WWDC 2018: The annual WWDC conference is eagerly awaited by Mac lovers worldwide to see what crazy new innovations and features they can expect. As well as finding out what Apple is unveiling it also frequently gives us an industry-wide glimpse into where the future of software and hardware is heading.
WWDC was the place of huge announcements such as the iPhone and Apple Watch plus the App Store and Apple Music. Steve Jobs in his trademark jeans and black mock turtleneck always seemed to relish shocking both the assembled crowd and the millions to whom the news filtered. He also wasn’t beyond a bit of theatrics either, holding a full funeral for Mac OS 9! Tim Cook is now at the helm of the big WWDC announcement so lets take a look at what he had to say this year.
So what are the big takeaways from WWDC 2018?
There were no hardware announcements this year but the software ones certainly don’t disappoint.
Limitation of data tracking
It’s bad news for Facebook as Apple announces pop ups to help us understand when and what data is being tracked. Security experts are hailing this as a win for online privacy and security. Tim Cook previously, and publicly, said that he believes privacy “is a human right, it’s a civil liberry” and that Facebook practices are an “invasion of privacy” so he’s putting his money where his mouth is & doing something about it!
Apple will be turning its attention to digital health, which is a relatively newish buzzword, and one that’s gaining a lot of traction. We are all becoming increasingly dependent on our devices and addicted to various elements of them. Therefore, it’s great to see a company taking action to help navigate this area of addiction, even when less usage may mean less profit. The new iOS 12 will have timers that you can set for apps so they remind you you’ve had enough and prompt you to set down the device for a bit. It’s a bit like a hunger signal to the brain; it’s hard to remember to disconnect from your device without a little outside prompting occasionally. It’s also great news for parents with greater kid controls to help your children re-engage with the real world a little! We’ll be watching (and using!) these new controls with great interest.
FaceTime is being overhauled to enable group calls for up to 32 participants. I think this will be a game changer for smaller businesses where it will negate the need for separate subscription fees to services like Zoom. It’s been called for time and time again so I think there will be a lot of chuffed people out there post WWDC 2018!
The Photos app will be getting an overhaul with the new macOS. Among other things the search function is being hugely upgraded so you can search for “Prague” for example and it will find all photos. Sharing is also being enhanced to include sharing suggestions based on other people in your photos.
Any Animoji fans will be desperate to get their hands on this! On top of the fun of making a panda sing or wishing someone happy birthday as a dog, you can now build a Memoji to look and sound like you (or anyone else you want it to!) If you’re yet to play with Animoji, try them out – but don’t say I didn’t warn you about the potential loss of free time as you think of more and more hilarious things for the Animoji to say!
Siri seems to be getting the biggest overhaul as (s)he is going to start learning your routines and preferences. There will also be a customisable workflow option. For example if you always go to the gym using Maps, listen to the same playlist, stop for a Costa and then use Maps to get to work then Siri will be able to run your “Gym” workflow which will play the music, program your Maps app and order coffee on the Costa app for you. Incredible!
As well as the bigger overhauls including faster iOS to help older phones keep up and the above mentioned points, macOS Mojave features a cool new dark theme, shared environments for ARkit and a load of other new features. You can see a more comprehensive list of changes here.
What is your favourite new thing Apple announced? What do you think you would have loved to see? What could have gone further? Let us know!
Tori is the genius behind the scenes that keeps everyone in line…or so she likes to think. She loves all things photography and was an (unwilling) Mac convert over a decade ago but would now never go back!