Thatâs all from us here, but Olivia Solon in San Francisco has condensed it all into one nice piece.
Tim Cook wraps things up
And thatâs it! Tim Cook comes back on stage to run through the previous updates, and give the standard rubric: updates will be available this autumn, and the developer betas will be available today.
The show ends with a montage of video interviews with loved ones of app developers, including the backstory of Yelp, who are currently fighting Google in nearly every venue going over the latterâs monopoly power. Is that a pointed decision by Apple? Could be.
Are macOS and iOS merging?
âThe fact that the Mac and iOS share so much technology has led people every year to ask us the question: are you merging macOS and iOSâ Federighi asks, before offering a one-word answer: âNoâ.
But, he notes, Mac users not only run Mac apps, but also web apps, and games â built on cross-platform tech. Why not also let them run iOS apps?
In developer terms, this means that UIKit, the tools used to build iOS apps, will shortly be getting a Mac version. As I guessed below, News, Home, Stocks and Voice Memos are the test versions of that.
Developers will get those tools in 2019, Federighi says. (Thereâs a notable lack of applause from a typically very cheery audience to this particular news. Iâm not sure developers really wanted this feature.)
The changes that came to the iOS app store are making their way to the Mac App store next, which is getting editorial content, autoplaying videos, and recommendations.
More importantly, Apple has won round some big App Store holdouts, including Microsoft, Adobe, Panic and BBEdit.
It will be interesting to see whether these companies are coming purely because of the promise of fancier graphic design, or if Apple has also changed its business model to solve some of their issues. An inability to offer paid updates, the 30% cut Apple takes, and the limitations of the Mac App Store security features have all driven away developers historically.
Apple is turning off Facebookâs ability to track users
A big one: Apple is turning off Facebookâs ability to track users across the web through like buttons and comment feeds. Federighi doesnât cite the social network by name, but reassures users that iOSâs intelligent tracking protection will now cover that content as well. If this is enabled by default, it could have a wide-ranging effect on the companyâs ability to track its users.
And the tracking protection is also making it harder for data companies âto uniquely identify your device and track youâ, limiting the information about things like fonts and system configuration that third parties can find.
Appleâs rolling out iOS-style permissioning to Mac apps, Federighi says. Apps will have to individually gain permission to access things like the camera.
Next up, Apple News, Stocks, Home and Voice Memos are launching on the Mac. There isnât really much to say, here: itâs Apple News, Stocks, Home and Voice Memos, but on the Mac. This does suggest, though, that rumours of a crossover between iOS and macOS may be true â these apps do look very similar to the iPad versions. Weâll see.
OK, so, dark mode wasnât really the flagship feature. Next up is âdesktop stacksâ, which attempts to save people who keep all their files on the desktop from themselves: the hundreds of files you store there will now be simply and easily grouped by type.
The Finder itself also gets a slight rehaul. A gallery view replaces the old coverflow, letting you cycle through (and lightly edit) files in the document manager itself.
(As Federighi demonstrates a new screenshot tool, thereâs also a glimpse of the new Safari which features real icons again, something users â well, me â have been calling for for a while.)
Continuity, Appleâs name for the mac/iOS crossover features, gets a focus: Mac apps can now call directly to the camera on the phone, letting users take a picture automatically from apps such as Keynote.
Finally, the Mac. First off, the name. With Apple having followed a California location naming theme since it ran out of cats, the companyâs gone from the mountains to the desert: macOS 10.14 is called Mojave.
The flagship consumer feature, Federighi demonstrates, is a dark mode. It makes your Mac dark. It looks good! It even changes the default desktop background from a daytime shot of the desert to a night-time one.
Watch down, AppleTV next â looks like macOS is being saved for last, which suggest that something macOS-related might be dropped as a trademark âOne More Thingâ. Not much to report, though; most of the work on Apple TV still seems to be behind-the-scenes, as Apple hammers out content deals:
- The Apple TV is getting Dolby Atmos support â first promised in September 2017.
- Some pay-TV providers, in France, Switzerland and the US, are launching on Apple TV, letting users finally fulfil the one-box dream for their live TV.
- Some of those providers now support âzero sign-onâ authentication, which is nice.
- Nice screensavers using footage filmed from the ISS.
New watch features
On to connectivity â a function of the Apple Watch that the company has downplayed in recent years, in favour of focusing more on the health and fitness tracking.
The leading feature here is a walkie-talkie mode, letting users talk back and forth using the watch like, well, a walkie-talkie. It looks quite fun, and potentially â for a device which is still very weird to use as a real phone â actually more useful than the calling feature.
