Apple held their 26th WWDC keynote on Monday to tell us what's new and exciting with their technology and we're here to give you the highlights!
Apple kicked off their announcements with what to expect in the newest update to OS X. Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, took the stage to introduce OS X - El Capitan. The name comes from a rock in Yosemite but still made me giggle to think they had actually chosen this as the name for their latest OS.
Apple couldn't resist taking a dig at Windows with their claim that Apple users have the highest adoption rate with Yosemite at 55% and Windows 8.1 users at a much lower rate of 7%. Federighi then went on to show off the new features within El Capitan such as quicker gestures to manage mail, improved Spotlight Search, the ability to pin websites in Safari and snapping applications side-by-side onscreen. The last two features might sound familiar to Windows users because Windows 8 debuted these abilities within their OS more than two years ago.
Also new with OS X are improved gaming and graphics features with the debut of Metal on the Mac to allow for "new levels of realism and detail in games and other apps."
The OS X upgrade will be free and available for download in the Fall. The developer beta is available today and a public beta will be released this summer.
With iOS 9, users can expect improvements with Siri like setting reminders and broader search topics, automatically adding events to your calendar and suggested apps based on your daily routine. All of these features come with the promise that your personal information remains personal and is never shared with third party companies.
Big news for Apple Pay users as Discover will join this fall, making Apple compatible with all major credit card companies. Apple is also working with small businesses through Square to allow for their customers to use Apple pay via a special new reader, also debuting this fall. Apple Pay will also launch officially in the United Kingdom this July and the London transportation system will be accepting Apple Pay. And launching later this month, Pinterest will be launching buy-able pins on iOS through certain retailers using Apple Pay as a payment option. You will also be able to add your favorite retail store cards and rewards cards to Apple Pay so you won't miss out on those free sandwiches and discount coupons anymore!
Updates have been made to iOS apps like Notes, Passbook has been renamed Wallet and Maps has some fantastic new updates for urban-dwellers with Transit view. The Transit view inside Maps allows users to see bus routes, subway lines, trains and ferries, get directions to and from stations and see travel schedules. Transit in Maps will launch first in Baltimore, New York, Berlin, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco, London, Toronto, Mexico City and Washington, DC. Transit will also support 300 cities in China.
Apple also announced a shiny new News app for iOS, which shows news stories based on personal choices and customization. The app has a beautiful, dynamic view featuring photo collages, animations and video. The app will feature select free articles from outlets like The New York Times and ESPN. The United States, UK and Australia will be the first to receive the new app.
On the iPad, the QuickType Keyboard in iOS 9 will allow for easier typing and editing with a new Shortcut Bar to cut, copy and paste. The keyboard will also allow you to turn it into a track pad using a two-finger gesture. They've brought multitasking to the iPad with Slide Over that lets you open a second application without closing the one you're using (another feature that probably looks familiar to Windows users who slide applications from the left rather than the right). With iPad 2, you will also be able to use Split View, using applications side-by-side with the feature shown earlier with OS X. iOS 9 will be available this fall.
Today, Apple also announced the launch of Swift 2 for app developers, a platform Apple believes to be the future of apps as we know it. They have also made Swift 2 open source and will be available for iOS, OS X and Linux later this year.
Also for developers, Apple announced app code will be universal across iOS and OS X devices. This is huge for app developers because it makes their lives easier in that they only have to write one code and one app to use on both platforms. Microsoft made the same announcement at their Build Conference earlier this year when it announced Windows 10 would have universal apps across all Windows devices. It's a good time to be an app developer. And it's nice to see corporations making life easier and not harder for their users and colleagues.
Tons of new features for Apple Watch were announced, including more personalization options, information from third-party apps featured on the face and Time-Lapse, which shows a time-lapse video from different locations around the world. You will finally be able to respond to emails and calls from your watch using Siri, emoji and smart replies. And there's a new feature to allow your Apple Watch to function on its side while charging called Nightstand mode. The watch uses the side buttons as snooze and on/off buttons for an alarm.
One of the big announcements introduced Apple Music. Apple Music will be a subscription-based music service that allows you to stream your i-Tunes library, listen to Apple's 24/7 global radio station and get recommendations and playlists from actual human beings - not just a computer algorithm. According to Nine Inch Nails front-man, Trent Reznor, "There needs to be a place where music can be treated less like digital bits but more like the art it is, with a sense of respect and discovery." Artists will be able to post their latest tracks, behind the scenes photos and interviews using Beats 1, creating a closer relationship between the artists and the fans.
Sounds nice. But Apple users are going to have to decide if it's worth another subscription to the tune of $9.99/mo for a single user or $14.99/mo for a family of six. You can try it out the first three months for free. The service will also be available for Windows and Android users later this fall.
So...there you have it, folks! That's the big stuff to come out of WWDC! What are you most excited for?
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