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Everything Announced at Apple’s World Wide Developer’s Conference Infomercial 2022

Every year Apple starts their World Wide Developer’s Conference with a keynote, It’s been a pre-recorded infomercial with solely online sessions for the past two years. This year Apple changed it up and while most of the event was pre-recorded, some developers and journalists were invited to attend an in-person viewing of the pre-recorded video. Encouraging people to travel during a deadly pandemic is not a wise thing when hundreds of people are dying each week and thousands more are getting infected with a potentially deadly or long-term disease.

 

iOS 16

Lock Screen Customization, Notifications, Focus Mode Switching

The way iPhones look when they’re on but the screen is locked is changing in iOS 16 according to Apple’s Craig Federighi. Federighi showed off the new functionality using a portrait mode photo where his children appeared in the foreground, in front and slightly above the time on the lock screen, and the blurred background of the photo remained in the background behind everything. Pressing and holding on the screen let Federighi go into an editing mode to choose a new style or pick out other customization options like a font for the time and date or adding and removing widgets. Like with Apple Watch faces, users can store their customized iPhone lock screens to pick between them later on. Federighi also said that developers could use the WidgetKit API to add information from their apps. Given the grousing I’ve heard from developers about limitations in the current widget system, I’m curious how well that ends up working out.

Federighi also highlighted changes to the way notifications appear on the lock screen, with new notifications fanning out from the bottom of the screen and a new API called Live Activities that lets developers put information into something that sure looks a lot like a widget instead of a constant stream of notifications. Examples included a basketball game with a scoreboard replacing endless notifications about the game’s score, Uber notifications replaced by a live progress tracker, a Nike workout meter, and a music player that can expand to let the album art take up more of the lock screen.

The Focus modes introduced last year are also getting updated to include lock screen and home screen selections, and focus filters that go into apps to filter out messages, websites, mail, and calendar events according to Federighi. He said that users would be able to swipe between the lock screens to choose their focus mode.

Messages in iOS 16

Messages updates were next from Federighi with the ability to edit and undo sending messages, as well as marking messages as unread. A press release from Apple clarified that messages can only be edited or undone for 15 minutes after they’re sent and they’re recoverable for 30 days after they’re deleted. Presumably only from the sender’s side of the conversation? This feature sounds like it would be easy for people who are making mistakes to abuse it.

Federighi also said that the Shared with You feature that surfaces photos and links and other things shared in messages would get an API for developers to hook into.

SharePlay Apps and Messages

The SharePlay feature that lets users watch videos and do other stuff together during video calls is also getting updated to let users get into a SharePlay app directly from the video call screen or find more apps that support SharePlay. It’s also getting added to Apple’s Messages app so it seems like users don’t need to be on a call to watch a show together, which would be an improvement. My family has enjoyed using SharePlay when it’s available, but we would usually mute the call and turn off the camera because it wasn’t necessary to be on a call at the same time.

Dictation Improvements

Federighi had Robby Walker introduce improvements to the dictation feature on the iOS keyboard with a demonstration that showed the on-screen software keyboard remaining in-use for edits during dictation instead of being covered up by the voice interface as it is today with iOS 15. Walker demonstrated selecting text and then using their voice to replace the selected text, and dictating with automatic punctuation. Currently you have to dictate the punctuation by verbally saying “period” or “exclamation mark” to get a . or !

Walker also said there would be a new API for developers to work with SiriKit and Shortcuts called App Intents.

Live Text scraping added to Videos, Translation Improvements, Other Detection Improvements

iOS 15 got the ability for the operating system to scrape text from images, iOS 16 is adding videos. Walker said you would have to pause the video to do this and showed it working on a code sample. I wonder how well that will work as video quality degrades over slower connections and with user interface elements blocking the text. Some apps also reject Apple’s video player and I suspect those just won’t work at all.

Walker also said that it would be easier to quickly do things with text in images and videos like translations and showed an updated Translate app from Apple that lets people translate using a camera in the app.

It is can be frustrating to try and select an image instead of the text in the image in iOS 15, so I hope that gets ironed out in iOS 16.

Speaking of image selection, Walker demonstrated selecting the subject of a photo with a long press and dragging just the part of the image that shows the subject out of the photo by selecting a dog and dragging the dog without the background into a message.

Walker implied that some or all of these features would also come to Apple’s other operating systems.

Wallet Stuff: ID & Keys, Tap to Pay, Apple Pay Later, Order Tracking

Corey Fugman talked about Apple’s work in putting drivers licenses and ID cards into the Wallet app, which is only in Maryland and Arizona for now but said that 11 other states are working on it. Fugman said that some apps would be able to access the ID to verify the user’s age for something like an alcohol purchase. It would only let the app know if the user was over 21 instead of their specific age.

Fugman said that Apple is trying to make digital keys a standard so that keys can be shared to other operating systems but they would be shareable between Apple users first.

Fugman talked about how iPhones can “…starting this Month…” do Apple Pay with a tap-to-pay feature without needing other hardware.

Apple Pay Later is a buy now pay later service that extends credit lending to every day purchases by spreading the cost out over a period of time with preset increments. These services are being pretty widely exploited and rightfully criticized for their usurious nature by advertising no interest but of course making their money on buyers who fail to meet the timeline of repayment and usually charging a fee to merchants for the availability of the service under the pretense of enabling customers to buy things they would otherwise be unable to afford. So instead of owing just a credit card bill every month you could owe money to dozens of lenders for smaller purchases through different apps and bills. Fugman said this feature would require no additional integration for developers.

Apple Pay Order Tracking was introduced by Fugman to track where orders are at. They’ve really got a shit sandwich here of stuffing usurious garbage into the middle of things that people might fall asleep through.

