More than 5000 people, most of them developers, attended the Worldwide Developer Conference 2016 (WWDC16) held by Apple Inc in San Francisco, to showcase its new software and technology updates. However, uncharacteristically, this time around Apple just focused on software updates instead of hardware updates.
Apple announced some big changes for all their Operating Systems such as iOS, tvOS, watchOS and OS X.
Let’s dive right in.
New updates on iOS come with iOS 10 which is the biggest release ever – as described by Tim Cook. It comes with 10 large features which include a new design of the lock screen, widgets and deeper 3D-touch integration. Additionally, Apple Music, News App and QuickType with Siri Intelligence will use deep learning to give better context for its response suggestions.
Apple added a whole lot of new features to the Photos app. It has a section where you can see where you’ve taken your photos. One of the biggest new features is “Memories” which is created using artificial intelligence to analyze and categorize your photos and videos based on location, time and people to create a movie of the memory automatically. Users can also add music and edit whatever they want.
Maps has a new design that makes it easier to access the controls. Navigation now includes a traffic update on your route and quick controls like the option to see nearby gas stations or supermarkets. Apple is opening Maps to developers so you no longer have to leave the Maps app to interact with related apps.
Moreover, the Message App was updated with many fancy features like Bubble Effect, 3x times bigger sticker as well as invisible ink so the recipient has to slide over to view. Apple is also opening the Message App to developers, allowing their own apps to integrate with Message and allow users send texts, stickers, media files, and interactive messages.
Beyond all that, the most important iOS update is that Apple will open Siri to developers and allow it to be integrated into 3rd party apps and will be known as ‘SiriKit’. It will allow the digital assistant to do more than ever before, like booking a taxi, start workouts, send payments to a friend, VoIP calling, send messages to friend in WeChat or WhatsApp, and much more. SiriKit supports services in the following areas:
- Audio or video calling
- Sending or receiving payments
- Searching photos
- Booking a ride
- Managing workouts
Until now, every Operating System from Apple ended with a “OS” postfix except OS X, which started with “OS” and ended with “X”. Apple has now decided to change from OS X to “macOS”. macOS’s latest update goes by the name of “Sierra”. And it brings a lot of new features.
Again, one of the biggest macOS updates is the inclusion of Siri just like in iOS. Users can ask Siri to do what they want in the same way they do on iOS (e.g. find photos, documents.) Siri on Mac is about multitasking. Users could be working on one thing, like finishing up a document, and ask Siri to send a message to their coworkers saying the document is on its way — without stopping what they’re doing.
Talking about multitasking, last year Apple introduced a new feature called Picture in Picture with iOS 9 which is now available in macOS too. Users can start videos while they may be finishing up something something else by just floating the video window from Safari or iTunes over to their desktop or a full-screen app.
Another nice feature is what Apple has called “Auto Unlock”. Users can get instant access to their Mac when they’re wearing an Apple Watch. You just need to wake up your Mac and then you’re ready to go. No password required.
Universal Clipboard allows you to copy images, video and text from an iPhone, iPad and paste to your nearby Mac. There are no extra steps. Just copy and paste as you normally do.
Apple Pay comes to the web, which is huge for web developers, particularly on mobile. When a user buys something online using Apple Pay, it will ask for authentication on their mobile, via their fingerprint.
Besides the above features, Apple also announced the new design of Apple Music and the Photos App. Additionally, it’s now much easier to keep windows from piling up on the desktop by putting them together into “Tabs”.
While the Apple Watch has been a neat device, many people felt that it hasn’t been able to live up to its potential. With watchOS 3, things might change .
It’s hard to input some text in Apple Watch. There are just a few options like “Dictation”, “Pre-populated text”, etc. But now you have one more option, which lets you handwrite your response using the screen, called Scribble.
With watchOS 3, the Apple Watch is also getting its own app switcher, just like in iOS. Users can put their most-used apps in a dock and swipe between them. In the dock, the most recent information is shown at a glance, which is much more useful than the slow-loading Glances view.
The last of the operating systems is tvOS. Apple announced that there are now 1,300 videos apps and 6,000 apps for AppleTV alone. One of the most advanced features of tvOS is Siri and now Siri is getting smarter in tvOS. Users can ask Siri to search Youtube and other apps. If there are Home Accessories installed around, Siri can now turn them on or off by a user just speaking the instructions. Apple TV apps can now be accessed via Single Sign-on, which gets rid of those annoying login screens. Furthermore, users don’t need a remote control to use Apple TV anymore, you simply use the app on your iPhone to control the TV.
Daniel Ruiz, Sr. Development Manager & Solutions Architect, DMI International
Sokna Ly, Associate Software Engineer, DMI International