‘Coming Soon’! - Translating Apple’s WWDC
The Apple Worldwide Developer's Conference has come and gone. Only the nerds really care, but I have taken it upon myself to watch, digest, and translate all of the announcements for you. It was just software announced this year, but it is the most major round of software updates in a long time. All of what they announced will affect you and your devices. So, if you care to know how things will change for you in a couple months, keep reading :)
iOS is one of the most widespread and quickly adopted operating systems worldwide. In fact, you probably use it on more than one device, if you are reading this :) Here are the changes coming down the pike for you this fall
- Increases in performance across all supported devices. If you have an iPhone 6, or newer, your device will be compatible.
- Works better on older devices (focus point)... example, iPhone 6, most things are 50% faster than before, launching apps, camera, etc.
- AR Kit. While a cutting-edge use of the technology, Augmented Reality, or AR, is becoming easier to integrate into Apps, and will start appearing within your Apps all over the place. Apple has partnered with other leading companies, including Pixar and Adobe to create the first universal AR file format, .usdz. We will now be able to share AR files between Apps, iMessage, and tons of other programs, even outside the Apple ecosystem. Another use case for the new AR kit features is multi-user shared AR gaming. Two or more users will be able to share a virtual environment through their devices, enabling them to turn, for instance, a table top, into a virtual gaming experience.
- Measure App. This app draws on AR, and the past two years of work on Apple’s part. You can measure multi-faceted objects in 3D space, with your iPhone’s camera. The App automatically detects dimensions of rectangular objects, and let’s you measure a single line, or create a continuing measurement of an entire room. This technology will allow you to see, for instance, virtual scale representations of products that you want to purchase online, projected via the phone, into your real space. Imagine buying furniture for your house, tapping on the couch you want, and then seeing a scale representation of it appear in your living room!
- Photos App. Finally lets you search through your rapidly expanding photo collection in ways that you haven’t been able to do before in Apple world. For someone who accidentally lost a lot of his Album and Folder organization that was carefully cultivated over years, this will be a great tool to rediscover photos from the past! Of course, the sharing function seems a bit invasive at first, but in the end, I think this will become another digital tie in this social media world that we live in, that will allow us to stay connected with those we care about.
- Siri. You can now add custom shortcuts and phrases to Siri. Android and Google assistant have had similar functions for awhile, but the grass is always greener on the other side of the silicon. Regardless, we are finally getting a smarter Siri. It has taken years, but Siri is finally growing up.
- Shortcuts App. Finally some custom scripting. This App works in conjunction with Siri. You can finally make multi-step, scripted actions for your phone. From custom notifications, multi-app shortcuts, and personalized phrases, it is all now possible with the Shortcuts App.
- Apps you most likely don’t care about, and have long deleted from your phone, much like the much maligned Stocks App, have been improved. One of the outstanding updates is the addition of the voice memos App, that is native on the iPhone, finally will be on the iPad. Why they have taken this long to bring this app to the whole iOS ecosystem is beyond me. Apple Books is the new name of iBooks. Yes, I know that matters not, but at least they have updated App to continue into the future, since I use it all the time.
- CarPlay. CarPlay now supports 3rd party navigation Apps. We knew it would have to at some point, but now there his even more going for it. Not saying you should rush out and buy a new car, but at least consider getting an aftermarket stereo/infotainment upgrade, so that you can experience the CarPlay world for yourself. I for one, will not have a car without it going forward, it has simply made to huge of an impact on my daily commute.
- Distraction and Parental Controls. Yes, they exist, and they give you some huge tools to manage yourself, and your family (if set up appropriately). I already use the NightShift and Do Not Disturb features all the time. They allow distractions to be turned off when you get in bed. I have also turned them on for my kids, and showed my wife how to use them as well. But, this is the first time ever that Parental Controls have enabled parents to natively limit their children’s time spent on their devices, without having to install third party apps, or be technical geniuses.
- Screen Time. Drum roll please ... finally granular control over you and your kid’s time on their devices. You can limit time in specific Apps, content, enforce bedtime, so that they can actually get sleep at night, even if they have a cellular data. You get reports on their App usage, and can actually show them how much time they are spending, and help them realize why it is good that they spend more time in the real, rather than the virtual world.
- Group FaceTime. This is near and dear to my heart. I will be on the road a ton this year, and the new Group FaceTime features will be a landmark moment in video chatting. You can talk with up to 32 people at a time, making group communication possible for work and families, from anywhere on the globe! Truly a game-changer. The video tiles automatically resize based up on the prominence of the person’s place in the conversation, or you can decide which person takes center-stage.