Maps Updates

Federighi said that new map features are coming to 11 more countries later this year, I still can’t get bicycling directions on O?ahu.

Maps is getting multi-stop routing according to Meg Frost. MapQuest from 1996 probably had this but it does look like Apple has thought out the feature by setting up Siri to help and being able to plan and store these routes. The Maps app will integrate more with stored digital transit payment cards and let you know how much a ride will cost or remind users if they need to reload a card before a ride.

Frost also said that developers would get better map access through MapKit and more developer stuff later this year.

Sports

Rubie Edmondson was introduced to talk about sports stuff and reiterated previously mentioned features like the live activities scoreboard and said that the Apple TV app would display those scoreboards on the lockscreen.

Edmondson also boasted about Apple TV +’s Friday Night Baseball which isn’t great because it locks baseball games that would otherwise be broadcast for free locally behind yet another paywall. If you’ve already subscribed to Major League Baseball’s MLB TV service, too bad.

The News app is getting a My Sports section with sports-specific news from your chosen teams.

Family Sharing Updates

Craig Federighi said that Apple will be making it easier to create children’s Apple ID accounts, manage their parental controls and screen time, and set up new devices.

iCloud Shared Photo Library is a new feature that Federighi said would make it easier for families to share photos. There are so many flaws with the current photo sharing systems so this could be great, especially if the photos remain at their full quality. The camera app is also getting a toggle to immediately share photos to a shared library and there’s a feature to automatically share images taken when someone else who is in the shared photo library is nearby. That seems like a potentially broken feature but sure.

Federighi said everyone who has access to the shared library can edit, remove, and add photos so get ready for a relative who thinks they’re funny to edit in cartoon faces to your important family photos. Federighi even showed an edit going from color to black and white which is a perfect example of how destructive changes like this can be. 

Safety Check

Katie Skinner introduced the Safety Check feature specifically with the idea that it would be useful for revoking access to some functionality like privacy permissions and location data when people are escaping abusive situations. It looks useful but it’s especially important to remain skeptical about Apple’s motivations and what they’re providing when they’re talking about functionality like this that is ostensibly to help people in terrible situations. I hope Safety Check does exactly what it promises.

Home & CarPlay

Corey Wang talked about Smart Home garbage like the Matter standard for home stuff to communicate with each other and showed a redesigned Home app that categorizes devices or just lets you browse through the entire list of devices in one long list separated by rooms.

Emily Schubert introduced new changes to CarPlay to add support for more screens, customizable gauge clusters, calendars, music, and widgets to the new screens, bringing truly distracted driving to a whole new level. Vehicles running this next generation version of CarPlay are to be announced late in 2023 which feels like a long way away for Apple to be announcing anything but I suppose they need the developer components in sooner which means they might have been impossible to avoid talking about. 

iOS 16 Odds & Ends

Federighi returned to talk about Spatial Audio improvements that would scan your ears to tune Spatial Audio features for you. I turn off Spatial Audio immediately because it sounds like garbage simulated surround sound to me.

Quick Note is also coming to iOS. when it was previously only available on macOS and iPadOS. It still works very differently in both operating systems and is pretty inconsistent. I am glad to see Quick Note getting improved instead of being dumped into the pile of “marketing named feature we once talked about and then never updated.”

watchOS 9

Kevin Lynch appeared in a fitness studio to talk about new features coming to WatchOS 9. Lynch brought up “…four new watch faces” and then showed off a remade Astronomy watch face (are remakes new?), a Lunar calendar watch face, a bizarre watch face called Play Time by an artist named Joi Fulton that has odd characters for numerals, and Metropolitan another weird watch face with a font for the numerals that stretches if you turn the crown. Why is it version 9 of WatchOS and developers still cannot ship their own watch faces? Lynch went on to say that more of the older watch faces are getting “rich complications” which is Apple speak for updating the older software to match current functionality.

Using Siri will no-longer takes up the whole Watch screen with that interface, there will be banner notifications, and active apps get pinned in the app switcher.

The Podcasts app on WatchOS 9 is getting discoverability functionality to find and subscribe to new podcasts as well as letting kids use the app when their parents permit it.

Developers are getting new APIs for the share sheet (the thing that pops up when you tap on a box with an arrow pointing up and out of it) and the photo picker that lets users select images. Callkit will let developers manage VoIP calls on the Apple Watch.

Craig Bolton showed off new metrics and custom workout modes on the Apple Watch to help runners and other exercise types. Routes will be automatically saved for repeat comparisons and there are new workout types for automatically switching between cycling, swimming, and running for example.

Remarkably, Apple’s Fitness app has been locked out for everyone who doesn’t have an Apple Watch, Bolton said that with iOS 16 users could finally use the Fitness app without an Apple Watch to see stuff that iPhones can track without other hardware accessories and the results from other fitness apps. I’ve been pretty annoyed that the health benefits of the Apple Watch are unavailable to anyone who can’t afford it. I know that sounds ridiculous, but health should not be a luxury and it’s good more people could benefit from some of these features.

Dr. Sumbol Ahmad Desai announced updates to Apple’s Sleep app in watchOS 9. Desai said that the updated app would monitor which stage of sleep users are in and said users could optionally plug this data into a research study that Apple is running to help better understand sleep.

Desai also talked about heart health and atrial fibrillation and said that watchOS 9 would track that data over time.

Finally, Desai said that watchOS 9 and the Health app in iOS 16 would include medication tracking and warn users about potential drug interactions through manual medication entry and scanning labels.

