The next version of macOS is macOS Mojave

Apple isn’t done with macOS just yet. The company presented the next version of macOS at the WWDC developer conference. With macOS Mojave, Apple is leaving the mountain metaphors behind. “Today we’re excited to take Mac a huge leap forward,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said. Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi started with dark mode. With a single setting, you can invert the colors of everything. Even the background of the Finder, Calendar or Photos is black, not just the Dock or menubar. Apple had to redo all the buttons and color schemed across the operating system. If you find white documents too aggressive, dark mode is for you. With the next version of macOS, the wallpaper and desktop will adapt depending on the time of they day, from morning to afternoon and night. On the desktop, macOS can automatically stack all your documents in the Desktop
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Apple TV gets a ‘Zero Sign On’ mode for TV providers’ apps

Apple TV is adding a new feature that will make it easier for users to sign on to their “TV Everywhere” applications – you know, the ones that require you authenticate with your cable or satellite TV provider in order to watch the channel’s content. Called “Zero Sign On,” the feature is an extension to the previously introduced Single Sign On option. SSO allows users to enter their cable provider TV credentials one time, then be automatically sign into all supported apps. Zero Sign On, on the other hand, doesn’t require you enter any info at all – instead, all that’s required is that you’re connected to the provider’s Wi-Fi network in your home. The feature is not broadly available right now, unfortunately. It will first roll out to Charter Spectrum customers, which was the latest company to join the list of pay TV providers supporting SSO. However, that provider
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Apple TV gets Dolby Atmos and streamlined sign-ons for channels and services

Apple TV, still definitely not a hobby, has some new features being added as it grows. Tim Cook mentioned there are 50 percent more users now than there were last year, and no doubt they’ll be happy with the addition of Dolby Atmos audio and some nice sign-on streamlining. Apple TV is now the only streaming player to be both Dolby Atmos and Vision certified. Assuming you’ve got a 4K HDR-capable TV, it could be nice to have, as iTunes boasts the biggest selection of content for those — but because hardly anyone does, it’s more of an aspirational feature at present. There are more than 100 video channels now after the addition of several live news and sports ones. In France, Apple TV will be the exclusive provider of Canal+, and in Switzerland, Apple has partnered with Salt for a similar exclusive. And Charter Spectrum will also be coming
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Apple gives users control of Siri with new Shortcuts tool

Siri has long been one of the most broken experiences on iOS. Apple didn’t have much to say about improvements to quality, but at WWDC the company did highlight updates to the interface making it easier for users to create their own commands and get proactive updates from Siri. Siri suggestions allows the digital assistant to learn from user behavior. If you have a regular coffee order, Siri can suggest that you place your order around the time of day that you would usually get it. If you’re running late to a meeting, Siri may recommend that you shoot a message to someone letting them know you’re going to be a few minutes. Shortcuts is a separate app that allows users to take control of Siri and build custom commands that integrate with third-party apps though an “add to Siri” button. With this, users could jump to information about an
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Apple Watch gets Walkie-Talkie mode

At Apple’s annual developer conference today, the company showed off a new walkie-talkie feature for Apple Watch. The app is uniquely called Walkie-Talkie. “It’s a fun, easy way to talk with friends and family,” Apple VP of Technology Kevin Lynch said at WWDC. The first time you use it, you send a request to your friend, who can then accept or decline it. If they accept it, you can then walkie-talkie them at any time. This watch-to-watch connection works over cellular and Wi-Fi, and enables you to send short voice messages to friends and family with an Apple Watch. Once you press to talk, your friend will feel some haptic feedback and then hear your voice immediately. This seems like the type of feature I wouldn’t want to have on all the time, but it could definitely be fun. Apple first started talking about a walkie-talkie feature back in 2014,
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Apple unveils new screen time controls for children

Apple this morning announced a new set of parental controls for iOS devices at its WorldWide Developer Conference this morning in San Jose. The company had already acknowledged back in January that it had new, more robust parental control features in the works, following an open letter posted by two large Apple shareholder groups, Jana Partners LLC and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System. The letter from the influential, activist shareholders mentioned recent research from child development experts whose studies have found links between the use of electronic devices by kids, and negative effects on concentration, emotional health, sleep and empathy. One study even found a link between time spent on devices and teen suicide, with teens who spent three or more hours per day on devices at higher risk than those who used them for an hour or less. In addition, the letter argued that managing children’s device usage
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Apple introduces watchOS 5

