Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) 2016 has just kicked off with an opening keynote. Over the course of two hours, Apple execs gave us a rundown of all the enhancements coming to iOS, watchOS, tvOS,and Mac OS X—which is now called macOS.
Developer previews are being released now, and there will be public betas for most of the new software in July.Everything will be available on Apple devices this fall. Meantime, I have all the news about the latest enhancements coming to your Mac, your iPhone, iPad,Apple Watch, and Apple TV.
You Can Finally Delete The Junk Apple Apps On Your Phone.
The iPhone came preloaded with a bunch of apps you never use. Good news! In iOS 10, for the very first time, you can delete them. Small caveat here: You can’t delete all of them. But you’ll be able to axe 23 Apple-provided apps from your home screen with iOS 10, including known duds like Tips,Stocks, and Compass, but also more robust apps like Music, Maps, and FaceTime. The full list is here. Among the apps you’re still stuck with? Safari, iMessage, and a handful of others. In all, you’re saving yourself about 150MB of space by getting rid of these, which isn’t a life-altering amount. But it’s something! If you find yourself missing an app (or run into a something that needs, say Contacts to function properly) you can always download it again from the App Store. In the meantime, you’ll finally be able to ditch the defualt apps you don’t use once and for all.
ALL THE NEW FEATURES COMING TO YOUR MAC DESKTOP
At this year’s annual developer conference, WWDC,the company announced its newest desktop operating system: macOS Sierra, which is slated to be ready for Apple customers this Fall.Although the name Sierra is in step with Apple’s naming its desktop clients after California natural landmarks, it also marks a shift in its naming convention more generally: Apple desktop OS has replaced the suffix “X” with the prefix “mac,” following the naming convention of the company’s other hardware operating systems: tvOS, watchOS, and iOS. Siri joins the desktop OS with this next release. The idea is that you’ll be able to use Siri much like you already use Finder and Spotlight, the traditional Apple desktop search engines. You can ask Siri to search for files, switch between apps, and do quick math. It can also query the Internet and allow you to drag and drop those results into other apps running on your desktop. While these updates are exciting alone, Apple is hoping Siri will be able to do more. As part of its introduction to desktop, Apple is opening Siri to app developers with a new software development kit, putting Apple in the race
to build the best digital home assistant, alongside Amazon’s Alexa.But Siri isn’t the only the exciting addition to Apple’s new desktop. Sierra brings new levels of interoperability between Apple devices and makes better use of storage for your take-a-photo-of-every-sunset smartphone habit.
Floating Between Machines
Sierra is also engineered for more intuitive continuity between how you use your suite of Apple products. Take copy and paste, for example: with Sierra, users will be able to copy and paste between their iPhone and desktop. So if you copy a line you’re reading from an
article on your phone, just right click on your desktop to paste it in a text field there, a feature Apple is calling Universal Clipboard. Sierra will also include an update to allow you to see your computer desktop on your phone, so if you quickly saved a screenshot on your computer, you can Tweet that from your phone by accessing your macOS desktop folder from your iPhone. This update is driven by improvements to iCloud, which Sierra has optimized for better sharing across devices. As to whether this will actually be more convenient than the timeworn tradition of emailing yourself is hard to say. If you have an Apple Watch, it will be able to communicate to authenticate your credentials on your computer too. That means no more typing in a password to securely unlock the screen. Secure wireless communication between Apple devices is
being rolled out with Apple Pay too, which is trusted and easy to use mostly thanks to its integration with Apple’s Touch ID, the iPhone’s biometric authentication fingerprint reader. That same convenience and security (it’s not easy to hack someone’s fingerprints) is coming to the desktop. With the new operating system, if you’re buying things online, you can authenticate your purchases quickly and easily with Touch ID on your phone, ergo expanding compatibility of Apple Pay and offering biometric security for desktop purchasessimultaneously. Take that, PayPal. Additional Housekeeping. Sierra is even more integrated into iCloud—it has a storage management feature that makes room for new files on your machine by gathering up your old content pushing it to the cloud. Other updates improve how you glide between apps on your desktop, with a new picture-in-picture option to increase productivity between apps. So if you’re trying to catch up on your Veep habit while filling out an expense report, no more trying to shape two browser windows on one screen. Now the video plays as like a popup window in that can freely move and be expanded across the screen, making for a much cleaner workspace and less tab confusion between disparate browser windows. Finally, tabs: Sierra introduces a new Tabs API that will allow app developers to add support for tabs. That could mean Tabs in Spotify or Tabs in iTunes. It could mean Tabs everywhere, and that means getting more work done at once, more room to look things up in the middle of finishing one task, and most importantly, more tabs. Apple has released a developer preview today. A public beta version is due in July, and regular customers will be able to get their hands on the freshly minted operating
system later this year.
