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Apple’s WWDC 2018 Keynote on iPhone, iPad

At WWDC 2018, Apple has to convince us to have faith in iOS and macOS

Apple Announces iOS 12 At WWDC 2018Apple is trying to make us love our iPhones a little less.

Helping consumers and parents combat addiction and encourage healthier relationships with technology was on Apple’s agenda at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday.

How is Apple addressing smartphone addiction?

Well, Apple executives didn’t exactly call it “addiction.” But Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi used a variety of euphemisms for it: “We might not realize just how distracted we’ve become,” he said.

He introduced three iOS 12 features to help limit distraction and help people understand how they’re using their iPhone and iPads:

1) An updated “do not disturb” mode lets you snooze notifications and other distractions for a window of time that you choose. And when you use “do not disturb” during bed time, your iPhone shows a mostly black screen until you tap the screen in the morning to dive in. No more midnight peeking!

2) There are new ways to tame the flurry of notifications from apps that want your attention. Pressing on a notification, you can tune how often you’ll get them in the future from the app that sent it. Notifications are now grouped by type, app or topic. And iOS 12 will also recommend curtailing notifications from apps you don’t often use.

Apple's WWDC 2018 Keynote on iPhone, iPad

3) The biggest change is a new activity report that lets you see how long you spend using each app, and let you set limits. If you go over your own limit, iOS 12 will pop up a reminder and block the app, though you can grant yourself an extension. Parents can also use this system to monitor and remotely place limits on how their children use their own devices.

What else is new in iOS 12?

Apple said its biggest focus was on reliability and speed, promising apps would load twice as fast in high-performance situations. There was no mention of the impact on battery life.

There’s also some new fun to … get you to spend even more time on your iPhone:
-Users of the iPhone X will be able to make personalized animated emojis, called MeMojis.
-Augmented reality apps using Apple’s new AR Kit 2 software let multiple people play games or enjoy experiences simultaneously.
-The Facetime video calling app now supports group conversations.

What’s new with Apple Watch?

It’s a walkie-talkie now. Yup, Watch users will be able to send short audio messages to each other with a tap. Each message is preceded by a double beep, so you can live out your movie commando dreams. Watch also got smarter about workouts, and can sense when they start and stop. Watch will also show some simple web pages, such as a restaurant menu or the text of an article, on your wrist.

When can I get the new software?

Tim Cook said the updates were coming “this fall.” In the past, iOS updates have arrived in September at the same time as new iPhones.

Apple is making beta versions of its software available to developers, but download them at your own risk — and certainly don’t put them on devices you rely on for daily use.

Wait, was there really no new hardware?

That’s right. No sign of new iPads, MacBooks — or even the AirPower wireless charger Apple first promised last fall but has yet to deliver.

Apple software has never been more important. As we learned just last week, 2017 was the first year since the introduction of the iPhone that smartphone sales were basically flat year over year, according to venture capitalist Mary Meeker’s influential Internet Trends report. For Apple, its future depends on finding a business that doesn’t rely solely on achieving record-breaking smartphone sales year after year. The iPhone cannot last forever, and CEO Tim Cook has often positioned Apple’s growing services business as a core pillar of the company going forward.

Apple's WWDC 2018 Keynote on iPhone, iPad

But to find that way out of its iPhone dependence, Apple needs to figure out how to sell more consumers on its software and the broader Apple ecosystem, from Apple Music to Apple Pay to iCloud. Plus, the more you use and rely on Apple software, the more likely you might be to buy the new HomePod speaker, the latest version of the AirPods and Apple Watch, or even Apple’s rumored augmented reality device.

Unlike companies that live and breathe internet services, like Google and Amazon, Apple is in a tougher spot here. That’s because, for the longest time, the iPhone maker could trust its dominant hardware to sell consumers on its software. You bought an iPhone or a MacBook Pro, and you settled with iOS, macOS, and the many native apps and peripheral products that came with those platforms. For the longest time, that was just fine. Both operating systems have historically run very well, been updated neatly year after year, and provided for Apple a strong argument for why its integration of hardware and software was the superior approach to mobile and desktop computing.

