Immediately crushing any hopes and dream of a new iPhone, Tim Cook was quick to point out that Apple’s WWDC would be ‘all about software’. While we weren’t blown away by the software announcements last night, with many of them appearing to be a logical step up as opposed to something truly groundbreaking, the WWDC was still a good watch – we’ve got a lot to look forward to!
Here’s the biggest announcements of yesterday’s WWDC.
First up is iOS 12 which, although lacking the ‘wow’ factor of the iOS 10 or 11 announcements, is still a welcome update. The focus for iOS 12 is on speed and performance, and this new iOS will be supported by iPhones and iPads from as far back as 2013.
New features include a focus on digital wellbeing in the form of App Limits, which allows users to allocate times to use each app. App Limits will send users a warning when their time is running out, great for us Instagram addicts and Snapchatting teenagers.
On the subject of spending less time doing totally futile and irrelevant things on our iPhones, let us introduce Memoji, which we hate, but also kind of love.
Memoji allows you to turn yourself into an Emoji, putting a digital mask over your face in iMessage. You can add extra features like sunglasses and hats, and the face tracking technology will follow your movements so that your Memoji smiles, nods and speaks when you do. We don’t think we’re ever going to use it, and we definitely think integrating it into FaceTime was a step too far – but it’s charming in a ‘brings back memories of The Sims’ kind of way.
Other improvements include a shortcut option for Siri in which simply saying a key phrase will take you to a certain app or feature. For example, ‘I’m heading home now’ could open up your radio app and check the traffic, while ‘I’ve had a stressful day’ might start a meditation. These shortcuts are also integrated into Apple Watch which we love.
It’s what we’ve all been waiting for, group FaceTime.
Apple announced that we will soon be able to chat to up to 32 people at one time. While the UI is fairly impressive, we were all a little distracted as we frantically tried to work out how many friends we actually have (spoiler: not 32).
Once we recovered from our existential crisis, we were able to check out the UI which is looking good. Each member of the FaceTime chat has their own tile, which automatically expands while they are speaking.
We can certainly envision the app crashing with the tiles frantically enlarging and shrinking like an out of control firework display as more people try to make their voices heard, but let’s cross that bridge when we come to it.
iOS Apps in Mac OS
Apple has made the move to bridge the gap between Macs and iOS devices, and soon it will be easier to port iOS applications over to macOS. This is big news for app developers, who will receive the functionality sometime in 2019. The hope is that the desktop will become populated with native apps that look like their iOS counterparts. The first iOS apps available will include Stocks, News, Home and Voice Memos – so just the important ones then.
WatchOS 5 is getting the iOS 12 updates, which will make it more user friendly and intuitive when you want to talk to Siri. Instead of saying ‘Hey Siri’ as you raise your wrist, users now need only raise their wrists and ask a question. Siri will recognise this interaction and reply.
The Podcast app is also being integrated into WatchOS 5 and notifications will be grouped, making the whole experience less overwhelming and distracting.
The best update to WatchOS 5? The walkie talkie mode. While we still long for the days of walkie talkies made out of plastic cups and string, chatting via WatchOS 5 is an alternative we’re willing to roll with.
The second ARKit has a whole host of improvements. The big news is that there will now be multi-user support for augmented reality. This means that users can see the same AR objects from their devices at different angles, with LEGO demonstrating their virtual toys on stage.
Apple’s new app Measure appears just like any other measure-via-AR app, but it’s got a few little extra quirks. The app will be able to automatically identify and measure objects, as well as allowing users to view the objects in actual size.