On Monday, June 4 at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT, Apple will kick off its annual WWDC conference with a keynote in San Jose, California. In all likelihood there will be updates to iOS, MacOS, WatchOS, and tvOS; hardware announcements such as new Macs; and news about Siri and other AI developments. And if we’re lucky, Apple will have successfully kept an utter surprise or two under wraps until the event begins.
Fast Company’s Mark Sullivan and Harry McCracken will be liveblogging the WWDC keynote from San Jose—with color commentary from some of their colleagues—right on this page. Whether or not you tune into Apple’s livestream, we’d be pleased to have your company as we provide instant analysis and commentary.
Harry McCracken06.04.183:21 pmShare This Update
The keynote has ended, with the traditional thanks to Apple employees for the work shown off here today.
It’s always dangerous to express opinions about an event like this before you’ve had the time to digest it a bit. Apple didn’t announce anything radically new today; instead, it introduced lots of little things. More of them than some pre-keynote scuttlebutt might have led you to believe.
Upshot: If you like seismic changes or new hardware (of which there weren’t any), this was not the WWDC keynote for you. But if all you want is to get more out of Apple devices you use, the morning wasn’t the snoozer some expected.
More thoughts to come on Fast Company. Thanks for joining us, everyone.
Mark Sullivan06.04.183:09 pmShare This Update
“Are we merging Mac and iOS?–No!” said Apple’s Craig Federighi, responding to rumors leading up to this year’s WWDC. “Of course not,” he said. Federighi said that the framework underneath apps for Mac and apps for iOS are different, making it hard for developers to port them over. Apple has begun an internal program that is making the frameworks more alike. Federighi said Apple is testing the new framework internally, and that developers will be able to use it soon.
lisajaycox06.04.183:08 pmShare This Update
CreateML might be a *huge* step forward for scientists working with machine learning. You can now train vision and natural language models as well as bring your own data.#WWDC
Craig Federighi is announcing a bit of AI news aimed squarely at all the developers here at WWDC: a technology called Train M that lets software engineers use a Mac to do the training—such as teaching a computer to recognize images of something in particular—in minutes rather than hours.
Harry McCracken06.04.183:01 pmShare This Update
One of the reasons the Mac App Store has never quite changed everything in the way its iOS counterpart did is that a lot of high-profile third-party apps have not been available through it. But Adobe Lightroom, Bare Bones’ BBEdit, Panic’s Transmit, and others are finally coming to the new, better looking, and more carefully curated store in MacOS Mojave.
Mark Sullivan06.04.183:00 pmShare This Update
Apple is giving the Mac app store an upgrade–from the ground up, Apple says. The store has a new look and feel, and will borrow many features from the iOS app store. There’s more stories and collections featuring preferred apps. Auto-play videos show how apps work before you download them. A news left nav bar divides apps into purpose areas like work, play, and create. Apple has already added a new API that enables trusted reviews of the app. Microsoft productivity apps will show up in the app store later this year.
Samir Abady06.04.182:58 pmShare This Update
The new Mac App Store
Harry McCracken06.04.182:56 pmShare This Update
Apple’s emphasis on privacy isn’t restricted to its mobile devices. MacOS Mojave will lock down a raft of hardware elements until you give an app permission to access them. It will also warn you when you click on something like a Facebook share button on a web page. And it will make it harder for web sites to “fingerprint” you so they can follow your wanderings around the internet. (These new restrictions also apply to iOS 12.)
Mark Sullivan06.04.182:52 pmShare This Update
Apple redesigned the News app for the Mac, making it look more like the new News app in iOS. The desktop app stocks (situated with business news stories). Apple threw voice memos into the News app as well.
Samir Abady06.04.182:51 pmShare This Update
Continuity Camera in MacOS
Mark Sullivan06.04.182:49 pmShare This Update
Some content that’s made on the desktop just begs for shots from the iPhone camera. The new feature lets the user take a picture or scan a photo and have it immediately appear in a document on the desktop.
Samir Abady06.04.182:48 pmShare This Update
Screen recording in MacOS Mojave
Harry McCracken06.04.182:47 pmShare This Update
In MacOS Mojave, the QuickLook file preview feature’s new tools look incredibly useful—especially the ability to trim video, which will save me time over and over and over again over the course of a year.
The new macOS Mojave adds stacks to the desktop for better content organization. A new “Gallery View” makes it easier to previewing images, presentations, and other documents. The metadata on each is easy to get to. A “quick actions” feature lets you quickly edit and share. You can also make custom automated action that lets you do things like watermark photographs. A new “Quick Look” tool lets you mark up PDFs or quickly edit or crop images or videos.