That’s begun to change over the years, and it felt like 2017 was a bit of a breaking point. Coming off the disappointing reception of its new MacBook Pro line in fall 2016, Apple apparently rushed out iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra the following year without smoothing over all of the rough edges. In a four-month period starting in September, Apple faced a torrent of negative press about bugs, critical security flaws, and performance problems plaguing its phones and laptops. Since then, Apple has released 14 software updates for iOS addressing 67 bugs, a 46 percent increase from the 46 software issues addressed over the same period a year earlier, according to data tabulated by The Wall Street Journal.

The apparent disregard for quality and consistency tarnished those platforms’ good names among some of Apple’s most critical and vocal users. It also started to feel like not only was the Apple hardware you were buying misguided in design — with its lack of accessible ports and less-than-stellar keyboards — but so was the software that ran on it. It’s paramount that consumers still look to Apple software as dependable and high-quality. If users abandon the Mac and the iPhone (which contributes two-thirds of Apple revenue), they also abandon the company’s increasingly lucrative services business that underpins those platforms.

Apple's WWDC 2018 Keynote on iPhone, iPad

Everything important Apple just announced

Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference kicked off today with one of its big product-unveiling keynotes. Here are the most important announcements Apple made, in roughly chronological order.

The big picture

As Apple’s iPhone App Store approaches its 10th birthday next month, and Apple’s Services business — including the App Store — represents one of its fastest-growing businesses, app developers remain one of the company’s most important constituencies. There are 20 million developers around the world, and only a few thousand are in attendance today. Apple CEO Tim Cook says cumulative developer earnings will pass $100 billion next week.

iOS 12

Apple uses WWDC each year to unveil the year’s major update to iOS, which powers iPhones and iPads. This year, Apple is “doubling down on performance,” said SVP Craig Federighi, focusing on improvements that make devices faster — especially Apple’s oldest devices.

AR and ARKit

Augmented reality, or AR, is “transformational technology,” Federighi said. This is a potentially important technology for Apple’s future, so it’s telling that it’s the first new feature Apple is touting. Apple announced a new AR file format, USDZ, that big creative-software company like Adobe are supporting, and a new AR-driven app called Measure.

Apple also announced a new version of its ARKit software developers tool with improved face tracking, 3-D object section and “shared experiences” — so people around you can share the same AR experience on their iOS devices.

Apple's WWDC 2018 Keynote on iPhone, iPad

Siri

Apple continues to open Siri, its voice/AI assistant, to developer apps, adding new features in the process. A new developer tool called “Shortcuts” will let app developers add more personalized cues to Siri — and users can create their own Siri workflows via a new Shortcuts app. For example, you can create a “Heading home” Shortcut that pulls up your GPS directions, sets your home thermostat, alerts someone you’re headed home via iMessage and even sets your iPhone to the NPR app.

Apps, etc.

Apple is improving Photo search and sharing. There’s a new Stocks app. Voice memos is launching for iPad. iBooks has been redesigned and is now called Apple Books. CarKit will support third-party apps for navigation.

Quality of life

Along the lines of the “time well spent” movement: Do Not Disturb has some new features to reduce notifications when you don’t want them, Apple is making the process of receiving and dealing with Notifications less noisy, and a new feature called Screen Time helps you understand, control and limit how much time you spend on your device. Parents can also monitor their kids’ usage and set “allowances” by app category or individual apps.

Apple's WWDC 2018 Keynote on iPhone, iPad

Messages

Animoji now has “tongue detection.” But this is cool: You can create your own “Memoji” — Animoji that look like “you … or the real you.” (Sort of Apple’s version of the Nintendo Mii avatars.) And the Messages app now has a collection of Snapchat-like camera filters.

FaceTime

Apple’s video-calling app now supports group FaceTime with up to 32 simultaneous participants — including an integration to Messaging that makes it easy to launch group calls. You can now also use Animoji or photo filters within FaceTime calls. FaceTime Audio calls now work on Apple Watch.