M2

Johny Srouji introduced the M2 second generation of Apple’s processors, re-emphasized Apple’s focus on energy efficiency alongside performance and went over the specs of the base M2 chip. A “second-generation 5 nanometer” process, 20 billion transistors 25% more transistors than the base model of M1, a memory controller that supposedly has 100 gigs per second of bandwidth (50% more than the M1) and up to 24 GB of memory alongside the M2 chip when the M1 was limited to 16 GB. Surprisingly, Srouji admits that the M2 base chip still has less performance than the biggest mobile chips from Intel (without mentioning them by name) but promises “almost 90%” (the chart shows 87%) of the peak performance at less power. The graphs Apple are showing are ridiculous with “Relative performance” on the vertical y axis and “Power consumption” on the x axis. What is “Relative performance”? Who knows! I don’t doubt that these are powerful, efficient chips, but they need better graphs. The one good part of this graph is that Apple says what the competitor’s laptop is in the fine print, it’s the MSI Laptop Prestige 14Evo with Core i7-1260P and 16 GB of memory.

Srouji said that the base model of M2 could have two more GPU cores to make 10, two more than the M1, for a claimed 35% more GPU performance. Once again we got a silly “Relative performance” chart comparing GPU performance against Intel’s integrated graphics processing, very strange.

New versions of the secure enclave and neural engine, and more video performance for 8K rounds out the M2 package.

2022 MacBook Air

Kristin White introduced a redesigned M2-based MacBook Air for 2022 which dumps the wedge shape in favor for thinness and the big round feet from last year’s MacBook Pro lineup, gets a MagSafe plug that is interestingly color-matched to the four colors of MacBook Air (last year’s MacBook Pro’s MagSafe plugs are all silver), only has two thunderbolt ports, but keeps the audio jack. White claims the new 13.6” display to be Liquid Retina and it has a notch for the webcam which is 1080p and Apple says it has twice the resolution and twice the performance in low light as the previous Air. The performance Apple demonstrates with this webcam is literally unbelievable because it is a professionally lit shot with natural seeming light that does not at all match what I’ve seen from the same camera on the 2021 MacBook Pro. These webcams Apple ships aren’t terrible for laptop webcams but they are garbage compared to the cameras on the iPhone lineup.

White also said that speaker quality is improved and this I am willing to believe, Apple’s audio quality from their recent laptops has been surprisingly good. The microphone, well there are limits to how good they can get but at least fan noise won’t be a problem because there are no fans in the 2022 MacBook Air.

White showed off a smaller power adapter that has two USB-C ports, a separately available 67 watt power adapter could also fast-charge the new MacBook Air. White claimed this would bring the Air up to 50% capacity in thirty minutes.

$1200 for the lowest priced MacBook Air with 256 GB of disk space, 8 cores of CPU and GPU, 8 GB of RAM and a 30 watt USB-C power adapter.

$1500 for the step up that has 512 GB of disk space, 2 bonus unbroken GPU cores for 10 total and a 35 watt dual USB-C port charger.

Interestingly, the M1 MacBook Air is still hanging on with the old design and 256 GB of disk space at $1000 on Apple’s website, for now.

2022 MacBook Pro 13″

No redesign for the 13” MacBook Pro which differentiates itself from the Air by costing a little more, having fans and the old Touch Bar OLED replacing the F-Row, and a little more battery life.

$1300 for the base model of 13” MacBook Pro that has 256 GB of disk space, 8 Cores of CPU and 10 Cores of GPU, 8 GB of RAM, and nothing else to write home about.

$1500 for the step up model that just ups the disk space to 512 GB.

I have no idea why this 13” model of MacBook Pro exists, except to make up for the fact that the 14” MacBook Pro models start at $2000.

What a strange situation.

macOS Ventura Stage Manager & Spotlight

Craig Federighi demonstrated new features coming to macOS Ventura like Stage Manager that seems to replace fullscreen windows with a centered window and puts other windows off to the side. Federighi said this would help manage situations where there are a lot of applications with open windows. Apps could also be grouped together in the demo with a few visible windows stacked and overlapping in the center of the screen. Finally, Fererighi demonstrated accessing files by clicking on the desktop to hide the currently active application and dragging the files into one of the open app windows on the left side.

Spotlight on the Mac is also getting updates to quickly glance at the contents of search results by using the quick look feature of macOS with the space key, and search for images in the photo library, files, and on the web or search the contents of images using the live text feature. Federighi showed off starting a timer and running Apple’s Shortcuts scripts from Spotlight and showed how informational search results about shows, music, and other topics, would be improved in Ventura with more detail. Federighi said that these new Spotlight features were also coming to iOS and iPadOS with Spotlight on iOS 16 being accessible by tapping on the dots at the bottom of the home screen.

Mail in macOS Ventura, iOS 16, iPadOS 16

Mail is mercifully, finally, getting an undo send option for a few “moments” after hitting send when your brain finally processes the typo it made, according to Darin Adler who also introduced other new features in Mail. Scheduled sending. Follow-up suggestions looks awesome, it suggests replying to emails if you haven’t gotten a response. Remind me does what it should do and reminds you to check in on a thread later on. Adler also said that search is improved in basic ways by checking for typos in the search query, search suggestions, and other improvements.

Safari on macOS Ventura

Shared Tab Groups will let friends and family share groups of browser tabs and collaborate on them. I love tab groups but they are one of the least reliable features in the current versions of macOS. I routinely have trouble opening new tabs where they are instantly closed and renaming tab groups is often impossible. There seem to be a lot of others with the same issues online.

Passkeys

Adler introduced the Passkeys feature that replaces passwords with crytpographic data that is encoded with Touch ID or Face ID and synchronized across Apple devices. There has been a bit of talk about this lately under the “Fido alliance”  that Adler said includes Google and Microsoft so that Passkeys work on Android and Windows. Adler admitted that the “…transition away from passwords will be a journey.” which is an understatement but I hope it works because passwords are impossible for most people to manage safely and there are so many situations where passworded accounts are the ideal method right now due to sharing logins among teams or family members. 2 factor seemed great, until so many companies went towards text messages as the second factor which are easy to compromise due to telecom companies being completely garbage at security.

