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Apple WWDC Key Takeaways 2018

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Apple is a firm in transition. Apple has warned suppliers that iPhone demand is dropping off. Apple is working on secretive AR glasses and is in the midst of trying to find its next star product while seeking to keep up in artificial intelligence.

Apple has to be commended for upgraded “do not disturb modes”, app limits and attacking Facebook, however neither are Augmented reality support, Siri shortcuts, or new photo sharing features really major announcements.

So way to go Apple for doing something out of nothing:

  • Apple teamed up with Pixar to make a new compact file format that’s optimized for sharing GIFs and videos that feature 3D graphics and animations.

Siri Shortcuts

Many wondered what Apple would have for Siri at WWDC 2018, and the answer to that question is Siri Shortcuts. Siri is however for all intents and purposes, months if not years behind Google Assistant and Alexa now.

However in the era of “smart routines”, at least Siri Shortcuts sounds user-friendly. As Business Insider puts it: You can also have a single phrase trigger a series, or sequence, of actions. Maybe when you tell Siri “I’m coming home,” it can automatically text your wife the same message, pull up directions to your house on Apple Maps, and set the thermostat so it’s perfectly cool when you arrive.

  • The era of customizable routines is here in how we interact with smart personal assistants.

Software Against Smartphone Addiction

Here is where I think I’m most impressed by Apple’s stand in 2018, not in innovation but in ethics in technology. Apple introduced software that can actually help people from getting too distracted by their phones.

  • Apps are designed to interrupt and waste our time, this isn’t right.
  • Apps often “need more attention than we realize.”
  • Notifications draw us in for fear of missing out (FOMO), which has created a new habit where we are constantly checking our phones. This isn’t “user-friend”, but an exploit of human attention.
  • Apple introduced new features in iOS 12 that limit distraction and help you focus on the things that are important to you.

These kinds of app limits, makes Facebook and other apps look plain silly in how non customer-centric they are.

The Four Horsemen of Apple Anti-Smartphone Addiction

  • How we experience notifications will change.
  • Notifications will be grouped or be more customizable.
  • More analytics on our screen time and use of our phones.
  • Programmable hard-caps per apps (this is really important to combat addiction and OCPU, obsessive compulstive phone usage).

1. Do Not Disturb mode for bedtime can hide your big, stressful list of notifications when it’s time for bed. When you’re fully awake the next morning, you can tap a button for when you’re ready to see all your notifications and take on the day.

2. Notifications are getting a big update. “Instant Tuning” will let you turn off notifications for apps at any moment, or help notifications bypass the lock screen. Also, Apple is going to add grouped notifications to iOS (thank goodness) so they’re grouped by app, topic, or thread.

3. Apple’s new Screentime app can give you deep insights on how you spend time in your apps. You can see how often you’re picking up your phone, and what’s drawing you in. And you can also see which apps are sending you the most notifications.

4. App Limits can help you manage your time on your phone — so you can choose to only spend an hour in Instagram per day, for instance. Parents can also set App Limits on their kids by category or individual app, in case you want your kid to always have access to the Phone app, or educational apps, but want to limit their time in certain apps and websites. It works across both iPhone and iPad, and you can manage it all remotely.

Bells and Whistles of iOS

Apple does keep innovating in iOS and some of it makes some sense:

  • Sharing photos with friends is much easier in iOS If you take photos with friends, iOS can detect who is in them and offer to send those photos to those people.
  • No more rulers. Apple introduced a special new app for iOS 12 called Measure, which, as the name suggests, lets you measure distance and length using only your iPhone.
  • Apple made CarPlay, its system that lets your iPhone interface with your car’s stereo or display, much more attractive. This makes sense as Apple is working on smart car software.
  • Apple is taking Animoji to the next level with a Bitmoji-esque feature called Memoji, which lets you create a personalized Animoji. Most customization is the over-reaching theme for this year.

Apple Messages Feels like Snapchat

  • All due respect to Snapchat’s redesign of a resdesign, but Apple’s Messages app will be much more like Snapchat in iOS 12. The camera function in the Messages app will be able to add filters, text, and stickers — you can even apply Animoji and Memoji in your videos.

Facetime in Multi-User Splendour

  • Apple dialed FaceTime up to 11 by supporting up to 32 simultaneous participants. FaceTime is now integrated with Messages so you can go right from a group chat to a group FaceTime, and members can drop in and out at any time. Not bad, not bad at all.

Sadly this can quickly escale and devolve into a circus like atmoshere where your friends or colleagues suddenly start to look like this: You can also apply stickers, filters, Animoji, and Memoji there too — which could result in some horrific team meetings, ack!

Facetime Horror Dystopia

Not sure if this is supposed to be funny or just Disney gone wrong? Apple
  • The Apple Watch is now much smarter about your workouts, thanks to watchOS 5. The new Apple Watch software introduces automatic workout detection, which can suggest an activity based on what it thinks you’re doing (in case you forget to program your workout ahead of time).
  • I can now use the Apple Watch as a walkie-talkie, I just choose a person to talk with, and once that person accepts your request, you two can chat whenever you like — you just push into your watch and start talking. You never know in the robot apocalypse, how useful this may be (but can the robots hear you?).
  • Apple Pay with your watch to feel like a very privileged student. Why not? In watchOS 5, you can add your student ID card to your Apple Watch so you can access your dorm or library, or even pay for snacks or laundry or dinners, with only your Apple Watch.

Anyway more bells and whistles right, but that’s basically the gist of WWDC, you didn’t miss terribly much. Prefer video, no problem, the Verge did a 14 min summary that’s worth a look.

What new features most interest you, and why?

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