Op-Ed: Apple's Smart Decision to Focus on Digital Health, AR & Siri at WWDC

Call me a geek, but arguably my favorite portion of today's 2018 WWDC Keynote presentation was the hilarious mockumentary, titled The Developer Migration, featuring Apple developers. Shout out to my old friends, blogger and analyst Jim Dalrymple and Vainglory developer Tommy Krul for their surprise cameos in the short, introductory hilarity. After the brief, pre-show levity, Apple got right down to business. The highlights of this year’s WWDC were undoubtedly a peek at what we can expect to see in upcoming versions of Apple’s new operating systems, to be released to the public later this year. Apple gets an A from me this year on its Keynote presentation. Here are some of my thoughts on the company's newest software:

Op-Ed: Apple Did Well Focusing On Their Strengths and Most Ambitious Innovations.

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Curb your iPhone enthusiasm with Do Not Disturb, Notifications, and Screen Time

Never one to be left behind, Apple is introducing a few, significant new features that shine a light on something that so many of us grapple with: iPhone dependency and, dare I say, iPhone addiction. The company has developed a suite of apps to help us, at the very least, become more aware of how much we use our iPhones. Actually, I think that Apple's new suite of apps may provide sobering statistics for many of us and offer new ways for us to use our iPhones more consciously. With iOS 12, we will be able to wind down for the day and detach from our devices with new Do Not Disturb controls, be more aware of which apps demand most of our attention (and even track and limit usage of those apps) with Screen Time, and have greater control over our notifications which can, at times, be overwhelming. These new features may prove especially useful to parents of children old enough to have their own iDevice. I find this especially significant in light of numerous studies that are being conducted that suggest overexposure to iPhones and iPads can lead to mental health issues in children and young adults in particular.

Op-Ed: Apple Did Well Focusing On Their Strengths and Most Ambitious Innovations.

Laying the groundwork for smart AR

One can’t help but compare the features of iOS and those of Android (Apple did it itself in the first few minutes of today's keynote). One of the things I was grateful to see was improvements to the iPhone camera interface. Don’t get me wrong, I love our iOS Studio, Stage, and Contour Lighting modes, and the way the latest iPhones measure and balance light really is top-notch. But the way Google Lens uses real-time image recognition technology and location tracking to quickly look up images you see through your camera, and gives you information on the image, is equally impressive. Smart AR (Augmented Reality) and cameras that are enmeshed with artificial intelligence (like Google's Assistant, and eventually Siri) allow you to do a lot of fancy things. For example, with Google Lens you can point your camera at a plant and identify it, or photograph an object to search for it online for possible purchase. You can even use your camera to capture an image that includes text (song lyrics, menu, directions, etc.), and then copy and paste text from that photo.

Upgrades to the iOS camera interface and how it incorporates AI (Artifical Intelligence) and AR has been on my wish list for a while now. Perhaps the fact that Apple recently nabbed high-profile Google Exec John Giannandrea, whose specialties include machine learning and AI, hints that we may begin to see more Siri-like, smart assistant features becoming part of the iOS camera software ecosystem.

Op-Ed: Apple Did Well Focusing On Their Strengths and Most Ambitious Innovations.

• AR, and Apple's AI assistant Siri, lead the way in Apple development.

I’ve long since maintained that two factors will, if capitalized upon, drive Apple forward into the next generation of computer/smartphone technology. One of those factors is AR, which just so happens to tie back into the iOS camera interface. The other factor that will help propel Apple into the hands of future generations of happy customers will be their AI platform and its integration and application. In both arenas—AR and AI—Apple showed its great innovation and passion for pushing the integration of AR and AI deeper into the architecture of its iOS operating sytem.

Today was Apple’s 2018 WWDC Keynote and so it makes sense that the world’s eyes are focused on where the Cupertino company is today. It’s worth noting, however, that whatever technology Apple has in testing and development stages behind closed doors is already at least several years ahead of where we are today. lt’s part of my job to track credible iOS development and prototype rumors, so that’s where my mind goes; where will all of this software development lead, even in the short-term? When you think about how much the iPhone’s software and hardware has improved over the past 3-5 years, it almost boggles the imagination to consider where Apple might carry us in just a few more short years. Imagine this: a smart assistant that can interact with you in real time, able to discuss things pertinent to your immediate environment thanks to camera integration? Perhaps there's even a customizable avatar on your screen, with its own, customizable personality. And that’s just the tip of the potential evolutionary iceberg for Apple. By observing where Apple—perhaps the most successful and innovative consumer computer development company on the planet—is going, we can suss where we as a technological society may be heading.


As a bonus to those of you who made it through this entire article, here's the cute, tongue-in-cheek video I referenced at the top of this article that Apple premiered at today's keynote.

 

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As Senior Gear Editor at iPhone Life, Dig reports on the latest and greatest accessories built for the iOS ecosystem. From rugged gear and Bluetooth speakers, to headphones, unique iDevice cases, and iOS remote controlled vehicles, Dig's articles cover a wide range of great gear for the iPhone and iPad. A core gamer for over three decades, Dig also writes iPhone Life's Game Centered column, which focuses on the best iOS games and game related news. Additionally, Dig's company, iDoc Tech Support, offers web design and administration services as well as iPhone and iPad repairs. When not at his work desk, Dig loves spending time with family and enjoying the wonders of nature. You can follow him on Twitter @idoctech