Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook speaks at the Apple Worldwide Developer conference in San Jose

INTERNATIONAL - Apple held its annual WWDC event led by CEO Tim Cook, where he introduced all the latest updates for iOS 12 and the new macOS.

Here are some of the top highlights:

1. Siri gets updated

Siri will be updated with a suggestion feature which will allow it some app actions that it thinks you may want to do based on your smartphone usage behavior. A  new Shortcut app will let you add your own action as well if you want to customise an action, such as an order at the coffee shop with all your specific dietary preferences.

 You can combine multiple actions as well, such as what radio station to play or a text message to your kids letting them know you’re on the way. You can also combine the shortcuts with third-party devices, such as a Tile, so you can ask it to locate lost items with your own personalized trigger phrase.

2. iOS 12 

One of the features coming to iOS 12 is a digital health dashboard that leaked last week, which Apple says is designed to help stop smartphone overuse. There is also a Do Not Disturb feature for when you’re heading to bed.

There is also a new group notifications feature and an option to set a timer for how long you want to use apps daily.

iOS 12 will also allow users to set allowances for managed devices of children.

3. MacOS Mojave 

Apple is continuing with its macOS naming structure after beautiful landscapes, with macOS Mojave. The new operating system brings Dark Mode, which not only turns Finder windows black, but it comes with an inverted look to XCode. 

It also includes a new Safari feature that blocks tracking sites like Facebook’s Like and Comment feature and asks you to allow it to appear when you’re browsing a website.

Apple will also only give sites a “simplified system configuration” to help prevent them from being able to identify and fingerprint your device for advertisements. The Mac App store is also getting a redesign that features new sections that better highlight video previews, ratings, and editor’s choice picks.

Some new apps coming include Office 365, Lightroom CC, and B

In productivity, Mojave will add a bunch of quick actions, such as organizing your desktop by Stacks to clean up all the files sitting around or choose to watermark multiple files or sign a PDF document just by selecting a menu option from the sidebar. 

In Keynote, a neat new tool lets you sync up with your phone so you can snap photos and automatically add them to the document. Home is coming to Mojave as well, so you can adjust all your smart home gadgets from a Mac dashboard or ask Siri on the desktop to make changes.

4. WatchOS 5 

The new update will allow you to challenge friends to fitness competitions, get digital awards, and record workouts retroactively in case you forget to press start or if workout tracking doesn’t start automatically.

Apple’s adding WebKit for watchOS so users can browse some websites on the Watch, such as a restaurant menu optimized for the tiniest screen Apple sells. Podcast support will also come to the latest Apple Watch OS, as well as interactive notifications such as Siri Suggestions and Shortcuts.

There’s a new Walkie-Talkie feature coming as an Apple Watch app. Once you grant permission for a contact to send you a message, they can drop in and send you a voice memo.

5. Dolby Atoms available Apple TV 4K

Dolby Atmos support is coming to Apple TV 4K. 

According to Apple, it will update its iTunes library to include Dolby Atmos on supported movies, TV shows, and music videos for free. The Apple TV will also support cable service with Charter Spectrum, as well as Live News and Sports channels on the app.

Charter Spectrum support is expected to arrive late this year, where Apple TV will also provide “Zero Sign-On” to let you automatically log into streaming account without requiring secondary authentication.

6. Memoji and new Emojis 

Apple announced hat Animoji is getting updated with tongue detection, new characters, and the ability to create a custom Animoji that looks like you, called Memoji.

Now, where you would normally select Animoji, swipe right and click on the add button to create a custom Memoji. You can build a virtual version of you from the ground up, picking things like freckles, skin color, hairstyle, and accessories like glasses and earrings.

It can then be saved to use within messages like a regular Animoji, or even overlaid on your own face when taking a selfie. Memoji comes a few months after Samsung unveiled its own version of Animoji with AR Emoji on the Galaxy S9. 

Along with the addition of Memoji, Animojis are getting their own updates.

A ghost, koala, tiger, and T-rex have all been added as options, and it now has tongue detection, allowing for even more expression.

7. Apple CarPlay 

CarPlay is Apple’s in-car interface for iOS.

Starting in iOS 12 later this year, Apple’s CarPlay will no longer force you to use Apple Maps to get directions. 

Instead, you’ll be able to use navigation from any third-party app, like Google Maps, Waze, or whatever your mapping app of choice is. CarPlay already supported third-party apps in other scenarios. However, mapping has been one of those classic cases of Apple locking everyone into using its own service.

8. Porting iOS apps to macOS in 2019

The company will be making it easier to port iOS applications over to macOS at its WWDC.

Apple has already been testing its new frameworks, with the recently revealed News, Stocks, Voice Memos, and Home apps that Apple introduced with Mojave all actually being ported versions of the iOS apps. 

According to Apple, the cross-platform porting is made possible by integrating elements of iOS’s UIKit frameworks directly into macOS, alongside the existing AppKit framework used on desktop.

The cross-platform porting is still in development, with Apple promising to release the functionality to developers sometime in 2019.

9. Apple’s ARKit 2.0

Apple announced at WWDC the next generation of their ARKit, ARKit 2.0 will come with improved face tracking, 3D object detection, and realistic rendering. It will have a new multiperson mode for AR games and another mode that allows for virtual objects to be placed in an area and remain in place. 

Apple also said that it has teamed up with Pixar to create a new AR format, called USDZ. The new format is a zero compression, unencrypted zip archive supported across iOS, so objects in AR can be shared and experienced in Safari, Mail, or anything else that’s part of the Apple ecosystem.

 Adobe also announced it will have native USDZ support in Creative Cloud. This means anywhere you see an icon that designates something can be viewed in AR, whether it’s in News, or even when shopping for items in Safari, you can tap on it to interact with the object, zoom in, or perhaps even see what it would look like in your own home.

As part of the new AR update, Apple also introduced a new app called Measure, which allows for taking the dimensions of objects, measuring lines across surfaces, and detecting rectangles. 

10. No new Hardware 

Unlike last year’s conference, which consisted of many hardware updates, Apple had no new hardware to show off at all.  No iPads. No MacBooks. No Macs. No Mac Mini and no new iPhone.

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- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE