Apple’s Keynote conferences rarely disappoint. Every time they hold one, you come away dazzled by some game-changing announcement or the other. Yes, yes. We all know Apple now has a whole new and improved iOS 11 High Sierra, a better iPad Pro, a Watch 4 fitted with Siri, enhanced Photo-editing, Metal for VR, Amazon Prime video on Apple TV, the ARKit to rival Microsoft’s Hololens, the Homepod, and a whole host of other impressive tech.
But these are the usual big-ticket updates, the likes of which have become par for the course with the Worldwide Developers Conferences. So, what can we really take away from WWDC17?
Here are the ten most pertinent take-aways…
The Internet is actually doomed
Now that Apple has introduced Intelligent Tracking Prevention in desktop Safari browsers, helping users avoid being persistently stalked by online advertisers, we shall witness a shift in online commerce and the third-party ecosystem. And this will either mean the price of data usage shoots way up or the Internet implodes as advertisers withdraw their investments in digital ad spaces. To be fair, this isn’t as bad as ad-blocking software — the ITP feature will not block ads per se, only advertisers won’t be able to track or profile you, the user.
Which is a great thing for your privacy, but rather harsh towards the product-placers who keep Internet affordable.
More bad news for advertisers…
That’s not all. Apple’s gone in for autoplay video blocking in Safari. You won’t have to do a treasure-hunt on a news article to locate and pause the video that started blaring loudly. But again, thwarting ad revenue to aid user convenience.
Oh well, at least this is only limited to desktops. Mobile Internet is safe. For now.
Siri just found a way to make you even dumber
One of the most annoying yet character-building exercises in life is when you’re on a long car-trip in unfamiliar country, with only Siri to rely on for your safe passage, and you end up in a lake.
But now, Siri just got its ability to mollycoddle you upgraded. She can now speak to you in a bunch of languages for your convenience, sounds more human-like with speech inflections, and works more closely with the Internet of Things to adapt more accurately to your reality.
ARkit makes desk-work ridiculously entertaining
Developing new properties like ‘fast, stable motion-tracking’, ‘plane estimation’, ‘ambient lighting estimation’, Apple has made a solid foray into Augmented Reality. It has taken the phrase ‘plain and boring’, and turned it on its head, into ‘plane and interesting’. But the real cool part is how all you need is a plane surface to create an entire Tolkien’s universe.
Or you can be plane and boring and just sit around watching a tea-cup hug a flat surface.
Size doesn’t matter, but numbers do
After an inexplicably long time, Apple has put a NumPad on its Magic keyboard. Besides the numeric keypad, there are also a Home button, more function keys, and actual page-up and page-down buttons. And it has provided much delight to users.
What’s more, the arrow keys have been enlarged too. So, all in all, the Apple Magic keyboard is much bigger. Apple may have a fetish for the small, but it’s great news that it recognises the importance of numbers too. It’s almost like Apple was embarrassed about this foible, because this upgrade found no mention in the actual demo, and was released silently later.
Millennials are about to get a bit more spendthrift
iMessage conversations between young people (read inveterate consumers) often showcase discussions around the latest new cool thing to buy. Caught in a torrent of excited OMGs, NoWays, and WeTotallyHaveToBuyThises, millennials can work up quite a crescendo of consumerism that need no longer be pegged back by navigational challenges.
For, now that Apple Pay is on the grid and allowing peer-to-peer payments, and is integrated with iMessage, you don’t even have to quit your conversation or stop squealing in delight as you make that purchase.
Runners are going to trip over a lot more
If Minnie was about as quiet and un-distracting as a mouse, Apple Watch 4’s latest speaking watchfaces are right out of the Toy Story franchise.
Woody, Jesse and Buzz are quite a bit more expressive and zany, and can potentially make you trip over with distracted laughter after you ask watchOS 4’s Siri how long it’ll take for you to lose those four pounds.
Pack your typing fingers away
…Because iPhone cameras too can now read QR codes. Which means you will rarely have to type in URLs, or input a selection. Using your iPhone camera, you can point to and scan the QR code for a product, and get a prompt that takes you to straight to the relevant website, or make payments directly.
If developing the opposable thumb was what set homo sapiens apart from its simian ancestors, this update may be bad news for the already-quite-lazy human race’s chances at further evolution.
It’s either iOS Apps or worldwide Apocalypse
This time, Apple wasn’t just the harbinger of what technology is going to look like in the near future, but also went as far as to predict a total and complete collapse of society as we know it if iOS Apps were to somehow get deleted and disappear.
In that hilarious 3-minute video, Apple showed us how indispensable and cool its tech is. Or, how tragically our lives have become interwoven with it.
Futurama goes deeper than just being a funny animated series
Guess what the inside of the iMac looks like.
It looks like Futurama‘s Roberto, a mentally unstable supervillain robot with moves like a dagger.
So, Apple — slow on the uptake in this respect — has finally made a real bid to embrace VR. The new and improved line of iMacs comes with heavily modified interior to make Apple products competitive for developers who want machines powerful enough to run VR rigs on. Going all the way up to Radeon Pro 580 and 8GB of VRAM, Apple is souping up its Graphics Processing Unit as well as making the screen much brighter.
It could be just a coincidence that this ambitious upgrade renders the iMac’s insides a doppelgänger of a criminally insane albeit fictional robot. But it could also be foreshadowing.