WWDC 2018 starts at June 4th and is less then 2 weeks away. It is the very first (and probably only) WWDC I will attend in person (I won a scholarship) so I am pretty excited. But the rumours suggest a pretty small update, at least for iOS, so I just want to sum up my thoughts and expectations about this years conference.
Lets start with iOS. For years the iOS update was the highlight of the WWDC keynote. This could be different this year. Back in January it was [rumoured] that iOS 12 will focus on reliability and performance. This is a very welcome change since especially iOS 11.0 had quite a few issues for a lot of people and some highlighted features from WWDC 2016, like Messages in the Cloud, are still not available to end-users. Laying a foundation for a big update next year sounds like a very good idea.
Watching the keynote for Google IO and the new features of Android P one thing that catched my eye was Googles take on digital wellbeing. We all spend to much time with our phones. Giving the users more insights on how he as spent his time is a great feature, one that I hope Apple integrates as well this year. This could also be coupled with more parental control.
The framework I am most excited about is ARKit. Apple just recently introduced ARKit 1.5 in iOS 11.3 with support for image markers, vertical planes and support for higher resolution and autofocus. I hope the continue this path and introduce ARKit (2.0?) with iOS 12. One feature ARKit is currently missing are natural markers. Other frameworks, like [Vuforia] or even Metaio before they were bought by Apple, allow to find objects based on 3D edge models. This allows virtual content to be registred in the world without the need for image markers and is probably how Apple has built the AR demo in the Apple Park Visitor Center.
WatchOS is the one area where I have the biggest hopes for. Most watchOS apps today suck. I only use a handful of them and many developers, like for example Twitter, are removing there Apple Watch companion apps.
Marco Arment wrote a great post about [the problems of watchKit]. He suggests one solution: Getting rid of watchKit and giving developers access to the same APIs Apple is using for the stock apps. I fully agree. As long as Apple does not open up the Watch, for apps as well as for example third-party wallpapers, the Apple Watch will only be a fitness tracker and notification helper. Will those changes come in watchOS 5 in June? Maybe. Probably not. But a boy can dream, right?
I don’t own a HomePod (yet). But for what I have read it suffers from the very same problem as the Apple TV. It only allows one user.
Both devices are made for the living room or the kitchen, where the whole family comes together. It should be used by the whole family. But that is not a great experience. Both with music and with TV shows on the TV all your viewing history gets added to a single, linear place and only syncs to one iCloud account. This is not a real problem for me and my so for TV shows, since we mostly use the TV for shows we watch together and our iPads for the rest, but it will become a problem if we ever get a HomePod. This showed when we tried to add the AirPods to the Apple TV. Mine were already paired through iCloud. But when we manually paired hers through the Bluetooth interface they were added to my iCloud account causing a whole lot of problems. True multi-user support would be a welcome change.
People like to complain about Siri. I only ever use here for reminders, alarms and timers. I don’t see much more use cases for personal assistants right now (also the Google Duplex demo was really great, from a tech point of view). The one thing I really dislike about Siri is the fragmentation. Why can’t Siri set a timer on the Mac, or control the lights. Why can she add a note on my phone, but not the watch? Apple should find a way to make Siri more integrated on all my personal device, so my Watch can execute commands on my phone, the Mac or the HomePod.
I think we will mostly see improvements and not that many main new and shiny features. But its gonna be exciting anyway. I am really looking forward to a great week in San Jose!
What do you think? Get in touch with me on micro.blog!