WWDC 2015 might not have been as thrilling as some of Apple’s recent press events, but the Cupertino company still had plenty of big news to share. From fresh software for all its major platforms to brand-new apps and services, there was a lot to take in.
Here are our five favorite announcements from Monday’s keynote presentation.
1. iOS 9 announced
The latest version of iOS isn’t a total redesign like iOS 7 was, and it doesn’t add a ton of new features like iOS 8. Still, there’s plenty to love with Apple’s latest update.
That includes a totally overhauled version of Siri, with a colorful redesign and some intelligent new features. For example, Siri will know when you have a meeting coming up and warn you. It can even factor in the weather and traffic conditions automatically. Apple noted that it’s still committed to protecting your personal data. Everything Siri does will stay on your phone, and the company says it isn’t crunching your data for profit.
For iPads, iOS 9 will bring the option to view two apps at once with a new side-by-side view. That’s a feature we’ve been demanding for years. Now it’s finally within reach.
2. OS X 10.11 El Capitan revealed
Apple’s desktop software also got an upgrade, which focuses on beefing up performance and experience for your Mac. OS X 10.11 El Capitan includes an improved version of Safari with the option to pin certain sites for quick access and even mute specific tabs.
The Spotlight search app is now resizable. It’s also a lot smarter and responds to more complex questions. That extends to specific apps, so you could search for “mail I’ve ignored from Phil” using Mail’s search bar and bring up a quick list of emails you need to deal with.
There’s a lot more, including the ability to better manage all your windows. Overall, Apple says the new software should have your computer running 1.4 times faster than before.
3. watchOS 2 brings some huge improvements
The biggest updates announced on Monday were reserved for the Apple Watch, which is getting a ton of new features and capabilities thanks to this upcoming software. watchOS 2 includes third-party complications (they’re like widgets for your smartwatch), and a new Time Travel feature that lets you scroll backward and forward through your schedule with the Digital Crown.
Apple also announced a new nightstand mode, which shows the time while your device is charging on your nightstand. It even has a built-in alarm, with the two buttons acting as Off and Snooze options. Other new features include FaceTime, Public Transit maps and time-lapse watch faces filmed at locations around the world.
Finally, Apple will allow for native Apple Watch apps, which means they should load much faster and will have access to all of the sensors in the Apple Watch.
4. Apple Music is finallyofficial
We knew it was coming, but Apple still tried to surprise us with its redesigned music app. Apple Music includes a streaming option to take on Spotify, a new Internet radio service with real DJs and a social component that lets you follow your favorite artists online.
The experience seems pretty nice, and it’s clear the company put a ton of work into the design. But we won’t really know what to think for sure until Apple actually releases the app. Apple Music launches on June 30 for $9.99 per month or $14.99 for the family plan. For those looking to try it out, the service will be free for the first three months.
5. Swift goes open source
Apple also had some news aimed straight at the many developers attending the show. Swift, the programming language it unveiled a year ago at WWDC 2014, is getting a pretty big upgrade. Not only is Apple packing tons of new features in for Swift 2, it’s also making the entire thing open source.
That means developers can use Swift for iOS, OS X and Linux. Even so, Apple says it’s just getting started, and Swift will likely get even better in the coming years.
That’s it for WWDC 2015, though we’re sure Apple will have plenty more to share later this year when we get to see the new hardware designed to take advantage of this latest software. We’ll be digging into the betas as soon as possible, so stay tuned for tons more coverage.
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