Seven ways that Ap­ple may change the world of tech as we think we know it

Ap­ple has made some ma­jor an­nounce­ments that could her­ald big changes to how we use tech­nol­ogy in the fu­ture. Adrian Weck­ler re­ports from the Ap­ple World­wide de­vel­op­ers Con­fer­ence in San Jose, Cal­i­for­nia

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - News - Byadri­an­weck­ler @adri­an­weck­ler

1. AP­PLE SLAPPED FACEBOOK AGAIN Ap­ple once again used a ma­jor event to put dis­tance be­tween it­self and Facebook as ‘Big Tech’ com­pa­nies.

With dis­dain drip­ping from his voice, vice-pres­i­dent Craig Fed­erighi said that iphones and Macs were now step­ping up ef­forts to “shut down” Facebook’s at­tempts to fol­low you around the web with ‘ likes’ and other things.

Mr Fed­erighi said that they want to make it “dra­mat­i­cally more dif­fi­cult for these com­pa­nies to track you”.

When an ad tracks a user through those ‘ like’ but­tons, for ex­am­ple, Ap­ple de­vices will ask users whether they want to al­low the track­ing to hap­pen.

Dur­ing the demo, Mr Fed­erighi specif­i­cally used Facebook as an ex­am­ple of the track­ing. The con­tempt isn’t new. Ap­ple CEO Tim Cook has pre­vi­ously strongly crit­i­cised Facebook (and Google) for trad­ing in peo­ple’s per­sonal data. 2. AP­PLE’S NEW GROUP FACETIME FEA­TURE COULD BE A BIG DEAL FOR BUSI­NESS Ar­guably the big­gest im­me­di­ate fea­ture up­grade from the World­wide De­vel­oper Con­fer­ence ( WWDC) this year was group mes­sag­ing on Facetime. Up to 32 peo­ple can join a sin­gle Facetime call with a re­ally nice im­ple­men­ta­tion of the fea­ture on the phone. This is in­ter­est­ing for any­one who reg­u­larly does con­fer­ence calls on sys­tems such as Blue­jeans.

It ar­guably adds a greater hook to iphones as a de­fault com­pany phone, on the ba­sis that group calls among staff (or clients) can now be done as stan­dard — as long as ev­ery­one has an iphone or ipad.

In­deed, Ap­ple CEO Tim Cook suggested as much, jok­ing that he looked for­ward to get­ting on calls with his man­age­ment team ev­ery Sun­day night.

Facetime is ac­tu­ally one of those fea­tures that now

❝ Once it seemed phones were aping the func­tions of­pcs, now­it­may­ac­tu­ally be the other way around

an­chors peo­ple to IOS in a way that itunes used to years ago. Any­one who uses their iphone to talk to far-away grand­par­ents knows this. 3. AP­PLE IS GRAD­U­ALLY REACH­ING DOWN TO IN­CLUDE EN­TRY-LEVEL USERS In pre­vi­ous years, it has been com­mon for Ap­ple to limit its new soft­ware upgrades to phones that are three or four years old and newer.

That meant that hand-medown phones and hand­sets that were bought sec­ond-hand by those who couldn’t af­ford a brand new de­vice were stuck with last year’s tech­nol­ogy.

This time, the com­pany isn’t ex­clud­ing iphones or ipads that were on the cusp of ob­so­les­cence. It has said that any de­vice which can run IOS 11 (last year’s soft­ware) will also be able to run IOS 12.

That means those with iphone 6 and iphone 5S mod­els can par­take in all the upgrades they’re read­ing about. Many will say this is as it nat­u­rally should be. But it’s a sub­tle shift from Ap­ple. And it’s not an iso­lated one. In the last 18 months, the com­pany has kept older mod­els for sale — at lower prices — as a means of at­tract­ing more mid-tier and en­try-level phone buy­ers into the IOS ecosys­tem. You can still buy an iphone 6S as new, for ex­am­ple, even though that was launched in 2015 — a long time ago in the smart­phone world.

It has also sub­stan­tially low­ered the price of en­try-level iphones, with the iphone SE now at around €400, way be­low what an en­try-level iphone used to cost. 4. AP­PLE’S IOS AND MACOS ARE GET­TING CLOSER One of the big re­cur­ring ques­tions that Ap­ple has faced in re­cent years is: ‘Are you merg­ing IOS and MACOS?’

❝ For chil­dren, there are now con­trols that in­clude time lim­its on spe­cific apps or the whole phone

“No, of course not,” said Ap­ple vice-pres­i­dent Craig Fed­erighi. But he then went on to show how IOS apps will be eas­ier to run on Macs.

