On Monday, Apple unveiled several new software updates at its WWDC keynote in California. It included a major iOS overhaul, as well as better cross-device integration with a rebranded desktop OS. Needless to say, this year’s developer conference featured some of the biggest announcements about Apple’s mobile and desktop software in recent years. Here’s a quick overview of some of the most interesting things to come out of WWDC 2016:
- Siri is now open to third-party developers through API
The recent proliferation of digital assistants and conversational AI from major players like Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook made it seem like Apple wasn’t doing nearly enough to capitalize on its first-mover advantage with Siri. This new update, however, seems like Apple’s attempt to finally turn Siri into a platform and bring the virtual assistant back as a leader in the space. Third-party integration will allow outside apps to activate from Siri’s voice commands while allowing Apple to craft stronger relationships with mobile users through better AI and democratizing third-party apps through a single platform.
AI: iOS 10’s central theme
In another push to get ahead in the AI space, Apple’s iOS 10 has integrated personalized context into users’ mobile experiences. QuickType text suggestions will now lean on Siri intelligence about the user by offerings suggestions based on things like location, schedule and contacts. On-device computer vision will now detect both faces and objects in images, allowing the Photos app to organize images by events, people, places, and related memories. User data will be held on-device, keeping personal data within the user’s control.
Messages got a major revamp
With iOS 10, iMessage users can expect an enhanced experience with Apple’s messaging platform. The most drastic change comes from third-party app integration within Messages, allowing users to do things like order food and send money straight from the app. Emojis come to the centre of this update, with their increased size and the ability to “emojify” text. An emoji search engine will be directly integrated into Messages’ keyboard, and predictive text will offer emoji suggestions for highlighted words. In other words, now you’ll be able to simply tap on a word and replace it with an emoji! Scalable “bubble effects” will also be added, allowing you to adjust the font size of your text, and your own handwriting and small special effects.
3D Touch will now have an expanded role in iOS 10
Back when iOS 9 was announced, 3D Touch was just a cool additional feature. But with iOS 10, 3D Touch is given some genuinely useful functions. This feature can be used straight from the lock screen, tapping on right side to unlock the camera or the left side to open up widgets. As with many other WWDC 2016 updates, third-party apps will also be able to integrate with 3D Touch. From a user perspective, this will undoubtedly make it much easier to interact with live-updating apps like Uber and ESPN.
Goodbye OS X and hello macOS
Apple has finally moved on from its beloved OS X naming structure with the introduction of macOS. But the name change isn’t the only exciting thing about the latest macOS, Sierra. New features emphasize better cross-device integration for a more seamless Apple user experience. Universal Clipboard will allow users to access their desktop and documents across all macOS and iOS devices. Apple Pay will also be available on Mac, linking up intelligently to your iPhone’s TouchID for authentication. Similarly, Auto Unlock will allow Apple Watch users to unlock their Mac by simply walking up to their desktop. Finally, Siri will be available on Mac, giving users completely hands-free access to their desktop computer.