An event it sure was! WWDC 2014 had quite a turn out. With the youngest attendee at the age of 13, there is surely a lot to look forward to from all that was showcased this year.
Some quick facts:
- Did you know that there are about 9 million registered iOS developers?
- When the entire PC industry saw a 50% sales drop, Macs were seeing a 12% rise!
So, surely there is something about Apple that is better than others. At WWDC 2014 this fact was justified time and again!
Tim Cook came out to start the conference off. He informed that WWDC 2014 was all about 2 platforms in particular, OS X and iOS.
OS X Maverick has had about 40million copies installed world wide. A commendable feat, this is the highest Apple has ever seen. More so, this ensured that 50% Mac users are on the latest software. For the PC industry, surely this is commendable.
OS X Yosemite
Next came Craig Federighi. He introduced OS X 10.10. Running the audience through a few name options they may have considered, or maybe not, for the OS, he finally unveiled the name – OS X Yosemite.
OS X Yosemite basically features on 3 aspects, interface, apps and Continuity. Now, understanding interface and apps is quite easy, however, it is “Continuity” that seemed to have gotten everyone’s attention. But we had to wait it out.
Starting with “design” Craig continued to show a design video. From the looks of it, OS X has been iOS-ified! Quite a welcome change! The entire design concept has focussed on iconography, which is flat. However, the design is rich in its flatness.
The toolbars and window materials have been refined to focus on clarity and utility. The beauty here lies in the fact that as one changes their desktop pictures, the window subtly adapts to the color temperature of the overall background. Craig defined these as “translucent materials”.
A new dark mode has been introduced for those who prefer to focus on the centre of the screen. Again, a very welcome introduction! These changes then extend through the applications as well. The sidebar apps, like messages et al, have also gotten a redesign. The translucency, for the sidebar, goes beyond the title bar and into the side bar.
Notification Center is also translucent with a “new today view” for “calendar, reminders, weather, and more.” You can “extend” Today view with 3rd-party apps and widgets too! One can extend the contents of Today view with the help of widgets that are available on the App store.
Spotlight has gotten a makeover too! Craig shared a vivid demo! Spotlight allows the results to show right there, inside the dropdown from across the web! Spotlight may also have geolocation facility to show locally relevant search results.
Next on the platter was iCloud Drive. iCloud Drive now allows all files from within folders to be available across platforms. You can save the files however you want and they will sync across! Simply put, there is a hard drive in the cloud. It is also compatible with Windows!
Apple addressed the “large file” mailing issue that many people face. MailDrop creates a secure link for the file rather than bouncing the email back. The files will be on the cloud for access through the link.
There is a new feature within mail. One can now edit images with Skitch. This feature is called Markup. One simply needs to “draw” what they roughly need, the Markup will automatically turn it into what it is supposed to look like! Snazzy!
Now, coming to continuity! Continuity works for the transition between devices to be as smooth and natural as possible. Starting with AirDrop which works between iOS and Mac.
Now, Handoff! Handoff is the new lock screen icon on the lower left. If you swipe on it, it allows you to continue work on your iPad. You can now swipe work from one device to another and pick things up in real-time! Quite a win for those who are on the move. It picks up Mail you may be writing on your phone and prompts you to complete it on your Mac if you are in close proximity.
You can activate your hotspot on your iPhone from your Mac. If your iPhone is near your Mac you need not switch on the hotspot on your iPhone. You can remotely activate it from your Mac itself!
Next on the cards was SMS. You can receive SMS’s on all your devices. The same goes for phone calls. You can accept phone calls from your Mac and use it as a speakerphone. You can call a number from a webpage from your Mac.
While Google has been the first with many placeshifting technologies, this seems to be a cleaner and more complete approach in many ways. The location awareness, and the dedicated desktop OS makes the difference.
OS X Yosemite (beta) is now available for developers! The rest of the world will get it in fall, and it will be free! Epic!
Breaking the closed beta pattern, the guys at Apple have decided to do a public beta. Simply put, anyone can sign up on their site and receive access to Yosemite through this summer.
Also Read: OS X Yosemite Features
Now, coming to iOS!
The last year has seen 130 million new Apple users. Looks like many tried Android and then decided to make a change towards a better technology and better life. Changewave measured the ‘customer satisfaction’ rating to be 97%. One of the reasons why customers say they love iOS is that we make available our software updates for as many customers as possible.
“And if you look at what’s happened with iOS 7, almost 9 out of 10 people are running the latest version,” said Tim Cook.
This, Tim said, is quite contrary to Android usage where only 1 in 10 users have the latest software (KitKat).
“iOS 8 is a giant release. And it’s really two stories not one. It has great end user features, but it also has dev features,” said Tim. Simply put, one gets better experience and can create apps like never before.
iOS 8 has a more refined notification centre. One can reply directly from the notifications, which works from the lockscreen as well. Also, iOS 8 allows you a quick double-tap-home-button access to the people you contact the most.
From replying to texts, to liking and commenting on Facebook, you can do it all from the notifications itself. You can add events to the calendar from within a mail with a drop down contextual menu.
