Every year, Apple holds a conference dubbed the World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC). This is where the corp showcases its new (or so it thinks) software and technologies to devs and the world. This year’s edition started on yesterday and will end on Friday. Unfortunately, there were no new hardware announcements but here is a quick roundup!
I’m not very big on wearables but watchOS 3 made some sort of an impression on me. First of all it’s a massive upgrade from the clunky and slow watchOS 2. Apple says watchOS 3 is 7X faster than watchOS 2! Even during the demo of watchOS 3, it was significantly faster than the previous watchOS. In addition to speed, your Apple watch can now transcribe handwritten scribbles into text. This will be very useful when replying to emails and text messages. “Scribble,” as they call it, can recognize Mandarin and English. In the future, I expect other languages to get support.
What’s more, there’s an option to pin prefered apps to a dock. This dock is accessible by clicking the side button on the side of the watch. The Apple watch’s Health game has also been stepped up. You can now dial 911 from your watch when you’re in an emergency by long pressing the side button for some seconds. Emergency services and other information entered into the Health app on your iPhone can also be accessed with the watch.
The operating system software that runs on the Apple TV hardware has also seen some updates. It was mentioned that there are now some 6,000 native apps for TV (Apps on a TV? *Cleans the dust from my Cathode Ray Tube TV). You can completely ditch your TV remote and install an app on your iPhone to serve the same purpose. Also, no more frequentative signing in to all the TV apps you own — tvOS 10 allows you to perform a single sign in.
Yaay! OS X has got a shiny new name! It’s macOS Sierra! Here are the notable features:
- Voice Assistant — Yes, Siri now lives on the Mac. It has a cool cubicle in the upper right-hand corner of the toolbar, and integrates beautifully with macOS’ file search feature. You can perform local file searches and web searches
- Auto Unlock — With auto unlock, your Mac can now automatically unlock when a trusted device such as your Apple watch or iPhone is within its proximity. This way, you don’t have to worry about entering your password multiple times in a day. Also, thieves don’t have to worry when they steal a watch and Mac belonging to the same person. (Please don’t steal). Completely random but wouldn’t it be cool if your Tesla unlocks when you are close to it? That feature could also be called Auto Unlock, you know, like auto (car) unlock
- iCloud improvements — With MacOS Sierra, if you own more than one Apple device, the desktop on one Mac will be available on all the others. This will make the ‘Continuity’ experience even richer. In addition, Sierra will automatically backup old files on your Mac to make more room for offline file storage
- Universal Copy and Paste — Your Apple clipboard is now accessible across multiple devices. Like Pushbullet, universal copy and paste allows you to copy stuff on one device and paste it on another. Innovative, right?
- Unlimited Tabs — macOS Sierra intelligently manages RAM and performance on your MacBook. All apps including third party apps can have access to unlimited tabs with no optimization needed. I just hope it will function correctly and won’t end up cluttering
- Apple Pay on Mac — Allows you to make purchases on your Mac, but the caveat is, you still need your Apple Watch or iPhone to authenticate transactions
I was rooting for the next iteration of iOS to be called ‘iOS X’ but sadly that did not materialize. That being said, let’s look at the updates changes to Apple’s iOS:
- A more functional Siri — Apple and Google seem to be fixated on AI and machine learning lately. Siri’s contextual understanding of conversations has been improved and she can also place calls and VoIP calls.
- Ability to uninstall irrelevant stock apps — In keeping your iPhone free from crapware, stock apps that don’t mean much to you can be deleted from iOS 10. Samsung, go ahead and copy this!
- Raise to wake — Just like Ambient Display on newer Nexus devices that wake your screen when you pick up your device or receive notifications, iOS 10 will allow you take a peek at your lock screen notifications without pressing a button
- Improved notifications — There’s now the ‘Clear all’ button which allows you to clear all notifications, a swipe up gesture to expand notifications for more information and 3D touch on icons so you can perform quick functions like sending a message to a contact without having to open the app
- Apple Music has been completely overhauled and now it can show song lyrics. This should reach Android soon and hopefully take us out of that beta program!
- Apple News has seen a redesign as well
- Home — A new app to manage smart home devices. “Home” gathers all your home automation apps into a single app and will be integrated with Siri so you can turn your lights on and control your thermostat with voice actions
- Maps — Hahahahaha.
Okay, I forgot; it is now open to developers, so that’s nice
- Keyboard improvements — Apple’s QuickType Keyboard can now offer quick responses so when someone asks you, for example, how you are or where you are, you can quickly reply with suggested answers
- Photos — Finally Photos is growing up to be like Google Photos in 2015. Apple has updated the software with improved facial recognition. Photos will also use AI to scan and group photos according to “Memories” (trips, topics, people, moments, vacations)
- iMessage — No, we did not get iMessage for Android but this did not prevent Apple from innovating. Let’s look at the changes.
(Disclaimer: I may or may not be bitter because iMessage is not coming to Android soon)
- Emoji X 3 — Emoji can be three times larger than usual — a page from Facebook Messenger
- Predictive Emoji — So that when you type ‘church’, for example, it’ll suggest the church emoji to replace the text — Much like SwiftKey
- Full Screen Animations — Messages you send can be delivered with color and sound effects
- ‘Invisible ink’ — Hide a text or a photo so the receiver has to rub the bubble with their finger to reveal the content. I can see how this will be great combo with full screen animation
- Scribble on Text and Images — If you’ve got time on your hands, you can also handwrite a message to the contact you’re texting. You can also take a photo and without leaving the app, scribble on it and send to your contact. Oh, and end-to-end encryption has been switched on
- Stickers — You know, like the ones on Facebook Messenger
- Apple should go ahead and rename the iMessage app to ‘iMessenger’
- Expanded links — When you send a link in iMessage, it will attach a preview — like on WhatsApp
With all the ‘innovation’ the iMessage app borrowed from Facebook Messenger, I wonder why the app didn’t get renamed to iMessenger
Bozoma Saint John
I simply cannot conclude this keynote roundup without mentioning Bozoma Saint John, the Ghanaian-born Apple Music VP who was arguably the most interesting character during the keynote. She completely owned the stage and even attempted to get a room full of white nerds rapping. She concluded her address by playing “Yε wo krom”, a song by Ghanaian artiste Atom. “Yε wo krom” loosely means “We are a force to reckon with”, making it a perfect outro song for #BadAssBoz.
— unQut (@unQut) June 13, 2016
Teaching People To Code
Apple is pushing its Swift programming language forward with a new app. Called Swift Playgrounds, it’s an iPad app designed to teach people to code. Simple and intuitive, Apple hopes it will make coding accessible to millions of kids around the world who don’t yet code, but might want to learn. Swift Playgrounds will ship later this year, and Apple is making it available for free.