Samir Abady06.04.182:43 pmShare This Update
Stacks as seen in MacOS Mojave
Harry McCracken06.04.182:41 pmShare This Update
Tim Cook introduced the MacOS section of this keynote by reminding us that Apple loves the Mac. I believe him, but my sense from talking to Mac fans and Twitter and elsewhere is that they remain skittish about Apple’s commitment to its most venerable platform, even after the company unveiled a ton of new Macs at last year’s WWDC.
Mark Sullivan06.04.182:41 pmShare This Update
Apple’s Craig Federighi said many of the new features in macOS Mojave were inspired by pro users. It added a “dark mode” that turns down the lights and makes various parts of the graphics pop off the screen. “Dynamic Desktop” makes the desktop change gradually throughout the day, mimicking the color sets of the times of day.
Zero Sign-In is a great idea and certainly removes some pain with AppleTV’s setup. May not be a sustainable advantage–I would not be surprised to see Amazon Fire and Roku work to do the same rather quickly–but it’s a worthy example of pushing the legacy cable TV business into the future.
Harry McCracken06.04.182:32 pmShare This Update
Cable companies in France and Switzerland let you use an Apple TV as a cable box; Charter Spectrum here in the U.S. will do the same later this year.
Last year, tvOS got single sign-on, which let you sign in once to authenticate video apps available to you through your cable subscription. With the new version of tvOS, “zero sign-on” will do the same automatically and transparently, starting with Charter Spectrum.
Apple is also working with home-automation companies such as Crestron to make their remote controls compatible with Apple TV.
Samir Abady06.04.182:30 pmShare This Update
Live sports and news come to Apple TV
Harry McCracken06.04.182:28 pmShare This Update
We’re worked our way through Apple’s operating systems to tvOS, which powers the Apple TV. It’s adding Atmos, Dolby’s technology for 3D-like sound: Use an Apple TV with an Atmos-compliant sound system, and you’ll get the effect. Rare for Apple to give so much stage time to another company’s technology.
Apple TV is also getting live sports and news, bringing the channel total to 100+. (Still way, way behind Roku.)
Mark Sullivan06.04.182:26 pmShare This Update
Students at some colleges will be able to link their student ID cards to their Apple Watches when they hit campuses next fall. They’ll be able to use their Watch to get into dorms or dining halls or libraries. This is an important development because it will lead to the same kind of functionality for more types of people and facilities.
Samir Abady06.04.182:24 pmShare This Update
Student ID cards come to WatchOS 5
David Lidsky06.04.182:21 pmShare This Update
Developer Marco Arment, who created one of the most popular indie podcast apps in Overcast and who was an early adopter to Watch, apparently in reference to Apple Podcasts coming to WatchOS 5:
Apple decided to take it one step a time when it added streaming content to the Apple Watch. It started with music first. Streaming podcasts had been a real blind spot, but Apple corrects that in watchOS 5. So you’ll be able to listen to your favorite podcasts on your Watch and AirPods during your run.
Harry McCracken06.04.182:18 pmShare This Update
Since the Apple Watch was announced in 2014, Apple has revamped its interface in multiple ways in search of something that’s both simple and powerful. Looks like the company may be reasonably happy with where WatchOS 4 landed last year—WatchOS 5 doesn’t seem to radically rethink anything about the experience, interface-wise.
Samir Abady06.04.182:16 pmShare This Update
WatchOS 5 interative notifications
Mark Sullivan06.04.182:16 pmShare This Update
You can view web content in Mail or Messages. Apple doesn’t believe people want a full web experience on the wrist, but that they’d like to be able to see some things.
Harry McCracken06.04.182:15 pmShare This Update
iOS 12’s new Siri Shortcuts are available from the Siri watch face on Watch OS 5—ones you’ve created yourself and ones provided by third-party developers. Looks like a great addition to one of the watch’s best features, albeit one with potential to be a lot more powerful than its been so far.
Samir Abady06.04.182:14 pmShare This Update
Walkie Talkie Feature
Mark Sullivan06.04.182:13 pmShare This Update
The Apple Watch is getting a new communications mode–Walkie-Talkie–that’s a real time mode that works over cellular or Wi-fi. Yep, it’s like talking to another Watch user as if you were both using walkie-talkies.
Samir Abady06.04.182:13 pmShare This Update
WatchOS 5 Running Features
Mark Sullivan06.04.182:11 pmShare This Update
Apple said Apple Watch is #1 of customer satisfaction, and that sales of the Watch grew 60% last year. Apple announced a number of new changes to the devices operating system, watchOS 5.
