Apple CEO Tim Cook and other company executives had plenty of details for developers when they previewed the coming operating system updates for iPhones, Macs and other devices at the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) earlier this month. But what will the fall arrival of iOS 10 and macOS Sierra mean for Apple users?
One coming iOS 10 feature that generated quite a bit of attention -- not all of it positive -- immediately after the WWDC keynote was its support for a variety of new special effects for texting. For example, Jonathan Zdziarski, an iOS forensics security expert, tweeted afterward: "I wish Apple had taken more time to demo emoji and stickers on the keynote -- No one ever."
Another question that came up frequently after the iOS 10 and macOS Sierra previews concerned Apple's personal digital assistant, Siri. While Siri appears to be set for a significant upgrade, and will be available for the first time on macOS as well as on iOS devices, it remains to be seen how well Apple's AI (artificial intelligence) competes with Microsoft's Cortana or Google Now.
Siri: Smarter, More Voice-Friendly
In a Siri-Cortana head-to-head comparison yesterday, Mashable pronounced a draw between the two. While Siri for macOS is proving faster in response to voice commands, Cortana wins overwhelmingly when answering typed questions and requests, Mashable noted, adding that Microsoft's AI will also be due for an update this summer.
According to Ars Technica's review of Siri, the AI's arrival on macOS "feels a little tacked-on, despite answering many queries just as it does in iOS." For macOS users accustomed to handling queries through Apple's Spotlight instead, Siri's arrival on the desktop will probably take some time to get used to, Ars Technica added.
Over time, iPhone and iPad users can also expect to see a slew of new apps that incorporate Siri, as Apple will open up the assistant to developers when the new operating sysems are released this fall. SiriKit, however, will be available only for iOS and not for macOS Sierra.
Digging deeper into the changes coming with iOS 10 can also provide some hints about what to expect from the much-anticipated release of the iPhone 7. For instance, an analysis in Macworld today said the new features arriving with Apple's next mobile operating system update could bring a big revamp to the iPhone's emphasis on the home button, among other things.
Security and Privacy Questions
In light of Apple's contentious legal battle with the U.S. Justice Department earlier this year -- in which the Federal Bureau of Investigation attempted to force the company to write new code so it could bypass the security protections on an iPhone connected to a December terror attack in San Bernardino, Calif. -- it should also come as little surprise that the company's new OS updates will aim to strengthen device privacy and security.
The WWDC keynote, for instance, introduced the arrival of something Apple is calling "differential privacy." The company isn't yet offering many details on what that means for customers, but early assessments by technology experts offer mixed reviews so far.
"[I]t seems to be an anonymization technique designed to collect user data without revealing personal information," IT security expert Bruce Schneier wrote last week on his blog. "What we know about anonymization is that it's much harder than people think, and it's likely that this technique will be full of privacy vulnerabilities."
Differential privacy appears to involve Apple collecting "a lot more data from your phone" to improve its services, but doing so in a way that ensures that data is aggregated so no one individual's habits are tracked, cryptographer and Johns Hopkins University professor Matthew Green said on his blog last week.
"If Apple is going to collect significant amounts of new data from the devices that we depend on so much, we should really make sure they're doing it right -- rather than cheering them for using such cool ideas," Green said. "At the end of the day, it sure looks like Apple is honestly trying to do something to improve user privacy, and given the alternatives, maybe that's more important than anything else."
Read more on: Apple
, iOS 10
, macOS Sierra
, Artificial Intelligence
, Digital Assistant
, Mobile App
, Tim Cook
, Technology News
Posted: 2016-12-23 @ 2:55pm PT
Will Sierra be compatible with analog monitors?