Gaming

Craig Federighi boasted about Apple’s gaming performance which is incredible because from the perspective of myself and other game developers I speak with, Apple does just about everything they can to push away game developers.

Metal Improvements

Jeremy Sandmel introduced new features to Apple’s Metal rendering API in Metal 3. Did you know that Nvidia and AMD both have upscaling pipelines that are becoming more widely adopted? Apple has heard about that too and Sandmel introduced MetalFX Upscaling. No Man’s Sky was demonstrated and Sandmel said it is coming to the Mac “later this year.”

Sandmel then introduced a Fast resource loading API that Apple didn’t waste any time creating a marketing name for. “This really is a new day for gaming on the Mac.” says Sandmel. The Apple Silicon transition started two years ago and Steam still doesn’t have a native version of the desktop client. Why hasn’t a dump truck full of money and engineers backed up to Valve’s headquarters to make it happen? Why isn’t there a reasonable gaming computer available from Apple? Apple doesn’t care about gaming on the Mac.

The next game Sandmel said was coming to the Mac is Resident Evil Village. It’s great but it came out last year. No Man’s Sky is six years old. A Capcom representative took over to say that the MacBook Air manages at 1080p and the Mac Studio does well at 4K.

Continuity

Federighi returned to talk about the Continuity features of Apple’s operating systems handing off FaceTime calls between devices, which is good, before introducing Continuity Camera to let Macs use the iPhone’s better camera systems. Federighi demonstrated the feature with Johnnie Manzari and Manzari showed how Continuity Camera includes a bunch of features to blur the background and do other tricks but the one that was the most impressive was a desk view that added in a second camera perspective using the ultra-wide camera on the iPhone to give an overhead view of Manzari’s desk. I use software from Elgato called Epoc Cam to use my iPhone’s cameras with the Mac and it is terrible software that crashes and only runs at 30fps. There are a bunch of other competitors out there that also do this and I honestly hope Apple’s version works well because some of the popular competitors have impressive business models like Reincubate’s Camo that’s either $5 a month, $40 a year, or $80 for a “Lifetime license” all of those prices are ridiculous.

Belkin is supposed to be offering stands to hold iPhones above Macs later this year.

iPadOS 16

Federighi reiterated all of the previously announced features in iPadOS 16 before mentioning that Apple is finally shipping their stock Weather app on iPad OS. It took them 12 years.

After acquiring and starting to sunset the fantastic DarkSky weather app and it’s API, Federighi also mentioned an API for developers called WeatherKit.

Federighi demonstrated new collaboration features with a team working on a document at the same time and discussing it with shared tabs over a video call. The features are also promised to come to Apple’s other platforms.

Freeform for iPadOS, macOS, and iOS

Elizabeth Reid showed off an upcoming app called Freeform that looks a lot like Apple’s Notes app and the semi-defunct Paper app from Fiftythree, except focused on collaboration and creative thinking for diagramming and sharing ideas on an ever-expanding canvas.

The Return of the Return of Game Center

Federighi talked about gaming features again like a revamped Game Center interface which has been stuck inside of the Settings app for a long time now and SharePlay gaming to let you play with friends with something that looks a little bit like streaming the game. It wasn’t clear what was going on in the short background video.

Desktop-class apps on iPadOS 16

Federighi said that apps on iPadOS are getting more features from their macOS counterparts like customizable toolbars and new APIs for developers.

Display Scaling on iPadOS 16

A higher resolution option for apps to show more stuff? Great.

Stage Manager & External Display Support on iPadOS 16

Fedrerighi demonstrated iPadOS 16 with overlapping windows managed by Stage Manager on an iPad and on an external monitor. Federighi said that with an iPad and an external monitor there can be eight apps running simultaneously on the iPad.

Overall

I’m pretty happy with most of these updates. It’s great that the iPad might finally be a little closer to a real computer with overlapping windows but that improvement is as impressive as the usurious work to add buy now pay later functionality to Apple Pay is disgusting. I cannot imagine any good outcomes that could come from setting up people for failure like that except for potentially doing it in a less evil way than companies like Klarna and Afterpay and that isn’t worth doing. Buy now pay later services should be regulated out of existence.

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Apple’s WWDC 2018 Event Notes

Keynote

Here’s everything that Apple announced at their World Wide Developer’s Conference Keynote for 2018. The event opened with this four-minute nature documentary style advertisement on migrating developers:

iOS 12
Craig Federighi boasted about iOS 11 being available on iOS devices from 2013, and that the majority of their users are on 11 versus the 6% they claim are on the latest Android update. According to Google, the percentage of Android users running their latest operating system (Android 8.1) is 0.8%, ouch. I would guess that Apple based their estimate on the percentage of devices that are capable of running 8.0 or 8.1, which is 4.9% and 0.8% respectively. The majority of Android users (25.5%) appear to still be in the stone age on Android 6.0.

According to Federighi the primary focus of iOS 12 will be performance, specifically he said that older devices would perform better. Using an iPhone 6 Plus as an example, Federighi claimed that apps would launch 40% faster, the keyboard would display 50% faster, the camera would open 70% faster.

USDZ
Because this keynote is ostensibly for developers, Federighi announced a new format for 3D scenes to be bundled together, USDZ. Pixar created the USD format in 2012, and this is their update to it for 2018 (thanks to coolpowers).

