News & Analysis

Apple Top-10 Announcements at WWDC

Having had our share of sniggers at Apple’s interpretation of AI, let’s see what else they did at the annual jamboree

Apple kicked off its developer conference WWDC 2024 with a slew of announcements of which those related to the company’s experiments with artificial intelligence, more specifically generative AI cornered much of the narrative. However, true to form, Tim Cook and his band of merry folk did leave something for the rest of us Fanboys. 

Apple’s very own AI system has been christened “Apple Intelligence” – something that would provoke sniggers or snide remarks from the rest of the tech industry and the media which would now have to clearly differentiate whether it is referring to artificial intelligence or Apple’s version of it when they abbreviate to AI. 

Jokes apart, the company did come up with a big enough AI push through Siri, getting its first really big upgrade since launch as well as using Gen AI models to enable several capabilities across Apple’s own apps as well as external ones to which the company promises to provide the required APIs. 

There’s more to WWDC than the AI Narrative

Since Apple’s AI foray had been in the works for several months now, we thought it best to cut the clutter around it and focus instead on some of the other stuff that Tim Cook and his team announced on the first day of the WWDC 2024. We have put together a list of ten such announcements in no particular order: 

  1.     A new and more customizable Control Center is in the works for iOS18 that could include allowing users to freely place app icons on the home screen. Additionally, the feature would let users lock certain apps and prevent others from using them in case the device changes hands – intentionally or otherwise. 


  1.     The Photos app gets a redesign and the iPhones would get a new Game Mode that minimizes background activity so that the user can optimize their gameplay. 


  1.     The iMessage is getting some cool upgrades that includes the ability to schedule texts and additional support for SMS messaging via satellite. This works when has no mobile signal nearly and need a satellite to relay the data. All you need to do is keep the device pointed in the right direction and an overlay above the messages will tell you how. The company is also rolling out Tap-back options that allows users to bold, underline and italicize text. 


  1.     Apple is also launching a new Passwords app that will allow users to track login details across different devices. The app allows you to generate and store passwords similar to other password manager apps. These would be available across all the operating systems that Apple offers for its device universe as well as on Windows. 


  1.     Apple TV Plus is getting a new feature that allows users to swipe down on the remote to depict the actors and their characters in a movie or a television show that one is watching. One can also find out the song playing at a particular moment and add it to the Music playlist. Additionally, Apple TV Plus will show subtitles when one mute’s a show besides now supporting 21:9 ratio projectors. 


  1.     Couldn’t imagine that a missing calculator could have such ramifications within the Apple ecosystem. Anyways, now the iPad is getting one, more than a decade after it first appeared. Though delayed, the new calculator comes with a Math Notes feature that allows Pencil users to write equations on the iPad and have the app solve it. Apple is also launching Smart Script that uses machine learning to enhance handwriting and conduct spell-checks on the go when a user is writing notes. 


  1.     The next macOS – called Sequoia will allow users to mirror the iPhone with the Mac. This would help in seamless interaction with the iPhone via the MacBook, allowing us to view notifications and hear the audio playing from the handheld device. A new Highlights feature on Safari will use machine learning to pick interesting bits from a web page that one is browsing. 


  1.     The watchOS 11 too has several new features including one that automatically adds widgets based on when one requires them. Apple is also coming out with a new Vitals app that allows users to explore critical health metrics at a glance. Additionally, new features on Live Activities will allow loved ones to track you when working out. 


  1.     The company is also launching Siri interactions in their next edition of AirPods Pro software updates that potentially lets users just shake their head in a “yes” or a “no” for Siri to pitch in with announcements. The AirPods Pro will also be getting voice isolation that will enhance voice quality and reduce background noise further. 


  1. Finally, there is the visionOS 2 – the first major update of the operating system that Apple conjured up for its mightily expensive VisionPro virtual reality headsets. A new feature brings depth to an existing image using machine learning. Additionally, the updates introduce support for an ultrawide virtual Mac display, additional intuitive gestures and support for travel mode on trains.