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Travel with Gulf News' business editor as he attends Apple’s WWDC conference. Posts are all UAE times.

Friday: 3.23am

Thursday: 8.02am

This is Steamer Lane, on the north side of Santa Cruz. It’s one of the most popular spots to surf in Northern California. This was a slow day

Instead of facing Silicon Valley’s dreaded traffic, I decided to get out and escape to Santa Cruz, just a 42 mile drive south of the Valley. Santa Cruz is still a big place for tech and science, but it’s also known for its laidback attitude and surfing culture. Our drive started in Mountain View, just near the Google campus, and took almost an hour. Here’s the whole trip, condensed to 21 seconds. That blue thing at the end of the video is the Pacific Ocean.

It’s 5 am in San Jose, but we have UAE news. The Apple Watch with cellular data will be launching in the UAE in mid-June. You can check out our story on Gulf News for all the details. (update: the new watch will not be released in the UAE)

12.29am: Here's the wrap from Gulf News.

Apple adds parental controls, updated augmented reality at WWDC

When CEO Tim Cook took the stage at Apple’s World Wide Development forum and said Monday’s event was all about software, he wasn’t joking.

The event ended without any new devices being announced, even the semi-anticipated iPhone SE. Instead, Apple stuck to a very software specific agenda, which did include some interesting new software.

iOS 12 and new MacOS

The big focus was the announcement of iOS12 and the launch of a new MacOS, called Mojave (pronounced Moh-hav-e), both which will launch this fall.

With iOS 12, Apple didn’t announced a major overhaul of the system but instead offered a revamp that focuses on performance.

One of the most interesting new features of both new systems will be parental controls that will give users — and their family members — a breakdown of how they spend their time online.

This will include the ability to set time limits, even for yourself. Apple says it wants to help people deal with their Fear of Missing Out, referred to as FOMO.

On a slight similar note, Apple also announced Safari, its web browsers, will now make it harder for data companies to track people and computers online. When the new OS launches, Safari will limit the data that it shares making your web browsing a little more anonymous.

Facetime overhaul 

FaceTime, Apple’s person-to-person video communication software, received a nice overhaul.

Apple CEO Tim Cook (center) appears as a memoji — an animoji AR self-portrait — in a Group FaceTime chat at WWDC 2018. Screengrab

The software will now allow up to 32 people to chat to together in a group. FaceTime is still not available in the UAE, however.

Also included in iOS will be an upgraded Augmented Reality kit (ARkit 2), which will allow multiple users to share a common “augmented” reality. The technology will be focused initially on games, with Lego announcing several new games using the new AR kit.

Siri gets an upgrade

The new OS will include upgrades to Siri, Apple’s digital assistant, although it remains to be seem if the enhancements will allow Siri to finally compete with Amazon Echo or the Google Assistant

Apple also announced the launch of Memojis, which will allow users to create and design their own person emoji that can be used to record and send messages. People can also use their Memojis in FaceTime.

Other announcements at WWDC included an upgrade for the the Apple Watch and another for Apple TV.

Apple has kept its focus on making the Watch a fitness tool, but the company has also given it some direct (non sim-card based) communication tools, called Walkie-Talkie, which will allow people to talk to each other through the Watch. Apple TV will now include new Dolby Atmos, a new immersive sound technology.

Apple’s Walkie Talkie app won’t be release in the UAE. Here’s why

Apple’s stock, which has rallied the past three days, stalled after the announcements.

Despite a mid-day jump in the stock price to above $193 a share on Monday, the stock stood at $191.76 an hour after the event,

11.53pm: Lack of a major WWDC announcement has left us underwhelmed:

11.17pm: The show comes to an end with no new gadget announcements. Key highlights include ARkit 2, Group Facetime, Memoji and Mojave, all detailed below.

10.37pm Tim Cook announces new macOS called Mojave. Incidentally, that's also the name of a major California desert.

10pm Apple launches "Group Facetime," which allows up to 32 people to talk simultaneously. No news about FaceTime in the UAE though. 

9.54pm Apple launches “Memoji” where you can create your own emoji, which you can then use to record and send messages to your friends.


9.50pm (UAE time) Apple is launching several apps to help people deal with their FOMO, or fear of missing out. 

The company will also include data that lets you know how much time you’ve been spending online and what Apps have been taking up your time.

9.27pm (UAE time) Apple has announced that it is launching ARkit 2, which will allow multiple people to share a common augmented reality. Apple is demoing a LEGO game to show this.

9.15pm (UAE time) Tim Cook opens the WWDC with the announcement that revenue from the App Store will soon top $100 billion (Dh367 billion).

And it's time...the press make their way into the auditorium for the Apple WWDC keynote.

So we join the developers queuing up for Apple’s WWDC at the San Jose Convention Center. 

And here's what you can expect at the show.


We’d be lying if we said travelling to cover technology wasn’t part of the fun. Over the years Gulf News reporters have traveled to North America, Europe, Asia and Africa to cover technology trends or the latest gadget launch.

But it’s rare for a tech company to actually hold a conference or launch event in Silicon Valley, with one exception.

Twice every year, journalists from around the world fly into San Francisco International to attend one of two Apple events.

When Emirates tells you’ll be flying the “Polar Route,” they really mean it. The downside, however, is there is still no WiFi at the North Pole.  Scott Shuey/Gulf News

Every September, they come for the latest iPhone, and every June they show up the World Wide Developers Forum, an event known more for Apple’s software announcements, although gadgets sometimes find their way into the lineup also.

Guess what next week is?

That’s right, once again Gulf News will be covering the WWDC, but this year, we’re going to do things a little differently.

Scott's home for the next 15 hours: "We’re just told the WiFi is off for this trip — so I’ll talk to you when I get to San Francisco".  Gulf News

Most people usually only see the main event, or the articles that came out in the days after.

This year, we’re going to show you the process of what goes into covering a mega-tech event, including everything from the flight to California to the post-announcement rush to get the story out.

Scott Shuey set to board in Dubai on an Emirates flight to San Francisco International Airport in California, USA.  Gulf News

We’ll also show you a little bit about the San Francisco Bay Area and the Valley itself, including where to get the best Mission Burrito and watch the Warriors plays the Cavaliers.

Think of it more as a travel blog that a tech report, although there will be plenty of both.

Bookmark this page for updates