I wanted to take a day to mull over everything that happened at Monday’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote before making any comments on the event. I think this was a tough keynote for Apple, but not for the reasons you might expect.
Apple was in a no-win situation as company executives took the stage to introduce the new products. If they add new hardware or a slew of new whiz-bang software features, the press will crucify them for not paying attention to the complaints of bugs from users. However, if they don’t introduce anything new, the media would say the company has lost its innovative edge.
No matter what they did, it would be wrong.
One important thing to remember is that WWDC is about developers first. Apple is there to give developers the tools they need to make apps for users—that is the main priority.
With the introduction of the new iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS, Apple also has to make sure that the operating systems are safe, secure and working correctly for all of its users. Sometimes this means taking a step back from the rapid pace of feature releases and focusing on things like performance—all of the under-the-hood voodoo that users never see but experience every day.
I think Apple gave us a good balance of features that we will use and a commitment to improving the overall state of the operating systems.
There are a few things that stood out to me during the keynote that I would like to point out.
The focus for iOS in the keynote was performance—that is perfect. Even Apple’s iOS 12 Web page leads with performance:
iOS 12 is designed to make your iPhone and iPad experience even faster, more responsive, and more delightful.
Apple needed to address the overall performance of the OS and make those everyday tasks we do even faster than they were before. According to the company’s data, swiping to open the camera is now 70% faster; the keyboard comes up 50% faster; apps launch 2x quicker under heavy workload.
Those are everyday things that we do that will be noticeably faster.
Group FaceTime is going to be incredible for a lot of users. I had a chance to play around with the new feature, and it worked incredibly well. As you saw in the demo during the keynote, FaceTime will automatically make the person speaking a bit bigger on the screen so that you can focus on them. I wondered what would happen when a couple of people were trying to talk at the same time, but Apple said the system would handle that too, by bringing both of them forward on the screen a little bit.
Screen Time is going to be a shocking feature for many people. It will give you a report showing how much time you spend in particular apps. It also allows parents to get a report on their kids so they can see how they are using their devices.
Parents can then set limits on what their kids can do on the devices. If they are concerned about the amount of time the kids are playing games, they can limit that type of activity.
The genius of Screen Time is that it is informational. It gives you a complete rundown of what you are doing on your devices and gives you the ability to take action to curb the behavior.
I smiled when Apple showed the new Share Back feature in Photos. Photos will now suggest sharing pictures with the people in them. When you do, iOS 12 will prompt them to share images from that event with you, giving both people a full catalog of photos. That’s very cool.
Privacy and security are always significant for Apple. Yesterday they shared this:
Apple believes privacy is a fundamental human right, which is why iOS has always been designed with built-in encryption, on-device intelligence, and other tools that let you share what you want on your terms. And with iOS 12, we’re taking privacy even further. Safari now prevents Share buttons and comment widgets on web pages from tracking you without your permission. Safari also prevents advertisers from collecting your device’s unique characteristics, so they can’t identify your device or retarget ads to you across the web.
Thank you, Apple.
What impressed me most about macOS Mojave is a feature that wasn’t talked about enough, at least for me. Apple framed this as bringing four new apps from iOS to macOS: News, Stocks, Home, and Voice Memos.
That’s great, but the more significant news here is that Apple is giving developers a way to bring their iOS apps to the Mac with minimal code changes. In fact, if you look under the hood of these new Mac apps, you will see some very familiar iOS code.
Apple is doing a lot of the heavy lifting, making it possible for these apps to be on the Mac platform. I think we can all agree that the Mac won’t work for all types of iOS apps, but there are a lot of apps that will fit.
It’s going to be very interesting to see what types of apps make a move to the Mac in 2019.
I liked Dark Mode more in person than what I thought I would. Everything kind of pops in Dark Mode—even small things like your calendars. Of course, pros will use this mode a lot, but I think it will quickly become popular with other users too.
My desktop is an absolute disaster and always has been. I am going to love using Stacks just as a simple, automated way to group my files.
I love that Apple is paying some attention to the Mac App Store. After completing its redesign of the iOS App Store last year, Apple will give users a similar feel for the Mac, incorporating editorial content, videos and collections to help you find the perfect app.
I love my Apple TV, I really do, but Apple seems to be at the mercy of some cable companies to make all of its promised features work. The company announced single sign-on over a year ago, but it still doesn’t work with Comcast Xfinity. I realize this isn’t Apple’s fault, but it’s still annoying for the user.
So when Apple announced “zero sign-on” in tvOS, I don’t pay much attention. It’s a nice theory, but unless they can implement it to the masses, it doesn’t matter.
On a brighter note, Dolby Atmos is coming to Apple TV.
Combine Apple TV 4K with a Dolby Atmos–compatible sound system and you’re fully immersed in three-dimensional audio that sends sound around and above you with pinpoint precision. Whether a jet zooms overhead or a torrential downpour erupts, the true-to-life sound puts you inside the action.
I love Dolby Atmos, so I’m looking forward to this feature and compatible content to go with it.
My favorite new feature for watchOS 5 is automatic workout detection. I often forget to start or stop a workout, so having the watch intelligently prompt me will save me a lot of heartaches. The most significant part is that the app will give you credit for the exercise you’ve already done so that you won’t miss out on anything.
Apple also added Yoga and Hiking to the workout app, further expanding the types of workouts it tracks. While I don’t do either of those, the more types of exercises Apple Watch can track, the better it is for the platform.
I’m not sure how I feel about Walkie-Talkie yet. It sounds cool, and I’m sure there are uses for it, but I’m just not sure how I would use it. I’ll spend some time with it before commenting further.
Apple gave us everything we needed from a WWDC keynote: Tools and new software for developers to make the next generation apps, a commitment to its users to release faster and more secure software for the users, and a look ahead at ways it’s making development of apps easier—namely, bringing iOS apps to the Mac.
It’s a good day to be an Apple user.