Apple announced a range of new developments at their annual Worldwide Developers Conference, WWDC, this week.
The conference kicked off on Monday June 4, with a two-hour presentation from Apple in which top executives took the stage at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, California, to showcase the latest developments that would upgrade iPhone, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV.
Fans of the brand can look forward to an enhanced experience on all their devices, with faster response times and a few small tweaks that turn your phone into the ultimate assistant. The main developments were upgrades to the operating systems iOS, macOS, watchOS, tvOS, Siri, and much more.
The next version of iOS isn’t bringing anything spectacular to the table, but instead, the focus is entirely on performance and stability. Everything will be faster and more responsive. Things you do all the time, like launching Camera and typing with the keyboard, happen faster than ever and there will be an apparent difference in speed when you’re doing multiple things at once. These improvements aren’t limited to newer devices either. iOS 12 will work as far back as iPhone 5s and iPad Air.
A few of the less technical aspects of this update include group Facetime that allows for conversation with up to 32 people at once and Memoji which will let you create an Animoji of yourself. There are also camera effects to add personality to Messages and FaceTime right from the in-app camera and ARKit 2 to make augmented reality more immersive.
In addition to the above, Apple has also added a feature called Screen Time. This feature forms part of Apple’s strategy to help curb device addiction and generally help foster a healthier relationship with our phones. Screen Time helps you be more aware of how you and your kids use your devices. It helps keep track of the time you spend on specific apps or websites and the device in general. It even allows you to set app time limits because self-control isn’t everyone’s strongest trait, and you get a detailed activity report sent to you every week. They’ve also introduced “allowances” that help you limit the apps your kids use and the time spent on approved apps.
You can watch a video about this feature below:
Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, Craig Federigh, talked the audience through how iOS apps will run on Mac. He thereby answered a long-standing question on whether Apple would ever merge the iPhone and Mac operating systems. The answer to that was “no” because of Apple’s desire to keep iOS and MacOS separate systems, with the exception of allowing some iOS apps to run on Mac. So far the selection of these apps includes Apple’s own, like stocks for example.
The new operating system for Mac, macOS Mojave, brings new features inspired by its most powerful users but designed for everyone. Probably the most long-awaited feature to be added is Dark Mode, a system-wide feature that takes the strain off your eyes and lets you focus completely on your work. Toolbars and menus recede into the background and subtle colours and details in your work are brought to the foreground. It creates the perfect distraction-free working environment. All you have to do is switch it on in System Preferences.
Finder also got a makeover. You can quickly locate a file by how it looks through a file’s metadata, Gallery view with bigger previews of pictures and Quick Actions in the Preview pane that allows editing a file without opening it. There’s also the ability to organize things into Stacks, helping you clean up a cluttered desktop by automatically organizing your files into related sets.
A feature called Continuity Camera lets you use your iPhone to take a picture of a nearby object or scan a document and have it automatically appear on your Mac. Just choose Insert a Photo from the Edit menu.
The Mac App Store has been totally redesigned. The store has been reorganized into a series of tabs labelled Create, Work, Play, and Develop, but while still maintaining categories. There is also a new and improved Discover tab that will help you find new apps. This and everything else is designed around the way you use your Mac and specific things you love to do on it.
The Apple Watch is getting lots of new fitness-related features with the next version of watchOS. The watch now has automatic workout detection, which makes it easier to track and share your activity. In addition to sharing your activity, you can challenge a friend to a seven-day competition in which you earn points based on the percentage of your Activity rings that you close. If you win, you can find a competition award in the new Awards tab inside the Activity app on your iPhone.
There are options for yoga and hiking under workouts that let you see the calories you’ve burned and how high you’ve climbed. You can even set a target pace and the watch will let you know if you need to slow down or pick up the pace.
Walkie-Talkie is also a new feature that lets you have a one-on-one conversation with anyone on a compatible Apple Watch.
Apple TV 4K
4K HDR sets a new standard in quality. 4K gives you a crisper picture using four times more pixels than standard HD and High Dynamic Range (HDR) delivers brighter, more realistic colours with greater detail. Provided you’ve got compatible Dolby Atmos speakers, Dolby Atmos object-based audio will give you overhead sounds as well as standard surround sound. This makes Apple TV 4K the only box that’s both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos certified.
The Apple TV is also getting a “zero sign-on” feature that allows you to access all the supported apps included with your TV service on your Apple TV, as long as they’re using the same broadband network. That basically means that if you buy a new Apple TV, you won’t have to manually sign into every TV app all over again.
In terms of TV content, there were mentions of original TV content and some from major cable providers later this year, making it a pretty mild update in comparison to last year’s WWDC where they introduced Amazon Prime Video to Apple TV app offerings.
Apple even teamed up with NASA and astronauts stationed on the International Space Station to provide Apple TV owners with a new screensaver option that gives you an incredibly sharp view of the entire planet.
In summation, the biggest announcements from the event were:
- iOS 12
- macOS Mojave
- watchOS 5
- Apple TV 4K
By Daniëlle Kruger
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