This week is Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference and the keynote was on Monday.
The keynote is an opportunity for Apple to share what is coming from the Software teams this year. This year there were updates on iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS – no hardware was presented this year.
Here are the things that stood out to me and my thoughts after one viewing of the Keynote:
Siri Shortcuts – Now we know what the Workflow team that Apple bought awhile back has been working on. The current versions of Workflow or IFTTT give users the ability to string together a bunch of commands/actions do to automation – but is not simple and there is a steep learning curve. One that the average user probably does not try to tackle.
Shortcuts are Apple’s take on making automation simple for the masses. The challenge will be having simple samples that someone new to automation can use to see the power of the tool and then get started making their own.
Oh – and it needs to be reliable and predictable. I am excited to try it out.
News – Meh, starting to use the current version to become familiar with it and see how relevant it is to me, but it is not my primary method to get news – RSS feeds are.
Do Not Disturb – Liked the new features. Looking forward to having finer control over who can break through Do Not Disturb. The ability to deactivate Do Not Disturb after a set period of time or when leaving a location sounds great – but demos always sound great, I need to see how does it work in the real world.
Notifications – Liked the recommendation feature identifying notifications to deactivate – and then ability to modify the notification rules right from the notification. Also the grouping of Notifications and the ability dismiss multiple notifications at once is a time saver.
Memoji – Meh. Seems like something you do a couple of times because it is cool/fun, then never to use again. I have used animoji maybe 2-3 times. I don’t see myself using Meoji – not that vain 😀. Also feels like a copy of Samsung’s personal emoji that they introduced awhile back. Different style and maybe more granularity when creating your Memoji, but similar feature.
New animoji are meh.
Group FaceTime. I don’t ever see myself participating in a FaceTime call with 32 people 😉 , but could see using for calls with my parents, siblings, and/or kids. Not often but a possibility.
New activities – Like the new hiking activity
Workouts – Like the idea of automatic workout detection and the ability for it to ‘remember’ what you had already done and apply it to the workout. And also the ability to auto end the workout. But when ‘automations’ meet the real world they don’t always perform as expected. I am hopeful this works as presented, but need to see how accurate and consistent it is.
Alerts to start and end workout give you the choice to start/stop based upon what it thinks it wants to do. They seem not as challenging to implement so they may be more accurate.
Walkie Talkie – Great demo and a feature that sounds great at first but I have some questions. Can anyone ‘walkie talkie’ you at any time? Do I have the option to accept the audio before it plays? I can see the audio going off in less than optimal times. Need more details on this one.
Siri – The ability to raise your wrist and just talk is pretty cool talk. I know not having to say two words – ‘Hey Siri’ – does not seem like much, but every syllable counts. 😏
Podcasts This one I am really excited about. I listen to lots of podcast using Overcast. Overcast had an appleWatch app but it was pretty much useless – so much so the developer removed the feature.
But if the new apis give the developer the ability to significantly improve the experience – adjust volume, sync podcasts, stream podcasts – this is a huge win.
Currently if I go walking and I want to listen to podcasts I have to take my phone – no more if this feature delivers. 🤞
Zero sign on – Awesome if you provider is supported – which Comcast is not. So will not be able to take advantage of this feature.
Screen saver – They are now identifying the locations of where the screensaver was shot. It is a question I always have when I see a cool scene. There are websites that tell you where they were shot, but the ability to get the info while you are watching the scene is handy. And the new Space Aerial videos look really cool. Sometimes I just sit and watch the scenes unfold – now there are even more scenes to watch.
Dark Mode – Not sure why I like dark mode so much – maybe because it is easier on the eyes? But I really like the feature on a number of the iOS apps that I use. Having that functionality brought to macOS is great. But (you knew there was a but coming) how pervasive across the system and 3rd Party apps will it be. Having it work in some apps but not all of them can be jarring, especially if you are working in the dark and all of the sudden you get a bright white screen.
Screenshots – Taking screenshots is something I do almost daily. Any improvements to the flow are much appreciated. Like the ability to markup the screenshot without having to go to a separate app (Preview) to make the edits.
iOS apps on macOS – There were lots of rumors about this feature. We now have 4 apps ‘ported’ from iOS to the Mac – Stocks, Notes, Home, and News. I am not a bigger user of these apps so I might check them out. Interesting to see how the development tools handle the ‘merging’ of iOS and macOS.
Those are what caught my attention. What did you see that you liked?