What We Learned at WWDC 2015

At 6pm tonight (UK time), Apple unveiled their latest news in the WWDC conference. Spanning a whopping 2 ½ hours, the conference touched upon iOS9, the upcoming OS X, Apple Pay, Apple Watch, new apps and refined features and the brand new Apple Music.

Here’s what we learned at WWDC tonight...

OS X

Named Os X El Capitan, you’ll see some brand new features and refinements to the Mac:

  • Make the mouse cursor bigger by shaking the mouse.
  • Pin sites in Safari to keep track of favourite tabs.

  • Mute whatever’s playing in the Safari web browser by tapping the tab.

  • Open up multiple tabs in the compose window in Mail.

  • Drag pictures from the browser right in.

  • Like Windows, OS X will allow you to drag windows to a place of your choice, create split-screen views and change them to other desktops.

  • El Capitan is available for developers now, whilst it is a free update for everyone else in Autumn/Fall 2015.

Metal

Tonight’s WWDC announced that Metal is coming to the Mac. The graphics API will let software have access to graphics hardware to make apps faster. An example of a game in action, called Fortnite, made by developers Epic Games, was shown to convey how games running entirely on metal could look.

Whilst nothing incredibly special in terms of gameplay, Fortnite does show the promising potential Metal has for games developers on Mac products from now on.

Siri Updates

Siri’s effectiveness is being improved, with, what Apple promises, will provide a much lower word error rate. New and improved Siri options shown include:

  • Find specific photos on your device.
  • Give you driving directions when an event is approaching.

  • Siri can now be used to remind you of specific text messages, notes and web pages.

iOS9

Releasing in the Autumn/Fall, iOS9 has a few new key features and enhancements, including the Siri changes as detailed above. Here’s some of the best new features that will be available:

  • When headphones are plugged in, it will immediately load the “Now Playing” screen on the lock screen- handy for the times when you are only looking to use your iPhone as a music player, particularly on the move.
  • A new photo layout was demonstrated, allowing you to slide through photos even more smoothly.

  • A new in-app search feature will be available, allowing users to search for sport schedules, Netflix movies and other info inside apps.

  • If you are getting a call from an unknown number, the iPhone may be able to suggest who the number belongs to by searching your email.

  • Privacy is still a main concern of Apple. Your information contained on your device is anonymous, not associated with an Apple ID,is not shared with 3rd parties or Apple Apps.

  • Drawing tools can allow users to draw sketches that can then be dragged onto notes.

  • The battery will last longer, due to new Low Power Mode. It can extend the battery life by up to an additional 3 hours when enabled.

iOS9 on iPad

As well as the features above that are also available on the iPhone, these features were specifically demonstrated on stage for the iPad:

  • Multi-Touch: Touching two fingers down on the keyboard instantly creates a trackpad.
  • Hooking up a separate keyboard attachment has been improved, allowing more shortcuts, easier app switching and spotlight use, among others.

  • Multi-tasking: Task switcher allows for effortlessly switching between windows by double tapping on the home button. A single swipe to the left opens a window, and users can also control multiple windows at the same time. For instance, by “snapping” two windows side by side for a split screen, 50/50 view.

  • A new update has been added to videos, allowing you to watch a video on the screen at the same time as browsing the net, and opening notes, pages, etc. The video can be moved around the screen, and it stays with you as you flit between windows.

Apple Pay

Coming to the UK next month, Apple Pay launches with 8 banks initially, but more are expected to follow shortly afterwards. As well as this, popular stores will also be launching at the same time, such as Marks & Spencers, Costa Coffee, Boots and Waitrose.

Apple Pay can also be used to pay for London transport, just like a Contactless credit or debit card, or a top-up Oyster Card. This will definitely become one of the most useful parts of the service for many people.

Local and small businesses will also be able to use Apple Pay due to a new Square reader launching this Autumn.

Maps

Maps is getting a significant overhaul, which is great news for those who use it, especialy those who rely on public transportation:

  • Transit view includes directions for public transportation, such as buses, trains and ferries. It’ll work out the quickest way in and out of a station.

  • It’ll point you in the direction of the nearest restaurants, bars, shops and activities, as well as showing you which locations accept Apple Pay.

News

Apple introduced a brand new app at the WWDC; ‘News’. Apple assures us that it is the “best mobile reading experience ever”, and this is what they promise:

  • Automatically pulls in news articles from your favourite sites and optimises them.
  • They’re working with news organisations, to allow them to build native content for News that makes the most of the animations, embedded video and aesthetically pleasing display.

  • Over a million topics to choose from.

  • Works well on both the iPad and iPhone.

  • As well as top publishers getting involved, you can publish content yourself from your own blog or website.

  • News will be available in the United Kingdom, America and Australia.

Watch OS

A few small Apple Watch functions will be rolled out in the next update. These are:

  • New timepieces will be available, including watch faces that utilise your favourite photo, or allow you to have an ever-changing background by using a photo album.
  • Time lapse faces are also provided for London, Hong Kong, New York and Shanghai.

  • Time Travel function allows you to travel forwards and backwards in time, to show upcoming or past events, change in time, etc.

  • When charging, the Apple Watch now has a function to be used as a nightstand alarm clock, complete with a neon digital alarm clock style display. The side buttons then become the snooze and alarm set buttons.

  • Send a drawing in multiple colours.

  • The Apple Watch can now reply to emails, and supports Facetime Audio.

  • Apps can then be controlled through the watch rather than mainly through the phone.

  • Videos can be viewed on the watch display.

Apple Music

The WWDC 2015 ended on Apple Music, the company's brand new way to enjoy listening to a variety of tunes. Apple Music provides all artists a way of engaging with their audience, and allows all the different ways you can enjoy music in one simple app.

It provides a 24/7 radio, music streaming service and a way to connect with artists. You still have the full use of your iTunes Library, plus access to more music. It’ll recommend playlists, allow you to stream music off of iTunes, even when offline, recommend artists you may like based on your musical taste, and allow you to view behind the scenes access for your favourite bands.

Coming at the end of the month to 100 countries, Apple Music will be available for £10 a month, with an option to pay more to support up to six family members in one go.