There were a number of announcements that were made at Apple’s WWDC 2015 keynote. The event first started off with a intro video starring former-SNL star, Bill Hader and also included Danny Pudi of Community fame.
After the video, Tim Cook came on stage but he did things a bit different this year. He did not talk about all the record breaking numbers that Apple has achieved over the last year, he saved those for later on.
OS X El Capitan
The first announcement of the day was OS X 10.11 El Capitan. The name for this version of the OS still falls in a with Apple’s new California-based names.
OS X El Capitan brings along a whole slate of new features while still retaining the look that OS X Yosemite brought last year.
Metal for Mac
In terms of performance, OS X El Capitan is going to offer a more fluid and powerful experience and that is with the help of Metal for Mac. It was first introduced last year for iOS 8 but has now made it’s way to OS X. Metal is a new graphics core technology that can help games and app give almost direct access to the graphics process on you Mac.
Apple says that Metal will allow for 1.4x faster app launching, 2x faster app switching 4x faster opening of PDFs in Apple Preview. Not a huge improvement but anything that help boost performance by bit, will help in the long run and with older Macs.
Apple’s Split View will allow users to run two apps at the same time on the screen. This is similar to the snap features that you would find on any Microsoft Windows machines (from Windows 7 until now).
Before, Mac users would have to rely on third-party apps that would enable this feature on their Mac, (one option was Cinch, which was well worth it, up until now).
Third-party extension support for Photos
The new Photos for OS X, hasn’t been around for very long but with OS X El Capitan, it is about to get more powerful and useful.
At the moment, users are only able to use Apple’s built-in editing tools, like rotating, cropping, adding filters, etc. In the next update, you will be able to use third-party editing tools within the Photos app. This will help make Photos better than ever. The third-party editing tools will be available through the Mac App Store.
Pinned tabs, mute audio and Airplay for Safari
Each year, Apple makes a few significant changes to Safari to make it somewhat enticing for people to make Safari their default browser on OS X. With OS X El Capitan, Apple is bringing some new features such as the ability to pin websites, mute audio coming from a tab and some new AirPlay features.
Pinned Sites will allow you to keep the websites that you visit most often (like TheCanadianTechie.com ) so then they are just one click away. Even if you were to close Safari, then reopen it, they will still be there. This is a feature that has been prominent on Chrome for a while now, it’s nice to see that Safari is getting some nice needed features.
The next new feature in Safari, is the ability to easily mute a tab that is playing audio. Safari will show you which tab is playing audio and then you can mute it instantly from the address bar. Also, if there is audio coming from another tab while you are already listening to one, you can mute the tab you don’t want to hear audio from.
AirPlay will now let you play a video from a web page to your TV without showing what’s on your desktop. It can save you from the embarrassment of a messy desktop (or even worse, an embarrassing wallpaper).
Finding your cursor
OS X El Capitan makes it easier to help you find your cursor. We’ve all been there, when you were working on something and your cursor disappears and you keep shaking your mouse to help find you cursor.
With the new feature in OS X El Capitan, when you shake your mouse, the cursor will get bigger so then it’s easier to spot.
Spotlight in OS X El Capitan is getting some new features as well. The update will help make Spotlight become better at contextual searches. For example, if you were searching for documents from a certain time period, you could type: “documents from June” and Spotlight will show you any documents that were created that month.
You’ll also be able to search for sports scores and weather in the Spotlight search window. Spotlight can also search within apps and Finder as well.
OS X El Capitan Availability and Final thoughts
This year’s update, OS X El Capitan, is mostly about making small tweaks and creating a more powerful experience.
OS X El Capitan is available now as a developer beta. It will be available as a public beta in July and the final version will be available this fall as a free update.
The version of iOS (simply called iOS 9) will also bring a number of improvements while still retaining the design that was brought from iOS 8 last year.
Split View and Slide View for iPad
With iOS 9, the iPad now has multitasking. You’ll now be able to run two apps side-by-side. This feature has been on other platforms such as Android (more specifically Samsung tablets) and Windows machines. In iOS 9, it is going to be called Split View. Users will also be able to resize how much screen that an app take up, whether thats 50-50 or 70-30.
There is also Slide View which will allow you to “slide” in a few apps to the side of your iPad’s screen. You could slide in the Mail app and have Safari on the rest of the screen.
