iPhone — AR Kit

Apple announced three new phones: the iPhone Xs, its larger cousin iPhone Xs Max, and the (relatively speaking) budget-concious iPhone Xr. (See our executive summary of the event for the differences between them all.) All versions have improved cameras (with a drool-worthy dual camera system on the Xs and Xs Max), better battery life, and the fastest processors we’ve seen yet.

In terms of how the release relates to designing for iPhone, augmented reality via Apple`s AR Kit 2 is perhaps most interesting. AR Kit 2 was announced in June, but paired with the new iPhone Xs and Xs Max, the experience for the end user is more elegant and realistic. AR Kit 2 allows for shared experiences between multiple people via iPhone or iPad, for example, in a game or on a project like a home renovation, according to Apple. Another feature, called Persistent AR, allows users to leave AR objects in physical location and come back to them later, such as a virtual piece of art or a puzzle. The other key feature is Measure, which does precisely what is says, allowing users to measure objects in the real world.

In the official Apple announcement, impressive new game experiences were demo-ed by Bethsda and Steve Nash. Both Elder Scrolls: Blades and Homecourt made even me, a serious non-gamer, take a second look at how AR in its evolving state is going to change the product design industry. AR Kit 2 is starting to allow enhanced product development, with end user experiences becoming more and more transformative with bigger, more beautiful screens.

Siri Shortcuts

Originally announced in June at WWDC ’18, Apple didn’t spend too much time on Siri Shortcuts this time around, but it’s finally available as a part of the iOS 12 release.

Shortcuts promises to allow users to complete tasks via voice, and in less time. There are a number of new considerations and contexts to design for, which present exciting opportunities as product designers to think through how we want our apps to interact when accessed via Shortcuts.