WWDC19 Apple, what have you got up your sleeve for us today?
We are only a few hours away from Apple‘s annual developer conference. For Apple fans one of the (two) most important day(s) of the year.
I really enjoy watching these conferences. Even-though it feels as if these meetings have become more of an evil necessity to the larger tech giants, they do show us what will be coming our way in the upcoming few months.
We’ve become accustomed to incremental software updates and developments. But I cannot help but hope for Apple to dazzle us with spectacular new features that will leave us „star struck“ for a some time. The Cupertino-Company is the largest consumer electronics company in the world; claiming their crown through groundbreaking hardware (and software) innovation.
Is today going to be a day that will place Google, Microsoft, Samsung and Huawei in the shadow, once more? Or will we be utterly disappointed to get the „regular old updates“ of features their competitors have had for months or even years?
What to expect
As a consumer, I hope to see a couple of new and/or improved tools that will make my life easier. Whereas as a tech-enthusiast, I can help but hope Apple will present us with new features that will blow us out of the water.
i-Devices are capable of much more than we use them for. Augmented Reality for one, is still in its infancy. It would be nice to see Apple show off some of their AR capabilities and customer-centric applications.
(Update) We did not see anything with regards to Apple’s VR-capabilities today. It is probably due to the fact that they are saving it for the hardware releases. The thing is, I would have loved to see more practical applications of the Apple Software ecosystem – Animoji’s are “nice” and all, but hardly change the way we use our devices.
All-in-all, the focus of the keynote was very much on the end-consumer. A little gimmicky and did not get technical until Apple introduced the new Mac Pro.
Where is WhatsApp is the Messenger are use most frequently I would much rather use iMessage. However it lacks some of the capabilities that other messengers have developed over the years. iMessage has not seen a tremendous amount of improvements in recent years and it is said that we will be seeing a couple of new improvements today.
Will we be seeing a new addition of profile pictures and the ability to work with threads?
(Update) Yes, we will see some updates to iMessage. We’ll soon be able to add profile pictures to our iMessage accounts and Apple is adding some much needed “WhatsApp-Style” features. Most changes are cosmetic, though. I did not feel as if iMessage was given new killer features that other messengers do not have.
For example, the fact that we’ll be able to add Animoji-stickers, is hardly a selling point for me.
I personally love the simplicity of mail. I am someone who sends a lot of emails every single day and is used to communicating by email. However, for many who have used Microsoft outlook or any other emailing apps, Apple Mail is an inferior product. It focuses mainly on the core features of sending and receiving emails and makes sure that mails look good. But, that is basically it.
A complete overhaul of the mail app could be in the making. This is of course something that will not only affect iPhones but also iPads, and iMac alike. It goes without saying that I applaud any improvements to the stock apps we have on our i-devices. And Mail is one of the apps I use most.
(Update) Mail is getting some significant improvements. The most important one is Rich Text Editing. The text editor on Mail has always been somewhat limited and even-though a few simple keyboard shortcuts did help to mark up the text, it never had a full text editor.
iOS Dark mode
I am personally not a big fan of dark mode on my phone or any of my devices for that matter. Apart from the minor battery improvements that we can apparently get using dark mode, I find it more difficult to navigate my devices and find the things that are important to me. Hence, I would rather see improvements in other fields of iOS then get a dark mode. However, I do know that this is desired by many iOS users.
9-to-5 Mac already reported that WWDC 19 will most likely be the day we are presented with a dark mode for iOS. They have even shared some initial screenshots. The screenshots show that the iOS dark mode is an in-app dark mode. The core desktop, or home screen application itself appears to be unaffected by dark mode.
(Update) So it’s been confirmed what we already knew, iOS and iPadOS (yes, that is the new iPad operating system) will get a dedicated dark mode. Apple seems to be very proud of how beautiful it looks.
I’ll have to wait and see whether or not I actually prefer to use a dark mode. In broad daylight I usually prefer a white background so that the call to actions and my text pops nicely on the screen. A dark mode might save a little bit of battery and is easier on the eyes at night, but I am not sure I would really want to use it during the day.
To name but one example: I have started to prefer using Apple Music over Spotify due to the light and bright background. Spotify is not always that easy to navigate and I simply prefer brighter apps. (And I am convinced my headphones sound a tad better using Apple Music for some odd reason).
iOS 13 And iPadOS
Dark mode will probably come with iOS 13 and everything that that entails. The software improvements could really help us bring useful features to our devices.
