With the September event just one week ago, everyone’s all hyped about the iPhone X. Not rumours, of course, but questions. How secure is Face ID? Is it turning into an Android phone? But I’m not here to talk about the X. I’m here to talk about WWDC. “WWDC?” You say, “You’re three months too late!!” Ah, but you see, I’m not. In fact, I’m right on time.
WWDC. That was ages ago, right? The thing is since the September event is newer news then WWDC. It’s all anyone wants to talk about. But what they don’t realize is that a few days after the September event is the perfect time to talk about WWDC, presuming you’ve already talked about the September event of course.
What does Apple release before the new iPhone? They release iOS, of course! And they also release macOS, tvOS and watchOS! This is an excellent time to release software because people can get used to it before they buy their new iPhone/Mac/Apple TV/Apple Watch. Except for one problem.
People get so excited about the new iPhone/Apple TV/Apple Watch (the Mac doesn’t usually get launched in September), that all those cool facts about iOS 11 that were the hot stuff days earlier, have now been pushed into the back of our brains, in serious danger of being forgotten. I never got to do a WWDC article because DoubleGeek’s only been around since July, so I thought this would be my shot at getting out of being the only Apple Sheep blogger in the world not to have an article on iOS, macOS etc. Sigh…
A note on Updating your Apple software
Apple software only checks for updates for itself once a week. So if you want the latest software ASAP, you’re going to have to make it check updates. To do so, make go to the App Store on Mac or Settings on iOS and click Genral>Software Update
Since the iPhone is generating 54% of Apple’s revenue as of the third quarter of 2017, iOS always get’s the most stage time. I remember back in 2016 when I watched my first WWDC. Everything had been announced except iOS, and it was only halfway and I remember thinking, “They’ve done OS X (or rather macOS, now), tvOS, watchOS, and all they have to do now is iOS. What could possibly be announced after that?” Nothing, as it turns out. When I first read about iOS 11 in the Newsroom, I thought that they must have done it all in iOS 10. But now I realise that it’s the biggest iOS update ever.
The iPad got the biggest update it’s ever got in years. Apple kinda slowed down with the iPad after the Air 2. They did release the 12.9 inch iPad Pro, but that was really only for the pros. But then Apple announced the 9.7 inch iPad pro, with a better camera, better display, it was mostly just BETTER. The only problem was the RAM somehow halved itself. At WWDC 2016, they made a few iPad friendly tweaks, but you could see iPad was a bit of an afterthought.
Sometime between September 2016 and June 2017, Apple thought that maybe tablets weren’t completely dead, and decided to make iOS 11 a complete revamp for the iPad, and at WWDC, they made sure everyone knew that as long as they were around, the tablet would reign on.
The Apple Pencil was the selling point of the original iPad Pro. The Pro was designed for artists, and even though Steve Jobs said, “If you ever see a stylus on an iPad, there’s something wrong”, I think I must disagree with him. In the beginning, the Apple Pencil was definitely an accessory. It was the best stylus on the market, with pressure and tilt sensors, ultra-low latency and fast-charging. However, it was definitely not such an essential tool. You could draw around on notes, or get Adobe Scetch, but even though people have done truly remarkable things with it, it was definitely not essential.
With iOS 11, Apple Pencil is now kinda essential.
- Instant Notes: To jot down a quick note, just tap on the lock screen with YOUR Apple Pencil and start scribbling.
- Instant markup: To mark up a PDF or a screenshot, simply start to draw with your Apple Pencil. Done.
- Search Handwritten Notes: Thanks to AI, iOS can accurately read your handwriting, and now you can search notes that you wrote by hand
In a bit of a macOS spirit, the iPad now gains a dock. Apps you pick are in there, as well as your most recently used apps. You can swipe up from the bottom of the screen to reveal it. Tap and hold down the app to bring up some sort of 3D-Touch type widget.
If you swipe up, you get the Dock. If you continue swiping, you get the new app-switcher, which also contains the new Control Center. A cool thing about this is split-screen apps are kept in memory, so if you have Files and Photos in split-screen, you can go to the app-switcher and find them in split-screen later.
