Today is a big one for Apple as they launch their WWDC – only, this year, it is online only. This is the day they introduce the new software announcements for what is to come for their iOS (iPhone and iPad), MacOS (Mac computers), WatchOS (for Apple Watch), and TV os (for Apple TV). Here are a few things that caught my eyes for travelers and others that have interests similar to mine (fitness, tech, etc).
New Apple Updates Coming Soon
When Will the New Apple Updates Be Available?
These will not be available today but will be available through the developer betas this month. The public releases will be out this fall. But, here are some things to look forward to, if you are an Apple user. But, public betas will be available next month if you cannot wait.
Apple Translate App
Right now, Google rules the translation space with their Translate app. I use it all the time and it is just amazing, thanks to the AI that Google has for so much of their Assistant base.
Now, Apple wants to get into this space. I really think that it is going to take a long time for Apple to catch up but they are excellent at making their apps have some fantastic integration with their hardware so it could end up being a better tool for Apple users over time.
They have a Conversation aspect of Translate (hmm, sounds very familiar) which will allow people to have a conversation with two different languages and each see what is being said. The Apple neural engine will automatically select the right person speaking with the language and then display it for the other person.
At launch, there will only be 11 languages – English, Mandarin Chinese, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Portuguese, and Russian. Contrast this with the over 100 languages that Google Translate offers (most with the ability to be used offline).
Apple users can use Siri to use their Translate app and it can be done offline. So, it should be easy to use but I will hold off my final judgment on it until I get a chance to play with it. After all, comparing Siri to Google Assistant shows how weak Siri really is.
Apple Maps Update
Here is another place that Google rules in a strong way but Apple Maps has come a long way over the the last couple of years. This year, iOS 14 will have cycling as part of a mode of transportation. This will show cyclists the best routes for riding their bike, including showing them where they may need to take the stairs (and being able to avoid stairs). It will also show things like elevation, etc.
This will be available for a limited number of metro locations at launch – New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay Area, Shanghai, Beijing, and other Chinese cities. It will move to other locations as well.
Apple Maps will also make a new feature available for those with electric vehicles, showing you things like charging stations based on the type of vehicle you have. It will also incorporate wind speed, weather, hills, etc, to help you know when you should take the next charging opportunity.
They will also be bringing guides to cities to Maps to help you when you travel. You can quickly and easily see what you need to hit up while visiting a new city and save those guides for your trip. A nice thing is they will auto update so everything will constantly be fresh as the guides change.
Apple Watch is finally getting native Sleep Tracking. While I am a huge fan of Apple Watch (while I currently have my awesome Garmin Fenix 6 on my wrist), Apple has really kind of dragged their feet in some areas.
Obviously, sleep tracking is already available through other apps but the biggest problem has been the battery life of the Apple Watch (but they will be using a sleep face to help keep battery usage low – including not having any type of alerts during the sleep time). Incorporating sleep tracking likely means that there will be some meaningful improvement to battery watch with the Apple Watch Series 6 this fall.
Still, it is nice to get the Apple touch to sleep tracking. I love the sleep tracking on my Garmin as a part of my overall fitness metrics. It will be interesting to see how well Apple does with this.
But, one thing that is still missing (although they have made new additions to Workout like Cool Down, Dances, and more) is advanced metric customization for things like the Run part of Workout. I hate that Apple does not add something so simple that other app developers have had no problem incorporating. As a runner that trains using things like intervals, having a data field to see my interval time/pace is really important. Not having that was one of the chief reasons I went back to Garmin. Oh well – we can still hope!
No word on blood pressure monitoring which is something Samsung has already introduced but that kind of announcement would be saved for the actual launch of an Apple Watch that has those sensors built in so not surprised there.
One more thing is that the Apple Watch will now have cycling turn direction which will be great for cyclists out there.