At WWDC 2018, Apple focused solely on software during the keynote. Not a single hardware announcement was made, though many people were hoping to see a new iPad Pro or the next series of Mac computers. Apple instead focused on iOS 12, macOS Mojave, watchOS 5 and tvOS 12. Here’s a quick rundown of what we’re excited to see when these systems are released in the fall.
iOS 12 introduces the Shortcuts app, which makes Siri much more useful by allowing the program to access more apps as well as allowing users to tailor commands to their daily routine – phrases like “heading home”, for example, could open Maps and provide directions, queue up your favorite radio station, and send a text all from that one command.
Along with Siri updates, Apple announced Group FaceTime, an updated Notifications system and a focus on time management with the brand-new Screen Time app.
FaceTime, with the addition of Group FaceTime, now allows users to FaceTime with up to 32 people at the same time (but just because you can doesn't mean you should). You can also use stickers and Animojis (on iPhone X) while on a FaceTime call to make things a little more fun.
An update to the way users receive notifications has been a long time coming. This year, Apple took the initiative and developed Grouped Notifications, which organizes what you see in your lock screen by app, and stacks them on top of each other. No longer will you have to scroll through all those notifications on your lock screen to see what you want to respond to - Apple organizes it for you. Along with that, you'll now have more control over when and how you receive notifications from your apps. The Do Not Disturb feature is more customizable now, with the ability to set schedules and timers for when you don't want your phone buzzing with notifications.
The new Screen Time app provides users with the ability to set personal time limits for apps and weekly breakdowns of their phone use. For example, if you only want to spend an hour on Instagram each day, the app will send you a notification when you're getting close to your time limit. You can override these time limits pretty easily, but your phone will keep sending you notifications every once in a while to remind you that you're spending too much time on the app. App usage will show up in the weekly activity breakdowns, so users can see just how much time they spend using each app that they've opened that week.
The newest macOS will be called “macOS Mojave”, a pleasant change of pace as Apple moves away from the mountain-themed operating systems that users have been stuck with since 2013. Mojave is the first macOS to feature dynamic backgrounds and Dark Mode, and really focuses on improving the way users can work with photos.
Dynamic Backgrounds is a simple change to the stock backgrounds that come with the operating system - you can adjust your settings so that the light in the photos changes based on the time of day.
Dark Mode for Mac will work much like Dark Mode or Night Mode for apps like Twitter. It changes the lighter elements of your screen to a dark color, which is geared towards users working with photos or writing code - it makes the color elements stand out like never before.
macOS Mojave also adds features to basic functions like screenshots. Users will now be able to make quick edits to a screenshot, rather than having to open the file and make the same edits in another application. Additionally, Apple introduced the "Continuity Camera" feature, which functions similarly to AirDrop. If you're working on a project on your Mac, you can choose to capture an image on your phone, and it'll instantly show up in the project on your computer, no extra touches needed.
watchOS 5 and tvOS 12
Of course, Apple didn’t want to leave out the Apple Watch and Apple TV, so here’s a few new things we learned about watchOS 5 and tvOS 12.
Unfortunately for any 1stGen Apple Watch owners, you’re either going to have to upgrade your watch or miss out on watchOS 5 completely. The new watchOS introduces new workouts like hiking and outdoor running, workout competitions that you can set up with friends and Walkie Talkie mode, so you can instantly voice chat with others using just the Apple Watch. Siri Shortcuts will also be available on Apple Watch, along with web browsing compatibility so that you can view some web content right there on your wrist.
For tvOS 12, Apple paired up with Dolby to integrate support for their new audio system, Dolby Atmos, into the Apple TV experience. Also, Apple introduced the idea of zero-step verification, which means that users can sign into their Apple TV and immediately have access to all of their linked apps – no other sign-in needed.
The Gravity Team is excited to get our hands on these new systems when they come out this fall, but we’ll be testing out the public betas that are available to us in just a couple of weeks. Check back here for more on how to get the most out of these new systems when they become available this fall!
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