NOTICE AS OF 6/20/2020: This is a revised edition of the WWDC 2018 Event Recap video that we did years ago. For the website, we decided to convert it into an article only, along with adding some tidbits here and there to make it a bit more of an interesting read. Hope you guys enjoy this as we continue to make more content for both our website and YouTube channel. 😉
Hello everybody, Sage here, and today we’re going to be covering what was announced at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (or WWDC for short) for 2018.
This particular one is going to be similar to the others I’ve done in the past: I’ll be covering what interested me, and what might particularly interest you.
Before I talk about the products though, I want to let you know ahead of time that each of the new software products announced (macOS, iOS, etc.) would be available as free software updates to the public in the Fall of 2018, and (much like with the other recent Apple software releases) would have a developer preview released right after the presentation, so I won’t have to keep repeating myself over and over to say “this update will come out this Fall with a developer preview available to developers” and so on.
Anyways, let’s not dilly-dally and begin this recap of WWDC 2018.
First off, Apple announced iOS 12, which has a plethora of new features. (Oh, and didn’t I forget to mention that the App Store turned 10 years old?)
This new release supports pretty much the same devices that run iOS 11, so some older Apple devices, such as the iPhone 5S and the 2nd generation iPad Mini, should be able to run it no problem.
Speaking of which, that brings us to the first feature of iOS 12: Performance enhancements; loading an app in iOS 12 (whether it’s on a heavy workload or not) should be twice as fast, and loading up the keyboard as well as the lock screen and camera swipe should also be faster. (That might depend on the device configuration however.)
But that’s not just it: There’s also Augmented Reality.
Don’t Know What It Means: Augmented Reality is “a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view”, according to the Oxford Dictionary.
Apple’s ARKit got updated to version 2 in this release, with some improvements and new features, such as improved face tracking, realistic rendering, 3D object detection, and the biggest one of all: Local multiplayer shared AR experiences.
As well as that, a new open file format called .USDZ (Universal Scene Description Zipped Format), created in collaboration with Pixar Animation Studios, made its debut in iOS 12.
Sage’s Fun Fact: Apple has had a history with Pixar in the past, especially during a time when Steve Jobs owned both Pixar and Apple; such collaborations include the QuickTime codec Pixlet in Mac OS X Panther, and the “fur” in the Mac OS X Jaguar “X” being rendered by Pixar as well.
Basically, USDZ files allow the user to experience AR “nearly anywhere” in iOS 12, especially in apps such as Messages, Safari, and Mail, as well as the ability to place a 3D object into the real world via Quick Look for AR.
Third-party companies like Adobe are implementing this in their Creative Cloud suite, by adding native support for USDZ. As for the share AR experience features, Lego were planning on implementing these into their own apps as well.
Alongside that, there is a new Measure app, which allows the user to easily detect objects and measure them on surfaces, using either their iPhone or iPad; it even detects the dimensions of objects and automatically measures them.
The Photos app got some enhancements in iOS 12, with the addition of search suggestions (where the app could suggest key moments, people, places, categories, and more), as well as the ability to search for places by business, name or category. Search has also been refined with object and scene recognition, which supposedly makes photo searching a lot faster.
But the most notable new feature in the Photos app is a “For You” tab, which contains featured photos on this day or the past year, as well as suggestions to loop a live photo, add a photo effect, or share your photos with friends at full resolution.
Siri also got some enhancements in iOS 12, and no, it’s not just new voice commands, but Shortcut commands.
You could assign Siri Shortcuts for quick actions (such as if you lost your keys), and not only add shortcuts to Siri through various apps (if it asks you to), but also create your own shortcuts through a new app called Shortcuts (basically Automator but for Siri) with an easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface.
Alongside that, Siri Suggestions (first introduced in iOS 9) was enhanced for shortcuts as well, such as if you get up in the morning, Siri might suggest you to order coffee, or if you’re at the movie theater, Siri might suggest you to turn on Do Not Disturb.
Some of the built-in apps in iOS 12 also got some updates:
- The News app got a complete redesign, with better navigation, supposedly making it easier to discover new topics or jump straight to your favorites. The iPad version also has a sidebar for simple navigation.
- The Stocks app also got redesigned, with Apple News integration, and for the first time ever, it’s available on the iPad.
- The Voice Memos app was also reworked with iCloud sync support (finally) and, much like with Stocks, is also coming to the iPad for the first time.
- The Books app (formerly iBooks) also got a redesign with a new interface, better navigation, and a new bookstore with a focus on audiobooks.
- Finally, CarPlay gets support for third-party navigation apps, such as Google Maps.
Do Not Disturb got some huge changes in this release; there is a new bedtime feature, which hides all of your notifications and dims the iPhone screen, essentially turning it into some sort of a bedside alarm clock. As well as that, Do Not Disturb now has the ability to customize the end time (such as X amount of hours, until the evening, until you leave a particular location, etc.)
