As always, Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference is where we get to hear on an annual basis on what’s upcoming in the world of Apple software. At this years WWDC 2018, Apple introduces iOS 12, watchOS 5, macOS Mojave, and tvOS.
Unusually, Apple kicked off the keynote with iOS. We already knew based on Apple’s, let’s call it, rough ride, with iOS 11, that the big features were going to be scaled back with a focus on performance, and that definitely seems to be the case from what we have seen. Most of Apple’s coverage of iOS 12 was actually focused on the new ARKit features, which should say a lot really, but that didn’t stop a few pretty big announcements from coming.
One of the most impressive stat surrounding iOS 12, is that iOS 12 will run on the same hardware as iOS 11, THAT INCLUDES iPHONE 5S.
Interestingly, customer sat for iOS 11 is 95%, according to Apple, which we found rather hard to believe.
Doubling down on performance
One of the biggest focuses in iOS 12 is clearly performance, but how does that work in the real world, well Craig Federighi claims that the operating system has being focused on performance on the lower end of the iOS compatibility list … something it should always be anyway, but I digress.
The device in question that they focused on, based on early testing, was the iPhone 6 Plus. With the iPhone 6 Plus, Apple noted that performance of even basic tasks, such as launching apps was 40% faster, bringing up the keyboard 50% faster, opening the Camera and taking a shot was 70% faster. These are some pretty exciting numbers to see, and it will be interesting to see if this translates to a better experience for all users that install iOS 12 upon its final release.
USDZ, new format for ARKit
Apple has made a pretty big move when it comes to the future of ARKit, by offering a way to deliver the AR experience across the iOS experience using a brand new file format. Working with PIXAR, none the less, Apple and PIXAR have created a new file format for Augmented Reality, USDZ. These files can work across the entire operating systems.
Apple has worked with a collection of applications for creative, including Adobe, who was focused in the keynote, who will be bringing USDZ to Creative Cloud (Photoshop, Dimension). With Creative Cloud, you will be able to create files in you tools that will be able to be integrated natively in to AR, this is pretty big.
Apple demonstrated USDZ in action in Apple News, Safari, and more. One thing that’s pretty incredible about this new format, is that you can simply enter an AR environment instantly and seamlessly.
Apple has created a ruler … no really they have. The new Measure app for iOS 12 offers native and accurate measurements using ARKit. Whilst this isn’t anything new for ARKit, being built in to iOS naturally will increase the use of ARKit. One thing that’s pretty great, is that certain objects, such as rectangles, can be automatically measured, demoed was a photograph.
The big feature built in to ARKit 2 is Shared Experiences. Whilst ARKit is pretty cool on your own, let’s be fair, you look pretty silly doing it by yourself, well, now you can look silly with friends. What this means, is that multiple iOS devices can interact with the same AR environment, which is pretty huge.
One of the big updates for ARKit 2 was the introduction of some new partners, biggest of which, LEGO. LEGO will be entering the AR experience, and, as you’d expect, is offers an Augmented Reality version of LEGO. LEGO offers a story mode, as well as the ability to create experiences. It’s unclear whether this will require pre-purchased LEGO items for the ARKit to work.
As Apple continues to attempt to catch up to Google Photos, without breaking out your privacy, they introduced a slew of new features coming to the new Photos app in iOS 12, the big focus being Search.
With Search in Photos, you can now not just search for basics such as, say, ‘cat’, ‘dog’ etc, you can now use Search Suggestions. With Search Suggestions, you can search for any key moments, People, places, even entire categories of Photos, some of which will be automatically generated based on your Photos taken.
A new For You tab is where your Memories will now be stored, as well as your Shared Albums, but will also be the place where suggested memories will live.
Apple have also added Suggestive Sharing, which suggests Photos you should share with your friends, and when you do, they get suggested on what might be worth sharing back. Again, like we said when Google added this, we personally aren’t fans of this, but we know people who are.
Has Siri caught up to any of the big players yet, of course not, but one thing it has in iOS 12 is control. One of the biggest features coming to Siri is Shortcuts.
What’s pretty crazy about Shortcuts though is just how broad of a feature it is. It starts as a cross the operating system way of accessing multiple things easily, but it gets to becoming so much more.
