Today is the tenth birthday of Apple’s App Store, which is hard to believe. It makes me feel my age just a bit as I type this. On the one hand, it’s hard to remember the world of mobile devices and smartphones before it, because it is so much a part of everyday life today. On the other hand, I also remember the Summer of 2008 like it was yesterday.
While Apple is bringing us lots of handy and interesting new feature additions in iOS 12, it is Siri Shortcuts that shows the most potential to enhance how we use their mobile devices. This broard range of new features promises to bring AI and machine learning capability front and center for iOS users, give us more flexibility to create remote actions, and also give developers a better chance to integrate with Siri.
In short, Shortcuts has the potential to change the way we see and use Siri. That makes it a potential game-changer for Apple. However, right now it is still just potential. Will it be realized?
Almost a week out from the WWDC Keynote, the reviews of Apple’s new software features and improvements are overwhelmingly positive. Their focus on performance and small details will benefit all users, not just those with the latest devices. Siri got what could turn out to be a huge boost from the new Shortcuts feature, which will be opened up for developers to finally get real access to Apple’s digital assistant. Apple also focused some well-deserved attention on macOS to round out a Keynote full of new goodies.
However, despite all of the welcomed additions, there were several things that people were ether hoping or expecting to see that we didn’t get on Monday. Let’s take a look back and some of the misses from WWDC.
Yesterday’s WWDC Keynote certainly wasn’t as exciting and feature packed as last year’s, especially thanks to the lack of new hardware announcements. However, it did bring us a pretty solid set of new software features and improvements. There were also some things that were oddly missing in action, but for this segment, I’m going to focus on the positives. Let’s take a quick look back at the Keynote.
The WWDC Keynote starts at 10 AM Pacific on Monday, June 4th. That translates to 11 AM Mountain, 12 PM Central, and 1 PM Eastern Times.
How to Watch
Streaming via the Web
If you are using a Mac or iOS device, you can livestream the video using Safari. Just go to this address and check it out live. It may also be possible to watch the stream on other platforms using a recent version of Firefox or Chrome. If you are running Windows 10, you can definitely use Microsoft Edge to get your live view.
Streaming via the WWDC app
If you prefer native apps to Safari on your iOS device, just download the free WWDC app in advance of the event, and the livestream will be available for you to stream.
If you have an Apple TV, the livestream of the Keynote will be available via the Events app.
While live-blogging was necessary to follow Apple events before we had access to live video, they still remain quite popular. Many tech sites and Apple blogs still do this because there are plenty of Apple users who prefer the sense of community direct interaction you get with the live information and opinion from experts on site.
Here are a few notable liveblogs for your viewing pleasure:
The Mac Observer
The WWDC Keynote is tomorrow, and predictions are everywhere. Although, just like mine, most seem to be nothing more than guesses. Some may be more educated than others, but it feels like there is even less solid information out there this year than last, and that’s saying something. Apple may struggle keeping hardware a secret, but they seem to have the software side down on lockdown.
I’ve covered predictions relating to Siri, the iPad Pro, the Apple Watch, iOS 12, and Services over the last three weeks. Now, as we enter the final stretch toward the big event, here are some of the best of the rest that I hope we will see tomorrow.
We are now one week out from the WWDC Keynote, so the rumors should start to pick up a little in the coming days. As with all of the recent editions of this event, iOS is expected to be the star of the show. However, it’s a little harder to say how far the improvements will reach after Mark Gurman reported earlier this year that the bulk of new features have been pushed off until iOS 13, and that iOS 12 will be more centered on fixing bugs and increasing stability. According to this report, Apple will now focus on the next two years of iOS development at a time, rather than force-marching its engineers to meet constant and sometimes unrealistic one-year features delivery deadlines.
This move is disappointing in a way, because the report made reference to some BIG improvements that may have been on the roadmap for iOS 12 before Craig Federighi stepped in, including redesigned Home Screens for iPhone and the iPad. I’ve been wanting to see this for the last three years, so it was disappointing to see how close we were to finally getting them. However, in the long term, this is probably the right decision, and it should deliver us a consistently better and more stable iOS. So with this news from February fresh in our minds, what can we expect to see next week?
The WWDC Keynote is only two weeks away, so we should start hearing bits and pieces about what will be covered at the event. However, if last year is a guide, we should also expect some surprises. While there were rumors of a new 10.5″ iPad Pro leading up to WWDC 2017, no one knew about the new iPad-specific features that were coming to iOS 11.
The 2018 WWDC Keynote is just a little over three weeks away. Apple routinely gives us about two hours worth of new software, hardware, and services. With the past as a guide, we can expect to see all of the latest on macOS, iOS, watchOS, and tvOS. We will also see any updates that are coming to Apple’s services, such as iCloud, Maps, News, and Music. Hardware announcements and previews come and go, but I would expect to see the new iPad Pro at the very least.
As we move closer to the Keynote, I’ll be making predictions/wishlists on several of the things that I think we will or won’t hear about on Monday, June 4th. I am going to start the ball rolling with one of Apple’s biggest weaknesses at the moment- Siri. There is absolutely no doubt that we will hear a lot about what Apple is up to to improve the service. The question is, how will it go? Does Apple have anything real and tangible to show us?Will it be more window dressing like the last few years, or will we see something more this time.
The rumors of a new iPhone SE 2 have reached the point where its release seems to be a foregone conclusion. According to Japanese website Mac Otakara and known leaker Benjamin Geskin, the new phone should appear sometime between early May and the WWDC Keynote on June 4th. All of the reports rolling in seem to agree that the SE 2 will include a bump to the A10 Fusion processor, and will keep its current form factor and four inch screen. Based on that, a modest press release rollout next month ahead of WWDC seems more likely.
An interesting entry detailing exactly how Apple’s “Hey, Siri” feature works appeared in the Apple Machine Learning Journal yesterday. It definitely is NOT light reading (especially as late in the evening as I read it), but it is definitely a fascinating look under the hood of a feature than many people use quite often. The article also details possible machine learning techniques that may be used in the future to improve this feature.
As for me, I rarely used “Hey, Siri” when it was released with the iPhone 6, but find myself taking advantage of it much more often since the release of the original Apple Watch. I also use it anytime I fire up the HomePod to listen to music at home, and I do use it with my iPhone when I am in the car, as well. When and where Apple customers choose to use “Hey, Siri” will vary based on personal preferences, but its convenience means that most of us will in some way or another. This makes it both a crucial part of how Siri works, and of how effective we perceive Siri to be.