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8 Best Mac OS and iOS Features From The Apple WWDC Keynote

I almost forgot to sit through the live stream of Apple’s annual World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) Keynote speech where Apple makes public what developers and consumers can look forward to in the coming weeks/months as it relates to its software offerings (Mac OS and iOS).

I’m glad I did because Apple has announced some pretty interesting features that many Apple enthusiasts like myself had on their wish-list for quite some time. There were a ton a features announced and since this is my blog, I’m going to give you the run down of  features that I was most hyped about in addition to what I think you should know about.

Mac OS X 10.10

Yosemite

First and foremost, this latest update to Mac OS X comes with a new name: Yosemite – That’s a “meh” for me, but Apple has a history of unique naming schemes, so while I’m not impressed, I’m not surprised either.

iCloud Drive

Apple has now provided a decent option for storing your files in the cloud, and more importantly, syncing them across your Apple gadgets. You can quickly search for anything stored in iCloud via Mac OS X “Finder” including iOS stuff. Similar to Dropbox, you can create folders and tags in iCloud Backup for organization.

Apple Gadget Continuity

Probably the best news to come out of all the Mac announcements is how close Mac OSX 10.10 and iOS 8 will work together. AirDrop is now useful, with the ability to quickly share files between your Mac and iDevices. Sharing your iPhone network connection with your Mac is stupid simple with Instant Hotspot. You can now see incoming SMS messages and voice calls via a notification pop-up on your Mac AND start/answer phone calls using your Mac’s speaker phone.

Apple also debuted “Handoff” where you can share work (emails, iWork, etc) between your devices. For example, start an email on your iPhone, and you can quickly continue that draft right where you left off via your Mac or iPad…No need to “save as draft” first.

iOS 8

This iOS 8 announcement is where Apple was all like “You’ve been sweatin’ us for years to adapt some of the features found in third-party apps, Android, Windows Phone, and even BlackBerry…Well get ready to be overwhelmed.” You name it, Apple grabbed and flipped it. Which to me is awesome because competition is ALWAYS good for the consumer.

Notifications

Now you can quickly take action on items that hit the notification bar, a la Android. You can respond to messages, “like” Faceboook posts, see sports scores, etc. without being forced into the respective app.

Third-Party Widgets and Extensions

I have been waiting for Apple to introduce Android widgets or Windows Phone Live Tiles for a hot minute. Well, Apple decided to use widget-like features in the Notifications Center versus using widgets on the home screen. I would much rather see widgets with Windows Phone Live Tile-esque At-a-glance information on my home screen, but I’ll take what I can get.

Apple is finally letting developers create apps that can share information with native Apple apps. In other words, popular features found in third-party apps (like photo filters) could possibly be used within native Apple apps (like Photos). Normally, initiating this app transaction would force you to leave the native app and open up the third-party app.

QuickType

Apple has decided to include predictive/learning keyboard typing where you can add suggested words to your content with the touch of a button. Apple will also allow for third-party keyboards (think Swype and my favorite, SwiftKey) to be added so iOS users could finally be able to do gesture-based typing rather than pecking at tiny individual letters. Hopefully the rumored larger iPhone 6 will alleviate some of my fat-thumb typing?

Hey Siri…

One of my favorite Google Now features is coming to Siri. Instead of the press/hold or bring your phone to your ear to activate Siri, now you can just say “Hey Siri” to initiate a dialog. With the added Apple HomeKit and compatible Home Automation gear, you can use Siri to control your lights, thermostat, garage dooe and other connected-home stuff.

Family Sharing

For the tech-savvy family with multiple iTunes accounts. Family sharing will not let members see (and approve) purchases made by each other up to six members…But you all have to share the same credit card. This is dope for parents with of-age kids with itchy download trigger fingers. Kids can send a request to buy a song or app, and the parent has to approve it first.

This was just the stuff I cared about. There were a ton of features, including some great app development, new Photos app, Health Features, and Mac OS X Yosemite design additions announced yesterday. You will be able to sign up for the free public beta of Mac OS X Yosemite sometime this summer, while you will need an Apple Developer’s license to dive into iOS 8 beat available now (Lemme hold something).

Visit Apple’s website if you want to check out the Keynote replay and get more the details.

What features are you most excited about? What do you think Apple fans will use the most? Lemme know in the comments section.

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Terrance Gaines8 Best Mac OS and iOS Features From The Apple WWDC Keynote

New Apple iOS Blocks Concept – Best Of Three Worlds?

I’ve been saying this every since I got my hands on my first Android after courting iOS for so long…It would be dope if Apple used a variation of Android “widgets” to let iOS users further customize their home screen(s). Furthermore, one of the reasons why I dig Windows Phone so much (and now own a Nokia Lumia Icon)  is because of the Live Tiles that serve up information on the home screen without digging into my phone just to find out what’s going on in my digital life.

All three mobile platforms have adapted ideas from each other to further compete for our eyes and thumbs, but Apple has held off of on doing anything dramatic to iOS and has opted for smaller “iterations” and “refinements”…Boo.

The Apple World-Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) kicks off next week, where the company will possibly show off its plans for iOS 8. Hopefully it will include some of the ideas from UX (user experience) designer Jay Machalani that pulls in tricks from both Android and Windows Phone in his latest iOS 8 concept work.

iOS Blocks as they are called, take your average app icons and lets users enlarge them using the pinch and zoom gesture to reveal more information. You have the choice to return the icon back to its original shape, or permanently re-size the icon to customize your home screen. In its larger form, the widget will provide at-a-glance information, similar to how Android widgets and Windows Phone Live Tiles work. Peep Machalani’s concept video to get a better idea.

Dope right? Rumors are Apple will reveal a larger 4.7 inch iPhone 6 later this year. I will buy the iPhone 6 because I do want larger iPhone hardware…which is why I skipped on upgrading my iP5 to an iP5S. I’ll be honest though, I’m tired of the “iterations” and “refinements”. I’m looking for something new as it relates to iPhone software as well.

I still think Apple could easily do more with iOS that has essentially looked the same since iOS 6 was released in 2012. Apple doesn’t have to copy revolutionize how we interact with our mobile devices, but I do think they need to up the ante. Windows Phone is emerging as a solid option and Android is definitely giving Apple a run for its money. So I think Apple needs to change up the game on both mobile hardware and software fronts.

What say you? Does Apple have/need to take cues from Android and Windows Phone to stay on top? Or can they continue to iterate to provide the ideal mobile experience Apple users have grown accustomed to?

image via Jay Machalani

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Terrance GainesNew Apple iOS Blocks Concept – Best Of Three Worlds?

Now You Can Text 911 In An Emergency

There is new age of smartphone users out there who thumbs are faster than their mouth would rather send a series of messages over actually phone call. Some people think that’s strange, others feel that times are simply changing.

The FCC and wireless carriers are recognizing that change and worked together (imagine that) to roll out new functionality that will allow consumers to contact 911 via text message.

Starting today in select cities, you can now text 911 with your location, an image (if applicable), and message explaining your emergency. The ‘Text-to-911′ program is also implementing bounce back messages to quickly notify a sender if the message they sent was not received because the message wasn’t delivered or the service isn’t yet available in their area. The FCC is working to have this capability rolled out to all text providers and all areas covered by December 31, 2014.

The FCC still stresses that you make every attempt to contact 911 by phone call, but now people with hearing disabilities for example can still communicate in the case of an emergency. Another good use would be where the sender would put themselves in further danger if they used their voice to communicate with 911.

Visit the Text-to-911 site for more details.

How do you feel about texting 911? Drop a line in the comments section

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Terrance GainesNow You Can Text 911 In An Emergency