Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, WWDC, took place in San Francisco. It kicked off on a subdued note due to the tragedy at Pulse nightclub earlier in the weekend. Apple started the event with a moment of silence for the victims before laying out its major projects and new products.
The four major software platforms are all undergoing tweaks, some big and many small. One area that may prove to be most important is Apple’s decision to grant substantially more access to third-party software developers to many of Apple’s core apps.
Siri voice control was opened to developers for use in third-party apps. Apple Music is getting a facelift and some different functions, while messaging was changed to be more dynamic through the use of emojis and animations designed to add expressiveness to communications.
Many attendees were disappointed by Apple’s continued inability to do anything exciting with Apple TV. The company also did not say anything about Virtual Reality or its rumored Apple Car.
The changes to iMessages might not be sexy for the over-30 crowd, but for younger folks addicted to Snapchat and similar apps, they feel like Apple is finally acknowledging the competition. iMessage is getting some great upgrades, like the ability to pay someone through an actual message thread. You can also now share apps directly by sending a link to a third-party app, all without leaving the message. You also will not have to end the conversation in order to surf the internet, find information and then send the details back through the message.
As for expressiveness, those who love to add complex emojis and animations are in luck, as you can add full-screen effects behind the conversation stream.
Siri can finally be integrated with third-party apps, which means you can soon hail an Uber, pay for things, search your photos and more by using voice control. The new Home app for HomeKit can also be controlled with Siri, giving users the option of telling Siri how to control the connected devices in the home. The Apple TV remote is adding better voice control, which means you can simply search for movies by naming topics or descriptions. It can also search YouTube. Siri will now be fully operational in the Mac operating system.
Although Watch has been slow to improve, this go round shows that Apple is finally starting to develop the gadget to control more areas of your life. Apps will respond much more quickly, up to 7 times faster than before.
Apps are also kept in memory, so that there is much less wrist lag. There is a control center that can lead you to shortcuts, which has long been on the wish list for Apple Watch users.
A new app called Breathe has been added to Watch. It is a haptic feedback option to guide you through deep breathing and visualizations when your eyes are closed, with monitoring to show you afterward what your heart rate was during the exercises.
App developers are excited to get coveted access to the digital crown, which should spur great new developments.