June 10th, 2015
Apple’s 14 most important announcements at WWDC 2015
From Apple Music to iOS 9 to the Apple Watch, here are the biggest announcements from Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference this week.
Apple on Monday kicked of WWDC with its standard keynote address. Per usual, the event was chock full of exciting and surprising announcements that touched on all things iOS, Mac, and Apple Watch. From a brand new music service to an Apple Watch SDK, there’s a whole lot of information to digest, and both developers and Apple enthusiasts alike will have a lot to look forward to in the coming months. Here are a few of the more important announcements Tim Cook and co. made yesterday.
Apple on Monday introduced its long-anticipated streaming music service. As expected, the service will feature on-demand music streaming, a worldwide radio station, and song recommendations based on user tastes and artist recommendations. Price-wise, Apple Music will cost $9.99 for a single license. A family license which can support six users will cost $14.99 a month. The new service will be bundled inside the iOS Music app and will come with a free three-month trial. Whether or not it can topple Spotify remains to be seen.
The introduction of iOS 9 was perhaps the revelation that got developers most excited. As anticipated, iOS 9 features a number of new consumer-oriented features alongside some under-the-hood tweaks aimed at improving performance. Some of the more intriguing aspects of iOS 9 will be detailed later on, but it’s worth noting now that iOS 9 will be a much smaller upgrade (in terms of size) than iOS 8 and will also run on devices as old as the iPhone 4s. Clearly, Apple wants as many iPhone and iPad users as possible on its most recent OS.
Transit Directions in Maps
At long last, Apple Maps will be getting transit directions. So whether you’re travelling via bus, subway, or train, Apple Maps can tell you how and where to go. At launch, transit directions will be supported across 30 U.S. cities and 300 cities in China.
OS X El Capitan
The next iteration of Apple’s desktop software will be called OS X El Capitan. Much like iOS 9, the upcoming iteration of OS X will feature a number of under-the-hood improvements that will help overall system performance and make your Mac extremely snappy. With El Capitan running, applications will reportedly launch 1.4-times faster, while app switching will be twice as fast. Additionally, Apple is bringing its Metal framework to OS X, setting the stage for even greater desktop graphics performance.
A long-rumored feature, iPad Multitasking is finally official. For the first time, iPad users will have the ability to have two apps open at the same time, with the option to choose between a 50/50 or 70/30 screen split. This feature, we should point out, will only work on the iPad Air 2.
iOS 9 ‘Low Power’ mode for better battery life
iOS 9 features a new “Low Power” mode that can increase iPhone battery life by upwards of three hours. What’s more, because of the software’s improvements, iPhones running iOS 9 can enjoy an extra hour of battery life even without “Low Power” mode enabled.
Apple Watch SDK
Apple on Monday also unveiled an Apple Watch SDK that will enable apps to run locally on the device itself. As a result, we can expect faster app performance all around. What’s more, developers will have API access to a whole host of Apple Watch components, including the digital crown, the device’s health sensors, and the Apple Watch’s haptic engine. Having said that, it stands to reason that the quality and utility of Apple Watch apps is poised to expand dramatically in the months ahead.
Apple announced a few notable Apple Pay updates on Monday. First and foremost, Apple Pay is coming to the UK this summer. Additionally, Apple Pay will soon be supported by Discover Card and a number of retail-based loyalty cards. Apple also announced that even more retailers will be supporting Apple’s mobile payments service in the coming weeks, including Best Buy and Baskin Robbins.
Siri grows up
Apple rolled out a more contextually aware Siri that, in many ways, actually resembles what Google is doing with Google Now. Siri, for instance, can predict what type of music you want to listen to based on the time of day, and it can even make an educated guess as to who is calling from a phone number not stored in your address book. Siri can also conduct smart searches across both your photos and videos.
Evernote might want to take note, as the default Notes app in iOS 9 was beefed up in a major way. Now users can add photos, maps, and URLs to their notes. Additionally, the Notes app also allows users to draw inline sketches with their fingers. And with everything synced up via iCloud, Notes may put a damper on third-party note taking applications.
Split View apps in OS X
Borrowing a feature that Windows has boasted for a few years now, OS X can automatically fill up your desktop screen with two apps of your choosing, making for a more efficient working environment.
With iOS 9, Apple has kicked Newsstand to the curb and replaced it with a new Flipboard-inspired app called News. With the News app, users can take a look at a sampling of stories from top news sources based on topics that can be pre-selected. Apple says users will be able to “explore over a million topics” from top news organizations and indie publications such as The New York Times, Buzzfeed, and ESPN. Even better, the more you use News, the better the app will be at presenting you with stories you might find interesting.
The next-gen version of Safari supports pinned sites and, naturally, a host of performance improvements. But what’s even better is that Safari will now inform you which tabs are playing audio, a feature that Google Chrome users have enjoyed for some time now.
Apple Watch alarm clock mode
One nifty new Apple Watch feature, available with Watch OS 2, is that you can put it on its side and use it as a makeshift alarm clock.