Kevin Lynch from the watchOS team introduced the next version of watchOS at Apple’s WWDC keynote. It’s been a slow and steady rise for the Apple Watch. It’s by far the most popular smart watch, and it’s becoming slightly more useful every year. This year is no different. There’s a new workout type for yoga, another one for hiking. You can now challenge your friends for a 7-day competition. But I’m even more excited about automatic workout detection. If you grab your bike and your heart start beating more rapidly, your Apple Watch will track your workout automatically. You’ll also get notifications to end a workout. As rumored, Apple is introducing a new Walkie-Talkie app for Apple Watch users. You press to record a message, release to send it. Your friend will receive a notification. That could open up interesting professional use cases. Cellular Apple Watches make this feature more
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Apple is adding group FaceTime video calls to iOS 12

Apple is adding the ability to FaceTime more people onto a video call, allowing up to 32 people to be on the call — and tapping an increasing interest in group video calling stemming from apps like Houseparty As far as features go, this was a pretty natural addition to the FaceTime App. Houseparty exposed a lot of interest in this area, allowing multiple friends to spin up a video chat. But it’s also a technically strenuous proposition running multiple livestreams, and Apple does seem uniquely positioned to absorb the technical overhead (and costs) of running multiple FaceTime streams all at once. Houseparty allows up to 8 people streaming in a video call at once, though the last significant update we might have heard from Houseparty was some tweaks to notifications in January last year. Houseparty said it had 1 million users in November 2016. The app spreads out
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Apple adds camera effects like stickers, filters and Memoji to messages

Apple is invading Snapchat’s territory with new effects that let you embellish what you shoot through the Messages camera. Today at WWDC, Apple announced that iOS 12’s Messages camera will offer a variety of sticker packs, style transfers like a “comic book” filter, drawn shapes and both Animoji and the new personalized avatar Memoji. These effects will also be available in FaceTime, which now supports group video conversations with up to 32 people. That could spell trouble for dedicated group video chat apps like Houseparty and Facebook’s Bonfire, as well as bigger apps that offer it like Snapchat. These effects could make people who want more visual communication choose Apple’s native messaging app rather than third parties like Snapchat, Instagram Direct or Facebook Messenger. The new features will be available in iOS 12 that launches today. Stickers were previously only available in message threads where they’d appear on a white
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Apple’s Memoji brings an animated you to your iPhone

Apple showcased a big update to Animojis today, adding a human look called Memoji alongside tongue detection on the silly iPhone X animals. The company’s Animoji feature was one of the big highlights of the iPhone X reveal in September. The goofy cartoon pigs and chickens utilized the phone’s new front-facing camera array to track a user’s face and deliver recorded messages in a fun way. Since the initial launch, the company has added a few more characters to the animated repertoire; today is the first big change in how they look and operate. The company announced today it was adding ghost, koala, tiger and t-rex Animojis (with tongue tracking!), but more interestingly the company added Memoji, a custom Animoji tool that allows users to build their own more similar to the feature on Samsung’s Galaxy S9. You’ll be able to customize your face to an almost startling amount
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With iOS 12, Apple focuses on performance

Apple’s Craig Federighi announced that Apple was doubling down on performance with the upcoming release of iOS 12 at the WWDC event in San Jose, Calif. today. What’s more, he said, the company would be making these changes to the full range of iOS devices going back to 2013. “And so for iOS 12, we are doubling down on performance from top to bottom making improvements to make your device faster and more responsive. And because we want these changes to be available the full range of our customers, iOS 12 will be available on all the same devices as iOS 11,” Federighi told the WWDC audience. Perhaps because customers were unhappy to learn about the battery issues with older iOS devices Federighi stressed that Apple has focussed these performance increases on older devices, giving people with older iPhones, the maximum lift. Using the iPhone 6 as an example, he gave some
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Apple delivers big updates to its augmented reality platform

Apple began WWDC talking all about the update it’s delivering to its augmented reality platform, introducing ARKit 2 with iOS 12 which brings several big tech upgrades.

The company didn’t get a chance to showcase all of the things it’s adding to ARKit, but did touch on the big additions, which include improved face tracking, realistic rendering, 3D object detection, persistent experiences and shared experiences. Multiplayer is a big update for AR at Apple, the multiplayer addition will be big for gaming and Apple will certainly try to bring the functionality to other categories moving forward.

