I have spent today going over, in my head, what we saw at WWDC yesterday. Let’s pull it apart shall we…
Are we at peak OS yet?
I wrote, last night, that I was not altogether sure whether I was impressed by WWDC or not. We were shown a whole lotta stuff, but then I got to thinking how much of it will I actually use?
I am no tech genius, but I reckon I use my iPhone in a reasonably advanced way. I also love new tech, updates, and gadgets. But…some of the whizz-bang features we were shown, left me wondering if there was a real-world use for them?
I have this sneaking feeling that may be, just may be, we are at max OS round about now. All the OS are already great, but the time is surely right for the endless possibilities of AR to be advanced. It will not be a quick transition, that is for sure. If you recall, folks were slow to move from iPods to iPhones, but now, just look! The iPod finally waved goodbye last month, and life without iPhone is pretty unthinkable. I have never worn AR/VR gear, and from all I hear, be it glasses or a full headset, it will take some getting used to…but, that surely is the future. The countdown sort of starts now! So, are we seeing the final polish on what we have come to take as cutting edge, or am I the one out of line here? Maybe iOS really does have life left in the old bones yet.
What I thought I’d do here, is look through some of the highlights from WWDC and leave you to think and let me know, how much use some features will truly be.
iOS 16 – the highlights
The new lock screen does look pretty cool, that I will admit. Yup, I can see me spending a little time personalising one or may be two. But…overnight, there seems to have been this conversation starting, whereby, you’ll link various lock screens to numerous Focus Modes. Really? Surely, there are better things to do with your time? These screens can now be so personal – you can change fonts, colours, layouts, and of course add widgets too. By the time you’ve done all that for one or two lock screens, time to move on, I’d say!
I am not feeling the hype for Live Activities either. I guess it’s pretty neat to get a rolling, live update of a sporting event I am into, rather than endless notifications, but it’s hardly life changing.
Now, I am a big fan of Family Sharing, and have written about it too. But again, the shared photo album for the family, dropped wide of the mark for me. I guess it’s a neat little feature, but, one that I was not aware I was missing, and not one I can see getting a lot of use from me either.
The ability to edit or un-send a recently sent message is brilliant. That I can see me, and plenty of others, using a lot (the edit in particular). Even the new SharePlay via Messages I reckon may be useable in everyday life. I have never used it with FaceTime, but with Messages, it feels, somehow, less intrusive. I am excited about the all-new Intelligence feature. This allows you, from your device, to cut out a subject from the background and drop it right in to a Message. Neat – if it works as well as the demo showed, that is.
Live text from video, Shortcuts, Dictation, Smart Home, Key Sharing….these all fall under the umbrella of not much real use. Or, is it me out of step? What do you think?
The new Fitness app for iPhone got my attention. Still not an Apple Watch owner, it will let me slowly enter the fabled world of Fitness Rings. It’s like the gateway drug to Apple Watch, right?
I use CarPlay daily, and yeah, the new design does look neat. But you’ll need a new car that supports it! That is a helluva an investment! I mean, at that point, Apple should think about making the whole car…oh, wait…!
So, there is iOS 16 in a nutshell. Out of all that was announced, in my world at least, editing and un-sending Messages, the Health app, and the Intelligence feature are the only things that, I feel, will translate to regular-Joe kind of use. And for you?
Most of what we saw as improvements to iPadOS was either already part of iOS or coming from macOS Ventura. The improvements to Mail, Messages, Photos, SharePlay – are all part of iOS already. The only feature that seemed to benefit the iPad user much at all, was Stage Manager – but that is in macOS anyway.
Weather on iPad should have been there years ago, and the Reference Mode for iPad will be useful to only a handful of users.
Still no major overhaul for iPadOS to better utilise the screen, which it has been screaming out for, and still no mention of Logic, Final Cut, or any pro apps coming to iPad anytime soon.
macOS – Ventura
Thankfully not named ‘Mammoth’ as rumoured! I am so happy about that! Any improvements to Mail and Spotlight will be gratefully received. The ability to now use Handoff to transfer FaceTime calls from device to device appeals. It may actually make me use of FaceTime more frequently.
The big one for me, though, was Continuity Camera. You can now use the powerful rear-facing camera on your iPhone as a webcam (via a Belkin stand). That is genius. Admittedly, I think it is Apple openly saying our webcams are a bit rubbish, but even so, this feature is cool. And, by using the wide-angle camera, and some fantastic AI, you now get a ‘top-down’, desk view as well. Continuity Camera sounds stunning, and that I cannot wait to get my hands on.
But, that was pretty much it as far as I could tell in macOS. Gaming, Freeform and the new layout to System Settings – not stuff to write home about, right?
You guys with Apple Watch got some new workout views, new faces, workout summaries and swimming enhancements. Apple Watch is already the market leader in wearables, but, again, how much more is achievable with a watch? Any ideas? Sleep and Medications were either improved or introduced, but are they useful every day?
Hardware & M2
We didget the new designed MacBook Air with an M2…well, we did, and we didn’t. It’s announced, but not available until July. I was ready to buy that the moment it was announced. I literally had the credit card in my hand, but nope, the chip shortage put paid to that.
I will be checking back early July – I want to see what creative, and real-world benefits M2 brings. I’ll be pitching up against my M1 Max, so it will be intriguing to see how a base M2 fares against a machine nearly 4X the price!
And the let-downs…
No mention of the AR/VR Headset orMac Pro. They are running precious tight on time to transition the Mac Pro within their two-year window, so may be that will now get its own moment in the sun. I’d be willing to wager a bet, that both of these got no mention due, in some part at least, to the dear ol’ chip shortage. I’m sure it must have something to do with it!
And no mention either for tvOS! What has that done to offend, I wonder – or maybe they think tvOS is as good as it can get already!
When you scrape away the glitter and tinsel of WWDC, how much of what was announced through the very long, two-hour event, either impressed you, or you can see yourself using regularly? Are you itching to get iOS 16 on your device? If so, what features are getting your Apple juices running the most. I’d love to know. And the event as a whole…good or bad?
Maybe though, like me, you think we are kind of reaching an OS plateau. What we have at our fingertips is already mighty impressive. Is there truly a need for that much more, or will you just mostly revert to using the same features day to day anyway?
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