Apple's Top 10 Upgrades Are Siri-ously 2018
Strap in, Apple fans -- from Memojis to Group Facetime to Walkie-Talkies, there's plenty to get excited about.
Apple has unveiled a huge suite of software upgrades for the iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV.
More than 6000 developers poured in to the 2018 Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California to see first-hand all the new upgrades they'll be able to incorporate into their latest apps.
Apple says it wants customers to be able to get more out of the devices they already own -- an approach evident in the software upgrades on show.
All of these updates will be available for free in Spring.
Here are the top 10 new features:
1. DO NOT DISTURB (iOS12)
Do Not Disturb has been improved to help reduce interruptions, limit your screen time and control the amount of time you spend on apps. This will allow users to take greater control of the time they spend on their iPhone or iPad.
Users will be able to see a weekly activity report to see how often they access their device and their apps, enabling them to set limits -- not just for themselves, but also for their children.
There is even a new Do Not Disturb During Bedtime mode, which can mute all your notifications while you sleep -- a must have for those of us constantly dragged out of dreamland by a long list of notifications popping up when we only wanted to check the time.
2. MEMOJIS (iOS12)
We already know Animojis... well now we have Memojis, which allow you to create an animated version of yourself to share in messages and add to your FaceTime conversations.
Users can personalise their Memoji to get the look right, and also add things like glasses and headwear.
3. GROUP FACETIME CALLS (iOS 12 & macOS Mojave)
FaceTime is one of the most popular features on iPhones, iPads and Macs and it has now been upgraded for group calls.
Now up to 32 people can chat at the same time and can be seen through their own tile on your screen.
When a person speaks, their tile becomes larger and more prominent on your screen.
4. SHORTCUTS (iOS 12)
A new app called Shortcuts will allow users to assign a string of tasks that can be unlocked with a Siri voice command.
For example, for the commute home you might like to send a message to your partner that you're on your way, listen to your favourite podcast and set your home thermostat to a certain temperature.
With Shortcuts, these actions can be grouped together and assigned a key phrase so Siri can act on them.
5. DARK MODE (macOS Mojave)
The most prominent new feature of macOS Mojave is Dark Mode, which transforms the desktop with darker hues and puts more focus on your content.
Also on board Mojave is a Dynamic Desktop where the desktop image of the Mojave desert changes to suit the time of day whether it’s morning, noon or night.
6. ENHANCED BROWSER PRIVACY AND SECURITY (macOS Mojave)
The Safari browser on board macOS Mojave has been enhanced to prevent cookies tracking your searches and likes on social media across the web.
The Apple browser can now also prevent “fingerprinting,” which makes it harder for sites to track you via your device’s configuration, fonts and plug-ins.
7. WALKIE TALKIE (watchOS 5)
You can turn the Apple Watch on your wrist into a walkie-talkie thanks to the new push-to-talk functionality.
Users can create a group of contacts with Apple Watch Series 3 and be able to talk to them instantly.
To talk, you press and hold the talk button and release it to hear the response in the same way you’d use a regular walkie-talkie.
8. AUTO WORKOUT DETECTION (watchOS 5)
Now your Apple Watch can start tracking your activity without having to choose the workout in your menu.
If you hit start after you’ve already begun as many people do, Apple Watch will also credit you retroactively for your activity.
This feature will also detect when you’ve ended a workout, as many people often forget to tap off.
9. DOLBY ATMOS ON APPLE TV 4K (tvOS 12)
Apple TV 4K will now support Dolby Atmos sound with the upcoming tvOS 12 update.
This makes Apple TV 4K the only streaming device that can support Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision so your movies will look and sound crisper and clearer.
iTunes will now also be home to the largest collection of Dolby Atmos supported movies in the world.
Users will require a compatible TV, soundbar or home theatre system to enjoy the three dimensional sound that Dolby Atmos brings.
10. AERIAL SCREENSAVERS FOR APPLE TV 4K (tvOS 12)
Another cool new addition to Apple TV with the tvOS 12 update will be aerial screensavers, featuring images captured from the International Space Station.
Aerial screensavers are also interactive, with viewers able to see the location information and swipe between dozens of other aerial images.
* Stephen Fenech travelled to San Jose as a guest of Apple
Stephen is the editor of TechGuide.
Main image: Craig Federighi shows off Apple's new Memojis feature. (Image: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)