WWDC 2016 – A Summary

In case you’ve been living under a rock, here’s the 411 as the kids say; Apple’s developer conference, WWDC 2016, just had its keynote today, 13th June. There were essentially four main areas, or platforms, they touched on; Apple tvOS, iOS 10, watch OS3 and MacOS. We’ll cover the first three here.

Let’s start with where Apple probably wanted everyone to labour when reporting their Keynote; the iOS update.

iOS 10

Apple concentrated on a number of new features for its latest OS update with a redesigned lockscreen, a tweaked notification system, as well as enhancing 3D Touch with widget implementation.

Starting with the lockscreen, the redesign is intended to allow the expansion of 3D Touch. Hard press on a notification and they can be interacted with without unlocking your phone. This includes messaging also.

Siri has been finally opened up to third-party developers, unleashing a horde of demanding developers no doubt keen to integrate calls into their own apps. Imagine calling an Uber and sending WhatsApp messages via Siri’s dulcet tones – you don’t have to imagine anymore, with iOS 10.

WWDC 2016

Apple also announced a pinning feature for photos to effectively geo-locate where those photos were taken, as well as delivering facial recognition for photos. Contextual searching has also been included to allow searching by a particular reference point within a photo. For example, a photo of a mountain can be used as a reference point to find my photos of mountains, etc. These features were wrapped into a new interface that Apple is calling Memories.

HomeKit is a fledgling service that Apple hopes to improve on and for iOS 10, there are now more accessory types to be integrated into your home automation setup, with door locks and cameras. The biggest change is that it has been renamed to simply “Home”. All accessories that you have linked to the service can be found here and the new “Scenes” modes will allow you to create a suite of controls that reflect a given mood or time. For example a bedtime Scene might lower the lights and lock the doors, etc.

WWDC 2016Voicemails are seemingly a thing of the past if iOS 10 is to be believed, as transcription of audio voicemails is now built into the platform.

The biggest news related to iOS 10, quite literally, is that Emoji usage is now three times larger. Yes, if you were a fan of Emojis anyway, you’ll be a bigger fan now. Sadly, for those that were not…well tough luck!

Apple Music has also had an overhaul, being redesigned from the ground up for iOS 10.

iOS 10 is out in Autumn and a preview is available now for developers.

Apple WatchOS 3

WWDC 2016Apple’s Kevin Lynch took to the stage to show the world what they’ve managed to squeeze into Apple’s newest platform. Firstly, as you’d expect, the platform has been sped up, and they’ve achieved that by allowing your favourite apps to stay resident in memory, and these are configurable also via the side button.

In a move to try to harmonise the user experience across devices, Control Center is now included and is accessed via the same swipe up gesture as in regular iOS, and shows large touch friendly icons for ease of use. A welcome feature for those who are embedded in the Apple eco-system across multiple products.

WWDC 2016Replying to messages is also much more simple. Scrolling down on a message now shows Smart Replies (canned responses) making it easy to reply in a hurry. In addition, a new feature called Scribble allows handwritten letters to make up messages to be sent directly from the Watch. It remains to be seen how easy this will be to use but during the demo the letters were seemingly able to keep up with writing on top of each other.

Finally Apple detailed their activity sharing feature. This is effectively the same sort of social interaction that FitBit users have been engaging in; a way to motivate via one-upmanship on your nearest and dearest who only managed a mere 500 steps that day. Share that data and communicate with your contact rings and get motivated – that’s the basic premise.

The preview is available today and upgrades are coming to all users later in the Autumn.

tvOS

WWDC 2016Apple started off their tvOS section by stated that there are now over 1300 video channels on the platform as well as 6000 native apps, which is quite impressive.

Siri has been expanded for tvOS also with new topical searches (‘high school comedies from the 80s’ was the example used) as well as being able to search YouTube.

If you’re fond of using hardware to control your other hardware however, rejoice! Apple has developed a remote app for iOS which controls the tvOS without the need for using the much maligned TV Remote.

Apple is also making it easier and quicker to get access to your Video Channels. Whereas previously, each new channel launched needed to be authenticated, the new tvOS update will allow a “Single Sign-up” approach. Sign in once and receive access to all your channels without the need to re-authenticate.

Finally, Apple hjas included a “dark mode” for those that find it just a little too bright when watching without lights on.

The Developer preview for tvOS is out today and will come to everyone else in later in the Autumn.

 

What do you think of the announcements? Were you expecting more or less? Let us know in the comments.

About Craig Bradshaw

Tech enthusiast and Editor-in-Chief of MobileTechTalk

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