Apple WWDC 2018 event saw a host of launches including the new iOS 12, macOS Mojave, watchOS 5, and new tvOS for Apple Watch 4K
At WWDC 2018, Apple CEO Tim Cook took the centre-stage to announce the next-generation of the software for the family of its devices including the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple Watch, Macs, and Apple TV. The iOS 12, which has been the much-anticipated version, was detailed by Cook at the keynote address at the San Jose McEnery Convention Centre. The iOS 12 addresses some of the most crucial things that Apple missed out in the iOS 11 – possibly leading to the backlash over the slowdowns – rather than the flashy things. The iOS 12 has been announced with the updated versions of macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. The prime focus this time has largely been on how much time an iPhone user spends using it – with the introduction of Digital Health feature.
The App Store, which is the marketplace for all the apps on Apple’s software, is the world’s largest app marketplace with now 500 million weekly visitors, said Cook. Cook also laid emphasis on its native Swift programming language that is crucial to the App Store. There have been around 350,000 apps written in Swift language. Refuting all the reports around the hardware launches, Cook said “Today, it’s all about software”, which means that the iOS 12 is the centre of focus.
iOS 12: What’s new
Craig Federighi, who heads the Software Engineering at Apple, said that iOS has a far better installation base than the competition, which is, of course, Android. iOS is available on 81 per cent Apple devices now. The iOS 12 will be released on all the devices that were eligible for the iOS 11 last year, which includes iPhone 5S and higher.
Beginning with the features of iOS 12, the successor to the iOS, brings a revamped Augmented Reality functionalities onboard. Apple has worked with Pixar to create a new file format for AR apps called USDZ. USDZ will bring Universal Scene Description, Open File Format, and more. The first few companies that will support the new file format includes Adobe, Autodesk, and Quixel among others.
AR now comes with a new app called Measure – basically, an overlay in that will measure the objects in the camera in real time. Federighi also announced the ARKit 2 that now allows a single platform for multiple iPhones. One of the brands that is making efforts to construct an AR experience around ARKit 2 is Lego, which will ship the AR version of Lego later this year.
Next up is Photos, which now come with recognition in a new Search toolbox. Apple says that it will suggest the photos even before you start typing whatever you want to search. This is like an equivalent to the Google Photos’ object recognition functionality. The Photos app now has a For You tab that will show you the memories tailored especially for the user – built out of the important photos and videos. Photos is also getting Suggestions that will suggest you the people with whom you want to share the photos – especially the ones in them. Again, a feature borrowed from Google Photos.
Siri, as expected, is getting an overhaul with the new software versions. Siri now has Shortcuts that can be customised to offer quick pop-ups on the Siri screen with the best answer. This is exactly similar to Google Actions that will trigger a predefined function when a user asks a particular query. Siri Suggestions can also be added to the lock screen. Shortcuts will be available as a standalone app that will suggest various actions based on the user’s usage patterns. This is again somewhat similar to what Google introduced with Slices in Google Search. The Shortcuts will work on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and HomePod.
Apple News app has also been announced at the WWDC event. The Apple News will also be integrated within in Stocks app that will offer stock prices, curated headlines on markets, and other functions to track the real-time movement in the markets. The other few apps that were announced include Voice Memos, in addition to Apple Books, which has been rebranded from iBooks. CarPlay has also been redesigned to include third-party navigation support, but sadly Google Maps isn’t one of them.
iOS 12 is getting the Do Not Disturb mode that will let you sleep quietly without being bombarded with the notifications. There is a new Grouped Notification feature now introduced in iOS 12, much like what Google does with the notifications from a single app. Apple is not only grouping notifications from an app but also classifying them on the basis of their topic. This is a welcome move by Apple for the iPhone users who have annoyingly cribbed about the uselessness of the notifications feature on iOS so far.
Apple is introducing Screen Time on iOS 12 that will let the users keep a track of the time they spend on their devices. As similar it may sound, this feature is somewhat an extension of the Digital Wellbeing feature from the kitty of Google announced at the I/O 2018. Apple will let you set time limits to the apps, after the exhaustion of which a reminder will be sent to the user.
Animoji is getting overhauled with new character including a Koala, Tiger, Ghost, and T. Rex. Animojis will now detect the movement of the tongue so the users now can actually stick out their tongue to make their Animoji do the same. Apple has also introduced the Memoji that will allow you to make your own custom Animoji with a plethora of customisations such as hair colour, style, face, face shape, colour, etc. Apple also announced Group FaceTime up to 32 people at a time. FaceTime will now be integrated into iMessage so you can directly jump to FaceTime in group conversations. FaceTime is also getting support for Animoji and other features that you will normally find on most of the video chat apps.