iOS 10: Every New Feature Coming to Your iPhone
(image source: EverythingApplePro)
The WWDC keynote, helps us know exactly what’s coming to iOS 10. Siri’s the big star, but there are plenty of other features to look forward to. Here’s all the tricks your iPhone will learn later this year.
As expected, Apple has created a Siri SDK, which means that developers will now be able to incorporate it into their apps at will. That specific news isn’t nearly as important as what it will enable. While some third-party apps, like Yelp and OpenTable, already play nice with Siri, it’s a very short list. This makes Siri less useful than it could be—just compare it to Amazon Alexa’s thousand-plus integrations—but more importantly, it makes the iPhone less useful than it should be. But finally, after five years of a mostly solitary existence, Siri’s going to make some friends.A few of those were on stage at WWDC today. WeChat, Slack, and WhatsApp all made an appearance, meaning you’ll now be able to talk to those apps and have them follow your command. What’s available now though, isn’t nearly as important as what’s going to be by the time iOS 10 is available this fall and beyond.
iMessage, the Platform
While the rumored iMessage for Android didn’t materialize, Apple’s chat app did pick up a suite of sweet new features. There’s a lot going on here, most of which catches the app up to its messaging rivals.
iMessage will have rich links inline, meaning you can play videos from YouTube or songs from Music without bailing out to another app. Its emoji are three times bigger than before, and it will prompt you to emojify any words (pizza, taco, love… eggplant?) as you type.
You can add effects to the text in your bubbles, making it larger if you want to shout and smaller if you’re feeling meek. You can write messages in “invisible ink,” that the recipient can only read after swiping, or you can blur them until they tap. This would be good for lots of uses and NOT just sex stuff.
And then, again, those third-party integrations show up. iMessage now has an app drawer, meaning you can send money with Square, order food with DoorDash, and so on. Turning iMessage into a platform is a move Apple needed to make, especially with Facebook Messenger having already done most of this a year ago.
Apple Music Makeover
What Apple Music lacks in usability it makes up for in exclusives. In iOS 10, though, Apple’s late-arriving Spotify competitor is going to fix much of what ails it. The key word is simplicity: Everything’s much more clean and navigable, including a new tab for “downloaded music” (thank goodness) and a For You section that provides a new playlist of music Apple thinks you’ll like every single day. Think Spotify Discover, but more frequently updated.
Apple Connect, which was a thing that you forgot existed, has been a little bit tucked away, because again, you forgot it existed.
More Responsive Notifications
You know that thing where Touch ID works so quickly that you blow right past your lock screen? Apple added a feature that shows you what’s on your display when you pick it up. From there, you can get more info or respond to them from the lock screen using 3D Touch. Apps with information that evolves in real-time (think Uber letting you know where a car is, or ESPN showing you a score) can have notifications update live. It also looks cleaner than before, which is going to be a theme here.
Other than the 3D Touch feature/gimmick, smartphones like the Moto X have been doing this for years. Which is why I can confidently tell you that you’ll love it.
To get a sense of what Apple’s updated Photos app can do, just open Google Photos. Face recognition, object recognition, clustering and sorting by person, date, and place. All of this mirrors what Google Photos has done since last year, with the crucial difference that Apple’s machine learning smarts all take place locally, on your device.
That’s great if Google gives you privacy concerns, but it’ll be interesting to see if Apple’s version local can match the chops of what Google’s cloud. Another notable difference: Google stores your photos in the cloud for free, while you’ll have to pay up for iCloud when you run out of room.
Prettier, More Open Maps
Maps got a design tweak (hello, pan and zoom mid-navigation) but more importantly it’s now open to third party developers. In the keynote example, you can use OpenTable to make a restaurant reservation, call it up on Maps, and summon an Uber to take you there.
Another small update that you’ll appreciate: Gas station listings. Sure!