You can now challenge your friends to an exercise competition. This is similar to what Fitbit has done with step count challenges.
The Apple added a new workout types for yoga and hiking. For runners, the Watch will now show them when they are getting off the pace as well as a steps per minute metric called Cadence.
The device now gets automatic workout detection based on heart rate and other data.
Samir Abady06.04.182:08 pmShare This Update
Harry McCracken06.04.182:08 pmShare This Update
Kevin Lynch is stepping us through WatchOS 5. I’m wearing my first-generation Apple Watch today in honor of WWDC, though in recent months I’ve found myself using my Garmin VivoActive more often. Hope the new software runs well on my old watch.
Maja Saphir06.04.182:04 pmShare This Update
David Lidsky06.04.182:02 pmShare This Update
Apple just beat Facebook to group video chat with Group Facetime. Facebook has been testing a Houseparty knockoff, and now here’s this. 1) Will Facebook now rush out its product before Apple? 2) What’s with all the social stuff? How long until Apple relaunches its ad network and the ability to target individual consumers?
Maja Saphir06.04.181:59 pmShare This Update
Harry McCracken06.04.181:58 pmShare This Update
New Animoji-based effects for Messages.
David Lidsky06.04.181:56 pmShare This Update
Apple just knocked off Snap and its Bitmoji service with Memoji. This is surprising, and I wonder if this signals that Apple is inching its way forward toward more social messaging and seeing opportunity in that market in a way that Apple hasn’t flirted with since Ping.
Harry McCracken06.04.181:56 pmShare This Update
Here’s the Animoji section of this keynote, which some of us aren’t afraid to admit we’ve been waiting for. There are new Animoji, including a tiger, a ghost, a koala, and a T-rex, and the ability to make your Animoji stick out its tongue.
More important, a new feature called Memoji lets you customize an Animoji to look like you. You can even add earrings or tint sunglasses. Samsung offered something like this in the Galaxy S9, but it wasn’t within a country mile of offering Apple’s polish.
Maja Saphir06.04.181:54 pmShare This Update
Maja Saphir06.04.181:52 pmShare This Update
David Lidsky06.04.181:52 pmShare This Update
Apple has joined the time well spent movement. The enhancements to Do Not Disturb look smart–something I might actually use. The batching of notifications–also smart. Not sure anyone will be digging through this new usage report, but the ability to set limits to app usage is a great idea. Apple wants you to feel good about its phone, and although its growth is tied up, in part, in selling more services (like in-app purchases in games), Apple seems focused on the big picture here.
Mark Sullivan06.04.181:50 pmShare This Update
Apple has redesigned its iBooks app, and it will now be called Apple Books.
lisajaycox06.04.181:50 pmShare This Update
Apple is one of the few tech companies, on account of its business model, that can take a stand on digital addiction/distraction. Good step; but a long time coming. #wwdc
Craig Federighi is back to talk about features designed to make your iPhone less intrusive. (Google hit this theme at I/O with Android.) Do Not Disturbed is getting beefed up with functionality like a bedtime mode which winds down notifications. Something called Screentime provides detailed breakdowns of how you use your phone and which apps are sending you the most notifications. You can also set app limits. Parents can set “allowances” to control how much kids can use a particular app, a category of apps, or the whole phone.
CarPlay will now support third-party navigation apps such as Google Maps and Waze. Nice example of Apple knocking down part of one of its walled gardens.
Maja Saphir06.04.181:43 pmShare This Update
Harry McCracken06.04.181:43 pmShare This Update
There will FINALLYFINALLYFINALLY be an iPad version of the Voice Memos app. (I’ve long used Evernote to record voice stuff for work.)
Harry McCracken06.04.181:42 pmShare This Update
Now we’re seeing news-related stuff. There’s a redesigned Apple News app. The Stocks app now has news curated by Apple News editors, and there’s an iPad version of Stocks. No mention yet of News incorporating anything from Texture, the magazine app Apple recently acquired.
Harry McCracken06.04.181:39 pmShare This Update
These Siri shortcuts look like they’re not especially sophisticated technology-wise—no AI breakthroughs or anything. But they might be super-useful nonetheless. They work on iPhone, iPad, HomePod, and Apple Watch.
David Lidsky06.04.181:38 pmShare This Update
Shortcuts is a great idea for improving Siri. It gives developers something actionable, akin to Alexa Skills, and it should help create scenarios where Siri can succeed rather than frustrate users. That said, the Shortcuts app–kind of a IFTTT for voice commands, with a bit of Google’s predictive suggestions thrown in–seems like more of a high-wire act for Siri given its performance to date in handling more complex commands. Will be excited to play with this when the time comes.