- Now Supports Dolby Atmos sound. This is a software upgrade for your already existing Apple TV4K. All you need is a Dolby Atmos supporting sound bar or TV, and your audio experience will become more immersive, as support rolls out across Apps and content.
- Apple TV App. The TV App is still a weird netherworld, but with it, you can see that Apple is positioning it to be the one app that you use across all your devices to access your content. We wire-cutters dream of the one ring to rule them all, and this will eventually be Apple’s go at the digital mount doom.
- Zero Sign On. No credentials needed. If you are on your cable company’s network, all the included channels and apps in your subscription now automatically unlock. Charter and Spectrum will be the first supporters of this, unfortuanately, Comcast still thinks they will win, and those of us in Nashville will still continue to enter 6-digit authentication codes. Don't even get me started about AT&T.
- Fitness App. Now includes a Yoga workout type, as well as a Hiking workout algorithm. You can now set pace alerts, and steps per minute, in a Running workout. Finally, they have added a feature to automatically detect a workout, which even retroactively senses preceding activity and includes it in your workout total.
- WalkieTalkie. Just like your childhood toy, for those of you in my generation. For those not, watch Stranger Things, you'll see live examples of such devices there. It allows real-time communication between Apple Watches, without having to have an iPhone nearby. It works over cellular or wifi. It doesn’t work with random people, but only ones that you invite to a WalkieTalkie conversation.
- Siri Shortcuts. The new Siri Shortcuts from iOS flow directly to Watch OS. The Siri watch face, though ugly, might now be more useful as well, because it supports third-party Apps.
- No More ‘Hey Siri’ ... you simply raise your wrist and talk. Awesome.
- Interactive Notifications. You can now interact with your Watch notifications directly within the notification itself, without having to suffer through the awkward wait for that App to suck time while launching and syncing with your iPhone ... before letting you do ... anything.
- Podcasts. I am an avid Podcast afficionado, so the fact that your watch will now download your podcasts to the watch, is a huge thing for those with wireless earphones that listen to podcasts at the gym, or while on the go.
Mac OS Mojave
- Dark Mode. Finally. Professional Mac users out there have been waiting for this for years. It has been teased, leaked, imagined, but is finally here. As soon as I download the beta, I will never go back to the light theme again.
- Desktop Stacks. You can now organize your desktop content into stacks. The stacks can be sorted by type, custom project, and more. Finally, those of you that are as frustrated as I am, by your cluttered desktops, will have a new tool with which you might approach organization ;)
- Gallery View. This is a new Finder view. It will allow you to more immersively view finder content and metadata simultaneously. Gallery View is a new tool with which to manage the ever-expanding amount of data that we deal with on a daily basis.
- Finder Custom Buttons. If you have created custom Automator actions, you can now created Finder menu bar buttons to run them on demand. Amazing.
- Quicklook. You can now interact with content, edit, Markup, etc., directly within Quicklook. No more launching Apps just to do a simple task!! This finally makes Quicklook truly useful.
- Screen Capture. Finally screen capture doesn’t feel like something that was ground-breaking back in the 90’s. Just like the interactive new screen capture functions in iOS, you can now easily record, capture, edit, and share your screen still and video captures with macOS like never before.
- Continuity. Your iPhone camera is now included in the cross-platform data sharing that iOS has had in development for years. Shared copy/paste, phone calls, and web browsing are cool, but when you need to insert a photo into a presentation on your Mac, you can now just select your iPhone as the capture device, and the photo goes right into your document. No laborious file transferring, or emailing a photo to yourself needed.
- News App. Apple continues to tip-toe into the world of content curation. The News App will now be native on macOS. It is convenient, and yes, I use it all the time.
- Voice Memos. It’s crazy that Apple has taken this long to bring this App outside of the iPhone. But, as I mentioned before, it is now global across their devices. The recordings are synced through iCloud, and that makes it easy to record notes, voiceovers, or even demo recording audio files, that can be quickly imported into Pro Apps like Logic or QuickTime.
- Home. We have a HomeKit home, and there will now be a native Home app within macOS.
- Safari and Security. Apple has always gone to great lengths to protect your data. Their encryption of your data now extends to core database files, backups, and more in your operating system. They have also angered web data miners with their new, ground-breaking tracking prevention features within the new Safari app.