Siri Helps You Type
Siri’s going to give Apple’s QuickType keyboard a boost, bringing contextual awareness (your location, your calendar, and more) into play to provide suggested replies. If someone asks where you are, for instance, Siri can tell them for you.
Apple News Rethink
I really enjoy Apple News, but am also aware that in its current iteration it’s just a chopped salad of stories, jumbled up in no real relation to one another. That changes in iOS 10. Now, News sorts the news into sections that make sense, and also includes support for subscriptions. Which, after Newsstand effectively shut down, is a major improvement for readers and publications alike.
Also: Breaking news notifications, because NYT doesn’t already send you enough of those.
HomeKit: Still HomeKitting
HomeKit still exists! Although there’s not a ton new to say about it, aside from there’s an actual app now, called Home, from which you can control all of your smart home devices that have compatible apps. Home automation nerds, this one’s for you, although I fear you are a small subset. Then again, I’m the guy who uses Apple News, so no judgment here!
There are a lot of cool features coming to the Phone app (remember, you can still make phone calls with your iPhone), but the only one I’m really looking forward to is voicemail transcription. If it’s even half as bad as Google’s, it should provide endless entertainment.
Otherwise! There’s a new VoIP API that lets incoming calls from WhatsApp, FaceTime, or wherever look more like normal phone call. It’ll also automatically check calls for which seem like spam, and let you know.
Hide the Junk
This didn’t make the stage at Monday’s WWDC keynote, but good news for everyone with an “Apple Junk” folder wasting space on their home screen: In iOS 10, you can delete Tips, Calculator, Music, and more than a dozen other preloaded Apple apps.
Apple Music’s New Look Is Clean
ONE OF THE biggest knocks on Apple Music is that it tries to do too much. Well, it’s still going to do a lot, but the goal of an upcoming redesign is to do it all in a more intuitive way. A major redesign prioritizes the features its 15 million-plus subscribers use the most.
That apparently doesn’t include Apple Music Connect, which has been dropped from the navigation tabs at the bottom of the app. The tab lineup is now Library, For You, Browse, Radio, and Search.
The new layout, demoed by Apple Music head of marketing Bozoma Saint John at WWDC today, keeps your music library front and center. You’ll also be able to see what you’ve downloaded from iTunes a lot more easily. By scrolling past the album art in the Now Playing screen, you can now view song lyrics. Saint John tried to lead the WWDC audience in a singalong to Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight.” It didn’t work out so well.
The For You tab gives you quick access to your recently played songs and also features Apple’s daily curated playlists. This is where the “Connect” feed of posts from artists will now live. It’s still alive, it’s just been demoted from tab status.
Browse hosts the chart-topping artists and songs on Apple Music, while Radio is the jumping-off point for all things Beats 1 Radio. The Radio tab also highlights featured and upcoming audio shows, and you can view all the available streaming content on the service. It’ll be available when iOS 10 is available to the general public later this year.
Siri Is Now Going To Be A little Different
UNTIL NOW, SIRI’S been little more than a slightly sassy sidekick on the iPhone. It’s gotten better over time, in the sense that it’s more accurate in understanding what you’re asking, but it’s not a whole lot more useful than it was at launch.
On monday , though, Apple made a big move to make Siri work for more people, by opening it up to third-party developers and bringing Siri to the Mac. Long-term, this means you’ll be able to connect Siri to the apps you actually use, instead of having to use Apple Maps and Apple Music and Apple Mail and all the other apps I stuck into a folder marked by the poop emoji.
Not only that, you’ll be able to use Siri on your PC, to make a lot of simple actions easier: adding things to your calendar, doing quick research and calculations, setting reminders, playing music, even searching your computer. Siri can search Finder, finding you files from last week about the offsite and then showing you the ones you tagged as draft. Click on a button and it pins into your notification center, for easy finding later. The voice assistant can do more on the Apple TV as well: Siri has improved topical searches for movies and TV shows (“Horror movies from the ’80s”) and you can now run voice searches for YouTube videos.
Apple’s Updated tvOS Improves Search, Siri, and Sign-In
NEW CAPABILITIES ARE coming the Apple TV. As expected, Siri will get some enhancements in the updated version of tvOS. The voice assistant can now search the system’s database of 650,000 movies and shows using more complex topical queries, such as the “high-school comedies from the ’80s” example Apple VP Eddy Cue used onstage at today’s WWDC keynote. Siri can also search YouTube if you ask it to, using spoken commands such as “search YouTube for Draymond Green repeatedly assaulting other players.”
