Expectations were high this year, as most people were sure we'd see new hardware. It's been a year since the iPad Pro appeared and there have been plenty of rumours about a replacement for the MacBook Air. There was also the possibility of a smaller, cheaper HomePod appearing as well.
Despite all the rumours, Tim Cook quickly made it clear that he wasn’t there to talk about hardware as they focussed on their annual software updates.
While I was disappointed at the lack of hardware, particularly as I really wanted to see what they were doing with the iPad Pro range, the new software gave me a lot to think about. Here are my ‘first thoughts’ on what they unveiled.
I have to start by saying that I love the ‘dark mode’. Simple things like the desktop stacking and screenshot functionality will also make an immediate impact on the way I work. It's these sort of simple things that I'll use every day that make these upgrades to special.
The big news is that we will see the first steps towards iOS apps appearing on our Macs.
I thought it was smart to start off with small steps, like the Apple apps, and I really can’t wait to get Apple News on my desktop. Although I really like this service, I simply can’t use it for my news feed right now as I need it everywhere.
I also like the way they are approaching this, because merging their systems would have been a nightmare. This way, I can see how they can make it work and give us the best of both worlds. It was also great to see the app store get a much needed makeover as well, because I seem to be one of the few people who use it.
While I wasn’t happy to hear that my original Apple Watch is obsolete after only three years, the improvements did look good. Luckily, I went for the Sport model but I can only image what owners of the more expensive original models may think about this.
Yet again, the focus of the Apple Watch seems to be on fitness.
There surely has to be more people like me who appreciate having productivity features and notifications on their wrist? I also see the Apple Watch as literally being the key to your smart home by unlocking and activating things when you enter the room.
I guess we’ll have to wait until the autumn to see where they go with the hardware, but I’ve resigned myself to the fact that this is now a health and lifestyle device rather than something aimed at productivity and automation.
I’m getting used to hearing about great features that are pretty much only available in America at Apple Events now. Seriously, the UK market must mean something to Apple, but they seem to keep forgetting us when it comes the the Apple TV. There were a couple of things I was interested to hear about though.
The addition of Dolby Atmos surely has to move this device up a level, and it can’t just be regarded as ‘yet another streaming box’ now.
I think this could also move people away from Sonos for their in-home music streaming on ‘serious’ setups. Just to remind you, you now get 4K, Dolby Atmos and Apple Music without breaking the bank.
If I was recommending one of these devices though, I’d probably go straight to the screensavers. They are simply awesome and they're about to be improved. Who needs TV when you can just space out watching these?
This year, they’re focussing on improving stability and performance and people seem to love that idea. I certainly do, and I really didn’t expect my older devices to still be compatible, let alone working a little better.
For the newer devices, I think it’s safe to say that Apple are fully committed to AR.
While I haven't really used it yet on my iPhone, I can’t wait to check out the Lego stuff and go around measuring things in the autumn. I can’t say the same thing about Siri though, because despite of all their pushes, I really don’t use it much. Aside from my Home Pod, it’s Alexa all the way for me and this has a lot to do with the fact that it’s everywhere.
I’m not sure about all the usage monitoring options either. While I always like to promote healthier ways to use all your devices, I’m not convinced it will change the way people use their devices. I always get scared when I get an email from Xbox Live at the end of the year telling me how hours I’ve spent playing games, but I still play them. I will try this out though and let you know how I get on.
Voice notes on the cloud will be useful though, as I always hate the way they disappear when I restore my phone. I wasn’t surprised to see a lot more emojis, and I’m sure this isn’t the last time they take up a huge chunk of an Apple Event.
Overall, this was all another step forward for Apple. I think they gave their customers a lot of value and it’s great to see them focus on older devices. They revealed afterwards that Mojave should run on most Macs released after 2012 so, aside from original Apple Watch owners, no one should really feel left out. It also means that we should expect a lot of new hardware before the end of the year.