Spotlight on software at Apple's annual developer conference

Apple unveiled software upgrades that would let older iPhones run faster, helps users manage how much time they spend with their devices, and make make it difficult for advertisers to track users of Apple devices.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook speaking during the WWDC 2018 keynote address.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook speaking during the WWDC 2018 keynote address.ST PHOTO: TREVOR TAN
 Apple software chief Craig Federighi showing off the Screen Time app in the upcoming iOS 12 during the WWDC 2018 keynote address.
Apple software chief Craig Federighi showing off the Screen Time app in the upcoming iOS 12 during the WWDC 2018 keynote address. ST PHOTO: TREVOR TAN

SAN JOSE - Apple announced new software for its devices during its annual worldwide developer conference (WWDC), which kicks off on Monday (June 4) at the San Jose McEnery Convention Centre.

At the start of the WWDC 2018 keynote address, Apple's chief executive Tim Cook said: "Today will be all about software".

True to his words, no new hardware was announced.

As expected, iOS 12 is announced for iPhones and iPads, macOS 10.14 for Mac computers, watchOS 5 for Apple Watches and tvOS 12 for Apple TVs.

IOS 12

During the presentation, Apple's software head Craig Federighi said that Apple "will be doubling down on performance" for the upcoming iOS 12.

Mr Federighi said the apps on three-year-old iPhone 6S Plus will launch up to 40 per cent faster and have up to 50 percent faster keyboard display, and a 70 per cent faster camera performance compared to iOS 11.

In addition, iOS 12 introduces updated augment reality (AR) kit for developers, known as ARKit 2. One exciting app available in iOS 12 is the new AR app, Measure. It allows you to measure objects by using your camera with AR.

Another exciting addition to iOS 12 is the introduction of Memoji. It is essentially a personalised version of Animoji, or animated emoji. There will be new Animojis as well, such as ghost, koala, tiger and T.Rex.

To prevent smartphone addiction, Apple has introduced a new Screen Time app in iOS 12 for iPhones and iPads.

The app provides users with detailed information to allow them to control the time they spend on apps and websites. The app will even prevent them from using an app, if they have already exceeded the time limit that was set.

It also gives parents access to their children's activities on their iOS devices and limit the times they can use the devices.

Other improvements in iOS 12 include new search and effects suggestions for Photos app, Siri Shortcuts for third-party apps and Group FaceTime.

MACOS 10.14 MOJAVE

Codenamed Mojave, after the Mojave desert in California, the upcoming macOS allows users to switch to Dark Mode. This transforms their desktop to a darkened colour scheme allowing the focus on user content, which is great for photographers, video editors and coders.

Mojave will come with an all-new Mac App Store with a revamped design that makes it more user-friendly. There will be new tabs, such as Create, Work and Play, so users can easily find the apps they are looking for.

In addition, Mojave will feature a new Gallery View that allows users to easily browse through files with a big visual preview. It even displays a picture's metadata.

Other improvements include new apps imported from iOS like News, Stocks, Voice Memos and Home. Mojave will support Group FaceTime as well.

WATCHOS 5

The main highlight of the upcoming watchOS 5 is probably the Walkie-Talkie. With just a tap, users can quickly communicate with their friends and family on the Apple Watch. This feature works via Wi-Fi or cellular.

For fitness buffs, watchOS 5 enables users to invite another Apple Watch user to compete in a seven-day Activity competition. New workout activities- yoga and hiking- have been added to the current 12 dedicated workouts.

In addition, auto-workout detection provides an alert to start the correct workout and even gives retroactive credit. It will also remind the user to end workout sessions after a period of inactivity.

Other highlights of watchOS 5 include support for Apple Podcasts and enhanced notifications.

TVOS 12

While tvOS was not given much time at last year's WWDC keynote address, tvOS 12 got much air time this year.

With tvOS 12, Apple TV 4K will be the only streaming player that supports both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos for great visuals and immersive sound respectively.

Aerial screensavers of beautiful landscapes and cityscapes are a favourite of Apple TV users. And with tvOS 12, there will be a new aerial screensaver of Earth shot by astronauts onboard the International Space Station.