This Breaking Apple News Will Improve Your Work Game

 
The new HomePod speaker system, image courtesy of Apple

The new HomePod speaker system, image courtesy of Apple

Everybody’s buzzing about today’s WWDC, Apple’s developer conference for nerds and consumers alike. We’re breaking down for you the most relevant bits that were announced, so you don’t have to watch a livecast of a white man in khakis saying “rock the house” into a microphone with no irony whatsoever.

Safari

Safari will now be faster and have a couple handy new features to keep you focused during your work day. How many times have you opened a news article, only to be hit with a barrage of sound and video that you can’t figure out how to stop playing? With Apple’s newly announced Autoplay Blocking, those days are over. Safari will prevent videos from automatically starting and will give you the option to control if you want to press play. These days, shutting off an autoplay video about the news is just as stressful as keeping up with the news itself, so this feature is a huge relief.

Also new to Safari is Intelligent Tracking Prevention, which will give you the option to turn off retargeted ads from shopping sites you browse. Finally, you’ll be able to keep Madewell from stalking you with ads for those platforms you don’t need but really, really want.

 

Siri

Despite Apple’s ongoing claims to have updated Siri's responsiveness, I perpetually find myself yelling at her, trying to emphasize different words, in a failed attempt to get her to add tortillas to my grocery list. This new update touts improved speech and better suggestions, but I'll believe it when I see it.

Other features include better translation (to Chinese, German, French, Italian, and Spanish), updated visual cards to simplify the information Siri is giving you, and predictive results to suggest news topics, and help you respond to text messages. Wunderbar!

 

Messages

Maybe I’m missing something, but I thought the Handoff and Continuity features introduced with iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite in 2014 already covered Message synchronization. Regardless, now your phone will sync your messages to your iPad or Mac if you set up the synchronization though iCloud. As an added bonus, you can delete your embarrassing texts and they’ll be deleted across all your devices (still waiting for the day they can be deleted from the recipient, tho).

 

ApplePay

Good news for your girl’s night out—person-to-person payments will be integrated into Messages. This genuinely seems pretty convenient. Venmo works great for now, but there definitely is that weird layer of social media attached to it, and I’d much rather just send my $10 for beer to a friend via text than a collection of curated emojis summarizing the events of the previous night.

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Maps

Sorry, but I’m ride or die for Google Maps (especially since you can potentially ride *and* die with Apple Maps). Ever since Apple severed ties with Google Maps in 2012 as the default mapping system for iOS and tried to launch their own version, it’s been buggy and woefully lacking in comparison.

Apple is launching indoor maps for airports and shopping malls in select cities, which is, unfortunately, another feature Google Maps has already had for years.

Indoor maps from Apple Maps, courtesy of Apple

Indoor maps from Apple Maps, courtesy of Apple

Screenshot of Indoor maps from Google Maps for iOS

Screenshot of Indoor maps from Google Maps for iOS

The best improvement in this category looks like the Do Not Disturb While Driving feature, which will get rid of potential distractions and hold off on notifications if it senses that you may be behind the wheel. Text message notifications won’t show up unless the person hitting you up replies “urgent”.

 

HomePod

I scoffed at this at first, but the more I think about it, the more I’m into it. HomePod makes Alexa look like a box of Pringles.

It automatically senses where it is in the room in order to calibrate a better sound, and has a bunch of advanced speaker technology.

You’ll have to have a subscription to Apple Music in order to take advantage of the music features, and if you’ve got HomeKit appliances set up, it can control those too. HomePod can access Siri as well (watch ur back, Alexa) to answer questions about weather, news, sports, and more.

 

— Tori Borengasser

 
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