I personally think that security and privacy will be big topics at this year’s WWDC 19. All big tech companies are talking about security and privacy as their main selling points. I think Apple won’t be much different. To what extent any new privacy features will be incorporated in iOS 13 we will have to wait-and-see.
(Update) Okay, so all of these features come with iOS13, but there is one bit and fantastic “but,” the iPad has outgrown the iOS capabilities and will be given it’s own OS-platform called iPadOS (okay, not the best of names, but who cares).
The iPad is the future of computing as Apple puts it. I would not disagree. I absolutely love my iPad Pro and would much rather work on my iPad exclusively, than carry around a laptop and iPad every day. The iPad does everything I need, but there are some software limitations.
Some of these have been addressed in the first iPadOS release. To name one of the things that stand out: Safari will become more powerful and serve the desktop versions of websites as it’s default instead of the mobile versions. Next to that, there is a new file system that helps us to download files directly from the browser and store them in a central place.
Furthermore, the iCloud file storing system has been updated and will get more of Mac feel to it. We’ll also be able to share iCloud folders, directly from our iPads.
Not to mention, the screenshot features will improve (including taking full page-screenshots) and we’ll be given new three-finger controls for copy pasting virtually anything as well as “undoing” our last action on the iPad. All-in-all one of the most exciting parts of the keynote and a great step forward for the iPad ecosystem.
The end of iTunes
The end of an era is (finally) here. Buying and owning music is a thing of the past – paying to access it is the way forward. It is more convenient, creates a greater lock-in effect and continuous cash flow; hence, “we” love subscription models more than having to buy single items.
Today is said to be the long awaited communication around the end of iTunes.
The question is: What will we get back for it instead? A new gaming subscription platform? Or improvements to Apple Music?
(Update) Yes, it is official, iTunes = out. I don’t think there is much more to say to that. We’ve started to use the AppleTV- and Apple Music apps. Nobody buys music anymore – simply because they really do not have to.
I am glad they’ve pulled the plug on iTunes, it cleans up the number of products they have quite a bit and I’ve never really used it. Well, apart from the odd – “please authenticate your credit card on iTunes” message that did not want to go away. I wonder where Apple’ have us do that in the future.
Hardware, Mac Pro upgrade
For those who want some real power, the Mac Pro is still the best way to go. Laptops have improved tremendously over the years and iPads have as well but many people work at home behind a desk. The Mac Pro hasn’t seen a serious upgrade in years. It is a small power computer that packs of real punch. Perfect for graphic designers, architects, or anyone who needs real computation power.
It would be nice to see apple introduce a piece of hardware we haven’t seen coming at all yet. Of course they have their product release cycles, but that doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t be great to see if they would break them for once and really surprise us.
(Update) With all this talk about software, thank god Apple introduced some new kitchen appliances to the game. The most powerful cheese grater in the world is what they call it. The Mac Pro is a beast of a machine, basically a really really fancy desktop computer. Nothing like the small and cute trash can of a Mac Pro it brought out a couple of years ago.
If you are in the market for the best hardware out there, have a look at it. The Mac Pro’s prices start at 5.999 USD, not the cheapest piece of hardware – but if you really need it to work on Video’s (cinematic movies is probably the better word for it) or you work with extremely large data sets, this machine is certainly for you. Any regular user can happily wait for the new product releases in 6 months.
What would you like to see?
I think I could go on and on contemplating about what we might be seeing in a couple of hours. But I think I would much rather wait and see what is going to happen and report afterwards.
What are some of the features that you would like to see Apple bring to the table tonight?
(Update) The most exciting part of the Keynote was iPadOS to me. I love my iPad and I hope it will get the software it deserves. This is a step in the right direction, even if the features they showed were not huge changes, these would improve my personal user experience a lot.
Of course there was a lot of talk about privacy, too. As all tech giants are going on and on about the fact that they basically know nothing about you anymore and let you decide how you want to share your precious data. Apple is no exception to the rule.
Some features like the “sign in with Apple” are going to be great for consumers, a big challenge for companies, though. But at the end of the day, software is there to make our lives easier. I hope they’ve thought these topics through for both the end-consumer as well as businesses.
An exciting day goes to an end and it was a great kick-off to the WWDC19. Looking forward to the in-depth sessions in the days to come.