Along with split-screen, Apple introduced Slide-over, which is like split-view except it can go anywhere on the screen and the window is smaller. To activate slide over, drag an app out of the dock. To do split-view, activate slide-over and snap the window up into the screen.
Drag-and-drop is just like before, except for one thing: if you start dragging one photo, for example, you can tap other photos with your other hand and they’ll add themselves to what you’re dragging and dropping
Apple Pay hasn’t changed much, except that now you can pay person-to-person payments through iMessage. It’s in the form of an iMessage app, and all you do is set the amount, authenticate with Touch (or Face) ID, and done. Payments you receive in this way will be saved to an Apple Pay cash card, which you can use for any Apple Pay transaction.
Photos and Camera
Photos got some improvements to Memories. It can now recognise birthdays, moments in your kid’s life, and even your pets. It also got some all-around accuracy tweaks too. It can also integrate with some third-party photo-editing apps so you can take advantage of their powerful tools without leaving Photos. Live Photos also have some new tricks, with Loops, which essentially turn it into a GIF,
Live Photos also have some new tricks, with Loops, which essentially turn it into a GIF, Loop, which plays the photo forwards, and then backwards, over and over. They also get Long Exposure, which uses the video used to make a live photo to turn it into a DSLR-like exposure time
The camera got an update too. It now has some new DSLR-inspired filters, and a built-in QR scanner, something I think should’ve been there from the start.
The App Store got a complete overhaul and redesign. It now looks a bit more like the picture above. My favourite thing about it is that games and apps are now separated from each other. But the main thing is the Today tab. This is curated by the team of professional editors. There’s an App of the Day, a Game of the day, Stories of famous apps, tips and more! Explained in this fashion it seems like a gimmick, but I can assure you it’s one of the biggest changes ever in iOS 11.
The app page has been redesigned too. It now looks more like this: Yeah, it’s changed a bit too.
Siri hasn’t received a major update. It now has native translation (before it had to pull from WolframAlpha), provided you have the Siri language set to US English. It’s still in beta, so I bet you others will get in on the act in iOS 12 or 13. Siri can now grab all the information Apple Music collects about your musical tastes and can play DJ for you. Just say, “Hey Siri, play something I like!” or, “Hey Siri, DJ for me”
Finally, Siri now has a more natural voice. Most of his voices can say every word in three tones, so he sounds less like Syndrome’s tech, and more like JARVIS or C3PO.
Siri also gets some AI improvements. Apple has always (for some reason) attributed any kind of System AI to Siri, so I must do the same. And I must say, this goes to the next level. Say you’re thinking about going to Iceland, so you’re reading up on it in Safari. Then, after that, you go into the News app. Siri knows about your new Iceland obsession and sends articles about Iceland to the top of your news feed. So now you’re set on going, and you decide to invite some friends
So now you’re set on going, and you decide to invite some friends. As you text them, Siri still remembers your Iceland craze, so he prioritizes Icelandic city names in QuickType. Finally, when you confirm your flights, Siri will see that and add it to your calendar. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Apple Music got an overhaul in iOS 10, so we’re not expecting much from them. However, Apple did say you could make a profile in Apple Music, and then anyone who follows you will be able to see what you’re listening to.
One of my favourite features in iOS 11 is AirPlay 2.0. The feature everyone is talking about is finally being able to control multiple AirPlay speakers from iOS, but I think the best feature is HOMEKIT INTEGRATION!!! Let me explain. If you are one of those people who make pointless scenes like Lock Down and Red Alert to make your home feel more like Tony Stark’s mansion, think about this.
You could set your AirPlay 2.0 speakers so that every time the Lock Down scene is activated, they could play a blaring alarm tone. The only two AirPlay 2.0 speakers are the HomePod and any speakers that work with the new Honeywell Lyric controller. But you do have to have the Honeywell controller for those speakers to work (the ones that work with the Lyric, not the HomePod)
The most talked about change in iOS 11 is the control centre. Along with the redesign, you can now add custom toggles, like low-power mode, stopwatch, screen-recording, and much, much more! Beta testers have reported that 3D Touch now works with press-and-hold on iPads. I jolly well hope it’s on non-3D Touch iPhones too.
