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Commentary: Apple’s smartphone addiction efforts won’t become the latest trend

By Terry Guanlin Li (People's Daily)    09:13, June 11, 2018

At Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) last week, the company revealed upcoming changes for their MAC OS, IOS, watchOS, and tvOS 12 operating systems.

Surprisingly, one of the changes involves the IOS 12 that is now designed to help users control their smartphone addictions and manage their time better rather than devoting too much of it to the latest app. Apple’s addiction initiative will not become the next smartphone trend, at least not anytime soon, but at least it’s a step in a positive direction.

IOS updates

With iPhones taking up the largest share of the smartphone market, the IOS 12 received the most attention at this year’s conference. According to WWDC, the new operating system is supposedly twice as face as it’s predecessor.

Craig Federighi, senior vice president of Apple’s Software Engineering said the IOS 11 enjoyed a 95 percent user satisfaction rate. The IOS 12 will run twice as fast when launching apps and running under heavy load.

Another positive is that it will be compatible with older devices dating back as far as the iPhone 5, iPad mini 2 and sixth generation iPads. It is obvious the gadget company has been focusing on previous lag issues new operating systems were having when running on older versions.

The ARkit2 and a new compact file format USDZ, will optimize sharing 3D graphic GIFs and animation. The updates are mainly AR experiences that users and developers can enjoy. The USDZ format will also be supported by Adobe Creative Cloud Suite software.

ARkit2 features include improved face recognition capabilities, realistic rendering, 3D detection, and enhanced shared experiences. A creative director from LEGO was on hand to give a demonstration.

IOS 12 has also enhanced its gallery functions. Users will be able to organize photos according to theme, and make suggestions using facial recognition technology.

Apple has finally decided to make Siri smarter and more useful. Thanks to the new Siri Shortcuts function, users can create unique phrases for multiple activities, even in different apps, from ordering coffee to setting calendars.

The shortcut function will support HomePod and Apple Watch, which users will be able to use for

smart furniture.

Apple also updated their least favorite apps such as News, Stock, Voice Memo, and iBooks, now named Apple Books with the new IOS 12.

News will feature a side bar. The Stock app’s interface has been refined and will be able to connect with News to track corporate information and breaking business stories.

CarPlay will be open to third-party navigation apps Google Maps, Waze, and China’s AutoNavi, to name a few.

New Memoji enhancements include tongue movement detection and four new features for Animoji.

Notification displays Do Not Disturb and Deliver Quietly have also received upgrades.

In what many said was the most important change, Apple will place restrictions on the number of apps a user can have on one device.

Users can set time limits, such as one hour a day on Instagram or Tinder. It’s a strategic update that indicates the company is moving away from its old reputation when the goal was to replace daily gadgets with Apple products to make it easier to sell $1,000 smartphones that only worked for a limited time.

WatchOS 5

The watchOS 5 offers users the ability to make seven-day challenges where they can invite their friends and compete in just about anything.

The watch will come with a walkie-talkie function, not that the Apple watch can obviously work as a walkie talkie.

The interactive notification function gives users more options like rating drivers in China’s Uber-like app DiDi.

Apple Watch will support website access, and during the keynote demonstration, it was revealed the watch will be able to unlock bicycles with Mobilke, China’s shared bike service.

The Student ID card function will allow students to link their identification cards to the watch allowing them access to dorms, libraries, and can even be used to make payments. Now, the high school graduatat will not only need the latest iPhone, but also a new Apple watch.

MacOS

Apple added a dark mode to its Mojave system, which can make the system darker. Also, the new stack feature makes it easier to manage files. The continuity feature allows users to pick up where they left off on other Apple devices, moving their work across multiple devices. Some IOS apps will have macOS conversion capabilities, but right now only include News, Stocks, Voice Memo, and Home, with more on the way.

tvOS

Users will be able to upgrade to 4K HDR free of charge for Apple TV, and the tvOS will support Dolby Atmos sound systems.

Overall, Apple announced major updates, and many revealed the company has been listening to its consumers. This is most evident in how the company implemented solutions for IOS 12 lag problems in older devices, and enhanced their Photo app.

Many claimed that Apple had lost its innovative edge after Steve Jobs passed away, but what Apple has mainly done is improve and enhance their features and user experience.

Apple’s products have changed the smartphone market while redefining communication. But this time Apple has tried to jump out of its circle by emphasizing health functions and phone overuse, and could see Apple losing its lead as a trendsetter among the global smartphone marketplace. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu)

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