The Apple WWDC event concluded successfully, and we do have a good glimpse of what to expect in the coming days with Apple products and services. Also, much of it has been along expected lines, with some of the biggest announcements centered around iOS 10, macOS Sierra, new updates for iMessage or the enhanced scope for Siri.
iOS 10: WWDC is where Apple launches a new version of its mobile OS, and this year’s edition was no exception. In fact, Apple took things to a new height with the launch of iOS 10 which according to the company is the “biggest iOS release for users ever.”
The fresh appeal with iOS 10 starts with the Lock screen itself that now has a lot more to show than ever before. With users used to seeing the lock screen pass off in a jiffy thanks to the hugely optimized touch ID sensor, iOS 10 changes all that by introducing a lot more notifications on the start screen itself. That is not all as 3D Touch too has a role to play here.
For instance, deep pressing on an iMessage will reveal more message threads while the same on an Uber notification will show relevant information on a map for better comprehension and so on.
QuickType too has been endowed with a fresh dose of intelligence in that it is more capable now to predict not only what the user is likely to type but also suggest what should be the most relevant answer in a given situation. For instance, to question like, “Where are you,” QuickType will be able to respond those on behalf of the user and so on. In fact, it will have access to the user’s calendar, location, and contacts and so on to come up with smart responses.
Phone App now complies with VoIP applications such as Skype or WhatsApp has now been made integral to the Phone Dialler, which means users can get into video calls right away which otherwise would have required a few more taps. The Phone app will also now transcribe voicemails which will save users from the pain of having to listen to Voicemail messages, as has the case been so far.
There is also the new “Raise to Wake” function that launches the lock screen automatically each time the iPhone is raised. Another nice aspect of iOS 10 is that users finally have the option to get rid of the several stock Apple apps they have never cared about. However, while that applies to 23 Apple apps, some apps such as Safari, iMessage continue to enjoy immunity.
These apart, there are a few more apps such as Apple Music, iMessage or Maps that now offer more intuitive user experience.
Apple Music now benefits from a rich dose of simplicity, something that has been sore missing for an otherwise extremely accomplished app. There is a now a separate tab that contains the downloaded music while ‘For You’ makes up the recommended music section and is updated every day.
Maps: The app has been opened up to third-party developers to allow for much more functionality than ever before. For instance, Apple already announced OpenTable that will enable users to reserve a table in a restaurant while also calling Uber to book a ride there, all these right from within the Map application itself.
The map will also be able to suggest the best route based on existing appointments, and once a route is fixed, Maps will show landmarks such as gas stations, restaurants and such along the route. It can even calculate how the journey time will be affected if haults at any of these spots are taken into consideration.
Home: Apple has replaced the HomeKit with the new Home App that serves as a one-stop destination for all things related to home automation or IoT. At present, this acts as a single holder for all the individual apps that every other HomeKit device comes with. There is, however ‘scenes’ such as the ‘Night Mode’ that users can look forward to. It will serve to lock all the smart locks and switch off the light with a single tap.
iMessage: Of all the apps that saw changes, its iMessage that has gone for the biggest overhaul. And not without reason though considering it also happens to be among the most used apps.
To begin with, users will now be able to play YouTube video or songs from Music right within iMessage itself. That makes for a nice break from the past practice where users would be served a link clicking on which will land the user onto another app altogether.
There is also the concept of ‘invisible ink’ introduced which gets revealed only after the receiver swipe on the writings. Or one can also blur the messages, which the receiver will need to tap on.
Other effects introduced include the means to make the text bigger if the user wishes to ‘shout’ out something or those can be shrunk for the opposite effect. Handwritten notes too are now possible for the personal touch. Users will also be prompted automatically to replace a given text with a suitable emoji if so available, which seems more likely given that emoji itself have undergone a three times increase in size.
Then there also are the third party app coming into play in the messages as well, enabling users to get other tasks done right from the messaging app, much like what Facebook is already onto with its Messenger platform.
These apart, Apple have also introduced animations such as fireworks or balloons that occupy the entire display in celebration of a special occasion.
Siri: Another most important announcement Apple made during its keynote address is the opening up the Siri platform to developers for the first time. Now with the Siri ADK made available to developers, users can look forward to closer integrations with the most used apps. It again will lead to the situation where users can rely on Siri to accomplish several tasks such as booking a cab, ordering a pizza and the likes just by asking Siri to do the same.
It should bring Siri on par with Amazon’s Alexa though there is quite some catching up to do with Amazon considering the latter has already stitched up close ties with thousands of services already.
macOS: Much along expected lines, Apple rebranded its desktop operating system in line with its other platforms namely iOS, tvOS and watchOS. Presently, the version that users will be dealing with is Sierra and comes with some cool new features.
First up, there is the universal clipboard that Apple talked about and provided for inter-device interactions hitherto not heard of. For instance, users now have the option to copy a text in their iPhone device and paste it on the Mac and vice-versa.
The macOS will also be taking care of hard disk space management so that files that have seldom been used will be transferred to the clouds automatically to free up space on the local hard drive. Those can always be downloaded when needed, but any files that remain unused for long will come to live in the clouds.
The new macOS Sierra also finally supports picture-in-picture mode so that users can catch up with some video (or audio and such) while still continuing with the task at hand. The video continues to play in a small window which can be moved around without disturbing the primary window.
Another significant development for the macOS is its support for Apple Pay via the Safari browser. What that means is that users can now authenticate a transaction started on the Mac using the touch ID sensor on their iPhones. That not only makes for a hassle free experience but also allows for the same peace of mind usually associated with Apple Pay.
Then there is also the other nice feature with the macOS where the device can now unlock with the user being in proximity with an iPhone or the Apple watch.
And last but not the least, Siri finally makes it to the macOS, ending months of speculations on this. With this, users can look forward to same levels of interactions with the digital assistant as has been possible so far with the iPhone or the iPad.