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Apple Wants to Wean You Off Your iPhone: News from WWDC18

June 04, 2018

  • Apple held its annual developers conference on Monday
  • It announced the release of new operating systems for desktop and mobile devices
  • It also announced changes to a suite of products, including the iWatch and emojis
2 min read

Apple didn’t announce a new iPhone, iPad, or any hardware at all, but it still managed to excite investors and the markets during its annual worldwide developers conference (WWDC18) in San Jose, California.

The company’s shares hit a record price on Monday, as CEO Tim Cook and other executives took to the stage to announce the newest features and upgrades to the company’s devices.

The conference, which draws third-party programmers from around the world–developers from 77 countries were among the 6,000 who attended, according to Cook–is one of the annual events at which Apple flexes its corporate muscle.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the most noteworthy announcements:

Updates and upgrades

Among the company’s biggest announcements is an upgraded operating system, iOS 12. The OS upgrade is designed to speed everything up, according to Apple–including the efficiency of older devices.

“We are doubling down on performance”–Craig Federighi, vice president of software engineering for Apple

“For iOS 12, we are doubling down on performance,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s vice president of software engineering during the OS’s unveiling.

A new version of the macOS, Mojave, is also on the way and will replace High Sierra, the current OS. The Mojave update includes a “dark mode” that dims various unused elements on the screen and has a number of other new features, including a new way to stack documents in Finder.

The Mac App Store–the store dedicated to Apple’s computers and laptops, rather than for iPhones and iPads–is also getting a redesign, including allowing users to rate apps, similar to its App Store.

“Digital Health” features

Apple says it’s also looking out for users, health issues, related to too much screen gazing.

A new feature of the OS, called Screen Time, tracks how long you’ve been using your device, and even individual apps, and summarizes it in a weekly wrap-up. It allows you to set time limits for yourself to limit distraction, and to make sure you’re giving your pupils some pause.

The best of the rest:

New emojis. Apple is launching Animoji characters, which allow users to turn themselves into animal emoticons, and Memojis which let you create an emoji avatar. The new emojis will make it more competitive against Snap, analysts say. Snap reportedly spent $60 million on an emoji upgrade in 2017.

Group Facetime. It’s Facetime, but for groups. Up to 32 people will be able participate on a single call.

Augmented reality. Apple unveiled its next generation of software for developing augmented reality with its devices. The new software improves face tracking and image rendering, and allows for 3-D object detection and shared, multi-player experiences.

Special mention: Apple is also retooling its Stocks app, which will now feature business news, charts and metrics, and extended trading.

“We’ve completely rebuilt the Stocks app and it has a beautiful new design,” Susan Prescott, VP of product marketing, said during the event. “Of course, you can still see the stock prices and the changes at a glance. But we’ve added spark lines — those little charts — that show the stock performance throughout the day.”

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By Sam Becker

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