Novelties of Apple WWDC 2016
Everything started with an overview of watchOS 3 updates. The Apple Watch operating system became 7x faster, apps launch just about instantly. There appeared a possibility to quickly access any applications by simply pressing a side button on the watch. They also added a Control Centre just like on other Apple devices, and a system of quick replies to messages which analyzes your writing style and, based on this, suggests possible responses. If you don't like the options that the system prompts, just dictate or write your custom reply by drawing the letters on the screen - Scribble system is able to recognize handwritten text quite quickly. However, it only supports English and Chinese for now.
Activity watch face shows your activity throughout the day. It has three designs that you can switch by swiping your finger across the screen. Now you can share your activity with friends and throw a challenge to them. In addition, the app has been adapted to monitor wheelchair users' activity. It became possible thanks to algorithms that track hands movements. The app will remind users about an upcoming stroll and record their activity. Also, with the help of yoga practitioners an app for meditation was created - it will set and count a certain number of breaths and will measure the breathing rhythm for them.
Apple Watch apps developers will also get a wealth of opportunities with the third version of watchOS:
- Apple Pay is now open to third-party applications as well;
- An access to the information about a user's heartbeat and physical activity, the data from the gyro sensor and accelerometer;
- A possibility to use sprite kit and graphics more effectively;
- A possibility to monitor the taps of the digital crown, use Game Center, CloudKit and a built-in dynamic.
As for the business side, the watch is becoming an increasingly popular gadget and the demand for interesting Apple Watch apps is growing as well. Advanced capabilities of the device will open doors to new ideas, users' wishes, and the function of a good entrepreneur is to satisfy them. You can already start creating software for the watch - the Developer Kit came out right after the conference. The consumers, however, will get the update only this fall.
Apple TV is also gathering pace. At the moment there are 1300 channels and 6000 applications available to users.
tvOS is now getting voice control through Siri. What is more, Siri was taught to understand the context of requests that's why searching for the required content will be faster and more accurate. Now Siri is able to find both a video on YouTube and an exact programme on any of the channels.
Also, there will finally appear Single Sign-On. It is now enough to sign in once and you get access to all popular channels and apps. Without this feature you would have to register all 7300 times.
OS X, watchOS, iOS, tvOS - find an odd one in this line. Apple already has! Now the operating system for computers is called macOS with the subheading Sierra. The first update of the system has made a step towards collaborative work of Apple devices. This way, if you are wearing an Apple Watch, you will no longer have to unlock your computer - when you get near it the system will unlock automatically. Universal Clipboard is a common clipboard for all your devices. You can copy a text on your iPhone and immediately paste it into a text editor on your Mac, for example. iCloud documents can now be opened on any device. The new macOS version now has automatic cleanup - all kinds of rubbish, like unnecessary cache files, will be deleted and old files will be automatically moved to the Cloud in order to free up the space on your hard drive.
Let's not forget about Siri, of course - the assistant will be available on computers as well. It will be able to perform search for you, turn on music, send messages, clean up trash and do many other things. Apple Pay will work in Safari - you will only have to authenticate your purchase through Touch ID on your smartphone. And the last but not the least, split screen mode "picture in picture". Now you can use your browser or text editor and at the same time watch a video in a small window in the corner of the screen.
Let's move on to the highlight of the show. The 10th iOS got ten key innovations and each of them we will review below.
The first change is that they have redesigned the lock screen. Now it will wake up when you move the phone to your face, not only when you push Home or Power buttons. It is now possible to pin your widgets to this screen and all notifications will become more informative. With the 3D Touch you will be able to see the information from the apps directly on the lock screen.
Siri will start to work with third party apps. It will be able to send messages to WeChat, order a taxi via Uber and so on. Also Siri will now assist you in communication - it will study your communication style and what you talk with people about. For example, in response to your friend's question "where are you?" Siri will suggest sending your exact GPS coordinates. The creators promise that the assistant will now less often reply to user's questions with "Google search results".
The situation with iMessage turned out to be dubious: someone considers the added stickers, emojis and full-screen animated fireworks to be a degradation of the app towards a second-rate social network; others absolutely enjoy such intensity but it isn't the key update of the messenger. In fact, Apple presented a new platform for creating iMessage Apps. Also, it opened messages for developers.
Adding simple and animated stickers is now as easy as ABC. In addition, at the conference Apple demonstrated an iMessage app that makes ice-cream stickers. If you imagine that instead of an ice-cream you have a pizza and that you with your friends can put different ingredients on it and then send this order to a delivery service, then stickers will be of service to business as well.
Audio, video, photo, text and all the stuff from previous versions - everything is in place. It now supports handwritten notes, like the Apple Watch. Also, you can send hidden messages or photos which your friend will only see after swiping over them - it is one more way to protect the information from curious eyes.
Among small upgrades the following are worth mentioning:
- Photo can now recognize objects in photos. It's most likely to initiate the development of games and apps based on work with the camera;
- Maps has got a new design. It is promised that Maps will be adapted for CarPlay and opened up to developers.
- Apple Music will be able to show us song lyrics, it got rid of the Connect button and received simpler and more clear design;
- News got an interesting update - now users will receive notifications about the latest news;
- HomeKit, an application for the smart home. Now you will be able to control your automatic shades, door locks, lights and even the security system directly from your phone;
- Transcribing voice messages into texts in Phone app;
The last one to be presented at the conference was free Swift Playgrounds app which promises to teach novice programmers to write Swift code in a gamified way.
Summing up the WWDC 2016 highlights, it remains to say that Apple only continued to develop their ideas from previous years. The company seems to ignore the VR trend on purpose by making a focus on things and activities that people deal with every day: television, text and voice messaging, ordering food and transport, booking tickets, confidentiality; and makes its computers, phones and watches even more convenient and interesting to use. Actually, what else does every user need?