Em Lazer-Walker, Cloud Advocate at Microsoft, on what she’s calling the “audio version of ARKit” in iOS 14:
They talked about this largely in context of playing movies with multi-channel surround sound, but that’s probably the least interesting application of spatial audio.
As someone who’s been working in the field for a long time — my research at the MIT Media Lab in 2015 and 2016 focused on location-based storytelling in public spaces using spatial audio — I wanted to try to give some context around why this is interesting and what it might enable.
Fascinating summary of Apple’s new Spatial Audio feature and its potential – this covers what it is, how it differs from surround sound, and goes into detailed applications for this like wayfinding, vocal content, and real-world play/gaming experiences.
This year, as with everything else WWDC, it was done online, with special guests Craig Federighi, Senior Vice President of Engineering at Apple, and Greg Jozwiak, Apple’s Vice President of Product Marketing.
Federighi and “Joz” filmed from Apple Park (in seemingly separate rooms, as one does nowadays) over the web with Gruber for over an hour and a half, which you can watch on YouTube:
Accessibility features are incredibly important for modern technology to provide, making it possible for everyone to utilize their hardware & software regardless of their personal situation – you either have direct accessibility needs that require specific use of your technology, you’ll one day need them yourself, or you benefit from those features anyway (think Dark mode).
The Shortcuts app has always been an Accessibility priority for Apple, with them declaring as much in their confirmation story when they acquisition of the Workflow app before it became Shortcuts1:
“The Workflow app was selected for an Apple Design Award in 2015 because of its outstanding use of iOS accessibility features, in particular an outstanding implementation for VoiceOver with clearly labeled items, thoughtful hints, and drag/drop announcements, making the app usable and quickly accessible to those who are blind or low-vision.”
In iOS 13, Apple went further and added a set of actions to Shortcuts for controlling Accessibility features, available to use inside the shortcut editor in Apps > Settings.
Lately, I’ve been diving deeper into Apple News – thanks to the recent addition of Apple News+ magazines, along with the recently-added “Open In Apple News” share sheet extension, it’s been my go-to source for a quick news digest, some longer reads, and now feature stories as well.
Plus, I’ve been using my old iPad Mini 2 to consume the news as a more focused and intentional usage of my devices, almost only ever using it for News and Books.
About three weeks ago I read Digital Minimalism, but then hadn’t touched the iPad Mini since (I just read News on my other devices). But when I picked up the device again to read How To Bored over this last weekend, I was met with this on the screen:
Page after page of Apple News notifications, all from sources I barely actually read and who were attempting to grab my attention every 15-30 minutes – my Apple News account was spamming me.
Every year, it’s a staple in the Apple community to read Federico Viticci’s in-depth review of the latest version of iOS.
Federico has been running MacStories for years and always spends the summer drafting massive, book-length guides to the new changes that come to Apple’s iPhone and iPad software, quickly becoming the go-to place to pay attention when the new release drops.
This time, it’s very much the same, with Viticci publishing his entire review with 16 individual sections as pages (and 1 page for credits). Here’s the subhead introduction:
After years of unabated visual and functional changes, iOS 12 is Apple’s opportunity to regroup and reassess the foundation before the next big step – with one notable exception.
With the imminent release of the Shortcuts app for iOS, I’ve been hard at work creating new ways to share with everyone.
After Workflow was acquired by Apple, I took a contract position covering support while the process transitioned to Apple Support. I didn’t want to leave the Workflow community hanging without someone to help with problems, and in my time there helped thousands of people with their workflows – and read every tweet about us.
I had joined the small team to help people learn how to use this thing, and once I saw them continue to update it I took a leap of faith and left early before I learned too much about the plans.
Seeing Shortcuts at WWDC was awesome and a wonderful confirmation that this app is the future of automation on iOS.
Plus, while I was there, I met Alex Cox and she kept telling me to make a podcast about it all. When she said she’d host it with me, I immediately said yes, and Supercomputer was born.
The best announcement at WWDC this June was Shortcuts, which will let you seamlessly interact with your apps with Siri, your iOS devices, and Apple accessories.
These quick actions will make using Apple devices much faster for everyone, plus the upcoming Shortcuts app will mark iOS opening up to true automation and sets the platform down a path full of potential.
I originally joined Workflow, the app and team that was acquired by Apple and is now becoming Shortcuts, because I believed in the power of getting things done on mobile devices and what it means to have the capability to do so in your own hands. I saw firsthand the benefits of having your own creations to use with you everywhere,and the accessibility for everyone to build those programs with the touch-based interaction.
I left and started working independently because I wanted to share my own experiences directly with people. I want to take time to help everyone understand how to take advantage of these types of tools in their own lives, work directly with app developers and companies to build integrate these properly, and share my own vision of what the world could look like with these technologies properly utilized.
Now that the public beta is available, people are starting to see what the basic custom voice and suggested shortcuts can do – I’ll be sharing my thoughts even more here and a few other places.