Wednesday Morning News

The internet says people are addicted to their smartphones, and if you look around you, you’ll see that there’s a good chance it’s at least partly true. With iOS 12, Apple introduces Screen Time, a set of smart new features to help you manage the time you spend on your phone. A new page within Settings lets you know how much time you’ve spent on certain categories of apps, letting you set time limits for apps and schedule downtime.

There’s a lot more to unpack from yesterday’s iOS 12 announcement, but the overview that you should be reading is from MacStories, who walk us through the major features: Siri Shortcuts, the aforementioned Screen Time, improvements to notifications, and the kind of fun changes that will prompt everyone to upgrade; group FaceTime, creation of Memojis to represent yourself in an animated way, as well a new AR-enabled app from Apple called Measure.

It’s been over a year since Apple acquired Workflow, and in that time, they’ve been busy. Siri Shortcuts is Workflow by another name, and not only will it open up Siri to easier third-party integrations, will also allow the creation of multi-step shortcuts that do a number of things in a few different apps. There are a few details that need to be worked out before we can tell everyone who wants to listen about the power of iOS automation, but it’s clear that Apple hasn’t just been sitting on Workflow and are doing something incredibly cool with it.

And although you might not notice it, Apple’s been changing heaps of things under the hood of iOS 12. One such change is the introduction of something called USB Restricted Mode, which will prevent your device from communicating via a wired connection after it has been locked for over an hour until it has been unlocked with your passcode. Motherboard reports this will render devices like GrayShift’s GrayKey obsolete, provided it works as advertised and prevents all kinds of communication until your device is unlocked with a passcode.

Another minor change to iOS 12 is the addition of “alternate appearances” for Face ID. The wording used in the first developer beta mentions “recognising an alternate appearance”, but it seems to suggest that multiple user Face ID will be supported when iOS 12 is released later this year. It’s a welcome change for Face ID, which has previously earned criticism for only supporting one face compared to the multiple fingers supported by its biometric security predecessor, Touch ID.

Six Colors points out the finer details of iOS 12, macOS Mojave, tvOS 12, and watchOS 5. From the addition of an English language thesaurus in iOS 12 to watchOS 5 not supporting the original Apple Watch “Series 0” hardware, there’s plenty of features that weren’t announced on stage but will still contribute to a better user-centric experience when using any of Apple’s software platforms.

Walkie-Talkie for watchOS 5 is one of the coolest features I’ve seen in years. I had originally thought it was some kind of clever implementation based on voice iMessages, like Dieter Bohn at The Verge, but it turns out Walkie-Talkie is based on FaceTime Audio calls, where both lines are muted until someone presses the big yellow Talk button. Now that I think about it, the whole process of starting a Walkie Talkie session makes more sense if you think of it like a call, instead of asynchronous voice messages.

It’s Apple SVP of Software Engineering spoke to Wired about how Apple has no plans to merge iOS and macOS, but will eventually adopt some iOS development frameworks to allow iOS apps to run on the Mac. It’s not about merging the two software platforms, but allowing for greater interoperability for developers to create better app experiences on the Mac, optimised for everything that the Mac has that iOS devices don’t.

This year’s Apple Design Award winners is made up of apps from teams all across the globe, including the lovely Florence from Melbourne-based Mountains. There’s plenty of other apps and games that are worth your time and money, so check out the full list from TechCrunch.

If you’ve watched the WWDC keynote, you’ll have already seen the best WWDC intro and outro videos in years. Both The Developer Migration and Source Code are now available to view separately on YouTube, and while I didn’t think much about poking fun at developers making the trek to San Jose for WWDC, it seems to have been well-received.

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