Part 1: Apple’s WWDC 2018 biggest keynote highlights: iOS 12, MacOS Mojave and more

wwdc 2018

Yesterday Apple wrapped up its annual WWDC 2018 developer conference with a long list of announcements. Rather unveiling big game changers, the WWDC 2018 was more about revealing little things- new upgrades and features that each of Apple’s four platforms will see.

Little things yes, but significant things. Here are the biggest WDDC 2018 highlights.

iOS 12 gets in on “Time Well Spent” feature to beat phone addiction

The most unsurprising reveal of the conference was of course- the iOS 12. What is new is the slew of features that Apple intends to introduce on its latest mobile OS.

Perhaps as an answer to the rising concern of children’s’ usage and addiction to the smartphone, Apple has introduced a digital health dashboard which is designed to curb smartphone overuse. Among these features is the improved version of Do Not Disturb as well as Screentime app to give you weekly reports of your phone usage.

You can limit your phone usage and get warning messages that will pop up telling you how much minutes are left from your allotted time for certain apps. Moreover, parents can get reports on how much time their children are spending on the phone and set different allowances.

More Visual fun on iOS 12 with ‘Animoji’ and Group FaceTime

Following in Samsung’s footsteps, Apple’s “Animoji” is one the highlights of the messages app which lets one create a cartoon version of themselves. There is also ‘tongue detection’ mode which can make the Animoji stick their tongues out.

Other than the new Animoji, the messages app will have stickers, drawing tool, text built in to the app camera; plus, the iOS 12 will support Group FaceTime which will let you chat with up to 32 people simultaneously. You can FaceTime using your Animoji or Memoji overlay as well.

While not anything revolutionizing, this will certainly appeal to Apple’s wide user base.

Augmented Reality (AR) steals the show

One of the prominent features on iOS 12 is the AR. In WWDC 2017 Apple had revealed ARKit in order to help developers create AR apps for iPads and iPhones. Initially it was working with Valve to bring the Steam VR platform to the Mac desktops. Before, the VR rigs didn’t work with Apple computers.

WWDC 2018 saw Apple introduce ARKit 2 and USDZ. It is available to the developers now and will be accessible to all users in the fall. USDZ is the new file format designed to make AR more widely available and easy to integrate. This new development represents some of the foundational work on AR.

Apple also presented a new app called the “Measure”, which as the name suggest measures the objects with the iPhone camera. Another feature called the “Quick Look for AR” lets the iPhone owners put virtual objects into physical spaces (for e.g. interior design) utilizing the camera.

There is also support for multi-user AR experiences and gaming. For e.g. the new Lego AR game presented how people can set up a building in AR and open it to see what’s going on indoors.

All these features combined support Apple’s vision for “persistent AR”- which the organization hopes to make way in more apps.

Siri gets Shortcuts

Apple announced ‘Siri Shortcuts’, a feature that lets you create command prompts on specific applications. Now Siri can create routines with multiple actions, which are already available for Google Assistant and Alexa.

It will also offer suggestions on your phone or the Apple Watch for actions or activities as per your regular use- like for instance, a fitness application when you go the gym at the time of your preference.

Apple blocks Facebook’s ability to track users

With Cambridge Analytica scandal fresh in mind, there is an obvious emphasis on privacy. With a new Safari feature, Apple is turning off Facebook’s ability to track users across the web with buttons and comment feeds.

While the social network giant’s name was not cited, Apple has reassured users that iOS’s intelligent tracking protection will now cover that content as well. If this is enabled by default, it could have a broad impact on the organization’s capability to track its users.

The company will provide websites with a “simplified system configuration” to help prevent them from being able to identify and fingerprint your device for ads.

Apple’s SVP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi said these new features overall “will [make it] dramatically more difficult for data companies to uniquely identify your device and track you.

Continuing on the same theme he added that “Like and share buttons and conversation windows . . . can be used to track you whether you click on them or not. This year we are shutting that down.”

Mac OS Mojave revealed

The next Mac operating system update is called Mojave. The new OS introduced Dark Mode- which turns Finder windows black and comes with an inverted look into XCode as well.

It also adds a bunch of quick actions- like organizing messy desktops into neat categories of files and option to watermark files, sign a PDF document just by selecting a menu option from the sidebar.

Existing iOS apps, Apple News, Apple Stocks, Home and Voice Memos, will now be available to the Mac. Group FaceTime will also work on the desktop.

More on Apple WWDC 2018

  • Apple Watch as Walkie- talkie? Focus on New Workouts and Connectivity
  • TvOS for Apple TV: Dolby Atmos is coming on Apple TV 4K
  • Safari Gains Favicon Support in iOS 12 and macOS Mojave
  • Apple aims to simplify AI models with CreateML and Core ML 2
  • Bringing iOS Apps to macOS
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