WWDC 2014 – Where Apple Scored (and where it didn’t)
Apple took everybody by surprise by announcing that it would be streaming live feed for the Worldwide Developers Conference this year. Apple always keeps the live feed option as a substitute for announcing something big so all eyes were on CEO Tim Cook, amidst plenty of rumors of all the things Apple could possibly be announcing.
Thankfully, the event didn’t disappoint. Here is what the event had in store for all.
1. Mac OS 10.10
Everyone expected an announcement of the new Mac OS and they weren’t disappointed. Tim Cook took the stage and stated how the Mac OS had a much higher adoption rate than Windows 8. Called the OS X Yosemite, it seems that the name was actually taken from a cool place in California. It seems that Apple has completely redefined the Mac OS with Yosemite.
There are new fonts, new designs, different sidebar as well as new and better way to access notification settings. New modes like The Dark Mode have been introduced that helps you view your Mac screen in a new way.
Some of the other main features of Yosemite include ‘Mail Drop’, that allows users to encrypt and store features in iCloud and ‘iCloud Drive’ by which you can get access to all your documents which are stored on different Apple devices as well as Windows. The Markup feature is quite exciting too, allowing users to scribble on the track pad to conveniently sign documents – quite a useful feature for professionals! New iCloud prices are kicking in too, and it can set you back by $0.99 for around 20 GB of storage.
When will it be available?
Apple has also worked on the Safari to make it more compact and has let the top bar get tinier. Yosemite will arrive later this year around fall and will be free of charge for users.
It’s related to Yosemite, but then Apple stressed on it too much and we thought it needed a new section of its own. Continuity is a combination of features that enhances the user experience as well as help in integration between Apple Mac, iPad, iPhone and other Apple devices. Here is a look at some of the features.
Now, you can use Airdrop between your iOS and OS X devices. It’s easy to now drop files from one Apple device to another.
Why be restricted to using only your Mac if you have to go out somewhere urgently? Handoff allows you to leave work in one Apple device and pick it up from another Apple device. So, if you have a mail unfinished on your Mac, you can pick it up from your iPhone and can finish it.
Why stretch your hands to get your iPhone when you can answer calls on the Mac? The new Calls feature helps users to answer calls that come to their iPhone on their Mac. The call is of course routed through the iPhone.
If your iPhone or iPad is in a close range with the Mac, it your Mac will automatically offer to set up an internet connection between the two, acting as an internet hotspot. What’s more, you would not require inserting the password each time as well.
3. iOS 8
The other big announcement of the day was the launch of iOS 8. There are a number of changes that we can expect to see, although those are not as major as what Yosemite brings to the table. Here is a look at few of them that you might like to know about.
The notification center helps you to directly respond to events and messages by pulling down the notification tab.
For all Mac users who liked the tab view, here is something that they can rejoice at – the tab view is coming to the iPad as well.
Spotlight Search Gets Better
Along with the introduction of iOS 8, there comes a better Spotlight search and notification center. With the new Spotlight search, you will have a new bar right in the middle of the screen from where you can launch apps.
Don’t mistake it with Swype, the predictive and fluid text typing technology that Android users can boast of. Rather, Quicktype is a bit like the technology that Blackberry uses, and the iPad suggests you words you intend to write based on your conversation and the context. At the best, it is a predictive keyboard.
The iCloud Drive feature is quite the same that we have for Yosemite. Apart from that, there is the introduction of VIP threads that help you get notified to specific messages. You can also set up Auto Reply for exchange now. There is also an expanded security mode to help you secure your iPad. In the words of Tim Cook, Android phones have 99% of malware – and with the iPad getting more security, it seems at least for him, the percentage of Android mobiles getting malware will only rise. There is also a 3rd-Party Document provider support.
You had it in WeChat and you had it in Whatsapp. It was only a matter of time before it came to iOS. Now, users can record their videos and voice and send it through message.
4. Health Time, Developers
Thinking of making a mHealth app? Well, this must be what you need then! Apple has announced the HealthKit, which is a place that applications will be able to use for contributing a single compiled repository of metrics. More, there is also a new app called Health that is compatible with mHealth devices like Nike+ and can be fed information by these devise easily. Apple also stated that it is working with Mayo Clinic to help get different health metrics like Blood pressure readings into the Wellness plan of the device, making it easier for doctors.
In fact, with more than 4000 new developer API’s and the SDK getting a massive update, it just couldn’t be better for developers! In fact, Apple has now allowed developers to introduce app bundles that will help them sell multiple apps at once. Does this signal a new way to sell more? We will surely come up with an analysis on this.
5. Family Sharing
It’s family time! For iOS owners who have kids, the Family Sharing mode will help you set up a shared space for your kids, including having shared calendars, shared photo streams and also share purchases with your family. It seems that Apple has limited the total number of family members to up to 6 though and you can have at most 6 on a single credit card. The best part? Your kid cannot buy any app by mistake – a concern for parents. Now, your iPad will ask for your permission every time before a purchase payment is complete.
6. More Control for Third Party Apps
Apple has finally allowed third party apps to take advantage of the TouchID feature it has in its iPhone 5S. Now, developers can make apps that can unlock items stored in the keychain password repository. Apple has also updated the Camera API feature for users to get access to more advanced camera features (and for developers to make more interactive camera apps). There is also the introduction of Scenekit that will allow developers to make use of 3D Scene rendering in casual games.
There is also the announcement of a new API, the HomeKit that will help users control smart home gadgets centrally. So, users can close doors, turn down lights and more when developers design apps with the help of HomeKit. Of course, developers need to make apps that work. You just can’t tell your iPad or iPhone to switch off any lights! Simply told, this opens up another world of opportunities for developers. How far will the HomeKit API work? We will take a review of that in a subsequent post.
8. The Language ‘Swift’
This is important for all developers. Apple is going to stop using the language Objective – C and going to adopt a more simplified language called the Swift. This new language, Apple promises will reduce coding time to a large extent. Apple states that as developer will type the code, the Xcode will automatically run the code as you type and build it.
Well, the World Wide Developer Conference 2014 surely seemed to be one for developers. True, some were expecting the announcement of an iWatch as well by Apple today. But apart from that, while the announcements of Yosemite and iOS 8 were expected, Apple did surprise us with a lot more. Seems a good turnaround for Apple stocks maybe, which had shot down around $5 the last trading day?
I am Pratik Kanada, founder & CEO of 360 Degree Technosoft, which makes app ideas into reality by providing unique design and development services across iOS and Android platforms. I generally write blogs on mobile technology, app development and app marketing.