APPLE has announced a string of product software updates at its annual developers conference, revealing a new service designed to improve our relationship with its beloved products.

"Today is all about software," said CEO Tim Cook as the tech giant unveiled the latest additions to iOS 12 - which powers the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch - early Tuesday morning (AEST) at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California.

The photos app will become more dynamic, offering search suggestions such as "hiking" and categorising events by place and time, with a separate "For You" tab offering suggestions for edits or people you may want to share images.

This is much like Google or Facebook, only it's all on your device - Apple doesn't see your content.

A new and improved Siri will allow users to create "shortcuts" to activate a chain of commands with a trigger phrase, such as saying "travel" to see all your itinerary details.

The virtual assistant will be able to remind you to call your mum on her birthday or draft a text to your boss when you're late.

With concerns growing over our smartphone addictions, Apple is introducing a tool to help users better manage their time on their devices.

Apple could introduce a tool to help users better manage their time on their devices. Picture: Elijah Nouvelage
Apple could introduce a tool to help users better manage their time on their devices. Picture: Elijah Nouvelage

A new do-not-disturb mode will turn off notifications when you're lying in bed and group notifications so you don't receive so many separate ones.

Users will also be able to receive weekly reports on the amount of time they spend in each app and limit themselves to a certain amount of time per day. Parents will be able to set app allowances for their children.

Google earlier this month also announced a suite of tools (coming soon) to help people achieve balance in their digital lives, citing that 70 per cent of users wanted help with regulating their digital wellbeing.

"We're creating tools and features that help people better understand their tech usage, focus on what matters most, disconnect when needed, and create healthy habits," the company said.

It comes as developers put pressure on the iPhone maker to open its software development kit to let developers more easily create tools to let users pursue healthy digital habits and limit tech addiction.

WWDC is traditionally used to give an early look at the next version of all Apple's software platforms before they are released to the public in the second half of the year.

The event also included major updates on ARKit, the framework the company released last year to help developers build augmented-reality apps, including a unified AR file format, improved face tracking, and support for app-makers.

Users will be able to try out the first Apple-made AR app, the simple and useful Measure, a digital tape measure. And kids can use an AR Lego kit, placing digital characters and models into the real world.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is keen to get back into the advertising business. The company launched the iAd platform in 2010 allowing developers to include Apple's tech in its apps to target user with ads. The product didn't really take off but Apple could be looking to have a second bite at the cherry.

Apple CEO Tim Cook will open the annual Worldwide Developer Conference. Picture: AFP/Jim Young
Apple CEO Tim Cook will open the annual Worldwide Developer Conference. Picture: AFP/Jim Young

In other announcements, there have been rumours of a new version of the company's iPhone SE being in development which could also be unveiled at the conference, as could a rumoured cheaper version of the HomePod smart speaker.

Apple's new wireless charging mat AirPower, which was first announced alongside the iPhone 8 and iPhone X last year and has been slated for release in 2018, could also make an appearance. However hardware announcements are expected to be held for Apple's major product event it holds each year usually in September.

- With AAP