Adobe’s CTO Abhay Parasnis announced that their products would support the new format and that Apple’s developer State of the Union would have some kind of demo of this integration.

Measure
Federighi announced a new app for augmented reality, Measure, which will presumably replace everyone’s first ARKit app by giving you measurements for real-world objects. The app can detect some shapes and automatically provide measurements for those, but you’ll need to tap at the ends or corners of most real-world objects to get the app to measure them.

Apple’s USDZ Demos
Federighi showed off a USDZ 3D scene of a fish embedded in their Apple News app, and then customized a guitar on Fender’s web store only to display it on the stage through an iPad’s AR viewfinder.

LegoARKit 2
Federighi said that iOS 12 would include a new version of their ARKit API for developers to create augmented reality experiences. The flagship feature for ARKit 2, shared experiences, allows multiple devices to view and interact with the same scene. A slide depicted a pre-recorded video of people playing a multiplayer AR game where both participants and an observer could see and interact.

Martin Sanders, the Director of Innovation at Lego, demonstrated the new object detection features of ARKit along with shared experiences by scanning a physical Lego set and then awkwardly holding two iPads around it with someone else from the Lego company. The iPads showed a city being built around the town square Lego set with some limited interactivity to place vehicles and minifigures. It looked like it could be fun, but this kind of AR scanning will probably be limited to sets that Lego produces, not the modifications people make to them. Sanders said that the Lego AR experience app would ship later this year.

Search in photos

Photos Search & For You
Federighi said that Photos would improve in iOS 12. He highlighted the search functionality that would offer suggestions and other improvements to help you find photos you’re looking for. The app will also get a new tab, For You, that offers suggestions of photos you might like to see or ways you could change them to make them more appealing. It seemed like the editing suggestions were limited to ones that involve Apple’s features like looping a live photo or making some specific change to a portrait photo.

The For You tab will also suggest sharing photos with people who appear in them. He said that they would be shared at full resolution, which is an improvement because photos shared today aren’t at the original resolution. Federighi also said that the recipient of shared photos would be prompted to share photos from the same event so that everyone ends up with the entire set.

Siri Shortcuts
Federighi mentioned a new feature called shortcuts that would let Siri easily start functions of other apps. The first example was “I lost my keys” which would have Siri open part of the Tile app’s functionality within Siri and look for them. Apps in iOS 12 would make suggestions of shortcuts to add to Siri. The iOS 12 lock screen and search will make suggestions of things to do like re-ordering coffee or turning on Do Not Disturb when you’re at a movie theater.

Federighi said that you’d be able to make your own shortcuts in a new “Shortcuts Editor” app.

Shortcuts editor

Apple’s Kim Beverett demonstrated the shortcuts functionality with a few examples. One of which was adjusting a shortcut she made in the Shortcut Editor. Beverett’s Heading Home shortcut would compress a bunch of steps into one action. It lets her roommate know how long it’ll take her to get home, set her thermostat to 70 degrees and turns on a fan, and opens maps with the course home preconfigured. Beverett quickly used the editor to play a radio program she wanted to listen to every time she goes home whenever she uses the shortcut. This Shortcut Editor is clearly the Workflow app that Apple acquired last year.

Other App Updates
Apple’s Susan Prescott demonstrated a few other iOS 12 app updates. Apple News is going from a 5 tab interface to 3 tabs with a new tab called Browse to handle the functionality from the current Search and Following tabs.

The Stocks app is completely rebuilt, and has business news built-in and new charts. The app will also be on the iPad.

Voice Memos is “even easier to use” and is also on the iPad, it’ll also use iCloud for file synchronization.

iBooks is getting refurbished with a new name and interface, it’s just Apple Books on iOS 12.

CarPlay is going to support 3rd party navigation apps.

Dnd

Do Not Disturb
Federighi returned to show us how iOS’ Do Not Disturb will be updated with a new feature called Do Not Disturb During Bedtime. It will hide notifications so you won’t be “barraged” with them if you wake up in the middle of the night and just want to see what time it is. You can also granularly enable Do Not Disturb until you leave a location or for a certain amount of time.

Notification Updates & The Screen Time App
You’ll be able to change the way notifications are delivered, or turn them off entirely, directly from the lock screen. You’ll also get suggestions to disable them for specific apps when you rarely interact with them.

Notifications will also be grouped together by what app sent them.

The Screen Time app will give you a weekly report of how you’re wasting your life on your devices. It’ll also let you set time limits for each app. You’ll get reminders about that limit when you’re about to reach it, or you can set limits for the apps your kids use by category or by picking each specific app.

 

Animoji

Animoji & MeMoji
Animoji are getting updated to let you stick out your tongue with your 3D avatar, they’re also getting four new characters. The ghost, koala, tiger, and t-rex. You can also make a character based on your own face, Apple calls that a “MeMoji.”

Kelsey Peterson demonstrated these effects on stage, and the selfie camera can now display the characters over your real face.

Facetime
Facetime can now have up to 32 people on a group video chat. It can be launched directly from a group text message chat in Messages. The different camera effects, like Animoji, are also available on Facetime.

WatchOS 5
Apple’s Kevin Lynch talked about new improvements for fitness and communications.

WatchOS 5 is getting improvements to compete with your friends in exercise. The Workouts app is getting a Yoga workout type, hiking, running gets a rolling pace measurement, pace alerts, and cadence measurements. WatchOS 5 will also automatically detect when you’ve started some types of workouts, it’ll retroactively credit you with the workout if you tell the Apple Watch to start the workout late.

There’s a Walkie-Talkie app for WatchOS 5 that goes over cellular or wifi connections.

The Siri watch face is getting information about sports, map information, and your heart rate. Siri Shortcuts will be on that Watch Face, as well as third-party apps.

