This year’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) was notable for several reasons. The obvious is that Apple announced several new changes or upgrades to OS X (a whole new name!), iOS, watchOS, and tvOS. Not only that, but the other speakers asked to the stage were more diverse than ever before. As a nod to Apple’s attempts at being a company that is more than just technology, CEO, Tim Cook, opened with a heartfelt and poignant moment for those killed or harmed in the Pulse Orlando tragedy over the weekend.
“We offer our deepest sympathies to everyone whose lives were touched by this violence. Senseless, unconscionable act of terrorism and hate aimed at dividing and destroying. The Apple community is made up of people from all around the world. All different backgrounds and all different points of view. We celebrate our diversity. We know that it makes us stronger and moves everyone forward. Please rise and join us in a moment of silence to honor the victims and the people who loved them.”
Although the company’s employees aren’t nearly as diverse as their consumers, it is a worldwide brand that plays a role in so many people’s lives. Apple made a concerted effort to showcase the diversity they do have with their lineup of speakers, and in their promotions for the WWDC.
All we can say is, “Wow.” The announcements for iOS 10 look and sound amazing, and we can’t wait for them to be released. What are we most excited about?
Not only is Siri going to be more a part of the messaging features, but it will use contextual clues to predict your needs. Easy example would be when someone asks where you’re located, and Siri will suggest your exact location. That’s fancy and all, but we’re way more excited about all of the new features being added to the messaging experience. For instance, links will now give you a preview of what you’re receiving and videos will play automatically. When someone sends a song in Apple Music, you won’t have to leave the message app to listen. Finally, Handwriting and Digital Touch will be supported.
The whole experience of messaging will change! Chat bubbles can be animated – for example, larger for shouting and smaller for whispering. Also, emojis will be a lot bigger, so your text messages will be as enhanced as you want to make them.
Not only is Siri making major enhancements to Quick Type, but she’s also being opened up to developers. This means that apps that aren’t created by Apple can be controlled by Siri – that’s amazing! Get ready to have Siri order your Uber.
The new Photos app is attempting to be way more intuitive to the users’ needs. Now, it will group photos into Memories that will then automatically group photos to create movies, slideshows, and other media. Similarly, the app will utilize facial recognition and contextual clues like nature to group photos together.
We’re really excited about this one! Maps is going through an entire overhaul. The features will be far more proactive and learn your routines and routes. Because of this, it will be able to suggest routes based on traffic during times that it knows you’re usually traveling. Also, Maps was made available to other developers, so apps will be able to be utilized right inside the Maps app. For instance, you can book a table at your favorite restaurant using OpenTable without leaving your Map.
There are other very exciting features being added to the iOS 10 repertoire, but these are the ones that seem like real game changers for the user. Watch it in action here.
First and foremost, we should point out that OS X is out of the picture and everyone is moving on to macOS Sierra. Not only is this a move in continuity of branding, but the technology being introduced with the move is actually called Continuity. Some of the things Continuity will introduce include Auto Unlock (unlock from your iPhone or Apple Watch) and Clipboard where copied content will be available across all of your Apple devices. macOS Sierra will also introduce the ability to mirror your desktop across multiple Apple desktops.
Also, since you needed another reason to spend money, Apple Pay will be available using Continuity. macOS Sierra will allow users to use it on the Mac and authenticate using their iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch.
All of this is quite exciting, but the biggest news is that Siri is coming to the Mac.
Siri for Mac
Although Siri for Mac will function much like users are familiar with from their practices using other Apple products, the move to add it to macOS Sierra will introduce some new features. You’ll be able to use Siri to organize content in Finder, search the web right within Siri and use the content, and utilize the iMessage functionality already available on iOS and watchOS.
All of this was to be expected, and it was just a matter of time before Apple let users and developers into the technology. There will be more complex functions that Siri can help with as well. For instance, Siri will be able to use Safari and invoke Apple Pay using Continuity that’s built into the macOS Sierra. Developers will have the opportunity to access the technology right away, and the public will have access to the beta version in July. You can find more here: beta.apple.com.
Adding lots of new features, Apple is also introducing an even faster watchOS with this new version. According to Kevin Lynch, the watchOS 3 will be seven times faster than previous models. We’re excited about a few things that will come with the new watch. Scribble will be used to write letters on the screen that aren’t in the message reply options, While that helps with productivity, Breathe introduces guided breathing sessions that are enhanced with haptile feedback.
The use of an Apple watch will be much more integrated with the user’s life – all users that is. Wheelchair users’ will now have a totally different experience because their watch will send them notifications like, “time to roll” vs. “time to stand. The activity monitoring will be for wheelchair movements as well. All Activity Sharing will be altered because the watch will allow you to swipe in order to see your family and friends’ activity rings. This view will be based on your preferences and allow for smack talking using voice messages.
Finally, the watchOS 3 is introducing safety features to the user experience. SOS will contact an emergency number right from the watch. Likewise, the feature will notify emergency contacts with pertinent information including a map to your location and medical information.
Although the tvOS announcements were probably the most underwhelming of all the Apple excitement, there will still be some new features on the horizon that are noteworthy. Single sign-on will allow users to just sign on once and all services will be available – thank goodness! Similarly, but probably even more exciting, there is a Remote app for the iPhone and iPad that has a new design allowing users to type in all text fields.
Siri is making a big name at this year’s WWDC, and tvOS is another aspect of those enhancements. Users can speak commands for specific apps and tune into live broadcasts instantly using Live Tune-in. So, now you can watch the game of the year and command your tv to show you cat videos on YouTube – all using Siri.
Although all of the new technology advancements are exciting and noteworthy, this is probably the most interesting. Apple is releasing Swift Playgrounds for the iPad which will teach Apple’s Swift programming language. This is an opportunity for users to learn how to code – Apple’s code. It is made for kids, so it’s an attempt to entice children to learn coding on their own in a gamified way. Using interactive tutorials and lessons, users of all ages will learn the basics of coding and move on to more difficult actions.
The app is available now in iOS 10 developer beta, and it will be available to the public in the fall. Not only are the implications of the app impressive, but Apple is making it available for free.
Want to see the whole thing? You can watch the WWDC video. What are you most excited about that’s coming from Apple this year?