Apple Worldwide Developers Conference

All the Ways Apple’s iOS 11 Will Change Your iPhone

After Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference last week, everyone was talking about new hardware. The company introduced its new HomePod speaker, a competitor to Amazon’s Echo, and unveiled a new iMac Pro, along with upgraded iMacs and MacBooks.

The company also announced an update to its mobile operating system — the one that powers the millions of iPhones and iPads that have become a common part of everyday life for many people. Apple will roll out iOS 11 this fall, with a host of new features.

What are they? Let’s take a look.

We all know how dangerous texting, or using your phone in general, while driving can be, but it doesn’t stop people from thinking they can get away with it. Plus, buzzing alerts on your phone are distracting even if you don’t look at them (and sometimes it seems like they never stop). Apple’s next update will include a possible solution to that problem: It will automatically block notifications when your phone thinks you are behind the wheel.

Texts sent via iMessage will also be intercepted. When one arrives, the phone will send an automatic reply saying you are driving and that you’ll respond when you get to your destination. (You can program your phone to let some numbers through the blockade, so loved ones can reach you in a pinch.) When the phone has determined that you’ve stopped driving, your screen will come back to life, and you can catch up on everything you’ve missed.

The Control Center, that panel full of easily-accessed buttons and tools you see when you swipe up from the bottom of your iPhone screen, will also get an overhaul in the new update. Soon all the controls will be located on one colorful, widget-filled page.

Some have complained that the new layout is confusing and cluttered, but it doesn’t have to be: The Control Center will be customizable, so you can add as many (or as few) widgets as you like, including quick access to your camera, calculator or Apple TV.

Additionally, there’s a new toggle for the iPhone’s “Low Power” mode, designed to save battery life while you’re out without a spot to charge your phone. The new Control Center also features quick accessibility settings, including options to magnify your…

How Apple’s Siri will soon help you make payments and track personal finances

At WWDC this week, we learned about many ways Apple plans to make Siri smarter, many of which will have to do with your money. Starting with iOS 11, Siri will be able to help you complete money transfers, as well as help you stay on top of your checking, savings, and credit card accounts.

“Users will now be able to transfer money from one account to another or search for account information,” said Sirikit engineer Sirisha Yerroju about changes coming to the public with release of iOS 11 scheduled out this fall. “If the user wants to know more about each account, you can just click on any of the items to get a detailed view. Search for account intent not just shows all the accounts but can also be used to provide specific account information.”

The ability to search for and pay bills with Siri was added with version 10.3 of Siri, while send and request payment functionality came last fall with iOS 10.

Yerroju spoke in a session Wednesday titled “What’s New With Sirikit?” to go into greater detail on Siri updates first mentioned in the opening keynote address.

Some of the changes coming to Siri were first announced onstage during the keynote address Monday, such as the ability to do on-the-spot translations, personalized recommendations in native apps within iOS 11 like Safari, Maps, and News, and both male and female versions of the assistant will get a more…

AI Weekly: Apple and Google are making smartphones smarter

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It’s happening again. Smartphones are getting smarter. At WWDC this week Apple announced Core ML, a programming framework for app developers seeking to run machine learning models on iPhones and other devices. Think of this as AI on your iPhone, which means your favorite apps may soon intuitively know what you want to do with them.

Meanwhile, Google made a similar announcement a few weeks ago at its I/O developer conference. The company’s new TensorFlow Lite programming framework will make it possible to run machine learning models on Android devices.

And these announcements are in addition to Google Assistant now being available for the iPhone. (It’s already become my most used app.)

So what does this mean?

These moves suggest yet a third front for more artificial intelligence battles by the tech giants. First, intelligent assistants: Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri. Second, smart speakers: Amazon Echo, Google Home, and the new Apple HomePod. And third: smartphones and their apps. Of course, Microsoft, Samsung, and others may stir things up further.

If you have an AI story to share, send news tips to Blair Hanley Frank and Khari Johnson, and send guest post submissions to John Brandon. To receive this information in your inbox every Thursday morning, subscribe to AI Weekly — and be sure to bookmark our AI Channel.

Thanks for reading,

Blaise Zerega

Editor in Chief

P.S. Please enjoy this video of Kai-Fu Lee, CEO and founder of Sinovation Ventures, delivering the commencement address to the Engineering School of Columbia University.

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AR/VR Weekly: Apple enters the fray

Apple VR demo

About time, Apple. Welcome to 2015.

This week at its Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, Apple finally jumped into the augmented and virtual reality world. ARKit is Apple’s tool for making AR applications, and it was the first of several announcements that show that the iPhone company is ready to take the next step into a larger world.

AR and VR could be a market that has more than 1 billion users and $60 billion in global revenues by 2021, tech adviser Digi-Capital estimates. And in a guest post for us, DC founder Tim Merel says that Apple “took the mobile AR war to the next level” with this announcement.

And Merel’s not the only one bullish on Apple and AR.

