Stocks App, Seriously?

June 04, 2018

While I’m getting ready to dive into the real keynote from a developer’s perspective, the platforms state of the union, here’s my quick take on this morning’s keynote.

No Device Left Behind

iOS 12 will support all the devices currently supported by iOS 11, and Apple say they’re specifically focusing on performance improvements for those old devices. Great news for members of the real world who don’t get the highest end new iPhone every single year. This, along with apple again showing how quick they are to get everyone to update, should help us drop older OSs sooner as we won’t fear cutting off users of popular devices.

ARKit 2.0

This saw my first wishlist item ticked off with 3D object detection, but even more exciting is the multi-user shared experience support that was demoed. That could be a game changer for AR.

Siri

There had to be big news about Siri and thankfully there was. Shortcuts for Siri are more like defining a macro rather than Siri understanding the real meaning of your words which was SiriKit’s original pitch, but it will enable us to bring Siri to almost any app. If we take the example of a mobile network self care app, we can now create a shortcut to say ‘check my balance’ or ‘top up my credit’. Surfacing those shortcuts on the Siri watch face will be especially powerful I think.

The shortcuts app for chaining together multiple actions from different apps looks like what we’ll be getting out of the Workflow acquisition. It looks promising, will definitely be one to dig into more a bit later.

Managing Your Screen Time

Surfacing data about how much you’re using your phone and empowering you to take control of it is something the company I work at, Marino Software, helped pioneer with the Vero app and it’s great to see Google at I/O and now Apple bring system level controls for this.

watchOS

New abilities for interactivity in notifications look great. More and more I’m coming to think that notifications are the watch apps we want, not actual watch apps. I like the idea of getting a low balance reminder and being able to select an amount and top up all from a notification on your watch, that’s the sort of thing we’ll be able to bring on watchOS 5.

WebKit was announced for watchOS, which may seem like sort of a strange one (who wants to read a web page on their wrist?) but there have been times when I’d have loved to be able to follow a link or have a quick read of something that it was a pain to go take out the phone so I think this is a win. Could we have WebKit on tvOS next please?

Another Wishlist item that got checked off was better audio support, looking forward to improved apps from Overcast and Castro.

Apple TV

Speaking of tvOS, there was a whole section on it … but I can’t remember them showing off anything by way of new developer features, I’m hoping for more in the state of the union for sure.

macOS

I couldn’t believe the stocks app was getting so much air time in the keynote and was worried at first that they were really struggling for filler but in the end it all made sense, they’d ported these apps from iPhone to iPad and the Mac using the much rumoured but even after today not terrible well understood new cross platform project. I strongly believe that apps on different platforms should have different UIs and I really don’t want to see a bunch of iOS apps showing up on Mac, so I’ll need to see more detail on this, probably at next years WWDC before I’m sold on it being a good thing.

Dark mode on Mojave looks great, I’m generally not a fan of dark modes and I like my white background and dark text in Xcode but I know a lot of people will love this, and it looks like they done a good job on it.

Being Next Door

I’ve watched this from next door at The Next Door conference, a much more relaxed atmosphere, with much less (no) queueing, it was much cheaper, the lunch was much nicer, and it was easier to get talking to new people. It’s been great so far and I’m looking forward to the rest of the week here.

I’m really glad I’m here, but I’d still rather be at WWDC!