After much anticipation, Apple’s annual worldwide developer conference is finally a wrap. The rumor mill had been flooded with intel regarding what we might see today for the last one and a half month, most of which were actually pretty accurate.
• OS X 10.11 El Capitan
New features that we will be seeing include new gestures, such as shake to enlarge mouse cursor, and a new way to pin websites on Safari. The browser will also add a speaker icon on the URL bar to mute music coming from any tab opened, sort of what we saw in the latest update of Google Chrome for Android.
Spotlight becomes smarter than ever. Instead of conducting a typical search by the file’s name, you will be able to describe it. For instance, if you are looking for some old docs from last summer you could write “files I worked on last summer”.
A feature that we initially saw on Microsoft’s Windows 10 preview, will be available on El Capitano as well, and that is split screen. By holding the Maximize button and dragging left or right, the user will be capable of splitting his screen into multi-tasking windows.
Developers can start using El Capitan today, with the beta edition coming in July and official roll-out this autumn.
• iOS 9
Moving on to the mobile counterpart, iOS 9 was unveiled today as well, bringing a selection of new features on the table.
Have you ever played Halo? If yes, then you probably remember Cortana. Well, evidently, Siri is becoming more human-ish as we move on from the one version of iOS to the next one. We could safely say that the new Siri follows in the steps of the aforementioned cyber being.
The “context sensitive” feature that has been implemented allows the user to command Siri to i.e “remind him about this” and Siri will understand that he was referring to the webpage currently open on Safari. In addition to that, if an unknown number is calling you, from now on you can ask Siri about it, which will immediately look through e-mails, files, notes mentioning this number that are stored to your device.
Relying on your activities, Siri will have the ability to suggest people, thus inviting them to one of your events (based on how often you text them, or call them), even applications based on the usage of that day.
As far as app developers go, an API for search was released that allows them to link their product to mobile spotlight, in order for it to be easier to find.
Maps have been finally integrated with transit directions as well. Apple’s map system from now on will be capable of plotting routes based on the local mass transit –I am pretty sure Google’s reaction will be priceless. In addition, Siri can be utilized to ask for directions.
The feature will be initially available to users in San Francisco, New York, Baltimore, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Mexico City, Toronto, London, Paris and Berlin, with other cities and regions to be added later. The service is also available in over 300 cities in China, including Beijing, Chengdu and Shanghai.
Moving on, Apple’s replacement for Newsstand will be an app called News –some brilliant marketing with the name here as you notice- , which essentially bares a striking resemblance with the renowned news aggregator, Flipboard. More or less, News is a personal newspaper, bringing fresh content each time it is being launched, from sources based on the likes of the user. The app will be first released to US, UK and Australia.
Some fancy new gestures for the iPad users heading your way as well. Like in El Capitan, iPad-ers –Apple’s name marketing team take notes- will be able to split their screen in multiple windows. Whilst in landscape mode, the user will be able to drag in another app from the side for a moment, while another is running on fullscreen. That will come in handy when you are watching a YouTube video and want to quickly respond to a message without exiting the streaming app. The particular feature will work for iPad Air 2 and Mini 3. Additionally the new Quicktype keyboard allows you to drag with two fingers to move the selector around inside text, which will be rather useful especially when it comes to emails.
Like El Capitan, iOS 9 for devs is available starting today, with the beta version coming up next month and the official update somewhere between October and November, based on previous seasons.
• Apple Pay
Regarding Apple’s fresh payment system, Jennifer Bailey, head of the division, announced that Square will launch a new reader that that supports the service. She also mentioned that the Pinterest buyable pins will be compatible with Apple Pay on iOS.
Furthermore, Apple Pay will be traveling to Europe this autumn, first becoming available to the UK. It will by supported by Transport for London, on the tube, buses and trains.
• Swift 2.0
Code junkies get ready for some really exciting news as Swift 2.0 will be coming soon. It will be open-source with compilers for Mac OS X and Linux.
• watchOS 2.0
So watchOS 2 will be appearing soon as well allowing users to set a photo album slideshow running on the background. Developers will be able to place any sort of data they want to be displayed, from weather forecast to sports news.
With the just added “Time travel” feature iWatch-ers –did it again- can rotate their digital crowns to see future data, such as appointments they have scheduled for later on, the weather and so on.
More importantly the iWatch finally becomes more multifunctional as you will be able to stream videos, respond to email and texts, make phone calls and FaceTime straight from it. The above mentioned maps’ update will be available to the iWatch as well. In addition, the watch can be now operated by connecting it to a known WiFi connection, instead of just your iPhone.
HomeKit will make its advent into the iWatch, meaning that the user will be able to control his home temperature using the digital crown.
Like El Capitan and iOS 9, watchOS 2 will be rolling out to the public this fall.
• Apple Music
There is one more thing as Steve said, and that is the much anticipated Apple Music. The upcoming arch enemy of Spotify and alike has been finally unveiled after much speculation. We figured out that the Cupertino Giant would be soon making waves to the music industry since it purchased Beats last year.
Apple Music is pretty simple. It is obviously powered by Apple’s original platform, iTunes, and it features the standard functions that you see in the rest music streaming services. There is a “My Music” tab that essentially displays your purchased content, and one called “For You” that includes song suggestions based on the downloaded content you have. You can also browse the classic “Hot Tracks,” “Recent Releases,” “Top Charts” and ad-free music videos.
Siri can be found useful here as well since the user can say things like “play some smooth jazz” and the app will respond by playing the respective genre.
Along with that, Apple launched its own radio station; Beats1 hosted by former BBC Radio One DJ Zane Lowe. The company stated that not only will it play great content, but help users discover new content –indeed sounds interesting.
The most significant product announced by Apple today, under the Music section, was Music Connect, a social network for artists where they can upload their content to get more exposure –kudos. Drake talked about the service as well highlighting how it can benefit future artists. There is lots of potential here if Apple’s plans include investing some extra time and effort on it.
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