Everything that happened at WWDC 2015: iOS 9, WatchOS 2, El Capitan and Apple Music
Apple today held their yearly worldwide developer conference. Though it’s technically for developers, consumers look to WWDC as the biggest Apple event of the year. It’s where Apple lays the groundwork software updates to iPhones, iPads, Apple Watch and Macs. Prior to the event, speculation was that we’d see a renewed focus on stability. That being said, there were an extensive number of new features introduced on all the three major platforms – OS X, iOS and watchOS. The event wrapped up with the long awaited introduction of Apple Music, a refreshed Music app that integrates a Beats powered streaming music service. You can watch WWDC later now and it will be available to download through iTunes. We’ve compiled a list of everything that happened at WWDC 2015. We’re leaving out Drake, because…well, Drake.
- iOS 9: Developer Beta Available Now, Public Beta in July
- Siri: More intelligent
- Proactive Assistant
- Connect headphones and now playing appears in lock screen
- Invitations automatically appear in Calendar
- Attempt to match phone number that is not in Contacts
- Search: Siri suggestions : People, Apps, Nearby, News
- Apple Pay: Discover Card Coming This Fall, UK Next Month
- Apple Pay Coming To UK In July
- New retailers on board
- Support for loyalty cards
- Enhancement to Notes, Maps
- Notes: More robust features for capturing ideas
- Maps: Now supports mass transit
- News: Goodbye Newsstand, hello Apple News
- iPad: Split-screen, multitasking and new keyboard tricks
- Quick type keyboard, shortcuts using physical keyboard
- Multitasking: New Task Switcher, Split-Screen, Picture in Picture
- Picture in Picture
- Performance, Battery, Security, Updates
- iOS 9 Availability
- iOS 9 Supported Devices
- 30 iOS 9 features not discussed during WWDC 2015
- watchOS 2: Native Apps, New Timepiece, Third Party Complications
iOS 9: Developer Beta Available Now, Public Beta in July
Apple’s iOS will improve performance and security. Beyond that, they’ve made improvements to the intelligence of iOS, upgraded some key apps, added robust functionality to the iPad. There was some serious work on improving the foundation of iOS.
Siri: More intelligent
Siri current handles a billion requests per week and has seen a 40 percent reduction in word error rate. Siri is also 40 % faster. It starts with a new user interface, which is similar to what we’ve seen on Apple Watch. Requests are also more expansive. You can say, “Show me photos from Utah last August” and you’ll instantly see those collection of photos. Reminders using Siri are also getting more intelligent. During the presentation, they used the example, “Remind me to grab my coffee off the roof when I get in my car.” This is a prime example of Siri knowing where you are, so it can intelligently execute a reminder.
Your personal assistant is also aware of the pages you are browsing in Safari. So you can ask Siri to remind you about a page when you get home. When you arrive, you’ll be greeted by the reminder and weblink to the page.
Connect headphones and now playing appears in lock screen
The Proactive Assistant feature is a shining example of how iOS 9 is more intelligent and understands when and how you’re utilizing your iPhone. For example, the iPhone can offer up a now playing on lock screen when you plugin your headphones. It’s also more intuitive, sensitive to both time, place and device.
Invitations automatically appear in Calendar
Invitations within your email automatically appear in your calendar. It can also provide a time to leave reminder, taking into account the current traffic in your area.
Attempt to match phone number that is not in Contacts
If you’ve received an incoming phone call from a number that is not familiar, Apple can attempt to match the number based upon your email. If it recognizes the number, it will display the information on the call screen, even if they are not in your contacts.
Search: Siri suggestions : People, Apps, Nearby, News
Also new in iOS 9 is a complete revamped spotlight search. For one, accessing search has changed back to its pre-iOS 7 days. Swiping right from the home screen reveals an entirely new spotlight. The search bar at the top features more rounded edges and also has a microphone, which you can tap for voice search.
Below the search bar are Siri Suggestions. The first is a row of recent contacts. If you tap on one, a slide out menu is revealed, allowing for a quick phone call, email or message. This looks as if it was pulled out of multitasking, as it should.
The second column provides a list of apps. These can be apps you recently downloaded, but haven’t used. Again, this is Siri attempting to show you relevant information specific to apps.
Search has also been expanded to locations. A group of icons allow you to dig deeper into search for nearby food, drink, shopping or fun. Siri makes it easier to find a nearby restaurant or movie theater.
Lastly, Siri will highlight recent News. It’s unclear as to whether this is sourced from a search engine or Apple’s new app. More on that later. One of the big improvements to Search will be the sources called upon to provide all these results and smarts. Search brings the Google Now like features by searching the following:
- Third-party API
- iBooks Store
- Voice Memos
- App Store
- Apple Help
- Simple math
- iCloud Drive
In many cases, a search in Spotlight will reveal a search results card, which can include information and in some cases, a video that can be played back from directly within your search results.
The new SDK also provides developers with a new search API. This allows content within an app to be searched. So a user might search for a recipe, find one and launch a deep link within the corresponding recipe app. There’s also a back link to get back to your search results.
