Apple Worldview? Everyone's Fit & Creative, But Jobless

Apple once again used the kick-off keynote at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC18) to unveil its plans and visions, showcasing the required complement of gee-whiz features but virtually nothing of relevance to enterprise users.

I'd hope to find some of interest to enterprise buyers as I listened in on Apple CEO Tim Cook and Craig Federighi, VP of software engineering, deliver their presentations. But even after perusing the nine pages of notes I took, I could find only slight traces of an enterprise play in Apple's WWDC announcements. So, next time you're on vacation, here's what you can look forward to from Apple.

Screen Time

You've probably read about this feature in the general media -- it's getting a lot of coverage. Screen Time, a capability being added in iOS 12 (coming this fall), will allow you to monitor how much time you spend on your device, tell you what applications you're using the most, and let you set limits. Those of us who actually have lives and aren't addicted to our smartphones may not have use for Screen Time, but some might find the parental control function helpful in keeping children from falling into that trap.

Integrating AR objects with usdz

While enterprises might find Screen Time useful for measuring user adoption of various applications, given the sensitive nature of personal app usage, that information isn't likely to be accessible by mobile device management systems.

Augmented Reality (AR)

If you're going to do gee-whiz today, AR is the ticket. In conjunction with Pixar, Apple has developed an open AR objects file format, called usdz, for integrating AR throughout iOS and to make AR objects available across Apple apps. Again, how useful this will be for enterprise developers is questionable. Over the years industry watchers have talked about enterprises using AR to develop training aids for challenging hands-on tasks, but the cost and effort of doing so has left the idea stranded at the concept demo phase.

But a related "Measure" might have some enterprise utility. With this Measure tool, users will be able to capture real-world objects with the camera, then click and drag them to virtual spaces. They can outline dimensions and get accurate measurements, which are key to rendering virtual objects in real space. This capability could provide a great alternative to tape measures for some workers, but we'll have to see how flexible (and accurate) the final version is.

WatchOS: Dick Tracey Realized

The mark of a true Apple aficionado is an Apple Watch, strapped on to the person's wrist and monitoring activity goals. When available this fall, WatchOS 5 will allow wearers to engage in competitions with their fellow overly-fit friends. (I suppose you could also set goals for sitting on the couch and eating Cheetos -- no competitors required.)

The one neat thing Apple is adding is a walkie-talkie function (operates over Wi-Fi or cellular). Once your correspondent accepts your invitation, you can have push-to-talk (PTT) voice communications between two Apple Watches, just like Dick Tracy and Sam Ketcham did with their two-way wrist radios.

Nextel failed miserably at trying to create a wider enterprise need for PTT, but vendors like Kodiak Networks developed PTT over cellular (POC) to fill what need there was. In short, moving the capability from a smartphone to a wearable won't likely have much impact on PTT.

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