At 10:00am this morning (PDT) Apple’s CEO Tim Cook took the stage at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Fransisco to address the Worldwide Developer community and share a look at the latest and greatest on the iOS, watchOS, tvOS and macOS platforms. The keynote was a jam packed 2 hour long session that covered all the things that developers will be keen to get there hands on and play with at the World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) this week. These announcements are of paramount importance to developers of the platforms and will dictate the tools with which they can create exciting and enriching experiences for users moving forward. These are the standouts from the keynote that are seemingly the most significant and will have the most impact in the months to come.
Kevin Lynch, Vice President of Technology, took the stage to address the progressions of the watchOS platform and introduce the core features that will make up watchOS 3.
– User’s favourite apps are kept ready in memory, update information in the background, launch instantly.
– New dock interface for accessing apps by clicking the side button.
– Controller centre revealed by swiping from bottom of watch face for most used settings.
– New watch faces including Minnie and an Activity Rings watch face
– More customisation of complications, complications available on more watch faces such as photo face
– Faster switching of watch faces
– Share activity rings with friends and family for motivation
– Compete to see who can close all rings first
– Smack talk them with messages and chat
– Optimised Activity app for wheelchair users
– Takes into account pushing techniques, speeds, trains, two new wheelchair specific workouts
– Time to roll notification instead of time to stand
– New app to guide through breathing and relaxation exercises to manage daily stress and encourage calmness
– Integration with new iOS Messages features like Fireworks animations, suckers, handwriting, large emoji, sketches, taps and heartbeat
– Scribble integration to write your message with finger on pad
– Integration with new iOS Home app to connect all HomeKit devices together
SOS Emergency Call
– Press and hold the side button and initiate SOS call with local emergency services any where in the world.
Eddy Cue, Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services, took the stage and told developers that there are currently 6000 native apps on the tvOS platform, and 1300 video channels. An amazing feat considering the platform is still so new.
Remote iOS App
– Redesigned remote app for iOS with all the features of physical Siri remote
Dark UI Mode
– Allows user to switch between dark UI or light UI system wide
Of course Craig Federighi, Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, made an appearance to tell us about the recent changes coming to the Mac platform.
– Mac OS X has been renamed to macOS so as to be inline with the rest of the tvOS, watchOS, iOS platforms
– macOS 10.12 is to be named macOS ‘Sierra’
– Users wearing an Apple Watch can automatically unlock their Mac when close-by, no password trying needed.
Apple Pay on the Web
– Integration between Apple Pay and Safari
– User’s press the ‘Apple Pay’ button on favourite shopping sites, see a native Apple Pay dialog and complete their purchase with touchID on their iPhone using Continuity.
– Clipboards are synced across all devices.
– User copies text on their iPhone, can immediately paste the text from their Mac.
– All Mac apps now support tabbing out of the box, no extra developer support required.
– Instead of multiple cluttered windows from the same app, users can CMD+T to open windows in new tabs.
Picture in Picture
– Just like on iPad, users can view videos using Picture in Picture on their Mac.
– Pip window stays on-top of open windows, is resizable and draggable at any time.
– Automatically stores rarely used files and old files in iCloud and keeps them available on demand.
– Reminds you to remove old app installers, clears out duplicate downloads, caches, logs and deletes files that have been in the trash for 30 days.
– Virtual Assistant is now available on the Mac
– Ask Siri all the same things you can ask on iOS, tvOS, watchOS.
– Siri can be used for multitasking, ask it to do something in the background while you’re working on something else.
– Finds files for you, enables you to drill down into specific search results queries and refine results.
– Pin results to the notification centre for future reference.
– Photos app now uses deep learning to more effectively sort photos into ‘Memories’ and automatically create stunning slideshows and collections of your best photos based on people, places and more.
– Redesigned Apple Music experience inline with the iOS redesign.
– Integration with all the new features on iOS
– iCloud drive users can now access their desktop on any device.
Both Craig Federighi and Eddy Cue stepped us through the major changes to Apple’s latest platform iOS. These large and sweeping changes are at the underpinning of what makes iOS special to its users.
– Redesigned lock screen. Swipe left to Camera, swipe right to ‘Widgets’ view.
– Notifications no longer dim the screen, are white.
