Compared to Apple’s normal annual developer conference, Monday’s keynote was fairly low-key (especially amidst news of Microsoft acquiring GitHub). However, “small” changes for Apple are hardly underwhelming.
Don’t expect to hear about a new iPhone coming out — we’re hoping to hear about that later in the year. As usual, there were few hardware updates this week, with most of the announcements revolving around Apple software including iOS and MacOS.
In case you missed it, here are some of the highlights from WWDC 2018.
With the new features proposed in iOS 12, Apple has taken measures to reduce our phone addiction tendencies rather than encourage them.
Some of these features include an updated Do Not Disturb in addition to a Screentime app that gives you weekly reports of your usage — imagine your the “Health” app, but for time spent on your phone and in different apps.
If you do notice that the amount of time you scroll through social exceeds what one would deem as “healthy” usage, you will have the ability to set limits.
Parents will also be able to take advantage of iOS 12’s focus on cutting down screen time as well by getting reports on their children’s usage and having the ability to set allowances.
This seems to follow closely behind what we heard from Google I/O with similar updates to the Android OS that are trying to get users to stare at their screens less.
But why are companies like Google and Apple suddenly starting to care about our addiction when we’ve had our phones glued to our hands since the late 2000’s?
It could have to do with backlash from investors and research on increasingly early phone dependencies among children. It seems these two tech giants are hoping that by focusing on social responsibility and supporting the movement to use their phones less, blue screen addicts and parents will be more likely to buy them in the first place knowing that they can control their digital temptations.
If you’re perfectly content with your digital lifestyle, what else is there to look forward to the next time you update your iPhone?
iOS 12 will come with a new virtual tape measure app that uses augmented reality to calculate the dimensions of real objects. This is part of a larger shift towards AI-powered technology, and the tape measure is just one of the new ARKit2 features in iOS 12.
Apple is going up against the Galaxy S9’s AR Emoji attempt with Memoji, which uses your front-facing camera to make an Animoji (animated emoji) of your own face. And if something’s a little off, there are customization options to ensure that you have a say in skin tone, hairstyles, facial features, etc.
Siri another gets an upgrade because the only thing better than a personal assistant is one that already knows your coffee order without having to tell them. With the new Shortcuts app, Apple is trying to stay a few steps ahead of you and predict the information and services you’ll need throughout the day. Siri will use machine learning to identify repeat behavior, then offer actions to help you out. So, yes, telling her to place an order through the Starbucks app should place your usual order without having to explicitly say so.
Lastly, Facetime is finally realizing that some people have more than one best friend. In fact, if you have up to 32 best friends you’ll all be able to hop on video chat together with the next iOS update.
MacOS Mojave (10.14)
Following High Sierra, Apple is making plans for the release of the newest Mac operating system, Mojave. While there are no groundbreaking updates to Mojave, there are a few noticeable differences:
- Dark Mode will allow you to switch your desktop to a dark color scheme, affecting apps as well.
- If you find your chaotic desktop is stressing you out, Desktop stacks will group related icons together.
- Even your wallpaper is getting an upgrade with Dynamic Desktop that changes select Apple-designed desert-themed backgrounds over the course of the day based on what time it is.
- The Mac App Store is getting a redesign to help users navigate more easily.
And, no, Apple doesn’t plan to merge iPhone and Mac operating systems any time soon. But the company has been looking at ways to bring iOS apps to Mac computers. For example, Mojave will include News, Stocks, and Voice Memos apps.
With the newly released Apple Watch 3, Apple is continuing to build out the operating system to support wellness.
With watchOS 5, you can expect to track your heart rate, track your pace when running, and even track your altitude, giving you much more insight into those weekend hiking trips. watchOS will also be smarter and know when you’ve started your workout without having to tell it.
And speaking to the hearts of true outdoorsmen, watchOS 5 will have walkie-talkie capabilities between other Apple Watches allowing you to buzz in over Wi-Fi or cellular data. We imagine this will be one of those features you never knew how much you wanted until you have it at your disposal.
A few other cool things with watchOS 5? You now have the ability to download and listen to podcasts, and you can challenge your friends to more competitions.
Not to mention, you can finally access web content on your Apple Watch. What does this mean for the future of responsive design? Looks like you might have to add another screen size to your testing arsenal soon. One thing’s for sure — developers are already discussing what this means for them as they continue to build sites that support a variety of devices.
Being prepared for Reader Mode is probably the most important thing you can do as a web developer to make sure your site will work on Apple Watch. How do you do that? Semantic HTML. https://t.co/nfZ2BEDOwi
— Jen Simmons (@jensimmons) June 4, 2018