Siri becomes smarter
Siri was once at the top of voice assistants (that’s because there was hardly any competition at that point). But Siri seems to be dumbest if you compare her to Google Now or Cortana. This is all about to change in iOS 9, Sir has become smarter than before. You’ll be able to say “show me pictures from last June” or “remind me to water the plants when I get home.” And Siri will understand instead of playing dumb.
There is also now “Siri suggestions” inside of Spotlight search. With this, Siri will suggest people who you might want or need to contact and apps that you want to use, news stories that might interest you and nearby places.
Apple’s Proactive Assistant feature in iOS 9 will make recommendations on what you do.
If you were to open Flipboard each morning, it might recommend that app when you wake up each morning. Apple also said that iOS 9 can recognize if you plug in your headphones and will start to play a song or playlist that you started earlier or even the podcast you were listening to.
This type of smart functionality is everywhere in iOS 9. That means that you can recommendations while typing out an email, which then might add events to your calendar. Or it might consider the traffic and alert you that you should leave earlier for an appointment so then you can beat the traffic.
Apple has renamed Passbook in iOS 9. It will now be called Wallet. This is where you will find the cards you have linked to Apple Pay. You’ll also find your loyalty cards that are supported, event tickets, boarding passes and much more.
In iOS 9, when you double tap the home button, it will bring up Wallet and the ability to use Apple Pay for payments. It will also bring up Rewards cards when they are relevant.
Apple Pay will also be coming to the UK in July and you’ll be able to pay for your London transit with your iPhone.
Apple is continuing to improve Spotlight Search in iOS 9. If you search for a sports score or the current weather, you’ll get the results in a clean and easy-to-view way.
If you were to search, “stock Apple”, “18% of $57.87″, it will give you the results instantly.
Final iOS 9 thoughts
There are a whole bunch of other features in iOS 9, such as public transit in Apple Maps, a new “News” app that will show you stories from news outlets around the world.
Apple has also said that the iOS 9 update will be about 1.3GB in size. which is much smaller than what iOS 8 took up (which took up about 4.58GB). Apple is also promising an extra hour of additional usage using a new Low Power mode and a much faster and responsive experience.
iOS 9 is available now as a developer beta and for the first time, will be available as public beta in July. The final version of iOS 9 will be available as a free update this fall (presumably with the next iPhone).
iOS 9 will available as an update for the following devices:
- iPhone 4S, 5, 5S, 6 & 6+ and
- iPad 2, 3, 4
- iPad Air & Air 2
- iPad Mini, Mini 2 & Mini 3
- iPod Touch 5th Gen
Apple first introduced the Swift programming lanuage at last years WWDC. But Apple had a surprising announcement this year.
The next version of their programming language, Swift 2, will be open source. Standardized open sourced libraries will be made available for iOS, OS X and Linux later this year.
Swift 2 has support for whole module optimization which should help make things faster and help with errors.
Apple’s watchOS probably got the biggest update besides iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan. There are a ton of new features that are coming to the next version, watchOS 2. There will be support for third-party complications (essentially they are widgets for your Apple Watch), a new Time Travel (no, not actual time travel, at least not yet) which will let you scroll backwards and forwards through you schedule using the Digital Crown.
Apple is also introducing a new nightstand mode, this will allow it to show the time while your device is charging on your nightstand. It even has a built-in alarm, with the two-buttons on watch acting as a Off and Snooze. Other features include, support for FaceTime audio calls through the Apple Watch, public transit maps and time-lapse watch faces that were filmed at different locations around the world.
Tim Cook brought back the infamous, “one last thing …” to introduce Apple Music.
Apple Music is a redesigned version of their music app. The app will include a streaming option that is trying to take on the likes of Spotify and Google Play Music All-Access. There is a new Internet radio service with real DJs and a social component so then you can follow your favourite artists online.
The app looks good so far but it will be a question of if people use it or not. Apple Music launches on June 30th 2015 for $9.99 per month (for just one person) or $14.99 for the family plan (for up to 6 people). Apple is making the service free for the first three months.
The Apple Music app will come as an update in iOS 8.4 for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch and will also be able for Windows and Mac on June 30th when it launches. While the Android app (yes, you read that right, an Apple app on Android) will launch sometime this fall.
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