Apple has announced a range of software features at its annual developers’ conference. There were no snazzy hardware announcements this evening unlike last year’s HomePod launch. But Apple made it clear that data privacy and smartphone addiction was on its agenda, with new controls over tracking apps along with usage monitors and app timers.
Apple responded to fierce criticism that its products are harming children’s mental health by announcing a range of apps that limit time spent on iPhones and allow parents to set device “allowances”.
The new tools will warn iPhone and iPad users if they are spending too long on their devices. iOS 12 will have a timer that will lock users out of apps after a certain period of time. Apple will bring out a do-not-disturb setting along with a notification manager to help “stop distractions”, too.
Apple made thinly veiled digs at Facebook twice this evening, including a reference to “trusted news” that will appear on the News portal on iOS 12 and macOS.
Safari will also alert users when a plugin including “Like” or “Share” buttons used by Facebook to track people around the web, is trying to mine their information.
” Your private data should remain private,” said software engineer chief Craig Federighi.
It’s like Animoji, but humans. Now you can make a cartoon version of yourself that is sensitive to your facial movements and send it to other friends (that’s if you all own an iPhone X, of course). They can be used in Facetime, which will now support up to 32 people in a group chat.
A new Walkie Talkie feature is coming, which seems a little less annoying than normal calls. Use the app to record and send messages straight from your wrist. There will also be new fitness competitions, lasting up to seven days, with friends and improved voice command – you will no longer have to use the prompt “Hi Siri” to switch her on.
That’s all folks
Thank you for joining us for another WWDC. We’ll be providing news and commentary on some of the major announcements this evening, including all the best features coming to iOS 12.
Apple turns the spotlight on developers
As the keynote comes to an end (almost), Tim Cook plays a clip highighting some of the developers that have helped make its products what they are.
It includes iPhone games, health apps, even Yelp and some mushy commentary from the developers’ family. Pass the tissues.
“On behalf of everyone at Apple, thank you,” says Tim.
Mac App Store gets some love
All the changes that came with the iOS app store will appear on Mac App stores soon. That’s more news, video autoplay and recommendations. Microsoft, Adobe and BBEdit will make appearances.
However, the big question on developers’ lips was whether mac OS and iOS were going to merge.
Federighi has an answer, and its a big, fat, no. However, it has taken some frameworks from the macOS and applied it to iOS so it is easier for engineers to bring an iOS app to the Mac.
‘Your private data should remain private’
Federighi says there will be greater protections for users if a developer wants to use your information. This is a clear dig at Facebook, following the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. Now users will receive notifications if an app wants to use things like a device camera or calendar.
But the major update – if an app tries to access information using a “Like” or “Share” button, Apple devices will warn you to make sure you really want to pass on your data. A clear dig at Facebook, but a major win for Apple when it comes to data privacy.
Apple’s next desktop operating system is named macOS Mojave. It comes with a system-wide dark mode, which changes the colours of the operating system to make it use darker elements.
Other improvements include desktop stacks, which automatically sorts files on a user’s desktop by category, wallpapers that update throughout the day, a new gallery view and also support for more interactions in Quick Look mode.
Apple also showed off video screenshots, and improved continuity support which lets photos and scans from an iPhone automatically appear on macOS.
Apple has now moved on to talking about Apple TV. It said that its business has grown 50% since the introduction of its 4K service, which it announced last year.
Apple announced support for Dolby Atmos audio, which it said can give customers “room-filling” sound. Just like with its 4K upgrade last year, Apple said that existing films would be upgraded to Dolby Atmos audio automatically for free.
Additionally, Apple has partnered with Charter Spectrum to bring its network to Apple TV.
It also announced what it’s calling “zero sign-on,” which will automatically add services to Apple TV when customers use their TV provider’s internet network. The first network to support this will be Charter Spectrum.
And Apple has partnered with astronauts on the Internal Space Station to bring new screensavers to the Apple TV.
Apple Watch OS 5
That’s it for iOS 12 updates, now Tim Cook hands over to Kevin Lynch, to talk all things Apple Watch.
The main updates include:
- Week-long competitions with friends as part of its fitness features and automatic workout detection will spot when you start exercising but forget to actively start or end the app.
- There’s also a “walkie talkie” feature that lets you speak to friends using the wearable.
- You’ll be able to use other apps on the Siri watchface, including City Mapper or weightloss apps.
- Watch OS 5 will include podcasts that sync straight to your watch too.
Group Facetime (Animoji version)
Super popular Facetime is getting a serious update: group calling.
Now you can stick up to 32 people on a video call at a time..and they can appear as Memoji (or Animoji) if they so wish.
An update for the popular Animoji, launched with iPhone X, is the “tongue detection” feature for when you want to stick your tongue out at your friends.
Apple is also releasing what it calls “Memoji,” personalised animoji which look like the user, and they can also be customised to look however people want. It’s similar to what Samsung recently added to its own smartphones.
Apple brings out timer to cure ‘smartphone addiction’
Apple is bringing out three anti-distraction apps to help cure our smartphone addiction.
It has created a Do Not Disturb setting during bedtime, with “nothing to get you spun up” Federighi says. You tap when you want to get notifications back.
There’s also going to be new support for grouping notifications, so you can put them into a folder to sort out later.
Finally, it is bringing out weekly activity summary and time limits for apps that can be used for parents to lock down their children’s phones.
This makes Apple the latest technology company to embrace “digital wellness” as Silicon Valley shapes up for a fight against smartphone addiction.
