WWDC 2016 kicked off today and along with it came some pretty awesome announcements. From Mac to iOS to Siri and more, Apple took the wraps off some pretty big announcements, so let’s take a look at what you need to know.
Apple kicked off the event with an update to WatchOS. This latest updates doesn’t make a ton of massive changes, but rather refines the experience a bit. The big highlight is much faster applications. Apps now open just about instantly rather than loading for several seconds after being opened. WatchOS now also adds a “dock” which can house a users favorite apps. This can be accessed via the side button.
For replies users will also have easier access to voice and emoji replies along with a new “scribble” option that recognizes handwriting. The power screen also adds a special SOS option that can contact 911 (or whichever number is used depending on the region). Calls can go through your phone (speaker on the watch) or through the internet if you have your watch on WiFi.
WatchOS 3 also adds control center to the Apple Watch for easier access to quick settings. There is also a special wheelchair mode that optimizes the experience for users confined to a wheelchair by tracking their movement more accurately. Last but not least, Apple has introduced a new app called “Breathe” which helps users with deep breathing exercises.
Apple has also introduced some updates to tvOS for the new Apple TV, adding new features including new applications, more advanced Siri capabilities, and more. Two notable features include Simple Sign-On which allows one sign-on for any apps that require integration with your TV provider as well as Live Tune In which gives access to an app’s content directly from Siri. Users can also now control their Apple TV from an iOS device with a new app.
After 15 years of OS X, Apple has rebranded their desktop operating system as macOS. The first version, Sierra, brings several new features to the OS including Auto Unlock, Universal Clipboard, and most importantly, Siri.
Auto Unlock uses your nearby iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch to unlock your Mac without the need of a password. Universal Clipboard adds on to Continuity by making the clipboard on both iOS and macOS devices sync across platforms. Text, images, links, and even video will work with this feature. Siri also makes its debut on the desktop with full integration with the OS including files and more.
“macOS Sierra is a major update that makes your Mac smarter and more helpful than ever with improvements to the apps you know and love and great new features throughout,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “With macOS Sierra, you can get information, find files and multitask using Siri, access your Desktop and Documents from anywhere, copy and paste between Macs and iOS devices, and rediscover precious memories in Photos.”
Along with everything else, Apple announced the latest edition of iOS, iOS 10. This latest version features dozens of changes both on the consumer end and for developers, but at the event Apple took the time to highlight 10 key changes. The first notable change comes to the lockscreen and UI. The lockscreen and many UI elements adopt rounded corners that better suit widgets and notifications on the lockscreen. The lockscreen also now supports a “lift to wake” gesture that turns on the screen when a user picks up the phone. Notifications on the lockscreen also pick up 3D touch features that allow full interaction without ever unlocking the phone.
Siri also gets a major update with the famous voice assistant now open to developers to tie their apps in. Siri also now ties into the default keyboard to enable better QuickType suggestions including calendar events, contact cards, and emoji. Languages can also change based on context.
Photos also gets an update with better search and face recognition capabilities all performed locally on the device. Apple Music for iOS also gets a refreshed UI with improved sections, lyrics on the now playing screen, and also the removal of the “Connect” tab. It’s unclear if these changes will make their way to the Android version. Apple News picked up a similar UI refresh with support for breaking news notifications.
Last but not least, Apple has made some huge changes to both the Phone and Messages apps. The Phone app picks up support for third-party apps such as Skype and WhatsApp while Messages picks up new features for expressing the tone of a message as well as the ability to predict where and which emojis can be added. Messages will also be able to integrate with third-party applications with its own app store available for those apps.
One other thing worth noting is that with iOS 10, iOS users can now delete many of the included stock applications that they don’t use as Apple has made them available for download via the App Store.
Developer previews for all of today’s big releases kick off today with official launches coming later this Fall, likely with new hardware as well.
As an added bonus, Apple has also debuted a new application designed to make it easy and fun for children to learn the Swift coding language. This app, called “Swift Playgrounds”, will be available later this year through the App Store with developer previews also available today.