Apple reveals its newest software and technology upgradation to software engineers at the 2016 Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in California. The key highlight of last conference was the launch of Apple Music, which received a great response from the users. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook kicked off this year’s conference. The 27-year-old conference had over 5,000 attendees from 74 countries, of which more than 100 were less than 18 years old. Nine-year-old Indian-origin girl Anvitha Vijay was the youngest conference-attendee.
In this conference, Apple shared its developments in AI and opened its core products for developers. Some of the highlights from Apple WWDC are:
OS X is now macOS, and this edition will be known as Sierra. The public beta will be launched in July 2016, followed by the rollout in fall. One of the main points highlighted was of continuity across all devices, with the announcement of Universal Clipboard; now you can copy a text or image on your iPhone and directly paste it on your Mac. You can also upload your Mac desktop to iCloud, and then access it from other Apple devices. Other smaller updates included smarter storage-saving methods, with auto-upload of old files to the cloud.
Sierra brings with it Siri, the widely-loved assistant. You can access it in the right hand corner of your screen. It performs all the standard Siri functions.
And most importantly, you can now delete the built-in apps. Compass, Stock and Tips, to name a few, which were nothing more than a bundle of very crucial bytes on your phone, can now be deleted just like other apps. Though, there are a few exceptions to this feature.
iOS saw the biggest changes of all. Music and maps is completely redesigned, with an expanded role of 3D touch for notifications. A new feature called ‘rise and wake’ will wake the phone up when you raise it, revealing the 3D-touch-enabled notifications.
With 2,000 publications and 60 million monthly readers, Apple adds a subscription feature. News also got a new look with clearer sections: Top News, Trending, Sports, and Feature Stories (a.k.a. Editor’s pick). News also becomes smarter with better user-based news provisions. Breaking news notifications are also enabled.
After a successful first year, Apple Music gets refined further. With new sections to make music navigation easier, including one for downloaded music and another for recently added. Music, much like News, will also feature daily playlists curated by Apple’s music directors and a ‘discovery mix’ which suggests songs based on listener’s tastes. Also, you can now read song lyrics.
Maps is probably the most criticised feature that Apple has ever added. Apple completely redesigned the app. You can also book and pay for rides using it, and also make restaurant reservations. Maps, as it comes to CarPlay, will finally show traffic and alternative routes, and precise navigation from a car’s display.
Trying to keep up with other messaging services, iMessage announced changes to make it more interactive. Now it lets you share music and notes in your own handwriting. It also includes smart suggestions for emoji. For example, if your message contains a word ‘pizza’ in it, iMessage will suggest a pizza emoji. Other features introduced include animated effects and invisible ink hides, which keeps the message hidden until you swipe over it. iMessage also becomes open for developers.
Apple makes it easier to organise and manage your photos, much like Google Photos. Photos lets you organise based on person using facial recognition. It also features Memories, which bundles up your photos based on location and events.
Swift is a robust and intuitive programming language that lets users create their own apps. Cook announced a new app for iPad called ‘Swift Playgrounds’ so that anyone can develop apps. The app is available for preview and will be available in beta version next month onwards.
While there was no announcement of Apple Pay being launched in India, it will be expanding to Switzerland, France, and Hong Kong increasing its country tally to eight. Users in these countries will be able to make online payments through Safari, and instead of using credentials you can use TouchID, either through your phone or Apple Watch.
WatchOS 3 will load seven times faster than the previous versions, finally addressing the issues of many of its users. Watch interface is made more like that of iPhone, with a new Control Centre, which provides quick-access buttons.
Another interesting announcement was the launch of a keyboard called ‘Scribble’, which owners can use to reply to a message. Instead of typing or dictating, Apple takes you back to the age-old art of scribbling, where you just draw the letters and they appear on the screen. Right now, it works in English and Chinese.
Apple Watches will also come with a new SOS feature, which activates when the side button is held down, and calls country-specific emergency numbers, as long as the watch is connected to a phone or Wi-Fi.
Apple also introduced activity-specific watch faces, a meditation app called ‘Breathe’, and activity sharing to peek into your friends’ fitness levels.
This feature is not India-centric, as voicemails haven’t found their way into our daily lives. Nonetheless, Apple now transcribes the voicemails you receive into text. Moreover, iOS will support APIs that can alert you to possible spam calls before you pick up.
tvOS currently hosts 1,300 video channels and more than 6,000 apps, which will soon be expanding further. Apple is also launching a new Apple TV remote app that will have all the functionalities of the remote. With this, Apple TV gets a new dimension with touch accessibility, Siri and pre-installed sensors for gaming control.
Apple also introduces a single sign-on system, which lets you log into all the network apps at once. Moreover, integrating the TV with other devices, when you download a channel app in your phone, it automatically gets featured on your TV.
Apple also launched two kits for developers: ReplayKit, for live broadcasting with a feature to save-for-later; and HomeKit, which gives you a seamless control of all devices in your house.
Siri finally becomes available to app developers. Now you can search for photos in Pinterest, book a cab through Uber, send a message, without much efforts, and a lot more.
This year’s conference saw a lot of new announcements, and much like the previous year these are expected to do well. With opening up many apps for developers and learning from its competitors, Apple is slowly accepting defeats in some areas.
Watch the entire conference here.