Raising your wrist will let you talk to Siri right away, you won’t need to use the “Hey Siri” hotword.

Watch notifications

Notifications can also be more interactive, like on the phone. One example was getting a notification from Yelp about a dinner reservation

Apple’s WebKit embedded browser will be available for some web links on the Apple Watch.

The Podcasts app is going to work on the watch, it’ll sync full episodes from your phone.

Apple’s Julz demonstrated these new features while riding an exercise bike, which was pretty impressive.

Kevin Lynch returned to tell us about Student ID Cards coming to the watch, it’ll work with just 6 universities to start, but it includes Temple University in Philadelphia.

Lynch also introduced a new rainbow watch band and watch face for Pride month. The watch face is supposed to be available today.

Apple TV 4K
Apple’s Jen Folse talked about how the Apple TV 4K from last year is getting Dolby Atmos in the next version of tvOS, she also talked about how movies will get free upgrades to support the new audio format.

Folse reiterated Apple’s support for live TV and sports.

Folse also said that various cable providers are letting their users replace their cable boxes with the Apple TV, and use a new “Zero Sign-On” instead of the single sign-on system from last year.

The Aerial screensaver on the Apple TV is going to tell you what you’re looking at, finally. It’ll also get a new view from the International Space Station of the Earth.

Mojave

macOS Mojave
Craig Federighi returned to talk about the new features in macOS Mojave.

As Apple leaked, the next version of macOS is getting a dark mode. Previously you could dim the menu bar dock in their settings, but this is a system-wide feature that is more complete.

Desktop Stacks is another new feature that organizes the crap that gets scattered all over your desktop into stacks of documents matched by type, or date, or by tags. It’ll automatically keep those stacks organized as new files are added to the desktop.

Finder gets a new Gallery View that appears to replace the Cover Flow view with thumbnails at the bottom of the screen and a quick look type of view at the top.

The Finder is also getting a detail side bar with shortcuts to different actions you might like to take on the file, Federighi specifically mentioned adding customized automator actions to the side bar for certain types of files like watermarking files with one that was put together earlier.

The quick look utility is enhanced to let you do more from it, Federighi demonstrated trimming a video without opening a separate editor and signing a PDF document.

Screenshots are enhanced to be similar to the iOS functionality but with more powerful functionality that you’d expect on a computer. You can also capture video directly from that utility now.

The Continuity Camera feature was demonstrated by Federighi to take a photo from his phone and pop it directly into a Keynote slide. It can also scan in documents from your phone directly into a Mac app.

A few iOS apps are hitting the Mac. Apple News, Stocks, Voice Memos, and Home for using HomeKit devices.

Mac voice memos

Privacy
Mojave will have better privacy enhancements to prevent other apps from getting access to your personal data unless you want them to do so.

Safari on Mojave and iOS 12 will prevent advertising publishers from tracking you based on sharing functions and comment fields. Mojave and iOS 12 will also hide more of your information from being fingerprinted by websites and advertising publishers.

New mac app store

Mac App Store
The Mac App Store is finally getting updated, it hasn’t had many changes since 2011. Apple’s Ann Thai showed off a redesigned UI that takes a lot from their iOS App Store. It looks much better.

Metal & Core ML on iOS and macOS
Federighi returned to talk about Apple’s Metal graphics and computation API and external GPUs. He boasted about the speedups that Macs can get from up to four GPUs. It’s kind of crazy that the only GPUs that Apple supports for external GPUs are from AMD.

Apple’s machine learning API, Core ML, is getting updated with a 2nd version. It’s supposed to be 30% faster with a 75% reduction in the model size.

UIKit on the Mac
As has been rumored, Apple is making it easier to bring iOS apps to macOS. No specific name was given for this technology, but Federighi says they’re using it internally with apps like Apple News and promises that it’ll be available for 3rd-party developers next year.

Release Dates for iOS 12 and macOS Mojave
“This fall”

Overall
I’m very happy that macOS is getting updated with a new Mac App Store, it’s been way too long and developers have been abandoning it for independent distribution systems. I like having apps bundled into one store, but it’s also good that Apple finally wants to compete with independent distribution.

It’s a little disappointing that the iPad Pro didn’t get updated with this event, but perhaps they’re moving the majority of hardware updates to the Fall event.

I’m very happy to see that Workflow is still getting updated, and it looks like it is even more useful after Apple has updated it under the Siri banner. I wish that it were on the Mac as an alternative to Automator.

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apple

Apple Special Event September 2017 Notes

Apple held their first iPhone event at their new Steve Jobs Theater on their UFO campus in California today. The event opened with Tim Cook memorializing Jobs. Then he discussed disaster relief projects and encouraged donations. Finally Cook talked about Apple’s new campus. No mentions of offices for the engineers, who have complained that the new campus is almost entirely an open space.

Angela Ahrendts talked about their stores before Cook came back out to start announcing devices and software.

Here’s what they announced.

WatchOS 4
Tim Cook talked about their success then played a video featuring letters from users about how the watch has helped them. Here’s that video:

Jeff Williams reiterated WatchOS 4 updates with better coaching, a redesigned workout app, features for swimmers, and integration with gym equipment. The new OS also gets a new heart rate app and a heart rate complication for the watch faces. The watch will now alert you to an unusually high heart rate when it thinks you’re not active. It’ll also monitor for arrhythmias in a study with Stanford Medicine and the FDA later this year.

WatchOS 4 will be out on September 19th.

Apple Watch Series 3
Here’s their ad for the new Series 3 watch:

It’s a cellular device that takes calls with your regular iPhone’s phone number. Of course it’ll also have data capabilities and will stream music from Apple Music.

