Apple held its annual World Wide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) conference on June 4-6 this year. As its stated in the name, this event is primarily focused on programmers and developers. The 3-day event consists of a flagship keynote by top executives (e.g. Tim Cook), followed by all-day workshops that dive deep into specific software topics.
Why, then, are we going putting together this article for all our SWAT friends and family? At WWDC, Apple gives the general public a preview of all the new and improved features coming to our Apple devices this Fall. To save you some time, we’ve put together a list of the biggest headlines at this year’s WWDC. We think you’ll get just as excited as we are for the upcoming software releases.
SCROLL DOWN FOR: IOS12, MACOS 10.14, WATCHOS 5, AND TVOS 12
iOS 12 (For iPhones, iPads)
• Shortcuts App
The new app allows you to create a list of actions that can be triggered through a custom Siri phrase. For example, program a "shortcut" so that when you tell Siri, "I'm Home," your thermostat sets to 72 degrees, your hallway and living rooms turn on, and your favorite playlist starts playing on your Sonos speakers.
• Carplay Gains Third-party Navigation
This means you will be able to use popular apps, such as Google Maps and Waze, right in your car’s Carplay interface. This is a big deal since prior to this update, you could only use Apple’s subpar navigation app.
• Downtime & Allowance
Parents and guardians are going to love these two features. Downtime can turn off access to an app for a period of time, either once or on a schedule. Allowance lets you set how much an app can be used for. For example, an hour a day or a few hours a week.
• Group Facetime
Facetime is getting the ability to video chat with up to 32 people (!) at once. It was engineered to make the entire process simple and organized.
• Grouped Notifications and Dismissal
The notifications area of our iDevices is getting a much-needed organization update. All notifications related to an app will show up as a group of notifications, allowing you to read them individually or dismiss those “noisy” apps with one flick of a finger.
iOS 12 Honorable Mentions
• Screen Time
Apple is trying to help curb the growing concern of phone addition. Screen Time will generate weekly summaries of your phone activities so that you can gain some insights on how you use your phone. You can also get a similar report from any child’s iDevice as well.
• Siri Opened to Third-party Apps
Siri has really fallen behind Google Assistant and Alexa in the digital assistant race. One thing Apple is doing to catch up is give third-party developers access to Siri. This could allow you to speak certain phrases that would launch actions within apps (e.g. Speaking “I lost my keys” could activate that Tile’s alarm).
This fun feature lets you create a 3D emoji of yourself, similar to Snapchat’s Bitmoji. The memoji can take advantage of the iPhone X’s front-facing depth camera to mimic your facial features. You can send video recordings of your memoji as a floating head or it can replace your head in a real-life video.
• Photos App Gets Smarter
The photos app now gets search suggestions, which helps you find your photos much faster. Also, the app will now get publicly-available data on a lot of popular events. It will then use this information to automatically index photos with this event information.
• Measure app
Utilizing Apple’s new ARKit 2.0 feature, Apple will debut a new app that can measure length in real-time. Using your camera, you can look around the room and then measure the distance between any two points. For example, you can measure the length of your wall, or the length and height of your side table.
macOS Mojave 10.14 (For Laptops, Desktops)
• New Dark Mode
This has been on a lot of power users’ wish list for a while. Apple is finally releasing a color scheme that darkens the entire user interface on a Mac. Third-party developers can add a dark scheme to their apps that can activate when it detects the Mac’s dark mode.
• Desktop Stacks
Guilty of “temporarily” placing endless items on your Desktop? Stacks will clean up your Desktop by creatively organizing files by type. For example, all of your PDFs will get “stacked” into one pile, while spreadsheets get “stacked” into another. It cleans and organizes while still allowing you to quickly find any of your files.
• New Mac App Store
This redesign couldn’t have come sooner. The Mac App Store plays a similar role to the App Store on iDevices. It has been completely redesigned with cleaner screens, bigger images, featured and trending apps, and category tabs.\
• Improved Screenshots
You will now have easier management of your screenshots on Mac. Improvements include the ability to drag screenshots into any app within a time period of taking the screenshot. You will also get on-the-spot markup features and the ability to capture a screen video recording.
• Improved Quick Look
Quick Look is a Mac feature that lets you preview any file without completely opening it in its native application. You simply click on a file once and then hit your space bar. Quick Look will now let you markup documents, trim videos, and more.
MacOS 10.14 Honorable Mentions
• Some iOS Apps come to Mac
Apple touted a new code framework that will give iOS developers a much easier method for bringing their apps to the Mac. As a way of showing off its capabilities, Apple announced it was bringing popular iOS apps News, Stocks, Voice Memos, and Home, to the Mac.
• Increased Security Requirements
Apple is increasing security requirements for applications on Macs. Like iOS, users will now be able to allow or decline an application's request to use your Mac’s resource (e.g. camera, mic, photos,etc). This will also allow users to revoke any of these permissions down the road.
watchOS 5 and (1) tvOS 12
• Watch: Walkie-Talkie
Users will be able to talk to other Watch users through an app that brings real-time voice messaging. Like its name implies, the feature feels and works similar to walkie-talkie devices.
• Watch: Additional Workout Features
Apple Watch will now have more tracking options, giving users accurate statistics for additional workout activities. Also, the watch will automatically start tracking workouts when the user forgets to manually track them. You can choose to keep the tracking stats or dismiss them if the user did not, in fact, start a workout.
• Watch: No more "Hey Siri"
The watch gains the ability to start speaking to Siri without needing to use the "listen" phrase. The watch will detect your wrist and hand movement to trigger Siri automatically. With the right movements, you will be able to lift your wrist to your mouth and start asking Siri anything you want.
• TV: Dolby Atmos
Audiophiles rejoiced when Apple announced Dolby Atmos support. Dolby Atmos is a multi-channel set of instructions that video producers can add to their movies. With support, Apple TV gains the ability to decode these instructions, allowing sophisticated audio systems to recreate theater-level audio scenes.
Watch & TV Honorable Mentions
• Watch: New Faces and Complications
You will now be able to add face complications for sports scores, heart rate, maps, Siri Shortcuts, and third-party apps.
• Watch: Smarter Activity Capabilities
One of my favorite things to see is my Apple Watch’s rings closed at the end of the day. Apple is improving its activity tracker so that it helps you celebrate additional goals. Plus, it will offer up coaching, multi-day competitions, and other unique goals that motivate you to move more.
• Watch: App Locations
No more randomly searching through the web of app dots on your Watch. The Apple Watch app on your iPhone will let you set the location of your apps on the app menu.
Did we miss anything important? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll update our article with your feedback. We’ll also be monitoring the comments section for any questions you might have.