At Google I/O, we saw a new technology called Cloud Anchors which matches up what a pair of smartphone users are seeing in the cloud to allow for multiplayer, it’s not clear how Apple is doing this, but  what’s interesting about Google’s approach is that

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Apple introduces iOS 12

Apple announced the next version of iOS at its WWDC developer conference. While iOS 12 won’t be available before the fall, it’s always interesting to get a sneak peek at the next version of iOS. Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi first talked about some numbers. 81 percent of iOS users are currently running iOS 11. 6 percent of Android users are currently on the last version. “For iOS 12, we’re doubling down on performance,” Federighi said. iOS 12 is going to be available on all devices that currently support iOS 11. It’s interesting the Federighi talked about iOS 12 on the iPhone 6 Plus. Apps launch 40 percent faster, the keyboard comes up 50 percent faster and opening the camera is 70 percent faster. You get the idea, the big new feature of iOS 12 is performance and optimization. But it doesn’t mean that Apple didn’t
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Live from Apple’s WWDC 2018 keynote

It’s that time again. This morning kicks off Apple’s annual World Wide Developers Conference. It’s a week of programming focused on developers, but this morning’s big event has a little something for everyone. Here’s a quick break down of what we can likely expect when Tim Cook takes the stage this morning. The keynote will most likely be focused on announcements surrounding iOS 12 and macOS 10.14 — in fact, we got a bit of a preview of the latter over the weekend. WatchOS and HomeKit will probably get some love, as well, along with ARKit, which took center stage at the event, this time last year. As for hardware — expect Apple to throw us a couple of bones on that front, as well — though the really big announcements around iPhone, iPad and the like, are probably being saved for another day. Beyond that, the sky —
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Student developers arrive in full force for Apple’s WWDC

As the developer community prepares for Apple to unveil its latest software efforts at the company’s WWDC keynote later this morning, there are a younger subset of student developers feverishly roaming about excited to see what they can build next too. WWDC is a pretty pricey affair at $1,599 per ticket. Like some other tech companies, Apple has opted to make it a bit easier for students to attend their conference. They’ve done so through a scholarship where younger developers can submit applications and, if selected, get into the event for free with their lodging paid for as well. The more than 350 scholarship recipients this year represented 42 different countries and 34 languages. This year, those students got another added perk as their regular agenda was interrupted by a trip to Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus and a meet-and-greet with CEO Tim Cook. Later, the exec 
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Apple’s AR bet still has a lot to prove

As Apple gears up for its developer keynote conference tomorrow, one of its bigger announcements is likely to be new changes coming to its augmented reality platform. Since announcing ARKit last year, the tech giant has hardly been sheepish about its belief in AR’s potential.
  • “I think AR is big and profound,” Apple CEO Tim Cook told CNBC.
  • “I don’t think there is any sector or industry that will be untouched by AR,” he told Vogue.
  • “I think AR is that big, it’s huge. I get excited because of the things that could be done that could improve a lot of lives,” he told The Independent.
Behind a lot of that talk is belief in the tech’s utility down the road, but until Apple is ready to experimenting with AR tech in core iOS features, all of the chatter around AR having plenty of utility today feels a bit half-hearted.
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VCs like what they are hearing out of the podcasting sector

Podcasts are television for the earbud generation. And podcasts have been around for a surprisingly long time. If you’re one of the folks who got hooked on podcasts around 2014, when Sarah Koenig and other producers from This American Life launched the wildly popular Serial podcast, you might think that it’s a brand new medium. But podcasts — audio that’s packaged and syndicated over RSS — have been around since the early 2000s. And although many podcasters make money, typically through sponsorships, the podcasting industry (such as it is) hasn’t received much in the way of venture funding until quite recently. 2017 was a pivotal year for venture investment in the industry.

A venture-ready industry?

In the chart below, we plot deal and dollar volume for venture rounds raised by companies that are either in Crunchbase’s  href="">podcast category or use the word “podcast” in their descriptions:

Looks like macOS 10.14 will have a new dark mode and an Apple News app

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference is just a couple of days away, but some of the updates appear to have been revealed early. Specifically, developer Steve Troughton-Smith tweeted some screenshots this morning of what he said was macOS 10.14. And while the screenshots focused on Xcode 10, they also revealed a couple of bigger changes to the operating system. For one thing, it looks like the new version of macOS will include a more comprehensive dark mode — one that doesn’t just darken the menu bar and the dock, but applies much more broadly, affecting apps and even the Trash can. The screenshots also include an icon for Apple News in the dock, so there’s probably a new desktop version of the app on the way.