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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.