Apple WWDC Keynote Highlights

Apple's announcements at the WWDC15 keynote session

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Apple announced a bargeload of things at their Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) this morning.  Here are some key highlights:

  • Mac OS X El Capitan (available to developers today, public beta in July, a free upgrade when released in the fall) promises many improvements in performance and experience, such as:
    • New gestures, many that will be familiar to iOS users
    • Pinned Sites in Safari
    • Spotlight search with more natural language, and more searchable content such as sports scores and weather
    • Spaces Bar enhancement to Mission Control makes it easier to create & manage multiple desktops
    • Split View automatically positions two apps side-by-side (a la Windows snap)
    • Speed improvements up to 4x for certain functions
    • Metal for up to 10x increased graphics performance
  • iOS 9 (available to developers today, public beta in July, a free upgrade when released this fall) “makes the entire operating system smarter, enhances the apps you use most”
    • Siri takes on the UI design featured on the Apple Watch, Siri will also search your photos & videos, sports schedules, Netflix movies, and information inside apps.  Siri also gains some context awareness based on what you were doing before you activated Siri
    • Predictive Assistance can show options based on your location, time, what app you have open, or what you’re connected to, such as offering a playlist when you plug in headphones, suggesting the audiobook you were listening to when you connect to your car.
    • Apple Pay adds Discover to the list of credit cards, adds more store chains such as Trader Joe’s and JC Penney, apps such as Pinterest, a partnership with Square for a cool portable reader, and a UK launch in July.  Retail store cards and reward cards will also be able to be added to Apple Pay.  Passbook also gets renamed to Wallet.
    • Maps gets a long-awaited Transit view, launching with support for select large cities, including 300 in China.  It will feature accurate representations of the stations themselves, allowing walking directions to be calculated with the correct station entrances/exits.
    • A News app to give the Flipboards of the world something to worry about
    • New iPad features, such as the new QuickType keyboard, featuring shortcuts for cut, copy, paste, bold/italic, insert photo, and insert attachment, and also doubles as a trackpad using two fingers.
    • Slide Over lets you dock a smaller version of an app to the right side of the screen.
    • Split View gives you two apps side-by-side
    • Picture in Picture video viewing on top of another app
  • Swift 2 with improved performance, new features, and will be open source and available on Linux as well as iOS & OS X.
  • watchOS 2 (available today to developers, a free update when launched this fall), including
    • A photo watch face, where you can pick an image or set of images, or a photo album, and if more than one photo is selected, it will pick one to appear every time you raise your wrist.
    • Complications from third-party apps will be allowed on the watch faces
    • Time Travel allows you to see upcoming states of complications (like future calendar events or weather predictions) by turning the Digital Crown
    • Nightstand mode when on its side and charging will give you a clock with alarm and snooze & off buttons
    • Multiple Friends screens for more than 12 friends, and the ability to add new friends from the watch
    • Multicolor sketches
    • Reply to email from the Watch, as you can now with Notifications (smart replies, emoji, Siri dictation)
    • Activity rings will be able to incorporate fitness data from third-party fitness apps
    • Siri can now start a workout and show the Glance you want via voice command
    • The new Apple Pay features (store credit cards, rewards cards)
    • The new Transit features in Maps
    • Native apps on the watch, rather than requiring all app logic to be on the phone
    • HomeKit support
  • Apple Music is the “One More Thing” for this keynote, available June 30 (requiring the accompanying iOS 8.4) for a three-month trial membership, and thereafter $9.99/month for a single user or $14.99/month for a family of up to 6 people. Also available on Windows and Android “later this fall”.
    • “Revolutionary music service” with your iTunes library, plus recommendations from real music experts (people rather than algorithms) for albums and playlists you might like
    • Beats 1, “a groundbreaking 24/7 global radio station”, broadcast from Los Angeles, New York, and London
    • Connect, where artists can share content and interact with fans.  Unsigned artists will be able to do this too.

There’s quite a bit going on at Apple.  There may be a few cancelled summer vacations there this year.

More news from the week of WWDC as it merits.