No one can stop talking about Apple’s latest announcements at WWDC 2016.
The annual Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, which kicked off this week, is an avenue for “Apple’s renowned developer community [to come] together to learn about the future of OS X, iOS, watchOS, and tvOS.” Most of the world waited with bated breath to hear what was in store for Apple operating systems over the next year.
Here are some highlights from Apple’s Keynote announcements and some food for thought from industry experts.
macOS Sierra aims to bring a seamless experience across Apple devices
The next Mac operating system will be named macOS Sierra, as Apple moves away from its ‘OS X’ naming convention. The new OS, which will be available for public beta in July, boasts a number of impressive updates that all point toward one goal–creating an increasingly fluid, unified workflow between various Apple devices. Here are some of those updates:
- Desktop Siri: Much like Cortana does with Windows 10, Siri now brings new “personal assistance” capabilities to the Mac desktop.
- Auto Unlock: Log-in to your Mac automatically with your Apple Watch.
- Universal Clipboard: Copy and paste across your Apple devices.
- Access Desktop & Documents on iCloud: Automatic backup of your Desktop and Documents folders to iCloud lets you access those docs on any and all of your devices.
- Apple Pay on the Web: You can now use Apple Pay to make purchases on the web, and use Apple Watch or iPhone to complete the transaction.
What people are saying:
“I hope to see Apple enable the fantastic customer experience of Apple Pay and Touch ID on more platforms. Mobile Safari is an obvious first place for them to expand, helping eCommerce brands and digital publishers that still see substantial web traffic improve upon these experiences. In addition, bringing the trust and convenience of Apple Pay to over-the-top-messaging for bot payments could really help bots take off.” — Bill Magnuson, CTO at Appboy (source)
Apple’s iOS 10 updates will try to compete with popular apps
With this new iOS release, Apple makes some drastic updates to its built-in apps–Messages, Photos, Music, and Maps–to compete with the tech behemoths that currently rule those verticals. Here are some of those updates:
- Messages evolves into a “full-blown messaging platform”: With iMessage Apps, Apple is allowing third-party developers to create “apps” that will take its native chat client to the next level. Borrowing concepts from Snapchat, Line, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, and WhatsApp, “starting this fall, you’ll be able to send custom text bubble animations; respond by writing with your finger; send hidden messages in ‘invisible ink’ that require swipes to reveal; send messages with full-screen animations; doodle over a photo in multiple colors; reply with stickers; ‘emojify’ your written responses; and reply with one of six ‘tapback’ reactions. In other words, you’ll be able to converse with friends without using any text at all,” writes Nick Statt of The Verge.
- Apple’s built-in Photos, Maps, and Music apps are redesigned to better compete with Spotify, Google Maps, and others in those verticals. If you’re still not satisfied, however, you can finally….
- Delete Apple’s built-in apps including Stocks, Notes, Maps, and others.
What people are saying:
“Opening up iMessage to third-party developers is a big deal. It enables Apple to offer a more natural fluid experience to customers that builds on chat innovations pioneered by WeChat and others.” — Frank Gillett, Analyst at Forrester (source)
watchOS 3 is 7x faster and easier to use
The Apple Watch, while perhaps not yet achieving the ubiquitousness of the iPhone, is getting a major upgrade in terms of usability.
- 7x faster: With the new watchOS 3, apps are now held in memory and can update in the background, which means, says Apple, apps can now react “instantly.”
- Easier to access apps: Instead of navigating through app icons of different sizes, you can now flick through whole-page tiles for all your apps.
- Share your Activity: Taking a page out of Fitbit and Jawbone, OS 3 now lets users of the Activity app to share their fitness stats with their friends.
- Handwriting recognition: Reply to messages by writing in English (or Mandarin!)
- SOS: You can now press and hold the side buttons to put you through to emergency services.
What people are saying:
tvOS 10 gets a better Siri and other things
Not much on the developer side of things with Apple TV, but enhancements to Siri and the new iOS 10 promises an even better experience.
- Better Siri: Siri can now search Apple’s database of 650,000 movies and TV shows as well as YouTube for more specific queries.
- Revamped Apple TV Remote: With iOS 10 comes an even better Apple TV remote, now replicating all features in a hardware remote and more. You can use Siri with the app to look up movies and TV shows, sensors to activate motion controls in games, and it even offers a keyboard for text input.
- Single sign-on: Signing in using the new single sign-on feature lets you authenticate and access all the channel apps that correspond to your cable subscription. No more signing in over and over again.
- Live Tune-in: Easily ask Siri to turn on any live programming stream (from select networks).
App Store 2.0 brings 3 major changes
- Shorter app review times: Apple aims to bring down review times from 5 working days (often longer), to 90% of apps approved in 48 hours. As Matthew Panzarino writes at TechCrunch, this will enable developers to update and iterate on their apps much more frequently. (Apple’s also rewritten their review guidelines to be more helpful and accessible–in the form of a comic book.)
- Subscription-based apps: The App Store typically got 70% of revenue from an app; now, developers who follow a subscription model for their app will see profits increase to 85% in the second year. This means, overall, better apps for you and more revenue for Apple, as it incentivizes developers to keep building their app and growing their users.
- Search Ads: The new Search Ads allows all developers to promote their app in the App Store, based on relevance metrics, without compromising customer privacy. (Learn more about Search Ads here and here.)
What people are saying:
“Developers who choose subscriptions need to make sure their apps are truly delivering value over time and worthy of a subscription, but it would help substantially if Apple worked to normalize and validate the idea of subscriptions (and the value of software in general) in some sort of public facing way.” — David Barnard, Founder of Contrast (source)
“Search Ads in the App Store allows us to reach users exactly at the point when they are looking for apps. It is a relevant environment and the App Store is truly at scale, which very few advertising channels are, especially for mobile.” — Marcus Gners, COO at Lifesum (source)
What do you think of Apple’s latest announcements? Let us know below.