Apple’s WWDC kicked off today with the usual keynote speech, but this one was packed with details about Apple’s next set of operating systems: iOS 10, the new tvOS, updates to watchOS, and OS X, now renamed to macOS.
iOS 10 Improves Interactive Notifications, Opens Siri to Developers, Organizes Photos, and Overhauls Messages
iOS 10 was announced today, complete with a laundry list of changes. As expected, the new version of iOS is coming to iPhones and iPads this fall, and developer betas are available today. Here are some of the biggest features:
The Lock Screen Gets Rich, Interactive Notifications
The lock screen is getting a big overhaul in iOS 10. You can now simply raise your phone to see the newly redesigned lock screen and notifications, then get a bunch of details about each notification using 3D Touch. Control Center is getting an overhaul too, and can now get to the audio controls with a swipe to the side. Widgets in Notification Center are now available with a swipe on the lock screen as well.
Apple Music Gets a Complete Redesign, and a Massive Overhaul
Apple Music is completely redesigned. The app opens to your library instantly, so you can get to playing music right away. You’ll get easy access to your custom-created playlists, the Connect tab, radio channels, and a curated list of new music. At a glance, the app seems a bit more sensibly designed in general than it has been, and that’s a huge improvement.
Maps Integrates Calendar Events, Third-Party Apps
Maps picked up some new features, including integrations with the “proactive” features introduced in iOS 9. This means Maps will take a look at your calendar and schedule so it can give you better search and transit results, like when to leave for meetings or how long it’ll actually take to get somewhere.
The map view is much simpler now, and integrates gas stations. You can also (finally) pan and zoom along your route. Like many of Apple’s other apps, developers can also plug in and integrate with Maps now, too. This means you can do things like book reservations at a restaurant or order an Uber directly from the Maps app.
Messages Gets Animations and Emoji Enhancements
Apple announced a surprisingly big update to Messages. Messages now includes rich links, so when you share a URL with a friend it’ll look like a normal link on any other service, like Facebook or Hangouts. Emoji are now three times larger and QuickType can predict emoji, so if you type them frequently they’ll show up in your prediction results.
You can also now tap specific words, and Messages will instantly replace those boring old words with fancy new emoji. Also new are “bubble effects,” where the blue bubble in Messages will change size, zoom in or out, or use another animation to imply emphasis or tone. There are a bunch more animated effects in the new Messages, including ridiculous full-screen animations, video effects, and more. The Messages app is also now open to developers, so developers can make mini-apps for Messages, or integrate it into their own. Apple showed a few examples examples of apps used to send stickers and a quick payment to another person, all without leaving the app.
Photos Organizes Pictures and Video Automatically, Floats Relevant Memories
Among Photos’ many organization and search-related updates, it now has a map mode to see your photos on a big map, so you can browse around and see where you took a specific shapshot.
Photos also finally gets facial, object, and scene recognition, so your photos automatically get sorted and easier to search through when you’re looking for someplace—or someone—specific. All of your photos go into automatically generated groups called “Memories,” so you can easily flip through photos based on vacations, time with another person, and other things. Photos can also now generate short videos of those memories. If all of this sounds remniscent of Google Photos and its long-standing features, it should.
Apple announced a ton of minor updates coming in iOS 10 as well.
Siri can do a lot more now to find your files, look up information, and execute commands, and developers can now plug into it. This means you can finally use Siri to control non-Apple apps, including messaging, booking rides, workouts, and more.
Apple News is redesigned with a new look. You can now subscribe to different magazines, and check out an editor’s list of featured stories. QuickType got a little bit of an overhaul that should make it much smarter. It now uses your location, contact info, scheduling, and more to help QuickType give you actually useful text predictions.
HomeKit now has an app called, predictably, Home that can control a variety of connected devices like lights, shades, thermostats, and whatever else. Voicemail is now available as a transcribed text. All VoIP apps can now integrate directly with the Phone function too, so a call from an app like WhatsApp looks the same as a call from a phone number, complete with pretty profile pic before you pick up the phone.
OS X Rebrands to macOS, the Next Version Is “Sierra,” and Siri Comes to the Mac
OS X has been rebranded to macOS, to line up with iOS, tvOS, and watchOS. The first iteration is the next version of the desktop operating system, macOS “Sierra.” From what we’ve seen, it doesn’t bring anything revolutionary to the table, but it does finally add the long-rumored desktop version of Siri.
Siri Arrives on the Mac
Siri is the big new feature in Sierra. On macOS, it’ll function much like a combination of Siri on iOS and Spotlight. You can search for files online and on you computer using Siri, message friends, search for movie showtimes, and just about everything else you can do with Siri on iOS.
Everything Else in MacOS Sierra
iCloud Drive got an overhaul too. Now, your Mac’s desktop is in iCloud Drive, which means you can instantly share every file on your desktop with every other macOS computer you have, and you can access those files on your iOS device. There’s also an optimized storage function that deletes old files so you don’t fill up your devices with unwanted, unorganized files.
Sierra will adds a new feature for Continuity that unlocks your Mac with your Apple Watch, so you don’t need to use a password if you’re in the vicinity. The OS also will introduce a universal clipboard, where copy/paste data transfers instantly from iOS to your Mac, and vice versa.
Additionally, Apple is extending Apple Pay to the web in Safari. When you’re shopping online, you can use Apple Pay to securely pay for items when you’re shopping, and authenticate with your iOS or watchOS device.
There are also some minor updates coming to macOS as well, including picture-in-picture mode for video and tabs in every app.
tvOS Simplifies Network TV Channel Logins, Adds in iOS Remote Support
Apple has a few minor updates to its Apple TV operating system. You will be able to use the remote app on iOS to control the TV instead of the Siri remote. Siri gets an update too and you can now search for specific tags, like “high school movies from the ‘80s.” You can also use your AppleTV and voice search to find and play videos on YouTube as well as other new third-party services.
New to tvOS and iOS is “Single Sign-on,” which will log you into every TV app on your Apple TV at once, instead of requiring a code or a special login for each one that has to be set up individually. That update is rolling out in the fall.
watchOS 3 Updates and Provides Information In Real Time, Launches Apps Faster
WatchOS 3 is all about instant information. Your favorite apps can now stay in memory and app updates happen immediately. There’s also now a dock where you can quickly look through your favorite apps. WatchOS 3 introduces a Control Center that’s accessible with an upward swipe.
As for messaging, you can now reply to messages by scribbling letters directly on the watch face. WatchOS now has an emergency feature called SOS where you can dial 911 directly from the watch to call for help, a useful feature.
If you’re competitive, WatchOS 3 is adding in competition for activities. You can share your exercise activity with friends to see and compare their workouts. Wheelchair users can also now track activities accurately using a variety of different metrics. Finally, WatchOS introduces a built-in “Breathe” app, meant to teach you deep breathing techniques. The update will come to all Apple Watch users this Fall.
Swift Playgrounds Teaches Kids How to Code for Free
At the end of the event, Apple released Swift Playgrounds, an app that teaches kids (and adults) how to code using Swift. There’s also a built-in coding keyboard that includes a bunch of shortcuts to streamline the process, and templates and games to help them get started. The software is iPad only, but it’s completely free. It will be available in the Fall.