WWDC, Apple’s yearly conference, is the Holy Grail for a lot of Apple fanatics and enthusiasts. Everything that Tim Cook & co. has in store for the next 12 months is announced with a lot of pizzazz and anticipation; bated breath almost! This year’s edition, WWDC 15, was an important milestone in the sense that it set the tone for the future of the company. With the release of the new versions of Mac OS X, iOS, watchOS and more, it was evident that Apple decided to concentrate on enhancing its existing platforms instead of releasing new features.
The running theme from what we could gather at WWDC 15 was that of improvements and stability. This shouldn’t be identified as a bad thing. Instead, Apple should be praised for not falling for the whole trend of ‘New’ + ‘More’ = ‘Success’. As we’ve seen in the recent past, new features don’t necessarily work well out of the box. With a focus on streamlining its offerings, we now have new versions of operating systems that actually perform like how they were intended to.
First up was the announcement of OS X El Capitan, the successor to Yosemite. This particular release is reminiscent of the ‘Leopard’ -> ‘Snow Leopard’ and ‘Lion’ -> ‘Mountain Lion’ era where each version was followed by a consolidated version. ‘El Capitan’ is a major part of the Yosemite National Park and this new release builds on the same sentiment.
Last year’s WWDC 14 saw the overhaul of Mac OS X, going for a visual makeover as well as several under-the-hood changes. El Capitan brings understated fixes and also several new tricks that further enhances the desktop experience. The announcements include a new font (‘San Francisco’), new Mission Control, Split View (two active side-by-side apps), improved Spotlight searches, better Mail app, Maps and more. While nothing may seem like a ‘standout’ feature, it should come as a relief that you can now expect better performance even on older Macs.
iOS 9, the next operating system in line for an upgrade, follows the same path as its desktop brother. Instead of inventing new features that will never be used by a majority or releasing half-baked stuff, Apple has delivered a robust and capable successor. Some of the additions include a more intelligent Siri, Split Screen view for iPad, improved Maps with Transit, a new News app and a smaller footprint so that you don’t end up deleting half your files before the upgrade.
With iOS 9, Siri is about to get more contextually aware. Gone are the days when you initiate and it responds. This means that you can now get relevant info. and options for different scenarios with the new proactive Siri. It will now be able to dig deeper into apps so that you and I can have a thorough search experience without leaving the window. Developers can use the new API’s to enable deep linking within their app. ‘News’, the aggregator app that intends to take on Flipboard, is another new addition. It looks beautiful and hopefully will work like a charm.
Ah, watchOS, the operating system that powers the Apple Watch too has grown in leaps and bounds! watchOS 2 was announced and the biggest cheer was reserved for when Apple announced that the Apple Watch can now run standalone apps without the need to be tethered to an iPhone or iPad. This will now pave the way for devs to go all out and get creative with their ideas! In addition, watchOS 2 will bring new watch faces, new crown functionalities, the ability to respond to emails, watch videos and make FaceTime audio calls directly and more. Oh, the Apple Watch will also be able to connect to known WiFi networks on its own!
The end of the Keynote saw Apple announce ‘Apple Music’, the Spotify-competitor that they hope will hand them a firm grip in the music-streaming segment that is only on the ascendancy. Tim Cook opened with his traditional ‘One More Thing’ line that again brought loud cheers from the audience. Apple Music will provide on-demand, unlimited ad-free music for $9.99/month and this should signal the start of the real ‘streaming’ wars. Aside from listening to the music you want, Apple Music will also come with ‘Beats 1’, a 24/7 global radio station curated by DJ Zane Lowe.
With everything that’s been said and done, Apple has done a fine job this year at WWDC 15. All the announcements point to a busy 12 months ahead and we cannot wait to dig in! What did you guys think about this year’s conference? Leave your comments and opinions below. You can also reach out to us on Twitter and Facebook.