Every year developers from around the world converge in San Jose, the heart of Silicon Valley to participate in the biggest technology conclave, the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) by Apple. The signature keynote that each developer eagerly awaits delivers what Apple envisions for the future through its lineup of products.
With each conference, Apple brings out something new or an upgrade in its already existing software or hardware. Developers participating in the event can get to know of these latest upbringings and use their skills to create highly functional apps with augmented user experience.
So, in 2017 it was the iconic HomePod, Apple’s smart speaker and the other notable software launch was that of iOS 11. Alongside, numerous hardware and software introduction followed at WWDC 2017 such as the iPad Pro 2, iMac Pro, macOS High Sierra, watchOS 4 etc. The mix of both hardware and software announcements gave developers more possibilities.
Forward to 2018, the current year and we witnessed the WWDC took a totally different turn with software only announcements. It was all about software and no new hardware was introduced leaving all the rumors false. Developers converged at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose on June 4 to 8th where Tim Cook and senior executives delivered the keynote announcing new software offerings.
Putting Developers First
This year’s WWDC keynote was not marred by the absence of any hardware announcements. Instead, the array of software announcements at WWDC 2018 such as iOS 12, MacOS 10.14 Mojave, watchOS 5 and tvOS 12 gave developers newer platforms to build better experiences. The 2018 WWDC has put the developers first by enabling a conducive atmosphere for them to learn, share knowledge, and network with experts from around the world.
By embracing these changes, developers can write code and implement processes in accordance with these upgrades and newly released versions. The keynote signals Apple’s shift in making its software lineup more refined and improves the user experience. Besides, the conference delved into several announcements related to improvements across existing iOS apps like the camera. For developers worldwide who leverage their skills and creativity to build fantastic apps, the announcements offered extended possibilities.
Tim Cook took the stage to deliver the keynote address of the much awaited Apple WWDC 2018. The achievements of the developers in making the App Store one of the world’s largest app marketplace was proclaimed at the very beginning of the keynote. Indeed, 20 million Apple developers have made their remarkable contribution to make the App Store the very best of them.
Meanwhile, the keynote also highlighted how the work of developers is expected to earn profits as high as $100 billion. This brings forth the immense possibilities that lie in creating innovative apps for the App Store. Developers can leverage these new insights to create meaningful apps that will bring about a change in the lives of their users.
The introductions of new software and refinements of existing ones will give the users a fully revamped experience of using Apple’s products. And developers can get an early glimpse of the new offerings and plan accordingly for 2018. We will focus on the key announcements made at the WWDC 2018 and what prospects it holds for the developers.
Introduction of iOS 12
The major announcement at the WWDC 2018 was iOS 12 and a demo of its features and functionality. Performance is the main priority that Apple put forth for iOS 12 and this went against all the rumors of home screen redesign and improvements of core apps. With the release of iOS 12, Apple is hinting at one thing: A noticeable improvement in the speed and responsiveness of iPhones to give a renewed experience to the users.
Users will get iOS 12 as a free software update and this represents Apple’s approach to power its old devices with new software. Previous models like the iPhone 6S Plus can run much faster with an upgrade to the new iOS 12. According to Apple, iOS 12 will feature a 40 percent faster app launch, 50 percent faster keyboards and a 70 percent faster camera ready to snap.
The focus on performance and security has become the key focus of iOS 12. The previous version iOS 11 faced several issues related to its functioning such as the black dot bug. With iOS 12, Apple tends to resolve these issues and provide a more refined experience to the users.
Apple released its next version of Mac software named the MacOS Mojave. This new version comes with lots of features and improvements that enhance the performance of Mac. A new useful feature in MacOS Mojave, which will only be available for developers in 2019 is the ability to port iOS apps into Mac. Besides, macOS Mojave will come integrated with several novel features such as:
Dark Mode – The Dark Mode feature change the menu and UI into a darker hue. Enabling the dark mode will decrease the eye strain when users are working for a long time in dim lighting conditions. For designers and editors, the dark mode feature lets the colors pop out, which will help them distinguish individual colors well.