Beyond that, a grab-bag of new features:
- Appleâs improved the Siri watch face, a promising feature which launched last year but failed to live up to its lofty aims of offering only the necessary information on your watch. Siri shortcuts will now show up there, and so will information from third-party apps.
- If you lift your watch to speak into it, you no longer need to say Hey Siri to start Siri.
- Apple Watch apps can now push interactive notifications, letting you do things like rate a carshare driver, or alter a restaurant booking.
- The Apple Watch can now display web views â not to browse the net, but so that you can at least scan links texted to you.
- The Apple Podcast app is launching on the Apple Watch.
Scratch that â Lynch arrives back after a brief demo to confirm that third-party apps will now be able to play background audio, which should be a big driver of Apple Watch use amongst the Spotify set.
Notably, the Apple Watch still hasnât received a few updates that developers and users have been begging for, including the ability to stream audio from third-party apps like Spotify or Overcast.
Overcast developer Marco Arment is happy:
Thatâs it for iOS. The second hour begins with the Apple Watch, as Tim Cook hands over to Kevin Lynch, who starts by talking about the health and fitness features:
- You can now start seven-day competitions against friends on the activity app.
- The workout feature now supports Yoga and Hiking, as well as improved features for outdoor running.
- Automatic workout detection detects when you start a workout even if you forget to actively start it â and also if you forget to actively end it â for a few select types of workout.
Facetime, a much-loved feature thatâs received little attention in recent years, is getting an update: group calls.
A group can be as large as 32 people, which seems unwieldy, but certainly potentially useful. Tiles grow and shrink automatically depending on whoâs talking.
And, oh God, Animoji has made it into Facetime as well. This is nightmarish.
Animoji is getting a new âtongue detectionâ ability, as though the creepiest feature from iOS 11 needed to get creepier. You can also personalise your own âmemojiâ. Animoji unsettle me on a visceral level. I think Iâm in the minority here, though.
You can also add iMessage stickers on to the camera app, and turn your head into an Animoji superimposed on to reality. I hate it I hate it I hate it I hate it.
Time Well Spent
Federighi back, and heâs turned to the âTime Well Spentâ movement. âWe might not recognise just how distracted weâve become,â he says, in a not-so-subtle dig at social networks like Facebook and Twitter. So, three updates to help that.
Firstly, Do Not Disturb During Bedtime will now deliberately not show you notifications if you open your phone at night, allowing you to check the time and get back to sleep without worrying. Do Not Disturb will also allow you to activate it on a timer, or leave it on until you leave an area.
Secondly, the company is overhauling notifications, lifting one of Androidâs best features, grouped notifications, letting those 47 WhatsApp updates get bundled together into one entry.
And the new OS also lets you change your notification settings directly from the lock screen, from disabling noises to turning off notifications altogether. Siri will also suggest that you may want to disable some notifications if you donât click on them for a while.
Finally, a new Screen Time app offers you monitoring and insight on how much time youâre spending on your phone, and where youâre spending it â even down to how often youâre picking up your phone, and which apps are sending you the most notifications. You can also set app limits, voluntarily curtailing your time on the most habit-forming apps (a feature demonstrated through Instagram).
That app will also be usable as a parental control toolbox, since parents can control their kidsâ screen time in just the same way that adults can control their own.
Federighi hands over to Susan Prescott for lightning updates to a few of Appleâs smaller apps, News, Stocks, Voice Memos, iBooks and CarPlay.
News is getting some new views, and being incorporated into the Stocks app. The Stocks app is coming to the iPad.
The Voice Memo app is also coming to the iPad, with a total visual redesign âand iCloud support so your recordings stay in sync across all your devicesâ.
And iBooks is being renamed to Apple Books, with another visual redesign, bringing it in line with the App Store.
Finally, CarPlay now supports 3rd-party navigation apps like Google Maps and Waze.
Siriâs turn in the spotlight. Apps will now be able to make âShortcutsâ for the voice assistant: add a shortcut to Siri, and you can record your own trigger phrase, which will then be able to activate at a word from you.
Siriâs personal assistant functionality is also getting a boost: apps that you use regularly will be able to push suggested actions to your lock screen. Order the same coffee every day? Eventually that shortcut will just appear on your homescreen.
And if youâre a power user, youâll be able to use a new Shortcuts app â which looks an awful lot like a reskinned version of Workflow, an app that Apple bought last year â to make your own multi-step version of the feature.
(Again, youâd be safe in betting that a lot of this is done on-device, and barely any data is exposed to Apple in the process)