So, iOS 12 is all about the Group Notifications, Memoji, and Screen Time majorly.
watchOS 5: What’s new
The Apple Watch is set to receive the next version of the software – the watchOS 5. The watchOS 5 allows registering for challenges that will also be joined by the friends so that a track can be kept. watchOS 5 will offer such challenges periodically to the users. There are also new workout regimes, including one for Yoga that will majorly monitor the heart rate.
Apple introduced a new method of communication on Apple Watch. Called Walkie Talkie, the feature will allow the user to send short voice clips to other Apple Watch users during workouts or some other activity. watchOS 5 also brings support for Siri Shortcuts, new Watch faces, and support for Apple Pay. Apple Watch will allow the users to talk to Siri without adding ‘Hey’ before Siri. Just raise the hand and speak to the Apple Watch. watchOS 5 brings Podcasts to Apple Watch along with audiobooks, in addition to the existing Apple Music library. The watchOS 5 also introduces GymKit that integrates with the digital workouts equipment to sync the counts.
Apple Watch will also feature Student ID cards with the arrival of watchOS 5. Students will be able to show their identity at various places, in addition to paying for meals and other important things at universities or the places that accept student ID cards. That’s all about the watchOS 5.
Apple TV 4K is getting the most-awaited feature – the support for Dolby Atmos sound experience. In addition to 4K HDR content via Apple TV app, Dolby Atmos content will be available to the users of Apple TV 4K. The users will get support for content from the partners including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and HBO Now among others. Cable companies will also work with Apple TV to bring the content straight onto Apple TV 4K with the integration of Siri.
Apple TV will now unlock all the supported apps without needing the user to input any credentials. The credentials will be automatically added from the ISP connection that must have all the billing info saved beforehand. tvOS now brings screensavers to Apple Watch.
One of the attractive features is the new channel that brings the live stream of Earth from the International Space Station. Apple TV will also have a new Control Centre. However, following the deal lapse with Disney that happened last year, the Apple TV users won’t be able to enjoy any Marvel movies.
macOS Mojave: What’s New
The macOS Mojave brings the Dark Mode onboard to the macOS, a feature that Mac users have been longing for a long time. The Dark Mode will apply to all the apps as well as to the wallpapers that will change colours accordingly. The Xcode app, too, supports the Dark Mode now, which is a bliss for the developers. The macOS Mojave brings a new Stacks feature that will essentially create a pile of similar icon shortcuts and files scattered on the desktop. Dragging a file to the desktop will automatically move it to the Stacks. The Finder and Quick Search have also been revamped to include quick actions without a need to actually open them in the respective apps. There’s a new sidebar in the Finder app that will provide the information of the file in selection. There are quick actions such as rotating an image or dropping your signature onto a document, in addition to watermarking images instantly within the Finder.
Apple is also fixing Screenshots with macOS Mojave with the introduction of a new ‘mark-up’ view that will pop up after the user takes a screenshot. The screenshot feature now gives options such as capturing either a portion or the entire screen, even for the screen recorder that’s now a part of the same functionality.
Next up is Continuity, which has been available on iOS and macOS for a long time. Continuity is receiving updates with macOS Mojave with the introduction of Continuity Cameras that will show photographs on the Mac immediately after getting captured on the iPhone. Right-clicking inside an app to use the Continuity Camera will open the camera app on the iPhone that will allow the user to take a photo, which will be automatically available on the Mac.
Apart from this Apple News, Voice Memo, and Stocks apps are coming to the Mac with the macOS Mojave – which also introduces a new design language to the App Store on Mac. The new Mac App Store has a more simplistic design with the broader categories placed on the left sidebar and the browsing area on the right. The categories or sections that will be seen on macOS Mojave are Discover, Create, Work, Play, Develop, Categories, and Updates. Apple is also rejigging privacy and security controls to now ask the user before a website tries to access any private information. These include not letting the sites access information such as the font you use on your system and the tracking information. macOS Mojave is also employing the use of fingerprint data to secure the data further.
As has been largely speculated so far, Federighi said a BIG no to the rumours suggesting the merger of iOS and macOS. He said that the mechanism of macOS is totally different from iOS and therefore, Apple won’t merge the two ecosystems anytime soon.
The macOS Mojave will be available to the developers starting today while the stable updates should begin rolling out not before the fall – which is when Apple announces the new hardware lineup.