On Monday, Apple made its traditional annual software announcements during this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). While what’s of interest might vary, here’s the high points (to me) of what was announced.
The next version of iOS comes out this fall. Among the features announced include “group FaceTime,” or the ability to chat on FaceTime with up to 32 people. I’m guessing it’s Apple’s attempt to compete with video chat software like Skype or Google Hangouts. Of course, since FaceTime is limited to Apple devices, that’s a disadvantage versus Skype and Hangouts.
There’s also improved support for older devices. iOS 12 will support all devices iOS 11 ran on, which stretches back to 2013’s iPhone 5S. That’s a lot better than the current state of Android device support—Motorola dropped future Android upgrades for my Moto G phone months after I bought it.
For those interested, there’s also a bunch of augmented reality improvements, including a new Apple-made format.
Apple is rolling out version 5 of watchOS. While there’s a lot of upgrades, what’s getting the most buzz is a new “Walkie Talkie” feature. Walkie Talkie lets you chat with other Apple Watch users, akin to Dick Tracy‘s two-way radio/TV wristwatch.
That said, not all Apple Watches will benefit from watchOS 5. Support for the original Apple Watch is being dropped.
Screen time controls
iOS will gain new and improved screen time controls meant to promote digital well-being for kids and adults. It’s meant to be a way to discourage spending too much time staring at iPhones and iPads, or avoid being disturbed at certain hours.
Apple also announced the latest upcoming macOS release, “Mojave.” Features coming to Mojave include:
- An overhaul to the Mac App Store, basically making it more like the iOS App Store.
- A “dark mode” option for macOS to make reading text easier on the eyes.
- Increased privacy features, including:
- Safari blocking share buttons on websites (the kind you see at the bottom of my blog posts)
- macOS making it harder for sites to “fingerprint” your Mac’s hardware.
- Improved support for developers to port iOS apps to macOS.
MacRumors reports that Mojave’s dropping support from basically all late 2000s-era models save the 2010 model Mac Pro. Support’s mainly for Mac models released from 2012 onwards.