Google’s annual developer conference, Google I/O, opened this afternoon. Watch the live stream and Twitter feed below, or head on over to https://events.google.com/io2015/
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.
Microsoft has confirmed that the Windows 10 upgrade will be available for install starting July 29, and that the upgrade will be free for existing users of Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 SP1 for a period of one year. Microsoft has also created a quirky system to “reserve” your upgrade download.
The Windows team has put up the page Upgrade to Windows 10 for free describing how the process will work.
According to the site, Microsoft will use the Windows Update mechanism to determine whether your machine can run Windows 10, then push a new icon to your taskbar, as shown below. If you don’t see it and want to force the issue, fire up the Windows Update control panel, or check out KB3035583. The KnowledgeBase notes slyly say that it provides “new notification capabilities for Windows Update”, but says nothing else.
Clicking on this will pop up a window giving you more information on the process, and the button to click to reserve your free upgrade:
Oddly enough, the window just disappears afterward without confirming. You can use the new upgrade notification icon to check your status, though:
Enterprise users will not be eligible to reserve, and will get the upgrade via the usual methods.
[A stunning visualization – each of the colored dots represents an Android device, and the screens wrapped around at least 3 walls of the hall.]
At Google’s annual developer conference, I/O 2015, Sundar Pichai, Senior Vice President, Chrome and Apps, and other product leaders, announced or updated us on a wide-ranging variety of initiatives, displaying the wide range of areas the company is involved in. Some selected highlights:
Apple today released version 1.0.1 of Watch OS for the Apple Watch. My initial unscientific opinion is that glances are much faster, and third-party apps are much faster, although you will still notice a delay on initial load.
You can initiate the update from the Apple Watch app on your iPhone (under General > Software Update).
Apple’s requirements for performing the upgrade are that the Apple Watch is:
- in range of your iPhone
- connected to its charger
- charged at least 50%
You will also need to enter your passcode on the Watch to authorize the upgrade.
The release summary says that the update includes “performance improvements and bug fixes”. The detail calls out:
Improved performance for:
- Measuring standing activity
- Calculating calories for indoor cycling and rowing workouts
- Distance and pace during outdoor walk and run workouts
- Third-party apps
Display support for new Emoji characters.
Additional language support for:
- Brazilian Portuguese
There are some security fixes as well: Watch OS 1.0.1 Security Content
Kickstarter’s got a project by Rodrigo Narciso for a smartphone-connected wearable called CH4 (the chemical formula for methane) that can track your flatulence, and, if you track the food you eat, can advise you on what foods may be causing it.