WWDC 2014. All you need to know

Jonathan Stewart
3 June, 2014
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Apple took to the Moscone West stage in San Francisco this morning to unveil OS X Yosemite, iOS 8 and a range of new developer tools.

Tim Cook kicked off the WWDC keynote, the 25th anniversary, with a thank you for the developers that have contributed to the iOS and OS X ecosystems since 1990, where 1300 developers gathered in the one lab.

“We’re here today and all week to celebrate the developer community and all of the amazing apps that they’ve created… From all of Apple, thank you very much,” he began.

“The developer community is incredibly vibrant. We now have nine million registered developers. That’s up almost 50 percent over last year.”

Cook continued with the series of numbers on Apple’s Mac operating system and even compared the statistics with Windows 8.

According to Apple’s CEO, OS X Mavericks, released in October, has been installed on over 40 million Macs – the most of a single release ever in Apple’s history and makes up over 50 percent of the OS X user base.

Windows 8 in comparison, which shipped a year before Mavericks, is at 14 percent.

 

OS X Yosemite

After his little stab at Windows, Cook handed the stage over to senior vice president of Software Engineering at Apple, Craig Federighi, who announced OS X 10.10 or OS X Yosemite.

 

OS X Yosemite will be available in spring (though available in beta to developers now) and brings a new design, beautiful new Notification Center and widgets, updated Spotlight, new iCloud Drive, Mail with great new features, a faster and more elegant than ever Safari and Continuity.

“Yosemite is a fantastic new release, with a new interface, big enhancements to our most popular apps, and something all new we call ‘Continuity’,” Federighi said.

Yosemite is a dramatic new look, with new typography, refined toolbars and a translucent design that adorns the Dock and Finder windows.

Notification Center 

The Notification Center has received an overhaul as well, with the addition of a Today view and a dark translucent background. The Today view offers users a quick look at their calendar, reminders, weather and more.

Users will also be able to extend the contents and add widgets from the App Store to the Today view, making the Notification Center customisable.

 

Spotlight

Spotlight has also been handed a facelift. The quick search tool has been moved to the middle of the screen – similar to the Alfred searching app – and will enable users to search on their Mac and via the internet.

Spotlight in Yosemite will also be able to do quick conversions, from miles to kilometres for example.

iCloud

Apple is looking to push its iCloud online storage service and has boosted the functionality with the introduction of iCloud Drive. iCloud Drive provides all iCloud folders in the Finder, offering easy access to iOS content on a users Mac.

iCloud Drive means users can store all of their own files and organise them however they wish, synchronised automatically across their Macs.

Mail

Mail in Yosemite will include a new feature called MailDrop, which will allow users to send large attachments. The new feature means 5GB files can be sent encrypted to the a recipient’s Mac. If they do not use a Mac, they will receive a download link.

Mail will also allow users to annotate images and PDFs before sending, very useful for those who sign PDF documents.

Safari

Safari, Apple’s web browser, has had a revamp. The browser now offers a clean interface, replacing the favourites bar with a smart search field. The smart search field, which sits in the middle of the Safari header, offers access to users’ favourite sites via a drop-down window.

RSS feeds are back in Safari, with subscribed feeds heading to the Shared Links window in the browser. Private windows in Safari now operate independently to other windows, the Tab view now offers a birds-eye view and stacks individual sites and users can share webpages with one-click.

Continuity

Apple has answered the calls for AirDrop on OS X to connect with AirDrop in iOS in Yosemite, with a new feature Apple calls ‘Continuity’. Aside from allowing AirDrop to function between iOS and OS X, Continuity brings another new feature to OS X, called Handoff – when you’re working on your Mac, your devices around you in proximity are aware of each other and aware of what you’re doing.

Your iPad can prompt you in the lower left in the screen to pick up what you’re working on on your Mac right up on your iPad.

Handoff works in the other direction as well. If you’re composing an email on your phone and you walk up to your Mac. Mail on the Dock prompts you that you’re composing a message; click it to pick up on it right on your Mac.

Hotspot

For those who use hotspot on their iPhone to bring internet access to their Macs, it will be easier in Yosemite. If you’re using your Mac and you’re away from Wi-Fi, and it sees your phone, it can automatically set up a hotspot and connect to it without having to enter a password. Even if your phone is across the room.

Phone and Messages

SMS messages have been brought to the Mac. If your phone is in range, your iPhone will push your SMS messages to your Mac. This means users can send and receive messages without looking away from their Macs. This also works with phone calls: your Mac gives you the caller ID and you can even accept the call and use your Mac as a speakerphone. Users of Yosemite will be able to call from their Contacts or from a website.

OS X Yosemite will be free and available to developers from today, but will be made public in spring.

