I just got home after attending Apple’s WWDC in San Jose, California. (I attended as a guest of Apple). It was a big year – a new Mac Pro for the most extremely high end of users, iPad gets its own OS to push it toward more serious ‘laptop alternative’ territory, Apple Watch also steps toward becoming a stand alone device with more options that untether it from needing to be attached to an iPhone, and lots of new features for Macs too.

My two favourite things, though were:

  • Sign In with Apple: A privacy-focused alternative to signing in with Google or Facebook, as seen in many places on the web. My story for the AFR next week will focus on this launch and why it essentially shifts Apple from ‘privacy as a feature’ in its recent years to ‘privacy as a service’, and that’s an important step for the online marketplace.
  • ARKit 3 & Reality Composer: Apple is the leading AR platform, really, with iPhone and iPad having the best Augmented Reality features in the market. The latest update to ARKit sees clever new capabilities that help put humans into AR scenes. That includes People Occlusion, which lets people move in front of and behind AR objects in a scene, and motion capture that turns human movement into movement for AR characters. Reality Composer is a new tool that makes it super easy to start creating actual AR scenes and interactive environments. These two things will help push a lot of creativity without the need for crazy programming knowledge to go with it.

Overall, it’s clear Apple is starting to refocus a lot of energy beyond the iPhone. I love this event because software is where the real change arrives. New hardware gets the flashy news headlines, but the software updates are where actual new features come from.

Science

A Mythical Form of Space Propulsion Finally Gets a Real Test

Scientists have debated for decades whether the propulsion concept known as EmDrive is real or wishful thinking. A sensitive new tool may at last provide an answer.

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Bad news from science: Fast-charging Li-ion batteries may be quick to top up, but they're also quick to die

The candle that burns twice as bright, or charges twice as fast… makes sense in its own way, but makes for an annoying situation. Maybe fast charging phones will need to revert to user replaceable battery setups too?

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Work Smarter

Remote Workers Are Outperforming Office Workers - Here's Why

If it’s all about Getting Things Done, then a lot of people are very aware that the modern workplace just doesn’t suit the actual act of doing work.

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Microsoft says mandatory password changing is “ancient and obsolete”

It’s being removed as a default practice in Microsoft products. Many people will still be stuck with this policy because policies die hard, but it’s good to see sensible changes based on today’s understandings of the right way to do things instead of just eternal assumptions.

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Culture

File-Sharing Legend “Napster” Turns 20 Years Old Today

On June 1, 1999, a new application was uploaded to the Internet. Named Napster, it was the first tool that created a file-sharing network of millions of people, something that had never been done before. Two years later that network shut down, but its impact still resonates today.

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For Men Who Hate Talking On The Phone, Games Keep Friendships Alive

Any time a friend of Eddie Gill’s calls him on the phone, his first thought is: “Why the fuck are you calling me?”…

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Confessions of a Reddit 'Karma Whore'

One user who chased millions in karma over the past few years shares their thoughts on how it happened and how

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Apple WWDC highlights

Apple's 'Find My' Feature Uses Some Very Clever Cryptography

Apple has designed a way to let you find a lost laptop that is asleep but offline by bouncing encrypted Bluetooth signals via iPhones that may pass within range. But all in a way that means only you will ever find out exactly where it is. Not even Apple will know, nor the people who happened to help trigger the signal transmissions.

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Apple announces 'Sign in with Apple' feature, Cook says aim is to advance privacy protections

Apple’s new third-party login system will focus on user privacy, preventing user tracking. Tim Cook tells CBS News the move isn’t about battling Google and Facebook, but advancing privacy.

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