WWDC 2016: Most Important Announcements
Apple’s WWDC this year was full of incremental updates to OS’s for the Mac, iPhone, Watch, and TV, as well as moves to open up services like Siri and iMessage to developers. Apple put on quite a show on Monday and fans had a whole lot to absorb, since WWDC 2016 was jam-packed full of big announcements.
We’ve summarised all the major announcements for you here!
watchOS 3 brings a host of updates, but perhaps most importantly, it loads apps seven times faster than the previous OS, thanks to background refreshing and keeping apps stored in memory. There’s also now a dock in watchOS, which is an app switcher interface similar to the one on the iPhone and iPad. There are a few new watch faces as well including a Minnie Mouse face and two new Activity faces. One last nifty note regarding watch faces: You can now cycle through them with simple swipes instead of having to use a 3D Touch gesture.
Other new features include a keyboard called “Scribble” that wearers can use to respond to a message. Instead of typing or dictating a response, they can draw out each individual letter. It works in either English or Chinese. Apple Watches will also come with a new SOS feature, which activates when the side button is held down and calls 911 and sends location information to first responder and emergency contacts. The feature works internationally and will call country-specific emergency numbers, so long as the watch is tethered to a phone or is connected to Wi-Fi.
tvOS is less than a year old but now hosts 1,300 video channels and over 6,000 apps. That library is going to be expanding shortly: Dish’s Sling is coming to tvOS today; Fox Sports Go is coming later this summer;
There’s an all new Remote app for the iPhone and iPad that’s been redesigned, and it lets you type text in all text fields. Siri functionality has been dramatically enhanced. You can speak commands for specific apps. Apple’s also introducing a single sign-on system that lets your log into all of the network apps at once.
Two Kits for Developers were also released – ReplayKit, which lets you live broadcast gameplay or save it for later, and HomeKit, which will let you control all the devices in your house, including tvOS. tvOS will roll out in a free upgrade this fall.
Yes, it’s no longer OS X. Welcome macOS! This change has been brought forward to streamline all Apple OS’s under one nomenclature.
The public beta will launch in July with the final version coming in the fall. One of the big focuses of the new OS is continuity across devices. Apple unveiled Auto Unlock, a new feature of Continuity that will let users automatically unlock Macs with an iPhone or Apple Watch. Universal Clipboard is another great new Continuity feature that makes copied text available across all devices where you’re logged in. Also, macOS Sierra lets users mirror their desktops across multiple Macs. Apple Pay will now be available on the Mac courtesy of new web integration, and purchases are authenticated with an iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch using Continuity.
Sierra will also bring Siri to the desktop. Siri will be accessible in the dock as well as in the top-right corner near Spotlight. You’ll be able to use voice commands to find files, search the web, send messages, and other standard Siri functions.
Apple CEO Tim Cook called it “the mother of all releases” as it packs 10 major new features for iOS.
- Redesigned lockscreen with interactive notifications
The OS is now capable of waking up the iPhone the moment you pick it up. Lockscreen notifications have been refined as well, and no longer darken and blur the entire lockscreen . In addition, notifications are now interactive, with real-time updates (for supported apps) and direct replies.
- Siri’s API now available for third party developers
Siri’s API has been opened up to developers, thus making it possible to integrate the voice assistant’s functionality into third party apps. Siri can now be used to send text messages via Slack, initiate Skype and Vonage voice calls, authenticate transactions.
- Smarter keyboard with intelligent suggestions and multilingual typing
The keyboard can now give intelligent suggestions, and can get help from Siri too. The voice assistant can access current location, schedule automatic reminders, check your calendar, and now supports multilingual typing without needing to switch keyboard.
- Enhanced Photos app with automatic movie creation, better sharing
It is now powered by advanced machine learning technology for enhanced facial recognition. And not just that, the deep learning technology can now be used to sense objects, both living and non-living (e.g. animals, landscapes) in photos too. Other than that, photos app now has a new tab – Memories.
- Better Apple Maps, third party extensions
Apple Maps have been redesigned, and come with new features. You can slide up from the bottom of the iOS device’s screen, and get suggestions about everything from nearby restaurants to traffic updates. Turn-by-turn navigation UI has been improved, and can be zoomed in/out to find out what lies ahead.