Apple Watch and watchOS 5

Apple continues to move watchOS toward fitness and communication features:

  • In watchOS 5, you can challenge friends to fitness competitions. Apple Watch now tracks yoga sessions, has better support for hiking and supports paces for runners. Forgot to start your workout? The watch should now detect and suggest starting and stopping workouts.
  • A new “Walkie Talkie” mode lets you send and receive push-to-talk audio messages via Apple Watch.
  • The Siri watch face now supports Shortcuts and content from third-party apps.
  • You don’t have to say “Hey, Siri” anymore — just raise your watch toward your face and it’ll start listening for cues.
  • Apple Watch apps are also getting more sophisticated, including the ability to play background audio.
  • Notifications are now more interactive — you can even do things like manage restaurant reservations or pay for something via Apple Pay.

Apple Watch will now support some web content — recall that it didn’t launch with Safari — via a tiny-screen browser. The Apple Podcasts app is coming to Apple Watch — finally. And Apple is launching the ability to use your iPhone and Apple Watch as a student ID for access and payments, starting as a trial at a few schools, including Duke.

Apple's WWDC 2018 Keynote on iPhone, iPad

Apple TV and tvOS

Apple is adding Dolby Atmos audio support for smart surround sound.

It’s also starting to work with more TV providers to use Apple TV as a primary viewing device for live, on-demand and cloud DVR, including — later this year — Charter Spectrum (formerly Time Warner Cable and Charter) in the U.S.

A new “Zero Sign-on” feature will unlock supported apps included with your TV service if you’re on the provider’s broadband network — no more fumbling with that awkward sign-in process. Charter Spectrum will be the first to support this feature.

Crucially, you’ll also now be able to see the location information for Apple’s amazing screen-saver drone videos. Apple will also start including space footage in those reels, thanks to a collaboration with the international space station.

Mac and macOS Mojave

Some new Mac features: A new “dark mode” — which drew huge cheers from the WWDC audience — is launching in Mojave. This should be particularly useful for photo or video editors and software developers. “Desktop stacks” are a new way to organize documents on the desktop. “Gallery view” is a new way to preview documents in a folder, including a big preview, metadata and “quick actions” like rotating photos. And a cool new Continuity feature will let you use the photo you just took on your iPhone on your Mac.

Apple is redesigning the Mac App Store to make it look and work more like the new (good) iOS store. Microsoft and Adobe are among the companies that will be participating. Apple News, Stocks, Home and Voice Memos are also launching on the Mac — including syncing your voice memos across devices.

A new feature in Safari is shutting down third-party tracking by default — you’ll have to opt in for services like Facebook to track you on third-party sites.

 

Is Apple merging macOS and iOS?

“No,” Federighi says. “Of course not.” But Apple is launching a multi-year project that would allow iOS apps to run on Macs. This year, it’s testing it in-house with some of the new previously iOS-only apps it’s launching for Mac. But next year, developers will get access to some of these tools, too.

Now, as WWDC 2018 is set to kick off, Apple has one mission to accomplish: to regain the trust of its loyal fans, developers included. The company’s annual developer conference isn’t just when Apple reminds the public that it owns and operates the most lucrative and carefully curated mobile app store. It’s also the time of the year when Apple charts a path for the next 12 months of iOS and macOS.

According to reports that have been coming out periodically since the beginning of the year, that path is going to look a bit different going forward. According to Axios, Apple is reportedly focusing primarily on performance improvements and reliability with the upcoming iOS 12 instead of visual overhauls or flashy new features. In January, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported that a number of high-profile changes — like a redesign of the iOS home screen and a long-rumored merger of the third-party apps running across iOS and macOS — will not arrive with iOS 12’s launch, but instead, they will be released in a staggered fashion throughout the following year. If this course of events plays out, it would mark both a drastic change in approach for Apple and a recognition from the company that it’s made big mistakes of late.

There are a number of other issues that affect both consumer trust in Apple products and faith that those products will work at the level of offerings from Google, Amazon, and other competitors. Addressing those at WWDC might go a long way in helping Apple repair its image.