A new Shortcuts app, allows you to manually create a collection of tasks you want completing, and get it all done using a custom command, essentially delivering the functionality as Tasker on Android. You can record custom voice requests, and apps that offer it, will have an “add to Siri” option where you can add it for use. There’s no limit to the amount of things you can add to a single command, so you could add HomeKit, Messages, third party apps, and more tasks in to one simple message.
New Browse tab to discover new places
New Sidebar on the iPad
New redesign to Stocks
Apple News built in to Stocks, latest news based on the companies that you follow
Stocks arrives on iPad … only took how many years
Voice Memos on iPad
iBooks now Apple Books
Built in audiobooks
Reading Now section
Third party Maps apps on CarPlay
Third party navigation apps on CarPlay, such as Google Maps, Waze and more! That’s pretty big
Time management (use)
Apple have taken the Do Not Disturb feature and customised it allowing you much better monitorization of what you are doing on your device, and the ability to limit your use, Apple do this using a new feature called Screen Time.
With Screen Time you get a full activity report on your use of your iOS device, this includes time spend using your device, how often you picked it up, apps which are notification hungry and more. You can also set time limits on apps you might be using just a little too much, this applied to all iOS devices in a cumulative fashion.
Parental controls are also built in to Screen Time, allowing parents to monitor and further limit their kids on what they feel they should be able to see, do, at any given time.
Do Not Disturb during bedtime, allows notifications to be hidden should you check your time during the night
3D touch on Do Not Disturb to add more functionality quickly
Animoji and Memoji
Animoji is getting better folks, whether you like that or not. To start with, Apple have four new Animoji characters coming, the Ghost, Koala, Tiger and T-rex, but to be honest their is a fifth character coming to … you!
Memoji, allows you to create an Animoji of yourself, somewhat similar to what Samsung attempted with the S8, only naturally Apple have outdone it. You’ve a massive collection of customisable ways to perfectly match your Memoji to yourself, or express it completely inaccurate.
There’s also a new live Camera affects built in for Messages and more. Add stickers and more, including your Memoji and you can actually work live within the Camera experience
FaceTime was an expected announcement at WWDC 2018, and Apple certainly didn’t disappoint, with the introduction of Group FaceTime. So, you’re probably thinking, is it 2, 3, 4 … no, up to 32 simultaneously! That’s pretty crazy how big that number is, but we imagine thats just for safety.
FaceTime is now built in to Messages, so a Group Chat in Messages, can instantly pull up a Group FaceTime. The UI during a Call is rather questionable, a bottom row of everyone is featured, whilst the top is centre around who is currently speaking. You can also Group FaceTime Animoji, which is pretty crazy.
Group FaceTime will work on iOS, as well as the Mac, and Apple Watch for audio.
Apple branded watchOS 5 as the perfect way to make the Apple Watch active and connected interestingly, which is a perfect way to categories the rather few announcements coming to watchOS 5
Apple have added a number of new features in to the Activity app, including Activity with Friends, which now features new Awards for when you complete a challenge and win.
Apple have also added a number of new Workout types, including Yoga, Hiking, as well as more features built in to Outdoor run, which now includes Role Milling Pace with Pace Alerts.
Apple have also added Automatic Workout detection as well as Automatic ending of Workouts. It’s unclear how this will affect battery life on the Apple Watch, but let’s be fair, battery life has never been a big problem on Apple Watch, plus having more accurate representation of Workouts during the day is always a good thing.
Apple just likes to introduce new Apps, and once again they’ve added a Watch exclusive app, the Walkie-talkie app. The Walkie-talkie app allows instant audio messages to chat with chosen friends instantly. The audio messages are single receive, and naturally require a one-off permission to do so.
Apple didn’t add any new Watch faces disappointingly, but they did improve the Siri watch face. The Siri watch face now includes Heart Rate, Sports etc, as well as the new Siri Shortcuts feature which was introduced on iOS 12.
One feature built in to watchOS 5 is essentially an instant Siri. When you now raise your Watch, you can just talk, no need to say Hey Siri … will be interesting to see how well that works.
