Apple WWDC 2015

9 key announcements from Apple WWDC 2015

The 2015 annual Worldwide Developers Conference by Apple kicked off yesterday (8th June) in San Francisco, California.

The event began with a keynote in which Apple unveiled a new music service, new apps, new operating systems and easier ways to find information.

Here is a summary of the 9 key announcements:

1. OS X – El Capitan

OS X 10.11, otherwise known as El Capitan (named after a mountain found within Yosemite), is more about improving the OS X experience and performance than redesigning the user interface.

Key Updates:

  • Safari: users can now “pin” sites to load instantly from the landing page, and mute audio in tabs without entering specific pages
  • Spotlight: more extensive and integrated search capabilities – look up sporting event tickets, weather, and upcoming events using natural language
  • Improved Windows Management: automatically split screen between apps and store multiple desktop layouts in a navigation bar on top
  • Metal 3D graphics SDK: Apple’s optimisation tool will give El Capitan a performance boost – Apple says it should accelerate app launches by 1.4 times, and make it twice as fast to switch between apps
  • Improvements to the way Windows and Mail work

El Capitan is available for developers today, with a public beta coming in July and a full, free rollout to all in the Australian spring.

2. iOS 9

Similar to the new version of OS X, iOS 9 is more about making refinements.

Key Updates:

  • Low Power Mode: allows users to squeeze three extra hours out of the battery
  • Space Saving: takes up less space on your iPhone
  • Multitask on iPad: users can now split their screen in half and operate two apps at the same time – sliding a screen to the left brings a second app open to the screen, sliding down from the top lets you bring in a different app to your screen
  • Notes app: more functionality e.g. drawing, adding links to a website or maps, creating tasks lists and adding photos in your notes
  • Passbook: now renamed to “Wallet”
  • Introducing the “News” App: a new app similar to an iOS favourite Flipboard in collating news from a variety of publications
  • HealthKit: tracks more data, including water intake, UV exposure and menstrual cycles, and can now link to iCloud

A public beta will be released in July with the final version coming out in the Australian spring.

3. Siri

Siri answers more than one billion requests a week, and with the latest updates the iOS “proactive assistant” initiative uses the data on your phone to give contextual advice and options.

Key Updates:

  • Suggest What To Do: offer suggestions on what music to use or what apps to open based on location and time of day
  • Suggest Who’s Calling: if an unknown call comes in Siri looks through your email to suggest who might be calling
  • Schedule Events Automatically: scan emails and insert invitations directly into calendar
  • Intelligent Reminders: ability for user to tell Siri to “remind me about this” and it will know you are referring to the webpage currently on Safari

While these new services draw data from nearly everything you do on your phone, Apple emphasises that the data powering the new Siri features is kept as anonymous as possible, not shared with third-parties, and localised to a user’s device.

4. Apple Music

Apple’s all new music service. You can stream your favorite artists, watch music videos and exclusive clips in HD, and listen to curated playlists. Other features include “Connect“, which lets unsigned artists upload their music, as well as Apple’s own global radio station called Beats 1.

Apple Music will be available on iOS starting 30th June and also coming to Android in the Australian spring.

The price details in the United States will be $10 USD per month, with the first three months free. Australian prices will be released closer to the launch date.

5. Apple Watch

Less than two months into its life, the Apple Watch has a new operating system: watchOS 2.

Key Updates:

  • More Watch Faces: for example “Time Travel,” which gives you an overview of upcoming events in addition to what’s going on at the moment
  • More Interactivity: such as replying to emails and answering FaceTime audio calls
  • Developers Have More Control: they can make apps that play back video and audio using the watch speakers, and access HealthKit and HomeKit

The new Apple Watch OS will be available in the Australian spring.

6. HomeKit

Apple’s smart home platform now allows you to control more of your home

Key Updates:

  • Expanded Functionality: capabilities to adjust window shades, motion sensors, and security systems as well as compatibility with sensors such as smoke alarms or carbon monoxide alarms
  • Enhanced Accessibility: use HomeKit with your iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch as long as it is connected via iCloud

7. CarPlay

Apple’s auto operating system also gets an improvement

Key Updates:

  • Connect Wirelessly: users will no longer have to connect their phone with a cable but it will work wirelessly when you get into the vehicle
  • Apps Developed for Specific Cars: auto makers now have ability to develop apps that control the car’s features, with support for high-DPI screens at multiple display sizes

8. Apple Maps

Apple Maps also gets a revamp, including the addition of public transit maps which show train, bus and ferry lines showing you when the next train or bus is departing and how long it will take to walk to the nearest entrance.

The bad news is that rollout will begin in America, Europe and China, and there is no news yet on when it will be coming to Australia.

9. Apple Pay in the UK

Apple announced it was expanding its mobile wallet Apple Pay to the United Kingdom, including allowing people to jump on a London bus or the Underground with the Apple Pay.

There is no mention of when or if it will be coming to Australia.