Take, for instance, the company’s admission late last year that it slows down older iPhones to prevent spontaneous restart issues those devices suffer from degrading batteries. The moment — seemingly confirming long-held conspiracy theories around planned obsolescence — was a sloppy affair for a company so adept at massaging public opinion. Though it was ultimately a matter of a lack of transparency, it made Apple look disdainful of its customers and willing to obscure critical information from them about how its products actually function. Apple apologized, launched an affordable repair program, and updated iOS 11 to include a new software setting to manage an iPhone’s battery use. But by then, the damage had largely been done, and trust in Apple has suffered as a result.

As for faith in the quality of Apple software, it’s never been more important as the company shifts away from a business primarily propped up by iPhone sales to one revolving more around a software and services ecosystem. Apple is currently battling Amazon in the smart home, Spotify in the music streaming business, and both Microsoft and Google in the laptop market, not to mention its ongoing rivalry with Samsung in the phone market and Google over mobile OS market share.

Yet Apple isn’t dominant in any of those areas, and it often lags far behind the competition due to its high prices. (Granted, high prices are why Apple enjoys better profit margins.) Still, it’s clear one of Apple’s biggest opportunities for growth reside not in selling a number of expensive hardware products to a small base of loyal users, but in convincing more people to use its software and live in the Apple ecosystem.

The new HomePod speaker suffered worse-than-expected sales, one can imagine in part because of the device’s locked down design that keeps it from working well with services other than Apple Music. And Siri is nowhere the ubiquity of Amazon’s Alexa or the quality of Google Assistant. That’s largely because Apple’s approach to artificial intelligence research and data collection put it at a severe disadvantage against the formidable AI organizations of other Silicon Valley giants. In a grander sense, Siri has felt stagnant for years and is often the butt of jokes regarding AI’s lack of sophistication. To help Siri get on equal footing with the competition, Apple needs to overhaul the software and encourage its users to think of it as more than a subpar side project.

Of course, it’s not all doom and gloom at Apple. The company remains the most valuable on the planet, and the iPhone remains one of the most lucrative products in the entire technology industry. And recent successes, like the excellent first-generation AirPods, prove Apple is capable of designing a best-in-class product out of the gate that completely redefines a category. But as Apple software becomes ever more important to its business, those apps, services, and operating systems will face deeper scrutiny and inevitably carry more weight. At WWDC, Apple needs to be willing to show that it’s taken the criticism it’s endured to heart, or else it faces losing more consumers to Android, Chrome, and Windows.

How to Watch Apple’s WWDC 2018 Keynote on iPhone, iPad, and Even Windows PCs

Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) keynote is just hours away. And if you want to watch it, you can watch a livestream at the top of this post when it starts at 1 p.m. ET. But if that doesn’t suit you, here are several options.

The iPhone maker on Monday will kick off its annual developers confab with a keynote address that is expected to focus on improvements to Apple’s software, including iOS and macOS, and could see the company focus far more on stability and reliability improvements than feature and design upgrades, according to reports. Apple is also expected to discuss its plans for pairing its devices with healthcare initiatives and could at least discuss some long-awaited hardware, like a new iPad Pro.

But like anything else in Apple’s world, this is all speculation based on rumors and comments from a slew of unidentified sources who claim to have knowledge of the company’s plans. Apple, meanwhile, remains silent, content to do all of its talking at the actual show.

So, if you really want to know what Apple has planned, you’ll need to watch the keynote.

On a Mac, you’ll need to load up Apple’s Safari browser on a macOS Sierra or later machine and head over to this page to stream the event live. You’ll go to the same link on a Windows PC, but will need to watch the show on a Windows 10 computer running Microsoft’s Edge browser.

Don’t want to be tied to your computer? Boot up Safari on your iPhone or iPad and go to the link to watch the show. Over on the Apple TV, you can simply access the company’s Events app and stream the show live.

While those are the official ways to watch the show, Apple also says that if you’re on “other platforms,” which were not individually identified, you can stream the event live on either the Google Chrome or Firefox browsers

Source: theverge.com, washingtonpost.com, fortune.com, recode.net

Azad Hind News

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