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Highlights from the Apple WWDC 2018

This week, Futuresource attended Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference keynote in San Jose, with a 5,000 strong group of developers and representatives of the world’s media. The event opened with a Sir David Attenborough style nature programme spoof, providing a humorous insight into the world of developers, featuring many of the attendees at the event.

Aside from the new and innovative AR applications which included the compelling Lego demo and introduction of Memojis - cute ways to personalise your messages with images of yourself, the next step up on from the popular Animojis -  the major underlying themes in our view were addressing the growing key consumer concerns over digital health and data privacy. Although no single announcement stood out; collectively they culminated to address the many touch-points and concerns of tech-overload impacting the digital consumer.

One announcement that struck a chord with Futuresource was the screen time activity reporting feature that monitors how much time you are using apps, including allowing parents to monitor kid’s activities and control how much time is spent on screen and on which applications. Our Kids Tech consumer survey and educational research clearly shows parents and teachers alike are concerned over tech addiction among kids and we are sure parents will welcome this feature. This coupled with new settings in the Safari browser that allows users to limit Facebook (and others) from following your journey on the web will be welcomed by many users.

On a personal level, the enhanced ‘Do Not Disturb’ feature that enables dimming the display at night and hiding all notifications will improve my digital health at home and on the road – thanks Apple!

The much-maligned Siri voice control became smarter with the introduction of Siri shortcuts, akin to Alexa Skills integrates with apps to build bespoke voice commands, great concept– let’s see how it works in practice.

Apple WatchOS 5 will bring some new features such as competitions, a way to compete on fitness activities with friends, all based on points achieved by closing the activity rings and other new workout features, such as Auto workout detection, which is not unique to Apple.

More interesting was the announcement that podcasts are coming to the watch, and support for third party content, providing shortcuts to functions along with better interactive controls available from within them.

Student ID cards will be available on the watch too, with support from a selection of US Universities. More about the implications of these announcements in a forthcoming separate blog.

Perhaps one of the notable announcements was Group FaceTime, allowing up to 32 participants to connect, a significant development for consumers and businesses alike. This and the fact that the CarPlay app has improved third party map support from the likes of Google Maps and Waze will be among the most popular announcements to Apple users in our view.

As a company that also tracks the entertainment space, we watched with interest the announcement that Apple TV will incorporate Dolby Atmos/Dolby vision and offer zero sign-on. However, strategically the announcement that Charter Spectrum will be partnering with Apple TV later this year, hot on the heels of the recent Canal Plus announcement, is perhaps the more pertinent news in this space. This news is covered in a separate blog by our entertainment analysts, as the race to become the entertainment hub in the home continues.

Overall an intriguing event, Apple announced significant user enhancements and benefits at its WWDC 2018 and continued to promote diversity – a record number of female speakers took to the stage and it was proud to support pride month.

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