OTHER FEATURES AND THINGS OF NOTE
Web content > WebKit built in to watchOS 5, view websites from Mail, Messages
Podcasts built in to Apple Watch
NOT COMPATIBLE WITH ORIGINAL 2015 APPLE WATCH. SERIES ONE, TWO AND THREE ONLY!
For those who may now know, iTunes offers the largest collection of 4K HDR movies, free upgrades on all available, why is this relevant, well, looks like Apple is taking the Apple TV 4K a step further when it comes to taking advantage of true HDR.
Apple TV 4K, with the new tvOS update will be delivering Dolby Atmos sound quality, this makes Apple TV 4K the only streaming platform to support both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. All compatible titles for Dolby Atmos will be updated for free.
Apple are also adding a new Earth aerials view, provided by the International Space-station, as well as giving you the option to tap the Siri remote during an aerial to find out where they actually are, or swipe across them.
Yeah, as expected, pretty tiny update for tvOS.
Apple have finally given us the name for the next version of macOS, macOS 10.14 Mojave! In case you were wondering, that’s pronounced (mo-ha-vae) by the way … we look forward to everyone calling it (mo-j-aave) or (moj-avi), it’s iPhone X mark two on the world of mispronunciation, but hey.
Despite its questionable name, Mojave offers some pretty decent features which will make you, most definitely, want to upgrade from High Sierra, including these.
Dark Mode … a true one this time!
Dark Mode now actually is a Dark Mode, the entirety of the Mac operating system now works within a dark mode. This includes literally all apps installed on the Mac, even oddities such as Xcode.
Wallpaper changes as the day goes by, pretty minor feature, but if it’s morning, mid-day, evening, your wallpaper reflects this.
All content stored on the Desktop are automatically arranged in to Stacks, with a simple click they expand. You can also scrub on a Stack to select, drag and drop items to interact them. This, naturally, is designed to end the cluttered desktop. This feature can be disabled for those who prefer the clutter, but pretty useful for those who likely don’t.
Whilst Apple did remove Cover Flow view in the Finder with the redesign of macOS, they’ve brought something almost reminiscent of it with the new Gallery view. The Gallery view now features full meta data of all the files that you select, as well as quick actions built in, which allow, for example, instant editing of a photo, or relevant selections.
Quick Look remains a massive feature built exclusively for the Mac, and now Apple have integrated both Markup and quick actions, meaning just by simply SPACE on a PDF you can add your signature, or rotate a picture, crop a video, instantly and effortlessly.
Screenshots now create a window in the bottom right to confirm screenshot has been done, similar to iOS, you can then instantly Markup the screenshot. When you next access screenshots you get a view options for screenshooting including video recording.
You can actually Take Photo from a Mac, it will then find your iPhone, and using continuity interact as if you took it from a Mac Camera.
Apple have also brought a collection of apps to the Mac platform for the first time, similar to what they did with the iPad. These apps include, Apple News, Stocks, Voice Memos, as well as finally the Home app, allowing to control all your Home Automation.
Security and Privacy
Apple is shutting down further web tracking features using Safari including comment boxes and share sheets. Essentially, within macOS Mojave, Apple is making it as hard as possible for you to be tracked. Apple are bringing this to iOS 12 as well.
Mac App Store
The Mac App Store has finally got it’s first update since Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard … no really, it’s been that long. To start with, Apple have completely redesigned it, essentially making it feel like it wasn’t made in 2009. This includes essentially the same features as the iOS App Store offers, just finally caught up for the Mac.
Some big name apps are now coming to the Mac App Store, including Office 365, Adobe Lightroom, Bbedit and so much more.
Are you merging iOS and macOS? No.
They said it. But they are doing something…
Sneak-peak in to iOS apps on the Mac
Apple offered a surprisingly rare preview in to what Apple are testing, including bringing a collection of iOS apps to the Mac. Yes, that’s the reason those apps looked very similar to the iOS version, because they were. All apps that arrive on the Mac, will be made and usable with the typical Mac accessories, such as keyboard and mouse, all of which are designed to work seamlessly.
And that’s it, Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference 2018. Yes, it wasn’t quite the big wow it has been, but it’s fair to say Apple filled their 2 hour slot with a lot to digest, and bring on the infamous “fall” release of all this software.