Apple is the biggest company in the world but in the last year or so it’s expansion has started to slow slightly. There have been discussions that the company has lost its magic touch and while I’m not sure I’d agree with that it’s certainly true that it’s time for something to change. WWDC is Apple’s annual conference and the keynote usually has somethings in it that are of interest to everyone in the tech industry and the wider consumer market. The leaks beforehand tried to play expectations down emphasising there would be no new hardware but rather multiple software updates.
Apple differentiated their platforms to Macintosh, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Apple TV.
Apple Watch get’s an official name for it’s software watchOS and Apple showed off multiple speed and usability improvements that will be appreciated by watch users but aren’t groundbreaking.
The customisation options also include switching apps and watch faces easier and a emergency button that can call 999 for you.
There is also a special wheelchair mode that is designed for manual wheelchair users – it’s a pedometer for wheelchair users that measures wheel pushes instead of steps. Finally a meditation and breathing system built into the OS itself. that looks interesting.
The software upgrade is coming in the Autumn for free and will run on all hardware.
TV was next up. A new iPhone App that control your Apple TV was launched which looks much better than the poor hardware remote that is bundled. The search functions are being improved to find content and a new single sign in for multiple services is being integrated.
OSX followed TV and the biggest news is that it’s being renamed to macOS with the specific version name of macOS Sierra. A new feature called AutoUnlock uses your watch to authenticate and unlock without passwords. Hard disk optimisation will be built in to automatically save space when your hard disk gets low. Apple Pay will become useable online using your iPhone to authenticate when needed.
Perhaps most importantly Siri will come to the Mac and we can talk to our Macs. The demo actually seemed a little annoying with Siri trying to use too much sarcasm in her replies to be comfortable long term .
Sierra will be available in beta in July and as a full upgrade for free in the Autumn.
Finally Apple turned to iOS – iOS 10. The first new feature is ‘Raise to Wake’ lift the phone in front of you and it’ll turn the screen on by itself. Lock screens, widgets and notifications have been simplified and cleaned up somewhat.
Siri also features on iOS and there is a big update – other apps can tie into it. “Siri – send a message in Whatsapp to Lily saying I’m running late” will now work. This does seem to be the biggest update to Siri since it was launched.
Apple Photo’s got a complete rebranding with cloud storage, slideshows, editing, videos and sharing options. It looks very similar to HTC’s Zoey’s which only failed because of the relatively small user base.
Apple music has had it’s UI redesigned slightly and now offers personalised playlists.
Apple News has had a redesign and has had breaking news notifications, lock screens and subscriptions added.
In all the keynote had a number of interesting upgrades but no real star announcements. If you’ve an Apple device then the chances are you’ll be happy with the upgrades but there’s nothing to bring you closer to buying an Apple device.