So, I did this last year and decided to do it this year as well. Less of an Apple fanboy than in 2017, but as a developer and software engineer by trade and passion, I could not stay away from an event that regardless of my latest disappointments in Apple and specifically Tim Cook, does innovate and inspire to some degree.
Without further ado, here’s what happened today at the keynote event that started with what first seems like a light mockery of developers turning into a somewhat sweet Animal Planet style mini episode about who — us developers — are.
Followed by a running Tim onto the stage as if he just took too much time on the loo and was about to miss his cue. I understand a good morning or evening run, I understand the need for fitness, but running on and off stage, just never made sense to me, only to start with iOS — or better said, with all the things they should have done last year but failed to.
Starting with an iOS vs Android adoption rates report was a bit low and not news at all. Android is getting better and has its merits but fragmentation will forever force it into a lower adoption rate than iOS. This is now a decade long discussion and I still fail to see why.
The Interesting News:
- iOS12 will be available for the same devices that today are capable of running iOS11, in fact iOS12 is supposedly up to 50% (average) faster than iOS11 on an iPhone 6.
- Burst CPU processing model allowing your CPU to instantly ramp up and down when required. Power saving expected as well.
- Shareable AR .usdz format available, and will be used natively by Adobe Creative Cloud as well — this could be interesting and occasionally useful.
- A new app called Measure which can measure in 3D. Very cool and immensely useful!
- Siri shortcuts to app actions, which basically means you’ll be able to automate a bunch of things, set a trigger call for Spotify and other previously unavailable things via Siri.
- Refocus on how you use phone and tablet. Do not disturb at night with no notifications, and additional options added to set for how long you don’t want to be disturbed. Also in each notification you can fine-tune how often and when you want to see them.
- Speaking of, here come group notifications — finally!
- Screen-time control with great insight into how you use your device and control it based on reporting on how you use your phone or tablet which is particularly useful for kids as it allows for allowance so they spend a max set amount of time on an app per app basis.
- Another “about time” feature is group face-time of up to 32 people — a demo of which was definitely “not rehearsed” …
The Boring News
- ArKit2 is coming — ok, fine, moving on.
- Multiuser augmented reality — happy with regular reality, sometimes even that’s too much.
- ArKit Lego physical and digital combined play experience of up to 4 users. LegoArExperiences on the app store later. Will take a physical set of Lego over anything digital!
- Photos search is now better with added refinements and suggestions.
- New tab called “foryou”: loops, on this day, sharing activity suggestions based on face recognition while your friend gets a reverse sharing option, all private, on device.
- News gets a “browse” tab, and a sidebar. Wow!
- New stocks app with apple news built in. Some cross-pollination right there…
- Voice Memos app.
- iBooks gets a new design and is now called Apple Books — rebranding at its finest!
- CarPlay third party navigation is allowed now — finally admitting you need more than Apple Maps to get to your destination?
- Animoji with tongue detection — what the actual fudge?!?
- Memoji — create your own animoji because your face is just not good enough anymore… :/
This one I really cannot get excited about. While I am a huge fan of smart watches, I fail to understand how a time-piece that requires daily charging is considered as Apple put it “number one in customer satisfaction every year”. Clearly, these customers have not tried any other smart watch out there. And no, I don’t mean FitBit bracelets.
The Irrelevant (to me) News
- Competition challenges between friends — basically who can close the rings faster.
- Added Yoga activity type and hiking activity type.
- Pace alerts and cadence reports.
- Automatic workout detection — my Garmin does that already.
- Walkie talkie app for “a fun easy way to talk”, using watch to watch connection.
- Siri shortcuts available just like on iOS.
- Third party apps on Siri watch-face.
- You no longer need to say “hey Siri”, just raise your arm and talk to it.
- Interactive notifications.
- Web content in mail or messages with webkit — so this might send web designers and developers into a frenzy of “developing watch-first sites”.
- Podcasts app on the watch. Meh.
The best bit was the demo with a lady on a stationary bike pretending to do a workout session and then her daughter talking to her on the watch yelling #mommyforthewin For the love of everything that’s holy, can these things get any more awkward and cheesy?
AppleTV 4K tvOS
The AppleTV in my view is one of the most underrated devices on the market today. I have both the 4 and the 4K and they are absolutely brilliant devices at a low-low cost of under $200. For what they are and what they can do, that’s a bargain.
Just News …
- iTunes has now the largest collection of 4k HDR movies which while impressive I wouldn’t really write home about. Other providers will catch up quite quickly.
- Dolby Atmos — which as far as I remember was last year’s news, but on that note, iTunes now has the largest Dolby Atmos collection, and comes as a free upgrade on supported titles. Thanks, I guess.
- Live sports and news in a few countries, so again, don’t hold your breath.
- New aerial screensaver location: earth from space — probably the coolest update to be honest.
I am pretty sure I’ll end up calling it “Mojito” instead, because this “Mojabi” something just doesn’t roll off the tongue.
The Exciting News
- Dark mode, which looks “bitchin’”! xCode gets dark mode too.
- Dynamic desktop that reflects the time of day — might be a gimmick but still cool.
- Desktop stacks for clean desktop — this is very welcome as it cleans up the desktop automatically. Brilliant!
- Finder gets a new view called gallery view with file details bar and quick actions. Quite useful.
- Quick look gets better with markup and quick actions. Just as useful as the above.
- Screenshots with tools now and options, also very useful.
- Safari shuts down cookie based tracking. Die cookies, die!
Not So Exciting News
- Continuity camera able to take pictures and scan documents via your mobile device — I never used this continuity thing.
- News app coming to mac, Stocks as well. Same for Voice Memos and Home app.
- Better privacy for camera and microphone.
- Safari is killing fingerprinting for tracking purposes so basically your Mac will look to an outside corporation or hacker a lot like many other macs, making it hard(er) to identify you.
- Redesigned mac app store with themed tabs and recommendations, tips and tricks. Work, play and develop tabs added.
- Ratings and review API for developers.
Well, I guess that’s kind of it. With MacOS the focus seems to have shifted to making the Mac a productivity machine more than just a design statement, which is very welcome and hugely necessary for professionals.
Most of this stuff available this fall. Over and out.
Attila Vago — writer of codes, blogs and things that live on the web. Programming polyglot, pragmatic doer, member of the “taking care of business” crowd, with a no nonsense attitude. An easily inspired inspirational individual with a strong predilection towards most things nerdy, good, carnivorous food, and Lego. Uses a Mac. Exercises at 6 a.m.