Notifications also got some major changes in this release: You could now manage notifications right from the lock screen, such as if you want them sent directly through Notification Center (bypassing the lock screen) or turn off future notifications altogether. Siri can also suggest to turn off notifications for apps you no longer use.
The biggest feature however are group notifications, so notifications are now much more organized and not a mess, which is pretty nice.
And then there’s Screen Time. (I guess Apple wanted to go further with preventing people from being addicted to their iPhone.)
With Screen Time, the user could be more aware of how they use their devices; detailed daily and weekly activity reports are provided, which break down device usage, such as app usage, what’s drawing you in, notifications and more. Not only that, but you can set a time limit on a particular app, and get reminded when it’s close to and at the end.
But what I think Screen Time would be the most useful for, are for families…and luckily, there are parental controls for that.
There are multiple parental controls provided in Screen Time:
- Downtime allows the parent to lock their kid out of their iPhone or iPad at a specific time.
- You could set a time limit for an app by category or by an individual app.
- You could set a number of apps to be always allowed.
- You could limit access to certain websites, apps, or movies to ones deemed “age-appropriate”.
Parents can also see the detailed daily and weekly activity of their kids’ iPhone or iPad, and Screen Time works with family sharing, so it’s easy to set up.
Next up is Messages: Some of the new features in it only work if you have an iPhone X or later, specifically with the Animojis, such as tongue detection, as well as new Animojis, such as the Ghost and T-Rex.
But the biggest addition (which some people have said is similar to Bitmoji, albeit less creepy) is Memoji, where you can create your own personalized Animoji, and even add accessories to it, such as glasses, hats, earrings, headwear, and more.
For the non-iPhone X exclusive features, you’ve got new effects in the Messages camera, where you can add shapes, text, filters, and stickers (a la Snapchat), and even Animojis and Memojis; Apple sees a lot of kids having fun with this, but for me…I don’t know about that.
Finally, we have FaceTime, which now adds support for group video and audio chat with up to 32 simultaneous users, dubbed “Group FaceTime”.
Now what’s interesting to note about this is that during a Group FaceTime call, when a person is talking their video screen gets larger, while the others gets smaller whenever they aren’t talking. You can also full screen a particular person by double tapping on them.
Group FaceTime calls can also be sent to a Messages group, where they can join in and drop out of a call at any time. FaceTime also supports the fun effects from the new Messages app.
Group FaceTime works across most Apple platforms, except for the Watch, which only supports Group FaceTime audio chat.
Now I know other companies have done this group video and audio chat thing in the past; Skype, Discord, and even Apple’s own iChat AV going back to Mac OS X Tiger are what possibly come to mind. But I guess Apple is just NOW bringing these functions to FaceTime, so whoop-de-doo.
And those are the new features of iOS 12.
Let’s move on to watchOS 5 next.
This release focuses particularly on the health and fitness aspect, but there are also some new features added to it, which we’ll get to later.
In the Activity app, you could now challenge a friend to a 7 day activity competition, in which you earn points based on a percentage of your closing activity rings over the course of a week. During those competitions, you’ll receive coaching notifications to help the user stay engaged and try to win the week; if you do, you’ll get some awards…by that I mean virtual shiny badges.
The Workout app also got some changes. Previously, you had to manually start a workout through the app, but now through heart rate and movement data detection, the Watch will alert the user to start a workout, and gives retroactive credit when you do so. Also, if the user forgets to end their workout after a certain period of inactivity, the Watch will remind the user to end their workout session.
New yoga and hiking workouts were also added to join with the others, a new cadence (or steps per minute) metric was added (for those who run or walk outdoors or indoors), and a new rolling mile pace metric shows the pace for the immediately preceding mile, in addition to the current and average pace displays.
These changes are good, I suppose, to those who are into fitness, but we’re here to talk about the other features which we’ll get to right now…
First, we have a Walkie-Talkie app, so you could send quick push-to-talk messages to another user from Watch to Watch…just like a walkie-talkie…umm, yay?
The Siri watch face has been updated in watchOS 5: It supports Siri Shortcuts (first introduced in iOS 12), and contains new content such as sports, maps, and heart rates. It also supports third-party apps such as Citymapper and Nike Plus, and you no longer need to say “Hey Siri” when you want to talk to her; just raise your wrist. (And I bet it’s going to work quite well…)
Notifications were also improved in this release; they’re more interactive, grouped notifications (also introduced in iOS 12) were implemented, and WebKit is now integrated, which is pretty interesting, even though it doesn’t really make sense to browse the web on a Watch.
Finally, Podcasts are now supported on the Watch, so you could listen to your favorite audio podcasts on the go with your Watch. Podcast episodes, as well as music and audiobooks from apps such as Pandora and Audible, will also sync up to the Watch for offline listening.
Other features in watchOS 5 consist of a customizable Control Center, Student ID card support (also available in iOS 12), and this release drops support for the original 1st generation Apple Watch (not the Apple Watch Series 1 however).
