About three hours of my life have disappeared with WWDC 2018’s keynote show and tell. A couple of hours watching it live on Apple TV. And another hour or so scanning back and forth for items I missed. That list is growing.
There is just no way Apple can stuff everything new for four separate product lines and platforms into a two hour presentation. Something has to give. Some things were cut. Other things never got mentioned and we’ll have to wait. Here’s my list of what I didn’t find.
The lack of a gender option in the new iPhone Memoji feature seems odd until you realize that it doesn’t take much to figure out gender or apply a gender to a generic face. Hairstyle, lipstick, beard and mustache all help, but you don’t get to choose gender right up front. That is so California but it’s only one example of what didn’t get much face time during the show.
Siri – Elsewhere on my list is Siri. Our favorite Apple personal intelligent assistant– Phil Schiller didn’t make the list– gets plenty of options, tools, and exposure on all of Apple’s devices, but gone is the very simplicity that made Siri the most used of the digital assistants (dumbness not withstanding).
Shorcuts – For example, Siri gets shortcuts. Think Automator for Siri, a set of functions that we can create or developers can create so we can tell Siri to do something for us. Trust me. This sounds better than it will be. We humans don’t want to put out extra effort to get a response to a query or request that should be understood in the first place. Apple is taking a different tack with the new Siri and I see problems ahead.
Group – This is the cat’s meow, right, FaceTime lovers? Get up to 32 FaceTime faces to connect in Group FaceTime and, well, you won’t see them all. Only four of the onscreen FaceTime bubbles appear at once, prominently displayed in higher quality video. The rest of the Group members suffer in smaller, lower resolution bubbles. FaceTime and your iPhone automagically adjust the bandwidth between users who talk the most and those who just watch.
Gestures – If you haven’t made the jump to iPhone X then you may not appreciate all the new gestures. With new iPhone X-like iPhones coming later this year, more of us with swipe and gesture than click to get this or that. Guess what? In iOS 12, perhaps as a harbinger of things to come on future iPads (hint: Face ID, no Home button), iPad gets similar navigation gestures as iPhone X.
Parents – This next list doesn’t really apply to me but I had a few friends point it out. Parental Controls are much improved and all you need to track a child’s iPhone usage is the Screen Time and your child’s name. In one location you’ll be able to monitor Downtime schedules, App Limits, what is Always Allowed, and specific Content & Privacy Restrictions. I know a number of iPhone-toting parents with iPhone-toting children who will love that.
DND – Finally, Do Not Disturb gets brought to the iPhone’s screen front and center. Literally. In iOS 11 you needed to dig and fish into settings to find DND and even then DND doesn’t apply to much except bedtime. DND gets controls in iOS 12 and 3D Touch Quick Actions make it much easier to manage the new options. DND can be turned on for an hour, or until evening, or– with location awareness– until you leave or arrive at a specific location or end of an event.
Even if you watched the WWDC 2018 keynote, it’s worth the extra time to dig through Apple’s website for more details because even Steve Jobs’ Reality Distortion Field™ couldn’t squeeze in so many new features and functions.