On this special we talk about the opening keynote announcments at WWDC 2014.
For technology geeks and Apple fans alike this is one of the highlights of every year. WWDC has become the biggest event for developers. At this years opening keynote Apple have made some very interesting new releases.
Mac OS X
As usual Apple started with the stats explaining a 12% increase in Mac Sales in a decreasing market, 80 million Macs worldwide and 40 million installations of Mavericks with an adoption rate of 51% in comparison to Windows 8 with 14% adoption rate after two years.
Craig Federighi came on stage to talk about the next generation of Mac OS X, Yosemite. This continues on the new naming method. The biggest new feature of Yosemite is the new design. This makes sense for Apple to continue the same new design language that they introduced on iOS 7 last year. The new design is really beautiful. They use the same kind of transparency as iOS 7 with a beautiful colour palette. They have also added a dark mode and a redesigned dock.
Other features in Yosemite include an iOS 7 like notification centre with customisable widgets, a new spotlight search that not only searches for local files but for conversations, news, web searches, movies, map results and more, iCloud Drive which is Apples’ version of Google Drive, new Mail features, Safari features and continuity accross iOS and Mac devices.
Yosemite is available to developers today and will come as a free download this Autumn. Apple will also be putting out a public beta later this Summer for anyone to try out. This seems to be a new approach for Apple and one that I love.
Tim Cook came back on stage to introduce the newest version of iOS with some amazing statistics: over 100 million iPod Touch sales, over 200 million iPad sales and over 500 million iPhone sales. Craig Federighi came on stage again to go into detail about iOS 8.
Apple admitted that iOS 8 is based on the design of iOS 7 with some new evolutionary improvements. Interactive notifications, widgets in notification centre, new mail interface improvements, new smart spotlight search and quick type predictive keyboard add to the feature list in iOS 8. Some of the most interesting new features are now you can read all text message conversations on iMessage, not just iMessages with other Apple devices. You can now accept phone calls on your Mac and use it as a speaker phone even if your iPhone is at another part of the house. You can also make phone calls directly from your Mac syncing with your iPhone.
New enterprise features include the device enrolment program which allows business users to put all the necessary enterprise apps on their new devices easily, VIP threads in the iOS mail app and auto reply for out of the office.
Health kit is a new API along with the Health app which tries to group all health information together to create one place to get all information about your health. One cool feature of health kit is the ability for a Doctor to check a patients vital signs and if they are above the safety will alert the Doctor.
Family sharing allows families of up to six with the same credit card share calenders, reminders, movies, apps and music with the whole family. It also solves the problem with kids buying in app purchases having to ask a parent for permission to buy first.
Minor changes to the photos app with a new advanced search and image editing features. Siri changes include Shazam song recognition.
App Store changes for developers include the new smart search that Apple has been rolling out across platforms, short video previews of key features in an app for customer previews, the ability to bundle a group of applications and test flight which allows devs to invite users to beta test their apps.
Apple also talked about the behind-the-scenes features coming out in iOS 8 as this is a developer conference. There are over 4000 new developer API’s including third party extensions for apps such as the Bing Translator for Safari, Touch ID for third party developers, manual camera control, HomeKit API which allows developers of gadgets for the connected home to create one united app to control all aspects of the home and create scenes such as a bed scene to turn off all light in a house and close the garage as an example.
CloudKit opens iCloud for developers and Metal provides a more efficient solution to OpenGL which will greatly increase the gaming experience on iOS devices. SceneKit provides 3D support for the relatively new SpriteKit API for casual gaming.
A huge announcement for developers is Apples’ new programming language called Swift. Swift is fast, modern and safe and simplifies many lengthy strings and code blocks in Objective-C. It also has a visual debugger that shows you in a visual way what your code is going to do. It works with C and Objective-C to allow developers to create apps in the most efficient way possible.
iOS 8 will be available this Autumn. It is available to developers now. I have been very impressed with the keynote overall. I think it was really well executed and Apple did everything right!