FILE -In this Feb. 26, 2019 file photo, people walk past an Apple store at an outdoor shopping street in Beijing. Apple will preview upcoming changes to its phone and computer software Monday, June 3 as it undergoes a major transition intended to offset eroding sales of its bedrock iPhone. The company’s software showcase is an annual rite. But Apple is currently grappling with its biggest challenge since its visionary co-founder, Steve Jobs, died nearly eight years ago.(AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)

Apple previews new software as iPhone sales erode

Apple emphasized its privacy protections during the keynote

Apple executives previewed a large set of privacy and speed-focused changes to the company’s phone and computer software Monday, some intended to help it diversify to offset eroding sales of its bedrock product, the iPhone.

Apple CEO Tim Cook began his keynote by recapping services Apple announced earlier this spring, including a news reading service and an arcade service for games. He also previewed one of the original shows Apple is producing for its new video-streaming service, “For All Mankind,” set in an alternate history where the Soviets were first to land a man on the moon.

The software showcase is an annual rite. This year, however, Apple is grappling with its biggest challenge since its visionary co-founder, Steve Jobs, died nearly eight years ago.

Although still popular, the iPhone is no longer reliably driving Apple’s profits the way it has for the past decade. Sales have fallen sharply for the past two quarters, and could suffer another blow if China’s government targets the iPhone in retaliation for the trade war being waged by President Donald Trump.

Apple’s keynote focused largely on minor feature updates to its flagship software, but hinted at its shift toward a services-focused company.

Apple emphasized its privacy protections during the keynote — following along with Facebook, Google and other major tech companies’ scripts this year.

In its new operating system iOS 13, the company is introducing “Sign in with Apple” to let users sign into apps without using similar sign-in services from Facebook and Google. The sign in will let you hide your actual email address if you choose. Apple is also making it easier to only show your location to apps once and not continually.

Another potential problem looms for Apple. Regulatory complaints and a consumer lawsuit both question whether Apple has been abusing the power of its iPhone app store to thwart competition and gouge smaller technology companies that rely on it to attract users and sell their services.

Apple is trying to adapt by squeezing money from digital services tailored for the more than 900 million iPhones currently in use.

Of course, the company hasn’t totally abandoned the iPhone. The newest version of Apple’s iPhone operating system, iOS 13, will feature a dark mode and faster tools. For instance, the company said a new version of its Face ID system will unlock your phone 30 per cent faster.

The biggest remake of a single app is a makeover of Apple Maps, which will debut this fall. It includes more granular street and place data that Apple says it collected with street and aerial footage — tactics its largest mobile app rival Google has been using for years.

Apple also unveiled several new apps for its smartwatch, including independent apps that don’t rely on the iPhone. The App Store will be available on the watch, making it possible for people to find and download apps right on their watch — expanding the availability of purchases that generate commissions for Apple.

In its laptop and desktop businesses, Apple is breaking up its iTunes software for computers into three apps: Apple Music, Apple Podcasts and Apple TV. Apple debuted iTunes 16 years ago to sell and manage digital music for the iPod, which paved the way for the iPhone.

Apple has already phased out the iTunes from the iPhone and iPad, but now it’s expected to do the same on the Mac and other personal computers. Instead of iTunes, separate apps for music, video and podcasts are expected to be offered for computers, mirroring how Apple already handles those services on mobile devices.

READ MORE: iPhone sales are falling, and Apple’s app fees might be next

READ MORE: The good, bad and the unknown of Apple’s new services

Michael Liedtke, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

No plans to rebuild Hardy Bay Industrial Centre after fire, owner says

A massive fire burnt down the old building in April

Port Hardy Fire Rescue adapts to new realities amidst COVID-19

Don’t forget to follow Port Hardy Fire Rescue on Facebook.

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Alert Bay: COVID-19 cases go from 30 to zero thanks to health and emergency planning

Dr. Cutfeet says community leadership set Alert Bay up for success

Kwakiutl First Nation cautiously eases restrictions around COVID-19; Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw to remain locked down for now

Both First Nations near Port Hardy have no COVID-19 cases, and are prioritizing community safety

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Three people facing mischief charges after protests at Premier John Horgan’s home

Special prosecutor was appointed to avoid real or perceived undue influence

Eight people arrested in Victoria homeless camp after enforcement order issued

Those living in tents were given until May 20 to move indoors

Andrew Weaver says he was ready to defeat John Horgan government

Independent MLA blasts B.C. Greens over LNG opposition

44% fewer passengers flew on Canadian airlines in March 2020 than in 2019

COVID-19 pandemic has hit airlines hard as travel remains low

Commercial rent relief applications open as feds encourage landlords to apply

Program would see government cover 50 per cent of the rent

COVID-19: B.C. park reservations surge as campgrounds reopen

Keep trying, many sites not reservable, George Heyman says

B.C. residents can now reserve a provincial campsite for a stay starting June 1

Campsite reservations will only be available to British Columbians

Most Read