Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs spells out a new strategy for Mac OS

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Why Salesforce chief gave up AppStore.com for Apple
Steve Jobs introduced the world to OS X.
Photo: Ben Stanfield/Flickr CC

May 11: Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs spells out a new strategy for Mac OS May 11, 1998: As part of his mission to turn Apple around, Steve Jobs spells out the company’s strategy for the Mac operating system going forward.

The company will ship Mac OS 8.5 and the first customer release of an OS called Rhapsody that fall, he says at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California. The big news, however, is that Apple is hard at work creating a major new operating system called OS X.

Robotics startup that graced the stage at WWDC closes

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Anki
These tiny robot cars once looked like the future of gaming.
Screenshot: Apple

Robotics startup Anki, which graced the stage at WWDC in 2013, has closed up shop. The company previously raised more than $200 million in funding, but it had seemingly burned through the money.

Anki revealed this week that it will lay off its entire staff of almost 200 people. The startup previously enjoyed acquisition interest from the likes of Microsoft, Amazon and Comcast.

Siri sounds better in Britain after voice improvements

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Sorry, Alexa: Siri still the most widespread AI assistant
Sorry, Alexa: Siri still the most widespread AI assistant
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple has quietly updated the female British voice for Siri. The improvements can be heard today on HomePod and iOS devices.

The update comes just a few weeks after Apple updated the male British voice. It is believed the company could be working on improvements for many of Siri’s international voices.

Apple plans to merge iOS and macOS apps by 2021

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Office Mac App Store
Your favorite apps could soon be available on any Apple device.
Photo: Apple

Apple plans to make it easy for developers to merge iOS and macOS apps into one by 2021, according to a new report.

The project, dubbed “Marzipan,” hopes to encourage development and boost App Store revenue. It will start with a new software development kit that will let developers port their iPad apps to Mac later this year.

How Apple Watch apps’ death spiral nearly killed my iPhone app

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Developing watch apps ain't easy
Developing watch apps ain't easy
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Two years ago, my partner and I launched an Apple Watch app to complement our iPhone fitness app. Little did we know that our embrace of Apple’s smartwatch would threaten the very existence of the gym app we’d been developing since 2012.

Each year since we launched Reps & Sets, we updated it to keep up-to-speed with all the cool new features Apple rolled out at its Worldwide Developers Conference. That all changed last year, though. That’s when we discovered that, by adding support for Apple Watch, we had inadvertently taken a poison pill that could effectively kill our iPhone app.

It doesn’t have to be this way. With a few key changes, Apple could turns things around and reinvigorate the Apple Watch app ecosystem.

iOS 12 brings big improvements to iPhone’s Portrait mode

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truedepth iphone x camera portrait lighting
Portrait mode never looked so good on iPhone.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

iOS 12 packs a whole host of significant improvements that Apple didn’t get a chance to showcase during its WWDC preview. One of those, according to one developer, is a greatly-enhanced Portrait mode for compatible iPhone models.

The image below highlights the impressive difference between a Portrait photo taken with iOS 11 and another taken with iOS 12.

Amazing numbers from WWDC 2018

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wwdc 20 million developers
Did you know that 20 million people are building apps for Apple devices?
Photo: Apple

With so much to digest during Apple’s big WWDC keynote on Monday, it was easy to miss some of the finer details.

You might be aware of every new feature coming to iOS 12 this fall. You might have memorized the changes to macOS, too. But did you know that more than 20 million people are now building apps for Apple devices, or that 10 billion Siri requests are processed every month?

Here are some fascinating numbers you probably missed during WWDC.

macOS Mojave changes spell doom for indie Mac games

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Steamcrate game subscription offer
Apple is making life a lot harder for smaller game studios.
Photo: Cult of Mac

A big change Apple is making with macOS Mojave could make it more difficult for indie developers to build cross-platform games.

Apple is pushing game creators to drop OpenGL in favor of its own Metal API, which isn’t supported by third-party platforms. It may mean smaller game development teams are forced to choose between releasing on macOS or other operating systems.

Conan hilariously skewers iOS 12’s Screen Time feature

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Conan
No distractions here!
Photo: Conan

At Monday’s WWDC keynote event, Apple introduced its new Screen Time initiatives which will help users keep tabs on just how much they use their iPhones. It’s something that people have been pushing for a while, and it’s absolutely the right move on Apple’s part.

But that doesn’t mean it can’t be the source of humor. In a new skit, late night talkshow host Conan O’Brien skewers the concept with his idea for an iPhone Basic — with no screen, no buttons, and basically nothing that could distract you from living in the real world. Check it out below.