there, or those looking to keep track of the amount of time they spend checking social feeds, you can now set limits on app usage, complete with timers and locking apps. This is done with a new app called Screen Time.

- ARKit is getting a big upgrade. Now your Augmented Reality experiences can be shared between two devices. I'll be honest, this was f**king cool. Check out this demo:


- Quality of life improvements this year include grouping of notifications (FINALLY!) and being able to set Do Not Disturb on a location or time basis. Improved search tools for the photo app is also a big boost, as is the way you can share photos with a friend and they'll be prompted to send some they took at the same event. There's also a big focus on privacy, CarPlay will now allow third-party apps (Google Maps) and the Stocks App has been re-designed, although you'll probably uninstall that immediately like you always do.

WatchOS

- Apple Watch users can now set competitions with friends for their daily activity. This is actually really cool - my cousin has recently started working out more and I'm determined to stay the good looking one, hes catching up! Competitions come with notifications to tell you how you're doing in relation to your rival.

- On the same theme, the Watch will now detect when you've started working out and recommend starting a workout - it'll then track the prior activity and add it to your workout data. I can't tell you the number of times I've started a run having forgotten to press the right button! Yoga is also a new workout option, as well as Hiking.

- Sticking with workouts, you can now use your Watch to pace you on runs and a new metric for rolling miles has been added. You can even see your steps per minute!

- Apple Podcasts is FINALLY coming to Apple Watch. As someone that is just as likely to listen to podcasts when at the gym as I am to listen to music, this is SO overdue. Playback is synced across all devices and the Watch will queue up episodes for long runs.

- You can now use your Watch as a Walkie-Talkie. So that's a thing. I had no idea when you'd use this but someone on the Macworld Podcast suggested it may be handy if you're shopping and the person you're with is in another aisle. Still, I bet it's used more than digital touch!

- The Siri watch face has become a bit smarter - it'll now recommend shortcuts. The example given is that it can start playing your "Drive Home" playlist once you leave the office. It also now works with third-party apps.

- Watch Notifications are also now grouped (hooray) and more of them can be responded to on your wrist.

- Certain web pages can now be opened on the Watch - whilst novel, I can't see this catching on?

- WatchOS 5.0 is not compatible with the first generation of Apple Watch. While you could argue this is to be expected, the fact there were versions of that Watch that cost thousands of dollars and are now obsolete isn't great.

TvOS

New screensavers (yes, really) and Dolby Atmos 3D surround-sound are the highlights here, especially for those of us in the UK. "Zero sign-in" should speed up initial setup of Apple TV, as should having an iOS device autofill passwords but the only other real feature here is having a TV remote widget added to iOS control centre.

MacOS

- Its called Mojave, and that's pronounced "Mo-Hav-Ay", you heathen.

- Dark mode looks amazing. Would love it on iOS....



- Dynamic desktop backgrounds change throughout the day. Ok.

- Desktop clutter can be sorted into "Stacks" of matching content.

- Finder gets a big boost - there's a new "Gallery View" mode but more importantly you're able to use context-specific actions from the Finder window itself. For example, rather than opening a photo, editing it to rotate, saving it and closing it... you can just click rotate. Hooray. Similarly, you can now scribble on a PDF or image without opening the file itself, or trim audio and video.

- New screen recording and screenshot taking options.

- Continuity Camera is a big deal. Imagine you're designing a photo collage, but you want to add a photo from a frame - you can use your iPhone camera to take a photo of the picture in the frame, and it'll be added straight to your collage. Apple claims taking a photo of a receipt will straighten it out before importing it too, so this could be super helpful when you don't have a scanner handy.

- Group Facetime is also on MacOS

- Certain iOS apps are making the jump to Mac - News, Stocks, Home and Voice Memos. All of which sync across your devices. Be honest, you're going to uninstall them.

- FINALLY the App Store is being redesigned to be more in line with that of iOS.

- More privacy stuff is cool but...

- ... emails are about to get a lot more irritating with emoji!


So quite a hefty update, and not as short a post as I'd anticipated! I think there's some great stuff here, but I'm hoping at least the iPhone X and whatever the 2018 iPhone is will get Dark Mode - turning off individual pixels is proven to improve battery life, plus it looks way cooler!

I'll be live-tweeting EA's E3 conference tomorrow and writing up SquareXO's summing-up article tomorrow evening, so come hang!

L

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