Apple had their developer conference and I take a look at the updates coming to its 3 main operating systems.
Apple announced the next update to its Mac OS….High Sierra (Yes that really is the name!). High Sierra is more of an enhancement to the current Mac OS, it promises to push Apple’s fundamentals of being faster, safer and help reduce app space on its devices. One of the biggest contributors to this focus will be the replacement of the current Hierarchical File System with Apple’s File System, claiming it to be a more stable and safer whilst boosting speed.
Safari on High Sierra will now come with built-in machine learning to block ad trackers and stop auto-playing video ads. Apple also claims that Safari will now be 80% faster than Chrome on High Sierra.
The Photos app got some attention too, now providing users with tools to edit and enhance pictures without leaving to use a different application. These new tools will be available for quick access via a dedicated side toolbar that will be ever present whilst editing. Apple has taken a leaf out of Google’s book and now enables photos to sync across all your devices giving the user the ability to take them and edit in say Photoshop but still have the changes tracked across connected devices. Photos now have enhanced searches giving you the opportunity to find the photo u need more easily.
Apple’s graphics suite Metal, received an update; building on machine learning and external graphics. Metal will also start to work in conjunction with VR experiences via the HTC Vive headsets. Metal update is largely developer focused and encourages them to push the boundaries further of the Mac’s GPU.
Overall High Sierra refines, focuses and evolves the current Mac OS with small changes that culminate to give users a vastly improved experience.
The new iPhone set to be revealed this Autumn, WWDC took the wraps off iOS 11. The most important update to 11 is related to iPads and the introduction of a dock similar to that seen on the company’s Macs. The dock will track recent apps and also enable the user to pin most used or favourite apps for easy access. This feature enhances the ability to turn an iPad into a legitimate laptop replacement. Multitasking is improved with drag and drop on the iPad, allowing apps to dragged from the dock onto the screen to take up a split screen view. The notion and iPad being an enlarged iPhone seems vacant with these vital additions in 11.
Moving away from iPad, iOS 11 redesigns the control centre, gone are the menus which are now replaced by quick control widgets incorporating straightforward actions increasing usability. The control centre not only now combines system controls, shortcuts and music controls in one place, it now brings in notifications into the fold.
Siri is now smarter; using contextual learning it is able to deliver more relevant answers to the questions posed. Siri reviews searches and actions carried out by the user on the device to later give suggestions or associated information. Apple now takes on Google with Siri being able to carry out translations, although Google has got a few years of deep learning built in. A minor addition to Siri is the ability to choose a male voice. The voices are now more lifelike to encourage greater engagement with Siri.
One of the cornerstones of iOS, the App store has received a refresh in 11 after many years of the same design. The App Store focuses on bringing daily app picks to the user which are relevant and may be useful. Apps and Games have been separated into tabs to give the user choice and refinement when searching for the desired application.
Need to pay a friend? Apple pay in iOS 11 now lets you transfer funds person to person without the need for an app. This will have the likes of Paypal and Venmo worried as they have been the go-to apps for this particular function.
No iOS update will be complete without new features added to its camera functions. Apple live photos bring both loop and bounce features to apply to your pics. These are commonly seen on Instagram and iOS 11 has made it that much easier to create these pics. A host of new filters are being added…everyone could use more filters. Long exposures are coming to iOS giving you the ability to get motion blur on point and really make your photo stand out and look professional.
Apple Maps now goes inside with internal building floor plans for one to navigate through huge labyrinths of shopping centre and airports. Again this is a common feature seen on Google Maps and Apple look to jump on the feature train.
iOS 11 will release this autumn although a beta will be available for developers to take advantage of the new features coming on board.
WatchOs now gets clocked up to version 4. Watch faces are the biggest change with a whole host of designs becoming available to the ever popular Mickey Mouse one released a few months back. Joining Mickey will be Woody, Buzz and Jesse from Toy Story movie franchise. Siri also gets a watch face but with incorporated machine learning it has the ability to display relevant information and smart home control.
Fitness tracking will be coming to WatchOs with a new user interface, improved workout app and even greater compatibility with exercise devices. Gym equipment with NFC will now be able to connect with Apple Watch giving users, even more, insight into their workouts and a place to aggregate all the data.
WatchOs is a minor refresh of a solid OS, will it boost sales of Apple watch? I doubt it, but what I do envisage is people who already own one to utilise the features more.
Apple this time around evolved well established operating systems and this sets up well for their upcoming hardware releases.
Tech Off Melon!!