Last week Apple held its annual developer conference, WWDC, in San Francisco. The five day event was full of announcements and sessions on a number of Apple platforms and technologies. The keynote itself was largely focused on Apple’s platforms, including the watchOS, tvOS and the well established iOS and macOS (formerly OS X). A number of talks and sessions were geared towards developers, covering a number of topics such as Swift and new APIs.
With so much information coming out of the conference, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. With this in mind, we asked some of our developers to share with us their highlights of the event. We wrote a list featuring these highlights, and included useful links containing information on each of these.
This year’s Apple WWDC did not lack in updates across all of Apple’s platforms, with one of them being its wearable platform. The new watchOS 3 brings several improvements to user experience and user interface. Additionally, interaction with other devices has been enhanced, with continuity across multiple devices being implemented. This means that a user can begin an action on one device and see the results of it on another device. The user interface changes focus on the presentation of useful information to users, as well as improving navigation. Changes in discoverability and device configuration were also mentioned in one of the sessions.
The session below titled “What’s new in watchOS 3” mentions three key areas of focus for the watchOS: Glanceable, Actionable and Responsive.
Watch the full session on Apple’s website: https://developer.apple.com/videos/play/wwdc2016/208/
Being less than a year old, this year’s WWDC was the first Apple conference mentioning the platform. Despite its age, Apple’s smart TV platform is rapidly growing, with over 1,000 video channels and 6,000 supported apps. These figures will continue growing, as more apps and channels were announced at WWDC. Furthermore, Apple is releasing an Apple TV remote app which will offer the user the ability to navigate their library using touch and voice commands using Siri. A few sessions of interest about tvOS have been linked below:
What’s new in tvOS: https://developer.apple.com/videos/play/wwdc2016/206/
Focus interaction in tvOS: https://developer.apple.com/videos/play/wwdc2016/215/
Designing for tvOS: https://developer.apple.com/videos/play/wwdc2016/802/
Apple revealed a well overdue change to the name of its desktop operating system. What was formerly known as Mac OS X for over a decade is being renamed to macOS. The next macOS release, Sierra will be available this fall, with a public beta launching in July. In addition to its name change, the desktop platform has received a number of new features, such as continuity with other Apple devices and a Universal Clipboard. Furthermore, Siri will be available in Sierra, becoming your very own personal assistant that helps you quickly find files and perform a number of tasks using voice commands. In addition to this, Siri has been extended to developers, allowing 3rd party apps to easily integrate with Siri. For users, this means that they can use Siri to interact with apps such as Uber and WhatsApp.
A number of native desktop apps have also been updated and will provide Siri integration. One example of this is the Photos app. Using Siri, it is possible to search for specific photos and albums. Lastly, cloud storage and backups were an important mention during the keynote, with a new feature that immediately backs up and stores older files onto the iCloud.
To learn more about the changes in macOS, read the full preview from Apple’s website: https://www.apple.com/macos/sierra-preview/
Without surprise, the iOS 10 announcement was the longest section of the WWDC keynote. An overwhelming 10 features were presented during the keynote for the upcoming release of Apple’s mobile OS platform.
The key features to note down in the new version of Apple’s mobile OS are major changes to native apps such as Photos and Music. Additionally, several improvements to the Lock Screen have been demonstrated. Messaging apps across mobile and desktop have received new and exciting features, making instant messaging a more interactive experience for users. The previously mentioned continuity between Apple devices extends to mobile devices as well. Siri voice commands and integration with third party apps, as well as new native apps, was also announced.
Learn more about the new iOS release on Apple’s website: https://developer.apple.com/ios/
A summary of the key developer-related features of iOS 10 can be found here.
Apple Pay is coming to the web, allowing users to perform payments for their online purchases using this method through Safari. The payment process will be secure with authentication taking place through TouchID, which integrates with a mobile device and Apple Watch.
Currently, Apple Pay is available in a number of countries, including the UK, US, Canada, Australia and Singapore, with Apple continuously expanding the availability throughout more areas of the world.
The session on Apple Pay can be watched here: https://developer.apple.com/videos/play/wwdc2016/703/
A developer conference would not be complete without developer focused sessions. Swift, Apple’s programming language, was a major focus of such sessions, as well as the keynote. The Swift programming language received a number of new features and changes in its new major version, Swift 3. A good place to get an understanding of these, as well as Swift itself, would be the session on “Getting Started with Swift”: https://developer.apple.com/videos/play/wwdc2016/404/
In addition to this, Swift Playgrounds was announced at the keynote session, gaining a significant amount of interest. Swift Playgrounds is an app designed to help a younger audience learn how to program, by asking them to solve puzzles using lines of Swift code. This was further expanded in the session introducing Swift Playgrounds, which can be watched here: https://developer.apple.com/videos/play/wwdc2016/408/
This concludes our highlights from this year’s Apple WWDC developer conference. More highlights from WWDC 2016 are available from Apple here: https://developer.apple.com/videos/wwdc2016/