Surprisingly, the only hardware announcement we got out of this presentation was the Pride Edition Watch band for the Apple Watch (which is pretty much what you’d expect: a rainbow-colored Watch band), along with a Pride Month watch face, both of which were available on the same day as its announcement.
So that covers (hopefully) everything about watchOS 5.
Now let’s cover the Apple TV and its operating system, tvOS 12.
First off, tvOS gains support for Dolby Atmos surround sound, which means you’ll get a theatrical 360-degree sound experience from Dolby Atmos-supported televisions through the Apple TV 4K. 4K HDR movies that you already owned or not owned from iTunes also get upgraded to Dolby Atmos for free.
tvOS 12 is also upgrading its Single Sign-On (where you sign in to one TV service and it securely unlocks all the other TV services) to a Zero Sign-On, so that if you’re on your TV providers’ broadband network, Apple will securely unlock all of the TV apps connected to a subscription service automatically. Charter Spectrum, a cable service, would be the first to offer not only the Apple TV 4K to its customers later in 2018, but also the first to offer the new Zero Sign-On feature.
Finally, the aerial screensavers in tvOS were upgraded with more interactivity, such as finding out the location information and the ability to swipe to change screensavers using the Siri Remote. tvOS 12 also adds a new aerial screensaver, featuring footage of the earth in both day and night. (The night footage in particular looks absolutely beautiful.)
The other feature added in tvOS 12 is an Apple TV icon in the Control Center for iOS devices running iOS 12.
macOS 10.14 “Mojave”
Finally, let’s talk about macOS Mojave, also known as version 10.14.
Now this was one of the key highlights of WWDC 2018, so let’s see what it has to offer:
First off, it has a system-wide dark mode, that affects not just the menu bar and dock, but also the Trash can, the window bar, the sidebar, and even the workspace area.
The default desktop wallpaper is also dynamic, so it subtly changes throughout the day, as well as night. Speaking of which, the desktop has a new feature that allows the user to organize their files rather quickly in desktop stacks, which is quite cool.
The Finder got a bunch of updates in this release as well: Replacing Cover Flow (which had been there since Leopard) is a new gallery view, which includes a new sidebar with complete metadata, as well as quick actions, allowing the user to work on files straight from the Finder, such as rotating images, password protect documents, trim video, and more, all without having to open the file.
Quick Look now has markup integration, as well as the ability to rotate and crop an image and even trim audio and video through Quick Look, all without having to open the file.
A new, easy-to-use screenshots menu was also introduced in Mojave: In this menu, when you capture a screenshot (using Shift+Cmd+5), you can capture the whole screen, a specific window, or a selection; you can even record the whole screen or a selection. There’s also an options menu, which contains extra options, such as changing the save destination. Also, when you capture a screenshot, it now shows up as a thumbnail on the bottom-right corner of the screen.
In terms of Continuity, macOS Mojave can now use the iPhone or iPad’s camera to take a picture or scan a document, and have it appear instantly on their Mac; quite a cool feature to have.
macOS Mojave also introduces a bunch of new apps straight from iOS: Apple News, Stocks, Voice Memos, and Home; these apps were brought to the Mac using iOS frameworks adapted to macOS, which would be made available to developers starting in late 2019.
Privacy and security enhancements were also a key component in macOS Mojave. In Safari, the Intelligent Tracking Protection (first introduced in macOS High Sierra) was enhanced to help block social media “Like” or “Share” buttons and comment widgets from social media sites like Facebook, from tracking users without their permission. Safari also now presents simplified system info when users browse the web, preventing them from being tracked based on their system configuration. Lastly, Safari now automatically creates, autofills, and stores strong passwords when users create new online accounts, and even flags reused passwords so users can change them.
On the security side, new data protections (a la User Account Control) will now require apps to get user permission before using the Mac’s camera and microphone, or accessing personal data, such as user mail and message history, Time Machine, iTunes device backups, etc.
Finally, a redesigned App Store was introduced in Mojave: It functions similar to the App Store in iOS, with a new sidebar, as well as Discover, Create, Work, Play, and Develop tabs.
Other features that were announced for macOS Mojave consist of external GPU support for the Metal graphics framework, Group FaceTime (also introduced in iOS 12), and the Apple File System now supports the Fusion drive as well as standard hard drives.
Compatibility-wise, macOS Mojave will only run Macs that are from 2012 or newer, dropping support for all pre-2012 Mac systems that don’t support Metal. (The only exception was the Mac Pro, which supports both the 2010 and 2012 models, with the use of a Metal-capable GPU.)
So that about wraps up everything that caught my eye for WWDC 2018. Overall, it was okay. I think what really enticed me were iOS 12 and macOS Mojave, the latter of which I find much more interesting compared to macOS High Sierra from last year’s WWDC. The only downside of this presentation however were the lack of any hardware announcements.
And thus concludes this recap of WWDC 2018. Hope you guys enjoyed this read, and as always I will see you all next time. Peace. 😉