For streaming channels that include live programming, such as cable-company apps and Watch ESPN, Siri can now launch them immediately without having to futz around in the menu screen. Saying “watch (app name)” will quickly bring up a big-screen view of the live feed. If you’d rather futz around in the menu screen without having to wear sunglasses, rest assured there’s a new “Dark Mode” that turns the background black.
Two of the biggest changes will use iOS as a proxy. The revamped Apple TV Remote app for iOS will now replicate all the features found in the hardware remote. It’ll use the phone’s mic for Siri queries, use its sensors for motion controls in games, and offer a touchpad interface. It’ll also (still) one-up the hardware remote by offering a keyboard for text input. Also, any Apple TV-compatible app you download on iOS will automatically show up on your Apple TV now.
And finally, forget having to input a boatload of cryptic codes on other devices to link accounts to your set-top box. The Apple TV has a new single sign-on feature, which lets you sign in once to authenticate all the apps that are part of your cable subscription. That update will also make it clear what you have access to in your app arsenal due to your cable package.
While there weren’t many details about additional tools for developers, Apple announced the new tvOS developer preview will be available today.
Days Of Apple’s Mac OS X Is Past. Long Live MacOS
SAY GOODBYE TO Mac OS X. Say hello to macOS, the new name of Apple’s desktop operating system. The renaming follows the convention of Apple’s operating systems for its other hardware: tvOS, watchOS, iOS, and now macOS. The first version of this newly named macOS is called Sierra.
The new name wasn’t a product of “alleged members of our marketing team going on a vision quest around California to find a new name,” said Apple senior VP of software engineering Craig Federighi, who announced the name change at WWDC 2016.
With a new name comes a few improvements too. Most notably, macOS marks the dawn of Siri for the desktop, and although this wasn’t made clear, that could also mean the sunset of Finder, the traditional app for scouring your hard drive. The new macOS isn’t available just yet. Federighi announced that Sierra is available for devs to preview today, and that a beta of the new OS will be out in July, with the public launch expected for later this year.
WatchOS 3 Proves Apple Is Still Trying to Solve Smartwatches
IT’S NOT EASY to know what to make of the Apple Watch so far. On one hand, it’s almost certainly the most successful smartwatch ever made. On the other, that’s still like saying you’re the tallest person in a room where it’s just you and Tom Cruise. Smartwatches haven’t taken over the world the way Apple (or Google, or Pebble) may have hoped. That’s at least in part because no one seems to have figured out what, exactly, a smartwatch is supposed to be for. Notifications? Texting? Fitness things? Apps? Games? Taking pictures? Sure, why not.
Today at WWDC, Apple announced a number of new and changed features for its WatchOS software. The new watchOS 3 gets several performance boosts and feature enhancements. Your favorite apps now launching much faster. Apps that used to take several seconds to load now show up in less than a second. You get the dock by pressing the side button, which used to bring up that constellation of apps. And the app previews are live, so you can see and launch, say, Calendar, all from the same place. Interactions within many apps have been simplified to a single gesture or a tap. To reply to a text, for example, you don’t have to pick “Reply,” you just tap on a thing or swipe down. The theme here is basically: everything used to take way too freakin’ long, now it doesn’t.
There’s a new way to write on the Watch called Scribble. It’s like Graffiti on the Palm Pilots of old. Also, there’s now an activity face for the watch, too, which puts those “wow, are you lazy” rings front and center. A new SOS feature, which you get to by pressing and holding the side button, puts you on a call to emergency services directly through your watch. It’ll automatically send an emergency notification to your contacts, and show your medical information.
The fitness-tracking app, Activity, now has a sharing feature, so you can rub your accomplishments in the faces of friends and family. Apple has also written new algorithms into Activity for wheelchair users, so their workouts and physical activity can now be tracked with the Apple Watch. There’s a new meditation app called “Breathe” that will remind you to spend between one and five minutes doing guided breathing.
Most importantly, Minnie Mouse is a watchface now. This is the biggest news of the day.
These new features will come to all users in the fall as a free upgrade.