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WWDC 2015 – Making things better

The WWDC keynote this year was about making things better – OS X, iOS, watchOS and two women in tech presenting at the keynote. Read on for a quick recap of the major announcements and how they can be useful to you.

Here are the major takeaways from the WWDC 2015

OS X El Capitan

The updated OS version has a lot of advancements under the roof – performance, interface. Apple also added quite a few usability updates to this new OS version – split screens and better window management, more intelligent Spotlight search and much faster processing.

Apple also tried to sell the Mail app – introducing many new features – full screen in Mail, multiple tabs in Compose window

Metal on Macs

Metal is a core graphics technology Apple released on iOS last year. Metal comes to the Mac this year. This will ensure better graphics rendering, richer on-screen graphics and 10x more performance

OS X El Capitan beta will be available in July and a free upgrade will be available to everyone in the fall.

iOS 9

iOS 9 Focus areas

The new OS version won’t have many feature updates – it is more focused towards improvements.

Siri

With the number of requests Siri is generating, Apple wants to make Siri faster, more accurate and better with search results.

Spotlight and Search API

Apple made Spotlight better and more detailed – by swiping left you can get to an advanced version of Spotlight. Spotlight will become more intelligent returning better results and will also let you search within apps.

The Search API can be used for deep-linking in your apps. This will let users search from within your app and open the relevant content in the app, directly from Spotlight.

Apple Pay and Wallet

Apple Pay is set to cover 1 million locations enabled with contactless payment options across the US. Square will be launching a new reader this fall to allow small businesses to accept payments using Apple Pay.

Apple has also partnered with Pinterest and will let you buy items from Pinterest using Apple Pay. It will also make rewards and loyalty cards available through Passbook (which is now called Wallet – Google will not be pleased)

Finally, Apple Pay will be available outside the US starting next month – it will be available to over 250,000 locations in the UK

Notes app

Apple has updated Notes to do much more than note-taking. The functionality it offers is a lot like Evernote’s clients

Maps

This is another big update in iOS 9. The Maps update is focusing on public transportation. To start with, Transit will be available in US and (surprise!) China. The transit view in Maps app gives you directions for public transportation.

News app

A new app was introduced by Apple with iOS 9 – News app. The News app gives you access to a curated list of articles from major news sources based on your interest

Privacy

Apple has emphasized a lot on privacy and how none of their apps will share any private user data with third parties.

iOS 9 for iPads

This deserves a whole new section – Apple introduced many new features on the iPad with iOS 9

Keyboard

Apple has made editing and writing much simpler on the iPad with iOS 9 with the introduction of the Shortcut Bar. And it is fully customizable for third party apps. And if you put two fingers on the keyboard, it becomes a trackpad which lets you control the cursor

Multitasking

This has been on the iPad users’ must-haves for a long time – devices with larger screens need better multi-app functionality. With iOS 9, Apple finally added this on the iPad.

You can swipe between apps easily as well as open dual-display for apps and use them simultaneously

For developers

iOS 9

iOS 9 adds a lot of APIs for developers – search API, HomeKit iCloud remote access, third-party notifications, Gaming APIs, UI testing in Xcode to name a few.

Swift 2

This is definitely the biggest announcement by Apple for developers at the WWDC. Apart from adding many new features to the programming language, Apple is making Swift 2 open source later this year – available across iOS, OS X and Linux

watchOS

Apple announced the next version of Watch OS which will now be called watchOS. This is the first major update to Apple Watch. watchOS adds many new features to the Apple Watch – some of them should have been ready at the time of launch of the Apple Watch – but probably missed the deadline.

New watch faces, including Photo faces and Time-lapse face (24-hour timelapse of iconic locales at different places, keyed to your local time) will add a bit of fun to the watch

Complications (not a very good name) are customization options for watch faces. Developers can create their own complications with watchOS

Time travel (you wish) – you can scroll forward via the digital crown to see upcoming events, temperatures etc

nightstand mode can be activated on your watch by placing it sideways while charging. This will show the charge, time and alarm

Maps on watch can also support transit directions and Siri can retrieve mass transit directions. Siri can also start/stop workouts now that the Fitness app can run natively. You can also ask Siri to show you glances for apps, even if you don’t have them installed on your watch

Apple Pay will support loyalty cards and rewards on the watch as well

But the one change that has the most potential to change the use of Apple Watch is the introduction of native apps. Will the new SDK, developers will be able to access many watch functions in their apps – including HealthKit and HomeKit. Imagine controlling your home’s light using your watch.

Developers will also be able to access the Digital Crown to control custom UI elements, access the Taptic engine and play sounds and also be able to access the accelerometer directly.

It is amazing how Apple is moving a lot of the iOS features natively to the Apple Watch, so fast.

And finally, Apple Music

Apple announced Apple Music – its streaming music service.

Apple also introduced Beats One – their first radio station – broadcasting every day – available in 100 countries

Finally Apple announced Beats Connect – a platform connecting artists with fans

Other updates to the Music app include recommendations with personalized playlists and albums

What this means for you

As app owners, the updates Apple has released for OS X, iOS and Apple Watch present a golden opportunity for you.

  • Releasing high quality games for OS X
  • Building iOS apps around newer APIs for multitasking, Search API, Gaming APIs, Shortcut Bar, HomeKit iCloud remote access – the possibilities are endless
  • Accessing MapKit, HealthKit, Digital Crown, HomeKit, Taptic Engine and the introduction of native apps among other things to make more useful Apple Watch apps

Get in touch to understand how you can make use of these updates in your apps.

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Anurag

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