You can swipe out of an email you are working on and check your inbox and then get back to the email. Quite a smart tweak!
Now, coming to Spotlight.
Spotlight on iOS 8 is a lot like Yosemite, but more. One can search for everything, (apps, points of interest, news, songs, and stuff on iTunes) on spotlight. They say that is “basically Siri, but without Siri”.
The next cool thing is QuickType. iOS 8 QuickType offers predictive word suggestions. Based on your typing habit, it guesses what the next word will be and suggests it to you.
Coming to Messaging, which is the most used app on iOS. Group messaging now allows renaming threads or removing people of conversations at ease. One can flick a switch for the “do not disturb” option or simply leave a conversation. You can share your location with the people you are talking to. The location sharing can be done for an hour, a whole day or till eternity, it is really your choice.
They have also introduced a “tap to talk” function with allows you to record an audio or video snippet and share it. What’s cool is that these message auto destruct after a period of time. Great for memory and storage issues!
It also seems like iOS 8 has really good speed and lesser animations. We are sure this is going to make many happy!
Coming back to iCloud Drive, Craig spoke of the iCloud Drive panel which is basically a contextual menu which floats above your apps. Don’t worry, it doesn’t disturb and looks quite integrated.
Next up is the Enterprise feature. Did you know that 98% of Fortune 500 companies are on iOS? Craig claims that they will get the 2% too.
For enterprises, there are amazing functions like VIP threads. Basically, one can get notified only when one receives a message in that particular thread. There are multiple cloud file systems which allow plugging into iOS at a basic level.
Now coming to the health features. Apple has introduced a new product called HealthKit. Because third party apps will plug into HealthKit, user privacy has been focussed upon. Currently Apple is working with Mayo Clinic at revolutionizing the way the health industry interacts with people. “HealthKit will allow healthcare providers to receive and transmit reading data from checkups.”
Next up is Family Sharing. Once you have registered your family, you can easily share images, videos, calendars, reminders with others in the unit. You can also find other’s devices. You can share purchases through the unit. iOS 8 allows 6 members per family unit.
The clever thing here, is that if a kid is trying to buy an app, a pop up notification will ask for parents permission to take it further, plays well for the wallet!
Photos and iCloud come together to allow sharing and preservation of photos and all their edits across devices. Infact, the edits sync in devices in realtime too. However, this feature is for iPhone, iPad and iPod. The feature will be extended to Mac early next year.
There are Siri updates too! You can now start talking to Siri without even touching the phone. It’s “shazam integration” with Siri. Quite useful!
Maps have been spruced up too!
Now we come to iOS 8 for developers!
Did you know that there are about 1.2 million apps available on the app store? So, hey have decided to make the app store a little better.
They have added an explore tab, top trending searches, new editor’s choice logo for “the best apps”, app previews which will have short videos of the apps, and a beta test service called testflight! All of this will be available thru fall.
SDK the biggest release since the launch of the App store!
Apple has launched a new concept of Extensibility. Extensibility basically means apps being able to extend the system and offer services to other apps. This is profound! “To handle extensibility in the iOS way, extensions live in app sandboxes, but apps can reach out to those apps,” said Craig. Third party apps can now have widgets. All the widgets will be locked in the notification centre.
Widgets inside Safari can show inline translation.
iOS now allows and supports third party keyboards.
Also Read: iOS 8 Features
Now, coming to TouchID. Apple is opening TouchID access to developers. You can protect apps through TouchID.
iOS 8 has new camera and photo kit APIs. Much like HealthKit, here’s HomeKit. With faster performance, read and write to library, non-destructive edits and delete with permission, HomeKit is a Home automation certification by Apple. In order to bring in rationality to the apps around this arena, HomeKit offers secure pairing with locks, lights, cameras, doors, thermostats, plugs and switches, control individual devices, groups devices into scenes and Siri integration. So basically, if you tell Siri “get ready for bed”, your house will respond by locking the doors and dimming the lights.
Next, CloudKit. Cloudkit takes care of all the iCloud stuff that app developers need. The CloudKit is free within limits. 1Pb assets, 10TB database, 5TB/day asset transfer, 50GB/day database transfer.
Next up is Metal. Metal will help reduce the OpenGL overhead for gaming. It effectuates the graphics, has precompiled shaders, has efficient multithreading, and is designed for A7. It has up to 10times faster draw call rates. It allows game development like never before and easier too!
Now coming to more advanced gaming, SceneKit. SceneKit offers light sources, field forces, per-pixel physics and inverse kinematics. SceneKit is a 3D scene renderer.
Next, X Code. X Code is the toolset which is used to build all applications for Mac and iOS. Now, central to this X Code is the language which is used in programming, Objective-C. Now, Objective C is going out the window and there is a new programming language called Swift. Apparently, Swift rules!
Swift is fast, modern, safe and interactive. More so, Swift can live in the same app with C and objective C. Swift is fast and it can run your code in realtime. Ok! It does rule!
So that’s it! WWDC 2014 is over and has left us all with much to look forward to this Fall!