There’s a new faster processor and Siri finally speaks on the watch if you want to hear them instead of reading a response. The device also has a barometric altimeter built-in.

The Series 3 Apple Watch retains the form factor of the previous watches. Cellular models of the Series 3 have a red dot on the crown so that you can feel special.

Williams made a very awful joke during this presentation about a potential device with all of this functionality looking like a house arrest bracelet. Not funny.

Obviously Apple is very focused on this being an activity monitoring device. I’m not very active but I still appreciate mine as a device for triaging notifications.

Series 2 watches are getting dropped. The Series 1 will remain in the lineup at $250. The base series 3 watch will be $330 and the Series 3 with cellular capabilities will be $400.

No word on the cost for the cellular plan to go with it, but Williams said they have a special deal worked out with some carriers.

The new Series 3 watches will be available to pre-order on September 15th, they’ll be generally available on September 22nd.

I don’t see much reason to upgrade from my Series 0, but I’m glad they’re continuing to work on improvements.

Apple TV 4K

The Apple TV is one of the most expensive devices you can buy to put under your TV, and it has been a long time since Apple made any changes to the hardware. Eddy Cue’s pitch for this upgrade talked about how the new device also includes support for HDR standards. It also has an A10X Fusion chip, Eddy reminds us that it’s same one as in the iPad Pro. He boasted that it’s twice as fast at general computing tasks — and four times as fast on the GPU side — as the current 1080p 4th generation Apple TV.

Apple’s Aerial screensaver that displays high-resolution footage of interesting places to look at is getting updated with 4K footage.

4K movies will cost the same from Apple’s iTunes store as they currently charge for HD films. Any movies people currently own in HD that have 4K versions will be upgraded to 4K HDR for free.

Cue also said that Netflix and Amazon are on-board for the 4K update. Cue didn’t mention that the Amazon Prime Video app still isn’t available on the Apple TV even though Apple said they had a deal worked out with Amazon earlier this year.

Live news and sports are coming to the TV app on the Apple TV and iOS devices.

That Game Company’s Jenova Chen demoed a new game called Sky for the Apple TV. It’s a fun multiplayer game that has a similar style as their previous games like Journey. It’s temporarily exclusive to the Apple TV and iOS devices and will be out this winter. I didn’t hear anyone mention if the game runs in 4K.

Here’s a trailer for it:

The Apple TV lineup will now be:

  • Old Apple TV 32GB at $150.
  • Apple TV 4K 32GB $180
  • Apple TV 4K 64GB $200

It’ll be up for pre-orders on the 15th and have general availability on the 22nd.

Unfortunately there were no updates to the Apple TV Siri Remote announced, which is a shame because it’s not great for gaming and has some other design issues. Especially regarding picking up the remote and accidentally pressing the wrong button because it’s not easy to tell which orientation you’re holding it in without looking at it.

iPhone 8, 8 Plus

The rumors and leaks were accurate , there were three new iPhones announced today instead of two. An iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus.

Here’s the iPhone 8 ad:

Phil Schiller did his bit to sell the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. As rumored it has a glass back as well the front. It’ll be in Silver, Space Gray, and Gold. They assure that the glass is reinforced with steel and the “most durable ever” glass.

The display has been updated. It now has the True Tone technology from the iPad Pro that adjusts the display’s color temperature to look correct in different lighting conditions. The iPad Pro still doesn’t have the iPhone’s 3D Touch feature and that makes writing on it a little bit more frustrating when I switch back and forth between my iPhone and iPad.

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus speakers are louder and more accurate.

There’s a new A11 Bionic chip with six cores inside the iPhone 8. It’s supposedly 25% faster than the A10. Two of the six A11 cores are tuned for performance, and four of the cores are set up for tasks that can run efficiently and don’t require as much performance so that the device can save you some battery life. Those four low-power cores are supposedly 70% faster than the ones in the A10 chip.

The GPU on the 8 is the first one Apple has developed, it’s supposed to be 30% faster than last year’s A10 while taking half the power.

There’s a new image processing engine in the A11 that Schiller says will deliver faster autofocus in low-light conditions among other improvements that should make photos taken with the 8 look sharper and have less noise.

The cameras still shoot 12 megapixels, but Apple says that the sensor is larger and lets in more light. The Plus still has the exclusive on the dual camera setup versus the regular iPhone 8.

Apple’s photos captured with the 8 and 8 Plus’ cameras look fantastic, but they are just demonstrating the difference between an experienced photographer shooting for demonstration purposes and someone taking snapshots. Of course these camera improvements will help with either type of scenario, but they’re not going to turn Frank G. iPhoneOwner into a pro photographer unless they’re interested enough to edit their photos and think about what they’re doing before taking the photo.

Schiller says that there will be a new feature called Portrait Lighting in beta for the iPhone 8 Plus. He promises that this feature will be more than a filter, it’ll present you with different lighting choices for your subject in Portrait Mode within Apple’s Camera app. You’ll be able to edit those photos and choose different lighting scenarios after the fact.

Phil Schiller also promised that these phones have better video quality. You’ll be able to record 4K videos at 60 frames-per-second and if you like slo-mo you’ll be able to record 1080p video at 240 FPS.

Schiller says that the cameras and the A11 are also configured for augmented reality. The demos I have seen for AR on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are impressive, it could be useful to have a focus on AR in the hardware as well. Schiller played pre-recorded AR demos of a Warhammer game, an MLB overlay on a live game at a stadium, and an astronomy app called Sky Guide overlaying star charts directly on the sky as viewed through an iPhone.

