KUALA LUMPUR, June 5 — Unlike last year, Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference this time eschewed new hardware announcements.
Instead it concentrated on two of its key strengths: its software experience and its dedicated pool of developers.
Here are the key highlights of WWDC and what made them significant:
1. Love for older devices
No new processors. No upgrades to its iPad or MacBook lines. No new iPhone SE. Instead Apple said the new iOS 12 would run as well on any device that iOS 11 supported.
This is significant when compared to Android — where Google itself and most Android phone manufacturers usually don’t support updates for more than two years on most Android phones.
This also helps further dispel notions that Apple practises forced obsolescence — making customers upgrade whether they want to or not.
2. Increasing FaceTime’s appeal
While it’s unlikely Apple’s FaceTime will ever replace dedicated videoconferencing solutions, having it support up to 32 people talking at a time and be usable across iPhone, iPad and Mac devices makes it a great incentive for Apple purchases in the corporate workspace.
The addition of AR emojis as well as stickers also gives it an added edge of fun not available from the likes of Skype — making it another reason for consumers to choose Apple devices as a means of keeping in touch.
3. Apple still doing software better than Samsung
Samsung has tried its best to push its own proprietary software as a draw, to encourage people to become loyal to its ecosystem. But while Samsung’s hardware has always impressed, its software is more drawback than draw.
Its attempt at AR emojis has not become as popular as it hoped, paling in comparison to Apple’s Animojis. With the new Memojis, Apple users can create and customise their own AR avatars that are as winning in their aesthetics as Animojis while Samsung’s AR emojis can be more aptly described as nightmarish at worst and hideous at best.
4. A love letter to developers
Apple made WWDC a love letter of sorts to its developers, with video tributes to their contributions. It’s one that’s deserved — Apple’s ecosystem wouldn’t be what it is without developers who chose Apple’s platform.
But it has proven less attractive in previous years, frustrating developers with its quirks, the lack of backward compatibility for 32-bit apps as well as the appeal of Android’s Play store that allows easier, cheaper entrance for apps.
5. Making the MacOS a stronger feature-rich platform
Apple has stated it for the record — iOS and MacOS will remain separate platforms. But they’re making it easier to port iOS apps to the Mac, as well as creating a seamless connection between iDevices and Macs.
MacOS Mojave’s ability to incorporate photos, scans and video directly from an iPhone wirelessly into native apps is something Windows hasn’t even managed as seamlessly.
6. The Apple Watch now becomes more of a communcation device
Walkie Talkie now makes the Apple Watch a communication device in more ways than one. Though there’s been good reviews for the Apple cellular edition, its limited availability was a big hindrance. With the new features, Apple Watch users can talk to each other and that makes it another draw for Apple users to pick one up, cellular or no.
All-in-all, the WWDC announcement brings fresh hope that Apple’s year will see less buggy, device-breaking updates and remind customers just why they chose Apple in the first place—the belief that its devices “just work.”
Still, we’re holding out hope that new Macs will be in the pipeline sooner than later and with the release of the new software updates in autumn, expect new devices capable of using them to the fullest around that time.