Apple CEO Tim Cook took the center-stage yesterday evening at the company's ongoing annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) being held in San Francisco. First, he asked the attendees to observe a minute's silence in memory of the victims of the Orlando attack. After that, he spoke about the success of iOS, the mobile operating system developed by Apple, and OS X the operating system used in all Apple Macintosh computers. He pointed out that so far Apple had paid a whopping $50 billion in royalties and fees to developers.
- Apple previewed the next version of iOS, which will have many changes and will be available in beta. It will be rolled out in a couple of months.
- The company's main focus was on messaging. With Google launching a new app, called Allo, Apple wanted to make iMessage more fun and intuitive. To this end, they have have introduced stickers and personalised handwritten notes in the app.
Users will be able to send invisible messages that will be seen by their friends only when they swipe on the message. There will be greater integration among apps and users will be able to play a song from Apple music or read an article without leaving the messaging app. Apple is also opening up iMessage to developers so that they can build apps.
- Apple Music and Apple News received major redesigns to enable easier navigation and usage.
- Apple Maps will also go through an overhaul with the capabilities to, say, book a table at a restaurant or call a cab from the app. This might give them an edge over Google Maps.
- Siri, Apple's voice operated personal assistant, will become more intuitive. The user will be able to ask Siri complex questions while the context is maintained. Also, Siri will be opened to developers. Users will be able to type to ask Siri questions too. Again, Apple is clearly trying to take on Google's new search assistant.
- The Photos app will have a new feature called 'Memories' that will let users see the photos from the past. Memories will also be able to make short movies with background music to relive past moments. Google Photos has a similar feature where you can make movies. Even HTC phones have an app with similar functionalities.
- Other announcements included plans for an end-to-end encryption for iMessage and Facetime; a home app to control all the smart appliances. Notes and Clock apps received updates, as did Apple Pay, Apple's mobile payment and digital wallet service. Safari, the Apple Internet browser will now support a split view on iPad.
- OS X has now been renamed as MacOS and its next update is called MacOS Sierra.
- As expected, Siri will now be available MacOS. This will be a great step for Apple, as besides Cortana on Windows 10 there are no voice assistants available on desktop computers. Users can ask Siri to search for specific documents, schedule calls or even notify them about certain events listed in the notification center.
- Users will be able to access their documents on any device through iCloud which will be synced to their documents folder. In addition, copy-pasting between devices will also be included, something, that was earlier available between Android and Chrome through the apps such as Pushbullet.
- Every Apple app will have browser-like tabs. MacOS Sierra will also include picture-in-picture capability. Users will be able to float a video in the corner of the screen while working on the other applications.
- Apple Pay is now available on the web. But authentication must be done by touch ID on an iPhone or Apple Watch. That will be problematic for someone who has a Mac but uses an Android or Windows phone.
-Users can now also unlock your Mac with their Apple Watch. Storage will also be optimized as the OS will upload the stuff that users use infrequently to iCloud, which can be synced back at any time. This feature is similar to NextBit Robin's smart storage feature.
-All the security features of iOS will be applied to MacOS as well. The final version will be available in a couple of months for users.
- Jeff Williams presented the new WatchOS 3 which claims to be 7 times faster than the previous one. By pressing the side button, users can see the new dock which is like an app drawer for the Apple watch.
- More fitness features have been added to the Apple watch. You can now compare Activity Rings (that's what Apple calls them) with your friends to compete with them.
- The company has also introduced an app which reminds you to breathe (Thanks!). For users in wheelchairs, the watch will remind them to keep moving after sometime instead of being stationary.
- Apple has also introduced new ways to communicate from the Apple Watch. Users can now send stickers from the watch and scribble a reply as well.
- Besides, there will be new watch faces, such as a Minnie Mouse watch face.
For the developers
- Apple announced new policies for app revenue sharing a few days before the WWDC event. Phil Schiller, the head of the App Store, said that developers will now earn more from their apps.
- The company has also made improvements in existing tools. It has opened up APIs to Siri and Messenger, which will lead to greater inclusion of developers in OS level features.
- A new app called Swift Playgrounds was also launched today. According too Apple, this app will allow people to learn how to code easily. It has built-in templates and easy to use modules to get the hang of basic programming.
One key highlight of the event was the presence of 9-year-old Anvitha Vijay who attended WWDC as a developer. She has already developed a few apps for iPhone and is a part of Apple's developer program.
All in all, Apple mostly announced what was expected. But it also made some new announcements that will make the overall user experience of Apple products better. Some might be disappointed that the Cupertino-based company didn't announce the launch of any new hardware but, right now, Apple is laying the ground for a solid launch of those products later in the year.