Apple is holding its yearly Worldwide Developer’s Conference, or WWDC, which means we get a preview of its upcoming software, including iOS 12, the new Apple Watch OS, and more. Most of it is deeply wonky stuff, like Apple’s new augmented reality features which will allow you to precisely measure things or deep learning tech that figures out which photos you and your friend took at the same party. Some of it is silly, like the new “Memoji,” that is, your face as an Animoji, or that Animojis now have tongue detection. But there is some intriguing, and useful, stuff on the docket.
- First, the big deal for iOS 12 is that it will work with all the same devices that iOS 11 does, so if your phone runs iOS 11, you won’t face the dreaded upgrade crawl. Apple also claims that, contrary to quite literally every single iOS update to this point, downloading iOS 12 will speed up your phone.
- Secondly, iOS 12 and Safari is going to make it much, much harder for third parties to track you across the internet. They’re encrypting data used to “fingerprint” devices and tie them to you, shutting down tracking cookies from social networks like Facebook. That puts a lot of pressure on Google to do the same.
- Siri has gotten a major upgrade. A new tool called Shortcuts makes it a far more customizable tool, allowing you to record custom prompts for Siri that let you use third-party apps, and Apple has opened up Siri to more third-party use in general, something that was sorely needed. Siri will also start anticipating your needs, so if, for example, you’re running late, it’ll ask you if you need to send an apology text.
- Apple is testing technology to bring iOS apps to Apple desktops, but it’s denied, with quite literally a giant “NO,” that it’s going to merge iOS and MacOS.
- FaceTime will be able to host 32 video tiles at once, with the tiles expanding and shrinking depending on who’s talking. It also supports Animoji, apparently, in case you and your coworkers feel the need to turn your conference calls into something far more ridiculous than they should be.
- Apple is also including more robust “Stop Looking At Your Phone” features, such as an upgrade to “Do Not Disturb” mode that shuts off all notifications at bedtime.
- And the Apple Watch’s new operating system continues Apple’s quest to make it a teeny little phone. Among the upgrades include WebKit, so you can look at web pages on the watch, a Walkie-Talkie function that’s fairly self-explanatory, automatic sensing of workouts, and a pilot test at several universities of an “identity card” feature that will allow access to certain buildings.
In all, it’s more evolution than outright revolution, but there are some pretty substantial features, there, and it ups the game in some important respects. As to when we’ll see this, it’ll begin arriving later this year.