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Apple WWDC recap: No hardware, it’s all about the software

“Today is all about software,” announced Apple CEO Tim Cook as he set the tone for this years WWDC at the keynote address in California earlier this morning.

Apple announced a slew of software updates to iOS, MacOS and WatchOS.

Here are our highlights from the event.

iOS 12 – Stop using your phone!

Picture of a black iPhone X on a table

It may sound a little counterintuitive, but Apple has released a feature designed to help people use their phone less. iOS 12, the latest operating system for phones and iPads, will have a new app called the ‘digital health dashboard’.

The dashboard can be configured to set limits on screen time and has an improved ‘do not disturb mode’ which groups notifications together, so your phone isn’t vibrating every two seconds.

This feature is similar to Android’s digital wellbeing feature announced at Google I/O in May.

Elsewhere, iOS gets a bunch of smaller updates including a new ‘measure’ app (ditch the tape measure for this digital version), 32-person FaceTime video chats (that would quickly get out of hand) and third-party navigation app support for CarPlay, (finally, Uber drivers rejoice).

MacOS Mojave – Improved security and cosmetic upgrades

Picture of a black Apple MacBook

‘Mojave’ is the newest version of MacOS and comes with a few minor updates. Safari, Apple’s web browser, is receiving a security upgrade and now blocks “social media ‘Like’ or ‘Share’ buttons and comment widgets from tracking users without permission”. Safari can also suggest hard-to-guess passwords when users are creating new accounts for things like online shopping.

A purely cosmetic update is coming with ‘dark mode’, a new feature which makes everything charcoal/black for stealthy operation.

Apple has also added the News, Stocks, Voice Memos and Home apps to MacOS.

WatchOS – ‘Friendly’ rivalries

Picture of two Apple watches, a white one on the left and a black one on the right. Both screens display the word ‘talk’

Now you can take your ‘friendly’ rivalries to a whole new level with ‘Activity Competitions’, available on the latest WatchOS. Friends can compete in seven-day challenges and receive ‘coaching notifications’ as they vie for bragging rights.

The novel ‘walkie-talkie’ mode will help you embrace your inner secret agent as you talk into your wrist. Users can communicate with other Apple Watch wearers “around the world over wi-fi or cellular”.

All in all, the WWDC keynote was somewhat subdued. The software updates are all ‘nice-to-haves’, but nothing groundbreaking was announced. Here’s hoping Apple has some cool new hardware to show off at the Fall event in September.

About the author

Sam loves the biggest screens, the loudest speakers and pretty much anything else tech related.

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