By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
If you were hoping for a preview of the latest Modular Mac, or get the release of a redesigned MacBook Pro, fixing the problematic keyboards that have prompted several class action lawsuits from users, well, you were disappointed. Today’s WWDC opening keynote presentation was all about software, and in the Tock phase of the tick-tock development cycle, we got several new housekeeping improvements, and features that can only be described as “fins.” And for filmmakers … well, there’s a few cool things, but on the whole, there wasn’t a lot to get jacked up over.
Apple CEO immediately told the crowd that “Today it’s all about software,” and he wasn’t kidding. Starting off with a sneak peak of iOS 12, Apple fan favorite Craig Federighi said that Apple has spent a lot of time fine tuning the OS to make it faster and smoother to operate. “We’re doubling down on performance,” said Federighi. “Apps launch 40% faster. Keyboard 50% faster. Camera 70 percent faster.”
The most useful feature, in my mind, was the AR Measurement tool, which enables you to use your camera to measure objects with an augmented reality tape measure, even in 3D space. So you can get the square footage of a room, measure a wall or doorway, or even measure an object in all dimensions. It’s by no means a new feature, there are apps that do it, but it will be native in iOS12.
Animojis also got expanded now with a few new characters, including my favorite – T-Rex, and something called “Memoji,” which enable the user to create a custom emoji of themselves. Users will also be able to use those animoji’s in real time (including the game breaking feature of “tongue tracking” – rolls eyes) and also incorporate them into not only messages, but also FaceTime. And with Fun Effects to the Messages camera, users can apply the Memoji to your message camera live in the next step towards with live motion capture.
Apple Facetime also now offers a Group Video chat feature for up to 32 participants that can best be described as Google Hangouts meets Messages. The person talking becomes one of the largest on the screen and it all works automatically. But 32 people? That’s a lot for an iPhone screen. But it also works for iPad and audio only in Apple Watch. I guess we have to wait a little longer for that true Dick Tracy video watch experience!
iOS12 also gets sharing suggestions, so you can take a picture and then Siri will suggest you can share that image with others in the picture, as well as ask for them to share back. Users can also get a report on how long they are spending with their phone, broken out by app, and you can even set your own app use limits to try and wean yourself off time sucking activities. There’s also a remote parental control feature to manage your kids’ mobile use.
Set operations will get cleaner as Walkie Talkie live chat will come to watchOS. It’s very similar to the old Nextel architecture of the 90s, only without the 6 mile limit. So users can talk live. But there isn’t a group function, yet. I expect that’ll happen down the road now that the door is open.
In streaming, the AppleTV4K is now going to support Dolby Atmos at Home, and all movies you own through iTunes will be automatically upgraded to the new feature support, like they did last year when AppleTV4K was launched. There is also a new zero sign on feature, so users won’t have to activate their device with every app.
Lastly, we got to macOS, who’s new name is MOJAVE. And with the new desert theme, comes Dynamic Desktop and a “dark mode.” Post production artists will appreciate this option since it will take the harsh, bright color scheme and invert it to be easier on the eyes in dark, ambient conditions. And Mojave will also change as the day moves, getting slowly darker automatically.
“Stacks” is another new feature, which enable users to stack icons and arrange them according to type, tag or kind to reduce screen clutter, and “Continuity Camera,” which enables the user to take a picture of a subject with the iPhone and drop it into your macOS app right where you need it. Metal adds support for external GPUs for video editing and LIVE 3D Rendering, which post production houses will appreciate, though Final Cut Pro doesn’t have external GPU support just yet, so the feature’s reach is a bit limited for now.
Security wise, Apple’s macOS Mojave also introduces disabling like, click and share features on websites since users can track your activity through them. They are off by default and you have to opt-in to use them. Mojave also offers a simplified system configuration so trackers can’t track your individual devices and spy on you. All macs will look the same from a tracking perspective. This feature is also coming to iOS12.
Apple’s Craig Federighi also emphatically declared that macOS and iOS are NOT merging, but of course, that usually means that they are, and he showed how macOS developers will be able to use several iOS features to make it easier to move iOS apps to the macOS platform.
And that was about it. There was a few other features, including fitness updates that allow users to use competition to work out and close their rings, but all in all, this WWDC is all about fins and making your existing software faster and more secure.
So we’ll have to wait until the Fall to get a peak at the latest Apple hardware, and I have a hunch that’s going to be the norm from here on out.