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WWDC 2024 roundup

Posted in Apple

I wasn’t all that blown away by Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) this year. In fact, I don’t think I have been for a few years. It feels like their software is reaching something like feature completion.

That said, all I wanted this year was a stand-alone Passwords app and Automatic transcription in Voice Memos. Actually, that’s not quite true; I added a late request to my WWDC 2024 wish list: Extensions in web apps so that I can get dark mode (via Noir) in my Google Docs web app.

Well, I got the web apps Extensions:

Now you can personalize web apps on Mac with Safari Web Extensions and Content Blockers. Navigate to the web app’s Settings menu to access all your installed Content Blockers and Web Extensions. Any enabled in Safari will be on by default in the web app. Each web app is uniquely customizable, just like Safari profiles.

They also announced a Passwords app, which looks great.

Two out of three isn’t bad, but they usually release more than they announce so I thought to keep digging and… bingo! From Android Authority:

The Voice Memo app in iOS 18 will be able to transcribe recordings, a feature that has been present on Google Pixel devices and various third-party apps for several years.

So it looks like all my wishes have been granted!

What else was interesting?

iOS 18

The updates to the Home Screen are nice: apps can be placed anywhere and app icons get a dark mode.

Tapbacks in Messages are no longer limited to a thumbs-up, heart, and a couple of other reactions; you can now use any emoji to react to a post. Messages can also be scheduled, which will be a good way to avoid missing sending someone a happy birthday message.

tvOS 18

As always, not much here, but Enhance Dialogue, where voices are amplified and background noise is minimised, is a nice accessibility feature.

WatchOS 11

A strange omission on Apple Watch has now been rectified: you can pause your Activity Rings in the Activity app. This allows a weekly rest day, or some time to recover from a niggling injury, all without losing your streaks.

macOS Sequoia

A couple of things specific to macOS look nice.

Window Tiling

Users can stay organized with new ways to arrange windows into a layout that works best for them. When a user drags a window to the edge of the screen, macOS Sequoia automatically suggests a tiled position on their desktop. Users can release their window right into place, quickly arrange tiles side by side, or place them in corners to keep even more apps in view. And new keyboard and menu shortcuts help users organize tiles even faster.

This will be more powerful than my old faithful Divvy. Sorry Divvy!

iPhone Mirroring

You can now use your iPhone entirely within macOS. There are lots of situations when I’m using my Mac, my phone is in my pocket, and it would be awkward to take it out to carry out a quick task; or when I’m at my desk and I’ve got my phone in Standby.

There’s something interesting about all of this device virtualisation Apple are doing: macOS runs inside visionOS too. Maybe one day devices other than Apple Vision will be redundant?


Improvements to Siri are long overdue. You can now ask follow-on questions, so it’s more of a conversation, where previously it was more like a command line where you speak a self-contained instruction. Let’s just hope Siri will get better at understanding my Scottish accent…

I almost never use Siri in public, so Type to Siri will be useful: Double tap the app switcher bar to activate Siri as a text input, so Siri’s functionality can be used without speaking, and the responses appear in text rather than being spoken aloud.

Apple Intelligence

I’m not entirely sure about this one. All the stuff about creating images and even rewriting text feels a bit gimmicky.

I do like the look of Clean Up in Photos:

identify and remove distracting objects in the background of a photo — without accidentally altering the subject.

Some Safari fixes

Date and time inputs will be fixed for screen reader users:

WebKit for Safari 18 beta on macOS improves accessibility support for date and time input field types. Now <input type="date">, <input type="datetime-local">, and <input type="time"> elements work properly with VoiceOver.

One final interesting titbit from the Accessibility section: They’re removing the erroneous implicit role="banner" when a <header> element is used inside a <main> or sectioning element, so we’ll be able to use the <header> element as intended without confusing screen reader users.

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More posts

Here are a couple more posts for you to enjoy. If that’s not enough, have a look at the full list.

  1. All I want from WWDC 2024

    There are two things I’m hoping Apple announce at this year’s WWDC, and one of them is a stand-alone Passwords app.

  2. If only Apple’s Voice Memos did transcription

    Imagine dictating a memo and coming back to it later as text for editing into a blog post. You can do that with the new Google Pixel…