Apple Pay: Discover Card Coming This Fall, UK Next Month
The year of Apple Pay continues. Currently there are over 2500 banks supporting Apple Pay and over 1 million contactless readers supported. That number will expand and you can expect Discover and their 50 million card members to be supported this fall.
Apple Pay: Discover Card Coming This Fall, UK Next Month
Apple will launch with an assortment of banks and over 250,000 locations. You can also make payments on the London transportation system. Surpass 1 million locations next month. Apple Pay in the UK next month 250,000 merchant locations, more than they started with US.
New retailers on board
In addition to banks, there are also a number of prominent retailers that will add support for Apple’s payment system including:
- Johnny Rockets
- Forever 21
- B&H Photo
- El Pollo Loco
- Best Buy
- Trader Joe’s
- Dunkin Donuts
- Baskin Robbins
- Peet’s Coffee
- Big Lots
- White Castle
Support for loyalty cards
New in iOS 9, you’ll be able to add store cards and loyalty program cards.
With the expansion, Apple has decided to change the name of Passbook to Wallet. This dovetails with their goal of replacing the traditional wallet.
Enhancement to Notes, Maps
Notes: More robust features for capturing ideas
Notes is a popular iOS app that has an assortment of uses. It’s about to get even more robust in iOS 9, which Apple bills it as a new way to capture your ideas. There is support for checklists, access to your camera roll to insert photos and you can draw with your finger. Using a new share sheet, you can also add a webpage to Notes. A new attachments view lets you visually look at your notes in an expose format.
Maps: Now supports mass transit
Apple’s Maps serves 5 billion requests per week, which is 3.5x higher than next popular map app. This time around, Maps gets support for mass transit. Transit will allow for multi-modal routing. Apple carefully surveyed transit locations to find out exactly where you actually are and how long it will take you. For example, entrances at subway or train. Rollout of transit begins these cities and more in China. The new Maps will also highlight nearby locations by type, accessible with just a tap. When you view a card, it will tell you if they support Apple Pay.
News: Goodbye Newsstand, hello Apple News
Apple is getting in the news business, well sort of. They will offer a curated list of sites. Users will add favorites and Apple will add content from related sites. Apple News will use machine learning to help deliver news that’s catered to you. It includes photo mosaics, wonderful typography and a magazine reading experiences. It will be available initially in the US, UK and Australia. This has the look of an Apple branded Flipboard. Websites can submit their sites to Apple for consideration. Sites that appear in Apple News can monetize their content by selling ads direct through iAds or take Apple’s 70/30 split on sold ads.
iPad: Split-screen, multitasking and new keyboard tricks
Quick type keyboard, shortcuts using physical keyboard
In iOS 8, Apple added suggestions that would appear as you typed. The suggestions bar remains, but Apple’s added some utility to the bar. Flanking your suggestions are tools to Cut, copy, paste, customize type, add attachments or even take a photo.
The keyboard can also replicate a trackpad. If you put two fingers down on the keyboard, it becomes a trackpad. You can move your cursor without leaving the home row. If you hook a physical keyboard to your iPad, they provide an accessible list shortcuts available to you.
Multitasking: New Task Switcher, Split-Screen, Picture in Picture
A new task switcher provides big full-screen previews of currently opened apps. To view two apps on a single screen, Apple introduces Slideover. If you swipe from the left, it’ll leave your existing app and slide in the new app. The split can be adjusted to 50/50 or 70/30, whatever your preference. Swipe down and you can change your app.
If you want you can pin notes to the side, create a split screen with an app on each side of the screen. There are developer APIs so third party apps will work. In some cases, if the developer has used the existing APIs specific to resizing, they’ll work on iOS 9.
Picture in Picture
If you receive a notification or alert while watching a video, you can get picture in picture video. You can go about your business responding to an email or message, all while continuing to have a small video window.
Slideover and Picture in Picture are available on the iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 2 and iPad mini 3. Split-view is iPad Air 2 only. This limitation is due to memory. The iPad Air 2 stands above all iOS devices with 2GB of RAM.
Performance, Battery, Security, Updates
Core animation and core graphics on top of Metal. They are seeing massive improvements. iOS 9 offers a single switch called low power mode. It extends battery life to an additional 3 hours in additional to traditional life. Toggles switches you might now have known were available. With security, ringing two-factor authentication.
Major enhancements to the architecture to over the air updates. They’ve managed to reduce the free space needed from 4.6GB to just 1.3GB. The goal is to improve the adoption of iOS 9 by making the hurdles easier.
CarPlay supports apps from the auto makers apps. In future cars, you won’t need to be tethered to experience CarPlay.
One major announcement was the open sourcing of Swift , Apple’s developing language. This is on track to happen by the end of 2015.
iOS 9 Availability
The developer beta is available today. Apple will release a public beta in July. You can sign up for free access at beta.apple.com. The public release comes later this fall. It supports all devices that supported iOS 8.
iOS 9 Supported Devices
If you were eligible to upgrade to iOS 8, your device is eligible for the upgrade to iOS 9.