The Lock-screen hasn’t really changed, except that it now contains both your recent and older notifications. This is a great feature because what used to annoy me is that your notifications disappeared from the lock-screen as soon as you unlocked the phone, even if you hadn’t acted on them.
iOS FINALLY gets a files app. As well as iCloud Drive, it grabs files from services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and others.
Do not Disturb while driving
Apple introduced a new feature called Do Not Disturb While Driving. It uses the accelerometer and gyroscope to detect when you’re driving, and you will not receive ANY notifications. Your friends will get an automated reply saying that you’re driving and you’ll respond when you can, and if it’s urgent they can reply “Urgent” and you will get notified. You can tell it “I’m not driving” if you’re a passenger, or you can turn it off completely.
Maps only got two updates: Indoor maps helps you navigate around shopping malls and airports. Since it just came out, it’s not very widely supported, but it will work in Amsterdam (AMS), London Heathrow (LHR), Las Vegas (LAS), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), Philadelphia (PHL) and San Jose (SJC). There’s also Lane Guidance, which just tells you what lanes to be in and when.
QuickType now has one-handed typing. press-and-hold the emoji button, and it will squash the keyboard to the left or right (thank you, Apple). I suppose it’s meant for the bigger iPhones; we have a 5s at DoubleGeek and if that keyboard got any smaller I’d have a fit!
In case you don’t know what AR is, it stands for Augmented Reality. If you don’t know what Augmented Reality is, it basically mixing a virtual world with the real one, like Pokemon GO. ARKit is basically a starting point that developers can build AR on, which, according to Apple, makes iOS the largest AR platform in the world. If you still don’t understand, you can watch the demo here.
Finally, Apple introduced Easy Setup. If you are upgrading to a new iPhone and your main one is running iOS 11, just place it nearby when prompted. The two devices will talk to each other and most of your preferences will be wirelessly imported. You don’t even have to enter your Apple ID!
iOS 11 comes out TODAY at around 10:00AM PDT (so make sure you check the time difference).
Instead of making some big changes, Apple decided to stick with mostly under-the-hood improvements, and at the insistence of the marketing department (according to Craig Federigi) they named macOS 10.13 High Sierra.
Apple has switched the file system from who-knows-what to the Apple File System, or APFS. Craig Demonstrated that a Mac running Sierra would take a few seconds to copy three large iMovies, whereas High Sierra did it instantly.
They also switched HEVC for video compression, which stands for High-Efficiency Video Coding, and can compress up to 40% more.
Apple introduced a new Graphics engine, called Metal 2 (their old one was called Metal). It takes full advantage of the more powerful GPUs in today’s Macs and enables capability for Machine Learning, and this spring support is coming for external GPUs in some apps.
The new 27-inch iMac and the iMac Pro coming in December will add support for powering VR headsets, and Final Cut Pro X will also have support for editing VR content.
And, under-the-hood improvements stop right there. Craig Federighi said that while his team tried to stick with under-the-hood improvements, there were some areas where they “couldn’t help themselves”. So, here’s some on-the-dashboard improvements that you will definitely notice.
Photos gets an expanded sidebar, with all your imports in chronological order. there’s also improved editing tools, like curves and selective colours. And if you need an advanced app like Adobe Lightroom? Right-click the photo, click Edit With and then select the app. And when you do that, your changes are saved in Photos.
Photos also got the Live-Photo editing tools from iOS, the improved Memories, and improved facial recognition
Safari got a bit of an overhaul. No visual changes, it’s all under-the-hood (yes, I know what I said, now shut up!!!). You can set options for sites to always enable reader-view whenever available, turn on the built-in autoplay blocking and intelligent tracking blocker.
Spotlight Search now can search flights. Cool!
Mail now has Top-Hits, which learns what emails you need to see at any given point based on your searches. And the more you search, the smarter it gets.FaceTime
You can now take Live Photos in FaceTime. That’s it, really.
You can now add spreadsheets to notes. Not advanced ones, you understand, but still. You can also pin important Notes to the top, like Google Keep.
First off, you can FINALLY share things with people via iCloud Drive. If you have an iCloud family, you can also buy storage for them collectively, instead of individually.
macOS High Sierra is available on the 25th of September at 12:01AM PDT.
