Apple fans and other tech enthusiasts were eagerly waiting for the Cupertino-based company’s Worldwide Developers Conference this year, hoping to see something absolutely spectacular. Truth be told, the ones who were waiting for features that would awe them waited in vain since Apple didn’t present any breakthrough technology this time. No pieces of hardware were presented at the WWDC 2016 according to MacRummors, even though many of us were expecting to get at least a glimpse at the Apple Watch 2. Instead, it seems that this year the tech giant worked for bringing its platforms closer together, and we must admit that they have succeeded in doing so by combining certain elements of iOS with OS X for example.
The WWDC 2016 keynote revealed that there are many changes coming towards iOS, OS X, WatchOS and tvOS users. Basically, all of these platforms come closer and they all benefit from new features and improvements both in appearance and in functionality and speed. Some of the changes will be revealed immediately, mainly to beta testers, while the majority of people will get to test them sometime in the fall according to Tim Cook.
As far as OS X goes, there are some major news there, beginning with the fact that there is no OS X anymore, its place will be taken by macOS in its latest iteration, the Sierra. Those who loved Siri on their iPhone and wished the digital assistant was available on their computers also will see their dreams come true: Siri will be present on desktops and users will be able to use voice commands in order to perform certain tasks, like finding files on their computers, sending messages, search the web and so on. Another feature that wasn’t available until now on desktops is Apple Pay, which will be available on Safari. All users will need to do in order to purchase is access Apple Pay on the web and authenticate through TouchID through their iPhone or Apple Watch. The new desktop OS will also allow users to save some serious storage space by moving old files to the cloud.
The Universal Clipboard feature is also a new and interesting one, allowing users to copy and paste content across multiple Apple devices, and the iCloud drive enables users to save their desktop to the cloud and later access it from another computer. As we already stated, continuity definitely became the main focus of the company this year.
Of course, the centerpiece of the WWDC 2016 keynote was the iOS 10 which promises to bring a whole lot of new and interesting features. One new feature will wake the iPhone when users lift it, allowing users to interact with fully redesigned notifications using the 3D Touch feature. Notification weren’t the only ones who went through a major redesign, Apple News, Music, and Maps were also reimagined by the Cupertino-based company, making it easier for users to navigate and use these features to their full extent. iMessages also suffered major changes that could be a turn on for some and a turn off for others. If you enjoy using emojis and you’d like your smartphone to turn certain keywords into emojis, Apple just made your dreams come true. Those who don’t particularly enjoy emojis can still benefit from the new features of iMessages which include the ability to share songs with each other directly from Apple Music, and if this isn’t your cup of tea either, you might still like writing and receiving notes in handwriting on your iPhone. Your inner spy can even use the invisible ink feature iMessages will have, which hides messages until they are swiped over. I must admit, this is kind of cool, even for grownups.
Although until now everyone tried to find a way to turn text messages into audio ones, Apple decided to go the other way around and iOS 10 features voicemail transcriptions, which will basically turn your voicemail into written texts. This could come in handy in a number of occasions, like when people can’t really listen to their messages, but can read them instead, and of course, it could come in extremely handy for those who suffer from hearing deficits. For the majority of us, it might seem to be a useless feature, but it can be a great one for others, we must admit.
The Photos app wasn’t forgotten either, the tech giant’s developers added some nice touches to this section also. Now, users will be able to organize their photos better, even by person, using the facial recognition feature of the app, and if you would like to create some great collections, you can bundle together photos that have something in common, like locations or events, using Memories. The same feature allows you to add music to your montage to make it even more fun.
Last year’s tvOS just got a little more interesting and performant, and now offers more than 1300 channels and over 6000 apps. Users will still be able to use their smartphones as remote controls for Apple TV thanks to the remote app which allows them to navigate with the help of the touch feature, use Siri to search among hundreds of thousands of movies and TV shows, now even by categories. The new tvOS will also make it possible for content downloaded on your iPhone to automatically appear on your TV.
As I already stated, the Apple Watch 2 was a no-show at the WWDC 2016 on Monday, but at least we found out more about the watchOS 3, which promises to be seven times faster as the current one. Of course, its improved speed isn’t the only new feature of the operating system, it also brings a number of new additions, such as the “Scribble” keyboard with the help of which users will be able to individually draw every letter of their message on the screen of the watch and turn it into typed text. It is actually quite fun and cool. 911 calls will be made by holding down one button and users can even share their medical ID, which will display their medical conditions, allergies, and so on.
Even though the new features brought to us by Apple at the WWDC 2016 on Monday aren’t exactly spectacular, we must admit that some of the new additions are at least nice and fun if not extremely useful. We would’ve liked to get a glimpse at some new hardware too, but it seems that we will have to stand by and wait for a little longer. The software changes are welcome, and in the fall, we will see how users will embrace them… or not.