30 iOS 9 features not discussed during WWDC 2015
- OCR accessory setup
- Search extensibility
- Audio unit extension
- VPN plug-in extension
- Swift 2
- Map customization
- Direct document
- UI testing in Xcode
- Notification actions
- Third party notifications
- Sensor profile
- App thinning
- Motorized windows profile
- Flyover and Walkthrough
- New health data types
- Code coverage
- Gaming APIs
- Automated shades profile
- Layout guide
- Shortcut bar
- Object-oriented contacts
- New multitasking APIs
- New HomeKit profiles
- iCloud open in place
- Home security profile
- Storyboard reference
- App transport security API
- Stack view
- Wireless CarPlay
- HomeKit Remote Access
Watch OS 2 : Native Apps, New Timepiece, Third Party Complications
Watch OS 2 addresses some of the major complaints of early Apple Watch reviews. The new release will usher in support for native apps. That should make a huge difference in the speed of third party apps.
Apple will be adding three new watch faces. The first is Photo Face (originally introduced in September 2014 when Apple Watch first debuted), that will let you use a single photo as your background.
The Photo album face lets you select an album that will auto-rotate your background image.
The third new watch face is the Time lapse face. Apple has shot time lapse photos of various landmarks. These photos will naturally change as you progress through you day.
Watch OS 2 will support third party complications. Information you want to see on your watch from third party apps are now an option. This could include anything from a Twitter DM, MLB score and more. It’s endless. There will be a variety of new templates to support the new complications.
Current information and information from the future, called Time Travel. When you rotate digital crown, information will update and your complications as time changes. There is also a new nightstand mode with alarm clock, while you’re charging.
More Friends, Digital Touch In Multiple Colors
Add friends from the watch and Watch OS increases friends with different sets of friends. You can use multiple colors in Digital Touch. You can reply to emails. Support for Facetime Audio.
Health and fitness.
Watch OS 2 will enable native support of your favorite fitness apps. Your workouts will count toward activity. Users can ask Siri to start workouts. There are new achievements for reaching goals and these can be shared over social media via Messages, Facebook or Twitter.
- Apple Pay: Support for Wallet in iOS 9 and loyalty cards.
- Transit: See the transit lines on your wrist. Departure times on your wrist.
- Siri: Siri can be used to show you glances. Hey Siri, show me the Instagram glance.
- Email: Reply to email using Siri.
- FaceTime audio: High quality audio right on your wrist.
Watch can also work with WiFi, reducing the reliance on your iPhone.
Watch OS 2 will allow third-party microphone access, audio playback through watch speaker or a connected speaker or headphones. You can also playback short form videos from the watch face. Developers will also access to native healthkit data, heart rate data, the accelerometer and Taptic Engine.
OS X El Capitan: Natural Language Search, Pin Sites In Safari, Windows Management
You can pin sites. When you open Safari, you pinned sites will pen automatically. Safari lets you mute audio and find out where the audio is coming from and shut it down.
You will get more knowledgable results. Search for information and you’ll get information like weather, sports scores, game times and more. Search also extends to mail. It’s smarter, such as ‘Mail I ignored from Jack’. You can search natural language “Documents I worked on at this time last year.”
Mission Control is smoother, faster and features a new interface. If you use three fingers and swipe on track pad, it will show all you all of your open windows. You can press and hold the green button. That will snap a window and your remaining windows appear in expose format to the right. Your window is also resizable. It’s also easy to work side by side, creating a split-view.
As we outlined the changes to Notes app in iOS, many of those changes also come to the Mac version. Text styling, graphic links and checkboxes.
Performance: Metal Rocks
They’ve optimized performance. Speed gains can be seen in 1.4x faster app launching, 2x faster app switching. First new mails message has also doubled and PDF previews are also 4x faster. There have also been deep architectural improvements thanks to Metal. Core animation and Core animation now run directly above Metal. This is resulting in up to 50% rendering performance and up to 40% greater rendering efficiency. Metal delivers a high performance API that helps developers deliver vast improvements. Adobe has seen 8X improvements in AfterEffects. Metal was big news for games on iOS and it is expected to do the same with the Mac.
Here are the 30 features in Mac OS X El Capitan that were not discussed during the keynote.
One More Thing… Apple Music
Normally reserved for surprises and announcements that wow audiences, the 2015 version was an introduction of Apple Music. After their acquisition of Beats Music last year, the announcement of a revamped Music app was not much of surprise. The service will launch on June 30th. There will be a 3-month free trial available. Apple Music is priced at $9.99 for individuals and $14.99 for families (up to 6). Apple Music boasts an expansive collection of songs from Apple’s iTunes. There are a few artist hold-outs, including The Beatles. Apple Music also features a new section where you can connect with artists. They can share photos, videos and previews of new music. As expected, there will be human curated playlists and also a new 24/7 global radio station. There’s also an Android app coming this fall, a first for Apple. And in the ultimate troll, they announced their second Android app, which is designed to help users make the switch from Android to iOS.
It was a busy day for Apple and they’ve introduced features on all three major platforms – iOS, Mac OS X and watchOS. What’s got you excited?