Apple TV didn’t get much stage time at WWDC, and not many new features. Here they are, in a bulleted list
- Synced Home Screen: If you have more than one Apple TV, they will sync their home-screens, so you always know where to find things
- Amazon Prime Video Support: The Amazon Prime app is finally on the Apple TV App Store! Hooray!
- W1 Chip Support: You know about the Apple-designed W1 chip, in the AirPods and some of the Beats. Instant paring, followed by syncing up with all your Apple devices. That never came to Apple TV, for some reason. Until now
- Auto-Dark mode: Remember Dark Mode from tvOS 10? Well, now you can set it to only turn on at scheduled times, or at sunset.
- TV App: The TV app, released at last year’s September Event, has been US exclusive all year, but UK support is now here.
Now, I seem to remember something about Twitter integration, but I can’t go back and check the WWDC because of this !@#$ internet. Sorry. And I also couldn’t find any info on the release date. Sorry again.
This update of watchOS is quite big. Not as big as watchOS 3, you understand, but almost. watchOS 4 focuses mainly on improvements to the Activity and Workout apps and Siri
The activity app hasn’t changed much, but it is now a bit more personal. It will send you things like “John, you’re so close to making your move goal10-minute walk should do it”, and “John, you’re only three days away from beating your move streak! Stay in there!”. It’ll also push you to achieve monthly goals, and you’ll get a special award when you do. And when you close all your rings, it’s time to celebrate!
Quick-Start workouts appear automatically, with the goal set for you. All you have to do is tap it, 3, 2, 1 and away! There’s also a slew of new workouts, most notably High-Intensity Interville Traning (HIIT), but yoga (meh) also bowling (:D)!
You can also set workouts to go one after the other, so if you’re doing a triathlon, for example, you can have a cycling workout followed by a swimming workout followed by a running workout. Also now if you swipe right, you get your music.
There’s also enhanced swim tracking, which can now record sets, breaks, pace for each break, and distance for each stroke. As swimming seems to be the only sport I can actually do, I’m very impressed. Also, when doing any workout, Do Not Disturb is automatically activated.
Finally, Apple introduced GymKit. Supported Gym equipment can communicate with the watch via NFC, and they can exchange data. If you’re doing a treadmill run, the treadmill can share data which the watch can’t record, like speed and distance, and the watch can share information that the treadmill can’t record, like heart rate and calories. Very intuitive, if you ask me.
Music now gets a snazzy scrolling card interface, last seen in iOS 6. You can also now sync Apple Music playlists, and (finally) individual albums, instead of just playlists. Another new feature is the music app will automatically launch if you activate Apple Watch while wearing AirPods. Very useful at times, and very annoying at others.
FINALLY, the Apple Watch gets a News app! Oh, Joy of Joys! Oh… I think I’ll stop now. Yes, the Apple Watch now gets a stripped-down version of the World’s Best News app. Apple News. You can’t read entire news stories on it, but the idea is that you read the first bit and then you save it for reading later on your iPhone or iPad.
On a side note, there’s also a Notes app, but for viewing only. Sorry, those if-my-watch-does-everything-my-phone-does-I-feel-like-a-secret agent people.
New Watch Faces
First off, the Siri watch face. It looks like this: It’s the classic “shows what you’re doing based on your routine and what time of day it is” drill, but as well as the usual stuff, it supports third-party apps, Activity Rings and HomeKit. It also has a Siri button in the top-right. Beta testers have reported, however, that the face drains battery compared to the others, but that was probably a beta-bug.
Following the massive success of the Mickey and Minnie Mouse watch face, Apple released a Toy Story watch face. It looks like this: Whether Woody, Buzz or Jessie appears on your face is picked at random every time you raise your wrist, and each one of them has a special little animation that they do. Mostly just for laughs.
Finally, there’s a Kaleidoscope animation, which spins when you raise your wrist. You can even add your own pictures! It looks like .Very Pretty.
Whew, I did it, and not a moment too soon. iOS 11 and watchOS 4 release in 10 hours. AAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hope you enjoyed!