WWDC 2018

What do the announcements at this years Apple Developer Conference mean for Wandle Software’s apps? In addition to a few more general thoughts, that’s what I hope to answer with this post.

But first, what was I hoping from Apple and what did we actually get? I didn’t put up a wish-list for WWDC this year mostly because my desires matched up mostly with the rumours, which was that this was going to be a “stability” update.

High Sierra has been a low point for Mac releases in my opinion, with the installer on both of our Macs failing (mine on the initial install, a point release for my wife). You might forgive the installer if the update had huge user-facing benefits but, as neat as ADFS is, there’s not much to see upgrading from Sierra. iOS 11 also had problems, but more like glitches than absolute failures. I’m not adding anything new here to the “stability” debate, I’m just saying that I see the same problems.

The rumours were not untrue. The first thing Apple talked about was performance. I guess for marketing reasons it’s difficult to come out and say “we’re fixing lots of bugs” so talking about speed improvements was probably smart. But the surprising thing was the number of other nice, new additions. There was not a single must have feature, but put together all the changes to both iOS and macOS look like they’ll be well worth having.

As a consumer, there are a bunch of nice things that I’m looking forward to. The most glitzy is possibly being able to have up to 32 people in a FaceTime call. (Yeah, it’s a big number, but anyone who has used Zoom or Bluejeans will know that it’s possible if not a great experience.) And the other stuff like being able to use your iPhone camera from your Mac is going to simplify a number of more convoluted workflows. On a day-to-day basis, the enhancements to notifications is likely to be the feature that helps us the most.

The stand-out feature as a developer has to be Siri Shortcuts. If you recall from the keynote, they’re a combination of commands that you can, for want of a better word, train Siri to understand mixed with some simple scripting (using an app that isn’t currently available outside Cupertino). Unfortunately, right now, playing with the iOS 12 beta, there’s really not very much you can do with them as no apps support them yet!

Overall, the announcements made don’t have a huge impact on Wandle’s apps. I’m looking into Siri Shortcuts to see if they can add any value and, obviously, I’m testing on the iOS 12 to make sure that everything still works as intended.

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