Harry McCracken06.04.181:37 pmShare This Update
We’re getting a demo of the Shortcuts app. You can tell Siri that when you say “Travel plans” you want to see info on a trip from Kayak.
There are 100s of pre-made shortcuts. This is sort of like a simple version of IFTTT for Siri.
Harry McCracken06.04.181:35 pmShare This Update
Craig Federighi is talking about new Siri features. New shortcuts let you do things like ping a Tile locator gizmo to find your keys. Siri will suggest things like suggesting you ping a meeting organizer if you’re late; put your phone in vibrate at the movies; and call grandma on her birthday.
A new Shortcuts app lets users build custom, multi-step, Siri-infused functionality of this sort.
Harry McCracken06.04.181:31 pmShare This Update
We’ve moved on from AR to photos. iOS 12 will have improved photo searching, including a new suggestions feature and the ability to identify friends in photos so you can share them with that person—and they’ll be prompted to share photos from an event back with you.
Mark Sullivan06.04.181:24 pmShare This Update
Improved face tracking, realistic rendering, 3D object detection, persistent experiences, and shared experiences all included in the new ARKit 2. With multi user support you can play with up to four friends in the same space.
Harry McCracken06.04.181:24 pmShare This Update
Craig Federighi announcing ARKit 2.
Harry McCracken06.04.181:20 pmShare This Update
Craig Federighi is showing off a new Measure app for the iPhone—an AR-infused ruler. A bunch of these apps launched from third parties last year, and I got all excited but then found none of the ones I tried were worth the trouble. Too complicated and not reliable enough. Maybe this one will be an improvement.
David Lidsky06.04.181:19 pmShare This Update
Very smart of Apple to lead with performance improvements in iOS and then offering further support for augmented reality development. This is what both developers and consumers want.
Harry McCracken06.04.181:18 pmShare This Update
We’ve been having connectivity issues in the hall here at the WWDC keynote. Abhay Parasnis, Adobe’s CTO, is talking about the new AR format which Apple, Pixar, and Adobe have been working on together. It’s in iOS 11.
Jared Newman06.04.181:17 pmShare This Update
Apple’s Craig Federighi is stressing “optimization” as a key feature of iOS 12. Big speed improvements for both new and old devices, perhaps addressing the idea that iPhones and iPads degrade over time.
Jared Newman06.04.181:14 pmShare This Update
Apple’s ramping up to talking about iOS 11 with the obligatory stats on adoption rates: Half of users installed iOS 11 in seven weeks, and 81% are running it now. Apple loves to point out how Android’s doing much worse, though many core Android apps and functions now update independently of the big upgrade.
Harry McCracken06.04.181:07 pmShare This Update
The keynote has begun and Tim Cook is praising developers and quoting stats about the App Store. Connectivity still super-shaky, but if you can read this, it’s improved!
Jared Newman06.04.181:05 pmShare This Update
Apple kicks off WWDC with a faux-nature documentary on “the developer.” They’re shown flocking to the event, and later, congregating around Apple senior VP Craig Federighi, the “Silver-Crested King Developer.” Don’t touch the mane.
Mark Wilson06.04.1812:58 pmShare This Update
I would love to read a piece on the psychology of Apple’s pre keynote playlists. (I may be the only one.)
Harry McCracken06.04.1812:55 pmShare This Update
Keynote is about to start, but connectivity non-existent at the moment.
Harry McCracken06.04.1812:38 pmShare This Update
24 minutes to go until the keynote kicks off. Connectivity in here is shaky so far, through both Wi-Fi and my AT&T connection—keep your fingers crossed.
Harry McCracken06.04.1812:53 amShare This Update
Slightly more than 12 hours to go until Apple’s WWDC keynote begins, which means that time is rapidly running out to talk about what we’d like Apple to do at its big developer event rather than what it has done. I wrote about Siri, which I think matters more to Apple’s future at the moment than any of the company’s operating systems.
Apple’s annual developer conference, #WWDC2018, is about software. And no software matters more to the company’s future than its voice assistant. https://t.co/dmlxKJQ6h5
When a tech company has news just a few days before a big keynote, it’s often a sign that said keynote is so jam-packed with stuff that it didn’t have room for some announcements. In the case of the software upgrade that brings stereo pairing to the HomePod smart speaker, however, Apple would probably have been anxious to get it out there no matter what: The company first teased the capability at last year’s WWDC, and it would have been pretty silly to finally announce its availability a full year later.
My colleague Mark Sullivan tried the new capability and concluded that it made for a noticeable improvement in sound quality—but nothing so transformative that you’d want to plunk down $700 for two HomePods to hear it.