Google recently introduced tools to monitor time spent on Android apps this month, while Instagram announced last week that it is developing a feature that will monitor screen time.
Apple has promoted several apps on its online App Store related to controlling screen time in recent months. Apple seems keen to appear to be hot on safety and mental health awareness, particularly after the Cambridge Analytica data scandal brought fellow tech giant Facebook into the fore.
Apps like Moment, a US app designed to control screen time, has seen its software promoted as Apple’s “App of the Day”, which can see downloads increase 100-fold. In 2017, Apple made the Calm, a mindfulness app, its app of the year.
iOS 12 Siri update – new shortcuts
There are some cool updates to Siri. You can now bookmark files and websites as a “shortcut” so that when you ask Siri a certain phrase, it will bring it up.
In the demo, we are shown how someone can ask Siri to bring up “travel plans” and she will tell them what hotel they are at, and when they are due to check in.
Similarly, you can make a shortcut for when you’re leaving work, turning on your heating and getting an update on the traffic.
iOS 12 photo sharing update
Photos in iOS 12 will be improved thanks to a recommendation tool that suggests sharing photos with contacts who were at the same event.
iOS 12: Augmented reality
Apple’s software engineering chief, Craig Federighi has taken to the stage to take us through the features that will be arriving on iPads and iPhones for the next operating system update.
He says the key issue for iOS 12 is “performance” and there will be a “boost for the full range of devices”.
The major feature is augmented reality, and it looks like there will be some cool updates in the mix.
Federighi shows off a measuring app that allows you to measure lines lengths of objects in 3D.
Another perk is the ability to place objects in your phone screen (making them appear as if it is in your surroundings) in what looks like their real size. So if you wanted to work out how big a guitar might look in your living room, you could pluck it from the retailer’s website and place it in your living room, all on your phone.
ARkit is now the world’s largest AR platform. ARKit 2 will have improved face tracking, object detection and shared experiences.
Lego fans will be pleased to hear that there will be more Lego AR in app store later this year.
Developers have made $100bn through the Apple Store
Developers have made $100bn by sharing their apps on the Apple Store, Tim Cook says during his opening speech. That’s quite the figure. He adds that the store receives 500m visitors in a week.
Sadly for us (but good news for developers) “today is all about software,” Cook says.
Apple makes a funny
Apple has kicked off WWDC with a satirical take on the developer community, a mockumentary narrated by an Englishman that sounds suspiciously like our own Sir David Attenborough, following the check-shirted, bearded brigade in true Blue Planet-style.
“Only the strongest apps will survive,” the narrator quips. Quite.
And we’re live
The crowd is taking their seats. But we’ve noticed something’s amiss. Apple didn’t take its online store offline before the start of its WWDC keynote, a sign that it doesn’t plan to release any new hardware products.
Apple typically takes its store offline before hardware announcements so that it has time to update the online store. Last year at WWDC, where Apple announced its HomePod connected speakers, the store went down before the keynote began. But today the store has remained online.
Less than 30 minutes to go and one attendee has pointed out that the big screen appears to be promoting some strange apps. Can you spot any odd apps on the screen? Tweet us @margimurphy and @JamesLiamCook
Unbelievable… that scammy weather app I tweeted about in April (Weather Alarms) is on the WWDC big screen. They must have just compiled the list based on downloads/revenue and not bothered looking at whether the apps legit. Photo credit: @markgurman. (see thread for app details) pic.twitter.com/9vQnrkq6lR
— David Barnard (@drbarnard) June 4, 2018
Less than an hour to go
And the audience is already taking their seats at the San Jose McEnry convention centre, California. Every year the conference attracts thousands of attendees and even more around the world tune in online.
Some are already sharing pictures of the stage, suitably dressed with a backdrop of different apps on the Apple store, on Twitter.
What about hardware?
Last year we were given the HomePod, but what about this time around? Could we hear more about the AirPower charging mat that Apple teased us with during the iPhone X launch?
Apple originally said that its charging mat would be released in 2018, then said it was due in early 2018. It’s now June, and Apple hasn’t given any updates on when AirPower will be released, so it’s possible that a surprise announcement is on the way.
More augmented reality?
Augmented reality, or AR, was a big reveal from Apple last year at WWDC.
Tim Cook has long expressed the view that AR has more use than virtual reality and last year Apple revealed its ambition with the launch of ARKit, a developer kit that allows for the creation of apps and games using augmented reality on iPhones. We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for any updates.
What will Apple announce?
We’re expecting lots of details about the next iPhone operating system. Here’s what we’re hoping to see in iOS 12:
- Better augmented reality support
- Digital wellness features
- A button to turn off Wi-Fi properly
- Better notifications
- Dark mode for nighttime viewing
- Sleep tracking improvements
- Bring back the App Store wish list
How to tune in
The keynote speech is due to kick off at 6pm, so you’ve got about two hours get your Apple device or PC running Windows Edge browser ready for the live-stream. Every year thousands of developers make the journey to San Jose, seen as something of a pilgrimage among Apple fans.
But if, like us, you’re watching from across the pond, you can catch it all here. We’ll also be providing up to the minute information right here.
Welcome to the WWDC live blog
Good afternoon, Margi Murphy and James Cook here. We’re following the latest news coming out of Apple’s 2018 Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC), the company’s annual event for all things software, which kicks off tonight at 6pm UK time.
We’re not expecting any flashy launches, although last year Apple surprised all by using the conference as an opportunity to show off its smart speaker, the Apple HomePod.
Read on The Source