Thoughts on WWDC 2016
Today, Apple started their annual World Wide Developers Conference and made big announcements about all of their major platforms. Here’s a few of my big thoughts about the days announcements. More to come over the next few months as I get access to the betas in July and begin hands-on use.
- Overall User-Interface improvements for iOS - Better and more interactive notifications, quicker access to lots of things from the lock screen (3D Touch was demoed here, but iPad support was discussed which means all these things work somehow on older iPhones and iPads).
- Siri on the Mac - Siri is coming to the Mac and includes lots of new tricks merging the usefulness of Spotlight Search with the accessibility of Siri. If this works like it demos, it’ll change the way I work with my Mac, and potentially make me want to use my Mac even more than I do now.
- Siri for 3rd Party apps - Call an Uber with Siri, Get a response from pretty much any app in the native Siri interface all with your voice. Again, the proof is in the pudding, and will require some work from developers. But if it works, it’ll be amazing. The promise of Siri, delivered.
- Single Sign-In on Apple TV - I still haven’t upgraded to the new Apple TV, so I’m living in the pre-app TV world, but I do suffer from the million authentications of cable tv apps even on the older device. With this new system, you’ll have one sign-in experience, and not only will the Apple TV handle your authentication in each individual app, it’ll give you a page detailing all the apps available to you with your cable or satellite subscription. It’s pretty amazing, and this one should work just as advertised.
- Faster app launching for Apple Watch (and general overhaul of the Watch OS) - I also am Apple Watch-less, but the friends I have that wear them and all the coverage I’ve read or heard concurs that while many things about the device are great, the app experience is terrible. WatchOS 3.0 is coming and it promises among other things, instant app launching. And behind the scenes loading of data which has happened on the phone for a while.
- Even the apps are platforms now - Both Maps and Messages were shown with 3rd party function WITHIN the apps themselves. Find your destination in Maps and instead of routing your drive, call an Uber, pay for it with Apple Pay and never leave the Maps app. Or send new stickers in Messages. Pay friends with Square Cash, and theoretically much, much more.
- VOIP API - If you regularly use Skype, WeChat, Facebook Messenger etc to make “phone calls” then you’ll now be able to get those notifications on your lock screen, just like a “real” phone call. They’ll show up in your missed calls etc. I’m hopeful that there’s something in here that will make podcasting with iOS devices easier too, but I’m doubtful.
- You can FINALLY remove “stock” Apple apps. Let’s say you, like me, don’t follow your portfolio with the Apple default Stocks app. You can now delete that app, instead of hiding it deep in a folder. Same goes for ANY of the following apps:
• Find My Friends
• iCloud Drive
• iTunes Store
• Voice Memos
• Watch app
These apps will all now live in the App store too for redownloading, which means Apple can update them faster and independently from the system itself. All good stuff.
9. Picture in Picture Video on Mac - This is one that I’ve seen lots of people make light of, but will be incredibly useful to anyone who every tries it. The same PIP function on the iPads, now available on the Mac, anywhere you’re playing video, you’ll be able to instantly shrink that into a box that you can resize and move from any corner of the screen to another and make it float above other apps, even when they’re in full-screen mode. For watching the game while you’re getting work done or using software training videos this really is a world better than having to meticulously resize the little player window and move it around manually.
10. Cross-Platform Copy and Paste - So, you’re on the Mac, copy something from your browser or an email and you want to send it to someone but that app you’d like to use is on your phone. Now, any device you’re also logged into with iCloud will have access to that “clipboard”. Copy on your Mac, paste it into an app on your phone or iPad. Again, this will be revolutionary if it works. There are apps that have done this for ages, but to have it built into the operating system on your desktop/laptop and your mobile devices would be something special.
Developers have access to all this coolness with the first beta today. The public beta starts in July and normal folks will get access in the fall (with the launch of the next iPhone, most likely) all for FREE.