– Raise your iPhone in your hand to wake it up and see your notifications.
– View photos, respond to messages, watch videos, and interact deeply with notifications without tapping into the app or leaving the lock screen.
– Apps now have the ability to create Widgets that live on the lock screen and home screen.
– Widgets display small glance-able chunks of information such as Weather, Calendar, Temperature, sports scores and Video Highlights. Similar to watchOS glances, but for iOS.
3D Touch on App icons
– Expanded functionality around the 3D touching of App icons
– Apps can now increase the amount of functionality available to users from the quick access menu.
– Apple has opened the Siri voice assistant up to third party developers with a Siri SDK
– Can provide things like Messaging, Ride booking, Photo Search and Workouts integration with Siri.
– Currently supported apps – Slack, WeChat, WhatsApp, Uber, Runtastic, Runkeeper, MapMyRun, Skype.
– Siri has improved contextual awareness with location, calendar, contacts, recent addresses and more to inform its responses.
– Redesigned iOS Apple Music app
– Simplifies the overall experience and makes ‘music the king’
– Redesigned iOS Apple News app
– Similar interface to new Apple Music
– Breaking News notifications and In-app subscriptions
– New Apple iOS app called ‘Home’ which becomes a user’s manager and control centre for all HomeKit compatible devices.
– Home is deeply integrated into iOS, allows users to swipe up and left from Control Centre and lock screen. Also integrated with Apple Watch.
– Scenes which allow users to configure devices into a preset such as ‘Sleep, or Work, or Dinner’.
Phone + VOIP SDK
– Voicemail transcription, read voicemail messages as plain text
– Detects unknown callers as phone spam and displays such
– Integration with third party VOIP apps using new VOIP SDK
– Third party apps like Slack, WeChat, Line and such can now create more deeply integrate calling screens on the lock screen.
– VOIP app phone calls appear in recents in Apple’s Phone app
– Big sweeping changes to the iOS iMessage app
– Larger Emoji
– User can send messages with ‘Bubble effects’ such as shaking the bubbles, or whisper which slowly presents the message to the receiver.
– Invisible Ink effect which sends a message that is hidden until the reader swipes to reveal it, and then disappears.
– Entire screen animations such as saying “Happy Birthday!” or “Congratulations”
– Digital Touch comes to iOS from watchOS in the form of ‘Tap back’, allows user to tap to send quick responses
– Drawing on photos in different colours, send drawing shapes and stickers on photos just like Snapchat.
– Handwritten messages can be sent by in your own handwriting and will animate like ink on paper.
– iMessage apps allows users to download new App Store apps specific for iMessage just like WeChat and Line.
– iMessage apps expand the iMessage platform and allow users to create and share content, make payments to friends and more without leaving Messages.
– Stickers, users can add stickers to messages and add stickers to stickers.
– Stickers are downloadable through the App Store for iMessage.
– Emojification allows users to convert text into Emoji
– Emoji-Friendly words will be highlighted, can be tapped to translate into emoji
Tim Cook finally shared an exciting new Apple app which was widely well received by developers. Swift Playgrounds which is aimed at teaching Swift and programming to children in a friendly and fun way.
– Available on iPad
– An engaging and immersive way for people to learn Swift
– Comes with a set of Apple-designed lessons such as the basic in “Fundamentals of Swift”.
– Users write real code to guide a character through a 3D world before moving onto more advanced programming concepts.
– Learn Commands, Functions, Loops, Parameters, Conditionals, Variables, Operators, Types, Initialisation and Bug fixing.
Quick type and coding keyboard
– Apple have built a really neat quick type system for intelligently displaying commands as you move through the levels.
– Apple have also built an innovative software keyboard designed specifically for coding. Touch on keys to access multiple characters and drag to choose the symbol you want.
– Share playgrounds with friends through iMessage and they can run them on their iPad.
– Available free on the App Store this fall
Despite this morning’s event being a jam packed, fast paced and intense event it was clear that Apple’s teams have been hard at work for many months on the work that was presented. The changes to these platforms signifies a big shift forward in their lifecycle and gives developers a lot of exciting and compelling new tools to use to go on and build amazing new products and experiences. I can’t wait to get my hands on these tools and to learn more, so that I can start building great new things with them!