WWDC 2016 round up

Clara Monnet
By Clara Monnet under News 16 June 2016

Apple’s yearly World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) kicked off on Monday and, as usual, we were introduced to a long list of enhancements coming our way. New versions of watchOS, iOS, macOS and tvOS were announced - all jam-packed with new features.

iOS 10 took centre stage with major improvements to Messages, Maps and Siri, amongst many others. But amidst all the usual hype, what are the top enhancements and new features to take away?

Below is our quick and easy rundown of the top 12 key announcements from WWDC16 that you and your product team need to know.

1. watchOS 3 improves navigation and performance

Apple announced a total revamp of the UI of the Apple watch. This includes the addition of Dock, which provides a quick way for users to view and launch their favourite apps, plus a similar Control Centre to iOS, and the option to swipe to change faces. Apple also focused on performance, making app loading time 7x faster than the previously sluggish loading time.

2. The watch matures as a Health, Activity and Wellness platform

Activity - one of the most popular features on the watch - has been given a face and updated with both a social and competitive element, letting you see and compare your rings with family and friends.

SOS, a new and potentially life-saving feature, contacts local emergency services, notifies your emergency contacts and displays crucial medical information on your watch’s face.

Finally, the new Breathe app guides you through breathing exercises to helps you destress every day.

3. Siri API finally arrives

In an important move, Apple are laying the groundwork for a whole new interface for apps by opening Siri up to developers. To begin with, the developer access is limited to certain app types - including audio or video calling, messaging, sending or receiving payments, searching photos, booking a ride and managing workouts.

At TAB, we’re certainly excited by this move - and we can’t wait to get started taking advantage of Siri’s new capabilities.

4. iOS breathes new life into the lock screen

‘Raise to wake’ - as the name suggests - wakes up your iPhone when you raise it, giving you quick access to your notifications. Through 3D Touch you can respond to messages, glance at your apps, see your ‘Today View’ and interact with your widgets, all whilst your phone is locked.

5. Maps introduces app extension and intelligent proactive suggestions 

Developers now have access to Maps and will be able to introduce new features, like ordering an Uber, or making a dinner reservation without having to leave Maps. Maps has also been integrated with new intelligence that proactively makes suggestions of likely destinations based on your calendar, time of day etc.

6. News redesigned and paid subscriptions reintroduced

News has been redesigned to provide a simpler and more personal layout including a ‘For You’ section, based on your preferences and searching habits. Breaking news notification are also coming, and Apple have reintroduced paid subscriptions.

7. Photos get smart with deep learning and facial recognition

The new Memory option will scan through your photos and videos, and then bundle events, trips and people together to provide a more targeted search experience. You will also be able to automatically create and edit movies with this feature to show off your great memories.

8. HomeKit updated and Home app launched

The Home App promises to manage and control your home in one place, and can be managed remotely or set up for home automation with Apple TV. HomeKit has also partnered up with major makers of home accessories around the world - expect to see hundreds of new products, categories and capabilities over the next year.

9. Messages receives a major makeover - from apps to emojis 

Messages have not only received a visual makeover, with animated and personalised ways to message friends and family. It has also become simpler to use, with automatic suggestions provided by Tapback, which creates a quick way to respond with just a tap. Rich links have also been added, letting you watch videos and music directly from the app.

iOS 10 also brings the power of the App Store to Messages. This will open it up with new opportunities for developers to create innovative and exciting ways for users to interact with other apps on iMessage - such as adding stickers, making payments and ordering food.

10. Phone adds integration for third-party VoIP calls

Great news for the enterprise world where collaboration with Cisco now enables calls to a work VoIP number to be taken on a personal phone. Voicemail transcription and a new caller ID alert for spam calls have also been added.

11. Siri, Apple Pay for Safari and new continuity features come to the Macbook

macOS Sierra will feature a full Siri integration and will be accessible directly through the Dock. Siri will become everyone’s own personal digital assistant, helping you perform deep searches of your system - pulling up a music playlist, finding an image on the web and so much more. Apple Pay is also making its debut on Safari. Users can confirm payment using Touch ID and/or Apple Watch.

Other features announced include Auto-lock, which lets you automatically log into your Mac with your Apple Watch; and Universal clipboard, a tool that lets you copy on one device and paste onto another.

12. Smarter and faster Apple TV

Siri is now smarter and has been incorporated with 3rd party integration. Not only can she combine multiple criteria ( like ‘...show me kids films from the 1960s’) but she can also help you find your favourite cat videos on YouTube. Happy day.

Finally, the Apple TV Remote app is coming, giving you full control of apps and games while maintaining the high quality of the previous remote.

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Amongst the announcements, there were a host of exciting new platforms and surfaces for developers to plug their apps and services into - a trend we see as the app is ‘atomised’ and becomes unbundled, across and within devices. You can read more about our point of view on the future of apps in our post ‘The app is dead.’

WWDC continues this week with Apple revealing more details behind the updates. As the week progresses, expect more from our team on the ground - including a deep dive into the differential privacy feature Apple announced.

Photo courtesy of iphonedigital