“With more than 130 million active iPhones in the U.S. alone and far less hardware/software fragmentation than Android, Apple’s move into AR stands to make it the largest player in the space virtually overnight. It will mint millions of new consumers for AR developers, all of whom have been shown the promise of the medium by Apple itself and are ready to see more,” says Randy Nelson of research firm Sensor Tower. “At the same time, the qualities that have made iOS the preferred platform for app developers will undoubtedly carry over to AR, so I believe Apple will make iOS the most attractive target platform possible for AR developers and content creators.”

And on the VR side, Valve says it’s bringing SteamVR to Macs. You’ll be able to play VR games on an HTC Vive or an Oculus Rift — though you may need an external graphics chip solution that Apple also announced (because, let’s face it, Macs just can’t cut VR without a little help, and Apple loves selling you accessories).

All of this has made game devs excited to see what comes from this new foray from the Mac maker.

I’m not so excited about VR coming to the Mac. I want to see something better than a slap-dash cobbling together of a Mac and an external video chip. Why do that when I can buy a VR-ready PC for less than $1,000 — or just hook up a headset to my powerful gaming rig? Yeah, my Air can keep being an email and Hearthstone machine.

But AR and iOS? That’s a dream team.

For AR/VR coverage, send news tips to Dean Takahashi and Jeff Grubb (for those that cross over into PC gaming). Please send guest post submissions to Rowan Kaiser….

Everything Apple announced at WWDC: iOS 11, iMac Pro, HomePod, and more

This morning, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook took the stage to announce macOS and iOS updates, new hardware, including the iMac Pro and iPad Pro, and an ARKit for developers. The biggest and most anticipated announcement, however, was the HomePod, a smart speaker.

Here is a recap of the key takeaways:

Amazon Prime on Apple TV

Apple and Amazon are finding a way to collaborate. Later this year, the Amazon Prime app will be available on Apple TV. This is perhaps a way to offer a united front against Google’s offerings, such as Home and Play.

Apple reveals watchOS 4

Apple revealed the latest version of watchOS for its Apple Watch devices. Siri powers a new watch face that displays the info that is most relevant to you, such as traffic, your next meeting, and other features on your calendar. The workout app and the music app are also getting updates.

Macs: New software and hardware

Apple’s next big macOS update, version 10.13, was baptized High Sierra. Apple also unveiled a new model to its iMac line: the $5,000 iMac Pro, which will apparently deliver outstanding graphics. Finally, MacBook Pros will get a speed boost with Kaby Lake processors and support up to 32GB of memory.

Apple Pay goes P2P

Apple is adding person-to-person payments to Apple Pay and integrating the technology into Messages. It seems the company is catching up to PayPal and Square.

Siri now translates on-the-fly

This is a picture of Apple VP Craig Federighi discusses Siri onstage June 5 at WWDC 2017 at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, Calif.

Apple’s Siri will…

Here’s how and why to watch Apple’s WWDC keynote today

Today is the Apple keynote presentation for its Worldwide Developer’s Conference. And while no earthshaking announcements are rumored to be on tap, it’s still a can’t-miss event for Apple junkies around the world.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be in Silicon Valley to watch. Per usual, Apple will be livestreaming the keynote. Though you need to have either Safari or Microsoft Edge browser on the desktop to watch it.

Start time for the San Jose shindig is 10 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time, 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), and 7 p.m. Central European Summer Time (CEST).

On tap: Apple is expected to unveil the updates that will come in iOS 11, macOS 10.13, watchOS 4, and tvOS 11. In addition, there’s talk that we may see (or hear) the new Siri…

WWDC 2017: What’s Coming at Apple’s Big Spring Fling


You can always tell when Apple’s WWDC developer shindig is nigh. Just follow the leaks.

A few months before Tim Cook and his executives take the stage to show off what Apple’s software teams have been building for the last year, whispers start to trickle out. The leaks start really flowing a few weeks leading up to the event, and in the last few days before WWDC, the pipes burst, the dam gives, the levee breaks. You get the idea.

This year’s conference, which starts Monday, has Apple at an interesting crossroads. The gadget-buying world is hyped beyond reason for the tenth-anniversary iPhone, but that’s likely not coming until this fall. (Or even later.) Meanwhile, most of Apple’s other products face some headwinds. The MacBook Pro with Touch Bar was met with a resounding meh. The iPad, the supposed future of computing, still can’t find a way to grow. The Apple Watch 2 still needs a killer app. The Apple TV, well, the Apple TV hasn’t exactly blown up the industry the way the folks in Cupertino wanted. Apple Music is losing to Spotify; Siri seems to be running a distant third behind Alexa and Google Assistant. Let’s be clear, Apple’s not doomed. Apple is still dominating the tech world. But there’s still that unshakeable feeling that the company’s moxie may be missing.

But Siri-ously

All of that may help explain why this year’s Worldwide Developer Conference is shaping up to be the biggest one in years. Siri will almost certainly be the star of the show, as Apple tries to keep up in the raging virtual-assistant wars. Siri will surely have new skills and new integrations, and Apple could even announce wider developer support. Right now,…