As the leaks from before the starting of the event indicated, Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC 2016) comprised completely of software. It is about time that we start taking the intangible stuff slightly more seriously, if the dropping hardware sales hasn’t already made it clear to all.
First, Some Stats from WWDC 2016
No Apple event goes without the company announcing some wild stats from its forums. Perhaps the most impressive one this time around comes courtesy of the App Store, which has just accepted its 2nd millionth entry. The number of registered developers has topped 13 million.
If that’s not enough, the App Store has also grown large enough that it now boasts 130 billion app downloads. So far, the company has paid $50 billion to developers, up from $40 billion last year. Apple Music is doing fairly well with 15 million paid subscribers, Apple TV now boasts 6000 apps, while iCloud Drive has a total of 10 billion documents.
Major Rebranding on its Way
People may have already heard about this in leaks, but the rebranding of the OS X to simply “macOS” is a huge thing. It’s a move which saw a dead coffin onstage, possibly lured even Microsoft into pulling something similar. It had been this way for 15 years, but finally it means that all Apple operating systems follow similar naming schemes.
But wait, there’s more. Siri is finally making its way to Apple’s computers. Five years it took to happen. Apart from the usual stuff like setting reminders or opening apps, it will also be able to search in between your files or save searches to the Notification Center.
Your computer can also be unlocked simply if you are in close proximity while iCloud will be able to better sync in between your iPhone and Mac, as well as start storing unused files on your computer to the Cloud.
Apple WatchOS 3
Apple insists though that when it comes to the Watch, it is software which needs work rather than hardware so here we are with the third major iteration of the WatchOS.
The big deal here are the performance boosts. The new update will make app launches as quick as you are used to on your iPhone; the feature is called Instant Launch. Apple has introduced a new dock where you can access your favorite/running apps that can be accessed through the side button.
A lot of focus is also on fitness tracking. You can now share and compare your record with friends, thanks to a new activity app. You will receive notifications regarding their progress while a voice message can also be sent for some much-needed encouragement in the middle of a session. Third-party apps can also keep running in the background to monitor your heart-rate and steps. Apple is even adding a new app called Breathe, which will help you relax during those few precious moments in between work.
There are a few UI changes as well. The Control Center has made it to your wrist now, for making quick adjustments to your watch. It is activated by swiping upwards from anywhere. With Messages, you get the option of Smart Replies directly inside the message, along with the option to reply handwritten texts, similar to Android Wear.
Watch faces can now be changed simply by swiping, which is helpful and a few more and being added. There is also much more focus on emergency, with the long press of the side button triggering a call to 911 and alerting your contacts.
The update is being made available to developers today and will be making its way to regular customers in autumn.
iOS 10 is here
Based on its share in Apple’s balance sheets alone it will be fair to say that iOS 10 was quite easily the biggest news of the evening.
iOS 10 brings major revisions to pretty much every UI element, down to the ability to remove stock applications, something which is present in the developer version of the OS.
The iPhone can automatically wake up when you raise your wrist. The lockscreen has been reworked so swiping to the left and right bring up the camera and widgets, respectively. Notifications have been redesigned so you can interact more meaningfully, quickly. It gives you options such as replying to texts and even play live video.
Siri can now detect information from the QuickType keyboard to create reminders, add contacts and so on intelligently. The keyboard itself supports multilingual typing. Siri is being opened to third-party developers which will allow you to use it for increasing number of tasks.
Photos can now be sorted through AI in Memories, based on the persons, locations, events and more. You can also see them on the Map to see where your friends have been.
Talking of Maps, the app will be getting the ability to make reservations. It can give you suggestions based on what you usually do or where you are at a particular time of the day. Navigation will also show nearby food and gas stations and the amount of time should you divert from your original route. Apple Music and News apps have been redesigned to give a more visually pleasing experience.
The new Home app can control even more smart appliances in your home. With 3D Touch, it will be easier to pop via a smart camera app, while the app is also getting a dedicated row on the Control Center.
The Phone app now asks you which app you actually prefer for contacting a person in your phone book. Voice Mail transcriptions will allow you to go through your messages more discretely while third-party apps such as Skype get the same notification like a regular phone call does, i.e. in full-screen.
Lastly, we have messages and let’s dive straight into the new emoji options, which appear three times bigger. The phone will now give you emoji predictions. It’ll also be able to trace whatever’s written in the message and replace it with an emoji. There are further effects such as fireworks or scratch-to-reveal on iMessage as well. Media content such as GIF images and videos can be played directly on the message board. Handwritten messages and Digital Touch are home, too.
The next iteration of iOS bids adieu to the A5 era devices, as evident with the company’s press release. This means that phones and tablets released following the iPhone 5, iPod Touch (6th-generation) and the iPad Mini 2/iPad 4th-gen onwards will be supported only.
The update will be released to these phones for free this fall.