Watch The Event Here
Apple's annual WWDC had a lot in store for software geeks. Although, those expecting a new device to be announced will have to wait longer.
The tech giant updated and revamped a number of apps, including Photos, Apple News, Stocks, Apple Books and Voice Memos. It added a new Shortcuts app to its digital assistant Siri. The Apple Watch, Apple TV and Macintosh computers, all got new software updates with improved functionalities.
And its augmented reality platform -- the ARKit -- that was met with much fanfare, got a more refined update.
Here are the highlights of what happened at Apple's WWDC 2018.
Memes? Or Emojis?
Meet Memojis. They’re basically Animojis, that Apple launched last year, but now you can make them look like yourself. And "Memojis" can also be used as an overlay in the camera while clicking selfies.
Hanging Out On FaceTime
Apple demonstrated the group FaceTime that allows a video call to happen with up to 32 users. Users can also use "Memojis" while on a FaceTime call.
Updating The Watch
Apple has continued making health and fitness related updates to the Apple Watch, that has shown strong sales over last year. But to do that, Apple has also stripped down some of the Watch's excesses and made it simpler to focus on tasks and fitness.
You can now set workout competitions with friends and see who's winning in the latest watchOS 5. New workout types have been included which can count laps or strokes depending on whatever you're doing.
The Watch is also capable of setting workout goals for the user. There's also automatic workout and yoga tracking feature. It also has a Walkie-Talkie app in the Watch that was announced in 2014 but never released. Users can now also open links directly on their watch.
Cutting Down Smartphone Addiction
Apple unveiled a new set of features to cut down the amount of time you spend staring at your smartphone screen.
A new feature "Screen Time" will give users detailed weekly reports of how they use their iPhones and iPads. Users will have the power to set limits on themselves for using specific apps. Parents can set limits on their kids' iPad usage times, types of content, websites and apps. This is similar to the reports that Google showcased for Android P last month.
There will also be a new Do Not Disturb feature, already existent in Google's Android, that basically sets start and end times of when users don't want to be distracted by notifications.
Notifications can also be clubbed together and be sent to the notification centre. They can be organised based on apps or custom groups.
New Apps, Updated Older Apps And More
Apple has announced updates to its various apps.
The Photos app has new features that allow for more refined searches. It also has a shared suggestions feature that can suggest people to send a photo to based on who is in it. Google has a similar feature.
Apple News also saw a major upgrade with a new "Browse" tab. The stocks app has also been remade and the Apple News is now integrated. That's means you can get news related to your stock portfolio. The news will be curated by editors at Apple.
The Voice Memos and Books apps were also revamped.
Siri, Apple's very own digital assistant, also received some new functional updates. It showed a new Siri Shortcuts app that allows users to add their own commands and integrates with any other app. It's based on app called Workflow that Apple had acquired two years back. The tech company said that Siri, with 12 billion requests a month, is the world's most used digital assistant.
Meet ARKit 2.0
Apple has officially launched an upgrade to the ARKit, a set of tools launched last year to build apps that use the phone's camera to track its position in the real world and then superimpose visuals or information.
The ARKit 2.0 will have improved face tracking, more realistic rendering, 3D object detection and also shared experiences. Which means augmented reality games can now be played by more than one players.
Apple has introduced a new file format, USDZ, for augmented reality programs. This file can be embedded inside webpages and will allow users to see an AR version of the visual on their devices. Apple teamed up with Pixar to develop this file format.
It also launched the Measure app which uses the iPhone camera to measure things in the real world.
Tim Cook Hails The App Store In Keynote Address
Chief executive officer Tim Cook kickstart the developer's conference by listing the achievements of Apple's App Store which will celebrate its tenth anniversary next month.
Cook said that the App Store now has more than 20 million Apple developers across the world. “The Appstore is clearly the best place for you to be rewarded for your hard work and creativity,” Cook said, “It's enabled countless new companies, created new jobs and spawned entire new industries.”
The money developers have earned through App Store has topped 100 billion. That’s mind blowing!Tim Cook, CEO, Apple
He also put to rest any rumours about a new device being unveiled at the conference. “Today is all about software, and we've got very exciting updates across all platforms,” Cook said.
Hey Siri, Switch On Apple's WWDC 2018!
Apple Inc.’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference is here again. And while a new iPhone is unlikely (unless there’s a surprise in store), the Cupertino, California-based tech giant is expected to introduce a slew of software updates aimed at curbing phone addiction, improve its augmented reality platform, and show off an updated operating system for its gamut of devices.
Typically, the WWDC is where Apple lays out its software strategy for the next year and teases its future hardware ambitions.
But that could change.
iPhone sales had been largely flat in 2017 for the first time in history, according to Mary Meeker's recent Internet Trends report. And Apple chief Tim Cook has said more than once said that the company’s services vertical will drive growth in the future. After all, you cannot sell iPhones forever.
Apple’s recent earnings demonstrate that. Its revenue from services had hit a record $9.2 billion in the January-March quarter, surpassing all analyst estimates. The App Store, Apple Music, iCloud storage and Apple Pay generated record sales, according to Cook. Paid subscribers on Apple’s services rose to 270 million from 100 million a year ago.
That coupled with strong growth in the sales of other devices such as the Apple Watch, Apple TV, AirPod headphones and the HomePod speaker alleviated Wall Street's concerns about slowing iPhone sales.
Apple looks set to build on that growth. According to Bloomberg, Apple engineers have been working on a project dubbed Digital Health, a series of tools designed to help users monitor the time they spend on their smartphone and particular apps.
It is also planing to bring minor software upgrades to the existing iOS and macOS, and try and integrate the two with each other more seamlessly. And like always, Siri will get some functional improvements.
This leaves us with just one question: will there be a new device announced? Going by social media chatter, Apple fanatics may get the iPhone SE 2, the sequel to its “budget” smartphone launched a couple of years ago. But that's just speculation. We'll find out for sure in a few hours.