Directive Games’ Atli Mar demoed their AR game, The Machines. It looked a little bit like an RTS but overlaid on a table. Mar said that there was a strategic advantage to being able to move the game’s camera around by moving the physical phone, but I’m not sure if that lines up with reality. It looked almost as awkward as the AR demo from WWDC but it is very difficult to play a game for an audience and line up your view to present something cinematic, especially in front of a live audience.

The iPhone 8 also has “wireless charging” which is just contact charging, it isn’t truly wireless. It’ll use the Qi charging standard that is already widely supported. It’s good that Apple didn’t make another standard, but they aren’t including a contact charging device in the box.

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus will be up for pre-order on September 15th and available in-stores on September 22nd. Here are the prices for different configurations:

iPhone 8

  • 64 GB for $700
  • 256 GB for $850

iPhone 8 Plus

  • 64GB for $800
  • 256GB for $950

iOS 11 will be out on September 19th.

iPhone X

Apple’s surprise of the iPhone X was spoiled by leaks and rumors, I was pretty disgusted with some journalists who took umbrage with the person who leaked the information. It’s only in Apple’s promotional interests to keep these things a secret and they aren’t going to affect our national security.

Here’s the iPhone X ad:

 

Phil Schiller called it “the iPhone 10,” skipping 9, I wasn’t sure if that was intentional or not at first, but then they continued it and I guess this is just what it is now.

The X’s OLED display is 5.8 inches diagonally and continues the journey to a rounded rectangular slab that is all display without any border. It’s almost there, there’s just a notch at the top of the phone for the front-facing camera, earpiece, and other sensors. Apple calls this new display a “Super Retina Display” at 2436×1125 pixels and  It’s 458 pixels-per-inch. So you’re getting a display that’s larger than the Plus and has more resolution in a smaller package. It’s also got an HDR standard for films and Apple’s True Tone tech.

Last year we lost the headphone TRSS jack and the home button was replaced with a simulation that I’ve grown accustomed to. This year the home button is just gone. You can wake the phone up by tapping on the display when it is in sleep mode.

iOS has other changes to accommodate the lack of a home button, of course. To get to the home screen from a “locked” iPhone X you now just swipe up from the bottom of the screen. It’s the same gesture when you’re in an app. Pausing mid-swipe, instead of raising your hand off the screen to complete the gesture, will bring up the multitasking switcher to choose from your recent apps.

I’m curious how that will work out with games. This overloading of gestures is a lot for users to take in.

The iPhone X’s sleep/wake switch is larger and can also be used to activate Siri.

Without a home button there isn’t room for a sensor to read your fingerprint for TouchID, so the iPhone X will have a face recognition system that Apple calls FaceID. Phil Schiller assures us that new sensors at the top of the phone in the notch will securely detect your face, even in the dark, to authorize your iPhone to be unlocked or in other places where you use TouchID. Including with Apple Pay.

Phil Schiller’s pitch for FaceID included a terrifying image of a wall of fake faces that Apple’s engineers used to test the face unlocking feature.

Apple are making an API available to developers for accessing the kinect-style data from the sensors on the front of the iPhone. They’re using the sensors internally to make 12 animated emojis that respond to your face and can be recorded along with audio messages to send over iMessage. Snapchat was demonstrated with it for face masking as well. They had a pretty impressive Ultimate Warrior style mask.

Craig Federighi demonstrated the iPhone X and showed that you can access the new iOS 11 Control Center by swiping down from the upper right corner where the connection status indicators are.

Phil Schiller boasted about the iPhone X cameras, they’re even better than the ones in the iPhone 8 Plus with optical image stabilization on both cameras. The front-facing camera is supposed to be better for selfies as well.

The iPhone X is supposed to get 2 more hours of battery life over the base iPhone 7, and have the same Qi charging as the 8.

The iPhone X will be up for pre-order on October 27th and shipping on November 3rd. Here are the prices for different configurations:

  • 64GB for $1000
  • 256GB for $1150

AirPower & Updated AirPods

Apple also has a new oval Qi charging mat coming out next year that will charge the iPhone 8 and X, as well as their Apple Watch and a new case for the AirPods that Phil Schiller said was “optional.” I’m not sure yet if “optional” means a more expensive set of AirPods or a separate purchase after the fact or both. I’d hope I could upgrade my current AirPods with a one-time purchase.

Overall:
I’m kind of disappointed with the pitch for the iPhone 8 versus the iPhone X. I don’t think I would personally want the iPhone 8 or 8 Plus when there’s an iPhone X available. Although I’m sure the iPhone X will not be available in as large a quantity as the 8. I also am not looking forward to an upgrade to the AirPods already. They don’t seem like something that should change as often, but I guess it might end up being similar to the Watch where there are updates but they seem less necessary than the phone.

I’m very disappointed that Apple is calling contact charging “wireless” when there are wires involved and you can’t just hold your iPhone five feet from the AirPower dingus to charge it.

Categories
apple

iOS & macOS Updates

Today’s software updates from Apple are notable for a lot of reasons. macOS 10.12.4 gets Night Shift from iOS, I can now find my AirPods in the Find My iPhone app, there are the beginnings of a standard to control apps that nag you for reviews on iOS 10.3, Siri enhancements on watchOS 3.2, but the most important change is he first switch from HFS+ to APFS. APFS is Apple’s new file system for iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS. It’ll be installed with the latest iOS update, and will come to macOS in the future.

File systems keep track of where your files are on a storage medium like a hard drive or SD card, and Apple has been using some variation of the same file system, HFS and HFS+, for the past thirty years.

APFS should be an improvement in performance and reliability because it is targeted towards modern computing devices that use flash memory instead of spinning disks, but it is going to be a little bit like pulling a table cloth out from under a plated dinner and table setting in order for the operating system to replace the file system on the devices during the update.

I made sure my iCloud backups were all up to date before starting the upgrade, you should too.