Stacks – Sorting the desktop of messy applications and programs will get a lot easier with the desktop stacks feature of MacOS Mojave. With this, users can sort out the desktop icons into sets based on date or project metadata to remove clutter and allowing easy access.
Screenshots – It is easier to take screenshots using the new feature in MacOS Mojave. The intuitive menu makes it easier to capture, share and store the screenshots. Besides, it also contains options to magnify the content and even take a screenshot during a video playback.
Apple’s lineup of smartwatches with the latest Apple Watch 3 just got a new improvement with the introduction of the WatchOS 5. Fitness enthusiasts will definitely admire the new features and extensive capabilities included in this new version. A trendy feature being fitness competitions that users can do with their friends along with tracking heart rate for yoga or hiking.
It can receive podcasts and the comes with Siri integrated that will alert the user about fresh notifications. Besides, WatchOS 5 includes a new walkie-talkie feature that works on cellular and Wi-Fi, allowing users to transmit and receive short voice messages to other Apple Watch users.
tvOS with Dolby Atmos
Another announcement made at the conference was related to tvOS. Apple TV 4K received several upgrades mainly the inclusion of Dolby Atmos surround sound support. iTunes will contain more Atmos-supported movies making it the largest collection. With compatible Dolby Atmos speakers, users can watch 4K content with immersive sound that puts them inside the action.
Besides, the new zero sign-in feature will ease the process of cable authentication. This feature allows easy identification of the user’s broadband connection and signs in automatically for the supported apps they got with their cable subscription. Aeria, the animated screensaver also has minor upgrades that allow Siri to provide location information and footage of the earth captured from the International Space Station.
Alongside the major software announcements, WWDC 2018 was a platform where numerous other upgrades were showcased. Apple’s ARKit platform was demonstrated at the conference such as the new app called Measure. It uses AR to measure the size of physical objects just by pointing the camera towards it.
Some of the other notable announcements include:
Photos – The Photos app received an update in the form of a new advanced search option. The inclusion of the ‘For You’ tab allows the users to make suggestions for the photos they took.
Siri – Siri got an update that further enhanced its functionality through a new feature called Shortcuts. Users can create voice commands as this new feature will easily integrate with apps. Besides, the improvements will allow users to train Siri to perform routine actions when it is given certain commands.
FaceTime – The improved FaceTime will let users video call up to 32 people. The interface has certain improvements too such as a moving tile display of current chats. Active chats will become highlighted when the users start to talk giving a smoother and new video calling experience.
Do Not Disturb – With the amount of time users spend on their phones increasing, Apple has improved its Do Not Disturb feature to reduce this time and dependence. These inbuilt features can let users limit their distraction caused by notifications and provide info about how much time they spend on their phones. Besides, there is a timer that can limit the screen time for kids.
Stocks and News – The stocks and news app are merged, which will curate all the content in one place. This is a helpful improvement as it brings a redesigned interface and organizes both the content to provide easy access.
WWDC 2018 – Summing Up
Apple took a different approach with this year’s WWDC by focusing on software. Rumors were abuzz of several hardware announcements such as the iPhone SE 2 as expectations were that Apple would release a new version of the popular one hand compact phone. There were even speculations about a mini version of the HomePod. But, Apple went ahead to make its 2018 keynote specifically reserved for introducing new software and upgrades.
For developers, the array of software introductions and upgrades for the four platforms iOS, MacOS, tvOS, and WatchOS gives ample opportunities in learning and creating apps that solve user problems and challenges more effectively than before. They can foresee their vision more clearly and prepare for building innovative apps across these four platforms. Moreover, this aligns with Apple’s policy of putting the customer at the center for delivering better experiences.
Girish R, Programmer for 17 yrs, Blogger at Techathlon.com, LifeHacker, DIYer. He loves to write about technology, Open source & gadgets. He currently leads the mobile solutions team at Fingent
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