It was hard not to notice that at the keynote for Apple’s 2018 WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference), there was no new hardware released – not one single Mac, mobile device, or even accessory. It was all about the software and the apps.
But the software and apps are being improved around the block. There doesn’t seem to be much untouched. iOS, macOS, Siri, watchOS, and tvOS are all getting improvements, and there are many new additions as well.
The good news for iOS users is there is a big focus on performance. iOS 11 took a lot of hits publicity-wise this year, and there were rumors that Apple was going to focus on fixing rather than adding new things, but interestingly, they’re doing both. The promise is that apps will launch significantly faster.
There will be a Screen Time feature that will help you control the amount of time you spend on your device and on certain apps using App Limits. It can especially help parents control what their kids are doing.
FaceTime will now have group chats. More than 30 people can participate in one Group Facetime, whether you’re talking on an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple Watch, with the latter being voice only.
iMessages will now have Memoji. These are customizable Animoji for iPhone X. You can create your own to match your hair color and length, glasses, skin tone, etc., and can create multiple ones to match your moods. There’s also animated effects and filters to add to Facetime, mimicking Snapchat.
But where iOS 12 will really shine is with Augmented Reality. ARKit 2 leaves it up to developers to design some great things, It can be used with iMessages and Mail, and there is a great new app, Measure, that will help you measure real objects by focusing on them with your camera.
Siri will start to learn more from what you do and will now offer suggestions based on your daily routine. If you’re running late, it can tell the people who are waiting to meet you. If you order the same cup of coffee every day, it will prompt you at the same time every day to order it.
There is also a new feature called Shortcuts. You can create processes and group them together. This could be your morning routine, that after your alarm goes off, you get a weather report and a cup of coffee. Shortcuts could take care of that by just tapping one button. It looks like it was built on Apple’s Workflow app.
The sad news is that the earliest Apple Watches won’t work with this update, but there is also plenty to cheer about. One of those features will be the ability to challenge others to a workout competition. Your watch will send you notifications to let you know whether you are winning or losing.
The watch will also get automatic workout detection so that you don’t have to let the watch know what you’re doing. It’s retroactive so that you get time credit if it starts after you do.
A new Walkie-Talkie feature is being introduced that allows you to communicate with friends via voice memos. It works on both Wi-Fi and cellular. Perhaps you want to shoot your friends a message after you’ve challenged them to let them know how well you’re doing.
Watch faces will get sports scores, maps, and your heart rate as well as third-party apps. Siri’s Shortcuts will be included in watchOS 5 as well.
The biggest new feature in macOS Mojave could be the new Dark Mode, something that has been long-awaited. Enabled through System Preferences, it can be easier on your eyes than the stark white background. It works with built-in apps and can work with third-party apps that are set up for it as well.
Stacks will keep your files from cluttering your desktop. They’re automatically grouped by kind and can be arranged by date as well. Tagging files can lead to even more great file management.
Finder works better as well with a new Gallery View. Additionally, Quick Action allows you to work on your files directly in Finder, and Metadata gives you all the details of any file right away without having to go searching for it.
Four iOS apps are now coming to MacOS: News, Stocks, Home, and Voice Memos. That sets us up for the next announcement.
Apple is working on eventually allowing developers to bring their iOS apps to the Mac without having to make many code changes. Developers will get their hands on these tools next year, although Apple already used these tools to create those four iOS apps that are coming to macOS.
tvOS 12 and Apple TV
Your streamed movies will sound great with the new support for Dolby Atmos in tvOS 12. Apple claims it will have the largest collection of Atmos-enabled content anywhere. Additionally, you can watch in 4K HDR.
While they touted the Single Sign On Feature not too long ago, now Apple is bringing the Zero Sign On feature. Your Apple TV will automatically detect your cable subscriptions, leaving you to not have to ever sign in.
Only Missing the Hardware
Apple’s 2018 WWDC provided many expansive changes. It’s quite impressive, until you realize there’s no hardware changes. There was just a new iPad released a few months back, and new iPhones are expected in September, but certainly people looking for a new Mac are disappointed, as are those who were looking for a cheaper HomePod, as was rumored.
What do you think of the 2018 WWDC? Should there have been a hardware release? What do you think of the software changes and additions? Speak up and let us know in the comments section below.
Image Credit: Apple