The ques­tion is un­der­stand­able. Ap­ple’s iphone busi­ness is a mul­ti­ple of its Mac busi­ness. Ar­guably, phones have eaten into the over­all com­put­ing mar­ket, with tra­di­tional com­put­ers start­ing to be used less and less for ca­sual com­mu­ni­ca­tion and en­ter­tain­ment. So where once it seemed that phones were aping the func­tions and fea­tures of PCS, now it may ac­tu­ally be the other way around.

How­ever, com­pany ex­ec­u­tives say that there is ab­so­lutely a ded­i­cated fu­ture for Macs and imacs as com­pletely dis­tinct ma­chines from ipads or IOS de­vices.

And Ap­ple did an­nounce a slew of new fea­tures for Macs, in­clud­ing some new apps, a ‘dark mode’ and some fairly de­cent gen­eral updates.

Ap­ple is very adap­tive as a com­pany, though.

It has fa­mously said be­fore that it wouldn’t change to cer­tain for­mats (such as a touch­screen phone) be­fore do­ing just that.

If we all keep grav­i­tat­ing to touch­screen por­ta­ble de­vices for ever-in­tense com­put­ing func­tions, Ap­ple will likely re­spond in kind with its com­puter of­fer­ings. 5. AP­PLE AC­KNOWL­EDGED THAT OUR SCREEN TIME HABITS ARE GET­TING OUT OF HAND While the word “ad­dic­tion” is tossed around very lightly (and some­times ir­re­spon­si­bly, as med­i­cal or psy­cho­log­i­cal ad­dic­tion can be a se­ri­ous, life-threat­en­ing mat­ter) by pseudo-ex­perts try­ing to get at­ten­tion, most of us know that we spend a bit too much time star­ing at our phones. But we just can’t help it. So Ap­ple is in­tro­duc­ing new modes in IOS 12 that limit our own screen time and that of our kids.

No­ti­fi­ca­tions won’t show at night if we so en­able, al­low­ing us to avoid pick­ing our phone up and stay­ing glued to it past mid­night.

For kids, there are now con­trols that in­clude time lim­its on spe­cific apps or the whole phone. Once the time limit ex­pires, the phone will need parental in­put to con­tinue work­ing.

The ‘Screen Time’ fea­ture is ac­count-based and works across all of a child’s IOS de­vices. It gives par­ents the abil­ity to sched­ule a block of time to limit when their child’s IOS de­vice can’t be used, such as at bed­time.

It’s a gen­tle, lim­ited way of prod­ding us into a more whole­some, bal­anced ap­proach to us­ing our phones.

6. AP­PLE AP­PEARS TO BE BUILD­ING ITS OWN SO­CIAL NET­WORK

What do you get when you mix group Facetime calls, ex­panded emoji (‘mem­oji’ that can make an an­i­mated emoji from your own face) and new sug­ges­tions for shar­ing your phone photos with other peo­ple e in your con­tact list? st? It sounds more thanhan a lit­tle like a so­cial net­work. The new Photos sug­ges­tion fea­ture, for ex­am­ple, prompts you with who it thi­thinks is in your photo and tthen sug­gsug­gests thathat you shashare the ph­photo witwith thethem over Memes­sages. Thathat same featufea­ture will then lolook for photos yoy­our re­cip­i­ent ma­may have taken t at the same time and event and sug­gest to them that they send those photos back to you y or to oth­ers in the nascent g group.

This re­ally isn’t some­thing v very dif­fer­ent to what Facebook would do. But there’s one big dif­fer­ence: Ap­ple in­sists that everything is happening only on your own phone, so it doesn’t col­lect or store any data from the process.

In this way, Ap­ple says, it’s com­pletely dif­fer­ent from other com­pa­nies like Facebook or Google, which are of­fer­ing such fea­tures as a way of pro­fil­ing e each par­tic­i­pant for ad­ver­tis­ing pur­poses. p

7. SEPTEM­BER IS GO­ING TO BE A GI­ANT HARD­WARE LAUNCH DATE D FOR AP­PLE

Any­one ex­pect­ing new hard­ware h an­nounce­ments may have been a lit­tle dis­ap­pointed. While WWDC isn’t tra­di­tion­ally the place for new hard­ware an­nounce­ments by Ap­ple, last year’s event saw a lot of new hard­ware an­nounced, from the Home­pod to a new imac Pro and a new ipad Pro.

The com­pany has be­come so big with so many dif­fer­ent prod­uct cat­e­gories that we’d all just as­sumed there would be some new hard­ware an­nounced, es­pe­cially Mac­book updates.

The ab­sence of any hard­ware an­nounce­ments means there will now likely be an ab­so­lute ton of them in Septem­ber.

Tra­di­tional PCS are be­ing used less for com­munca­tion and en­ter­tain­ment, while emo­jjis (right) are be­com­ing more ad­vanced

Ar­eas where Ap­ple is likely to have an im­pact are Facetime, as well as (top left) Mark Zucker­berg’s Facebook

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