Reflecting on the big WWDC announcements

Anthony Caruana
12 June, 2015
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For Apple fans, this is one of the biggest weeks of the year. While everyone loves a good product launch, its WWDC that really defines Apple’s vision. Although we all love showing off the latest piece of Apple engineering in out offices, in our hands and, now, on our wrists it’s the software that really makes the hardware useful.

Apple now delivers four major software platforms: Mac OS, iOS, Watch OS and Apple TV. The conspicuous absentee from the big announcements at WWDC 2015 was Apple TV. But we heard a major refresh of the Apple TV platform was pulled just a couple of weeks from the event.

Apple Watch

One of our big complaints about Apple Watch has been addressed – the ability for developers to create apps that actually run on the device. At the moment, as much as I like the Apple Watch, it’s really just a specialised extended display for my iPhone.

There will be the ability to create some better user customisation as well. You’ll be able to use your own photos on watch faces and the Friends screen – which, I confess, I rarely use – gets a boost.

If you look at the Apple Watch, Apple has taken a similar approach as it did with the original iPhone. It took some time before users could carry out basic personalisation such as changing wallpaper and several months after the initial release before iOS, then named iPhone OS, was opened up to developers.

It seems history is repeating itself.

iOS 9

Many critics have pointed out Apple has played a big game of catch up with the latest iteration of iOS.

For example, the new side-by-side multitasking, called SlideOver, has been a feature of Windows 8 for some time. And the updates to Siri, under the banner of Proactive, learn what you do an intelligently deliver information to you as you need it. Android users have been doing this for some time with Google Now.

The really good news is that iOS 9 will be optimised to work on older devices. So, if you’ve got an iPad 2 or iPhone 4 the upgrade won’t cripple your device as so many previous updates have been accused of.

The replacement of Newsstand with News is interesting although with a focus on pushing curated content rather than letting users decide what they read it won’t be replacing Feedly as my primary new source any time soon.

OS X 10.11 El Capitan

Named for the highest peak in Yosemite, the latest version of OS X is mainly about stability and performance.

If you look at the list of ‘new features’ you’ll notice that most are really tweaks on existing ones.

For example, the Notes app gets a major update, bringing it into competition with Evernote. Mission Control gets some refinement, as do Spotlight and Mail.

The iOS-ification of OS X continues with SplitView coming to the OS X full-screen view. It seems to us that with each update to OS X, it becomes more and more like iOS. That started with the introduction of Launchpad back in 2011 and continues as the operating system and apps become more similar. The deprecation of iPhoto in favour of Photos and changes to Notes are further signs of the two platforms converging.

 

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