 

iOS 8

Tim Cook returned to the Moscone West stage to announce iOS 8. As usual, Cook had a few numbers to share with the audience and took the opportunity to compare iOS with Android.

“We’ve now sold well over 800 million iOS devices. Each category has set its own sales reords,” Cook said.

He also highlighted the 130 million new iOS customers that had signed up in the previous 12 months.

“Many of these customers were switchers from Android. They bought an Android phone… by mistake… and then had sought a better experience… and a better life. And decided to check out iPhone and iOS.”

As with the unveiling of OS X Yosemite, Cook handed the stage over to Craig Federighi.

Notification Center

iOS 8 builds on the success of iOS 7 with a number of new features. The Notification Center has been refined with interactive notifications, allowing users to reply to messages from the pull-down window. Users will not have to leave the app they are in to reply to messages, or even unlock their device.

Safari 

Safari in iOS 8 continues the tab view from iOS 7 for iPhone, but Safari on the iPad with receive the birds-eye view and sidebar from OS X Yosemite.

Mail

Mail has received a few usual additions. Users will be able to mark emails as unread or flagged and delete emails with a swipe. When composing an email, users can also swipe the message down to see the rest of their mail.

Spotlight

Like Yosemite, Spotlight has been improved in iOS 8. When a user pulls down from the home screen, they can search for apps in the App Store, points of interest, news, restaurants, songs in their library or on iTunes and movies running nearby or available for streaming.

QuickType

QuickType, a new feature in iOS 8, makes your keyboard more personal. There is access to special characters, handwriting dictation and alternative keyboards. QuickType is context sensitive, supports predictive typing and changes the language style depending on how you interact with each contact. All learning is kept private on the user’s device.

Phone and Messages

Continuity in iOS 8, as mentioned with OS X Yosemite, allows users to make and receive phone calls and send messages on nearby devices. iPads will be able to make calls.

A number of new enhancements to Group Messaging in iOS 8 allow you to name your threads, add or remove people, Do Not Disturb and you can choose when to leave the thread.

In Messages, you will be able to share your location with those in the conversation, make pictures and attachments accessible and send video and voice messages.

iCloud Drive 

Announced this morning with OS X Yosemite, iCloud Drive will mean iOS users can work in a number of applications saved on their Mac or Windows machine. By opening the iCloud Drive pane, users can edit documents and then save them in the same location.

Enterprise

For those who work in the enterprise, Apple has moved to tackle the BYOD problem. With the Device Enrollment Program, companies will not have to set up devices for their employees, instead the iOS device will set itself up automatically.

Health

The rumours of Apple’s new heath-focused app were spot on. As part of the new suite of tools for developers dubbed HealthKit, Apple announced ‘Health’, a new application that it believes will offer a comprehensive look at the health of a user. With Health, you can monitor all of the metrics you’re most interested in. You can use third-party apps too.

According to Apple, when a patient takes a blood pressure reading, the app can check whether that reading is within that person’s parameters and threshold, notify a doctor, and the doctor can contact that patient.

Families

In iOS 8, families will be able to get a little closer. Users will be able to set up their family as a unit, providing automatic photo streams, calendars, reminder lists and Find My Family.

Families will also be able to share media, with up to six members of a family able to access content, provided they share a credit card. There’s also a welcome feature that means when a child attempts to purchase something, an automatic permission request is sent to the parent.

Photos

Apple has updated the Photos app in iOS 8, with all photos taken on iOS devices being replicated on iCloud; new smart editing controls for light, colour, auto-straightening and more; and search suggestions that will make it easier to find that image you are looking for.

The Photos app will use iCloud and Apple has a new pricing scheme. The first 5GB is free, and will be available in tiers available up to 1TB.

 

Developers

Apple has unveiled a number of new tools for iOS developers from the App Store to an updated SDK.

App Store

To the App Store Apple has added a top trending search to aid those looking for new and exciting apps, a continuous scrolling list of apps in the search pane and a new Editors’ Choice logo so users can find the best apps.

Apple has also allowed developers to bundle apps, making it easier for users to buy a series of apps in the one purchase. Developers can make short preview videos of their apps to explain their apps to potential purchasers and the new TestFlight feature means developers can invite users to beta test their apps.

SDK

Apple updated the developer SDK, bringing 4000 new developer APIs. A new opportunity for developers is Extensibility, which will allow apps to interact with each other. Apps will remain in sandbox, but will offer a sharing sheet from which other apps will be able to request interaction. For example, when in Safari, a user may be able to use a Bing Translate extension to automating translate the Safari from Japanese to English.

Third party apps can also create widgets for the Notification Center and developers can create system-wide keyboards. If a user has a specific keyboard they would like to use, they can install it on iOS 8 and it will run across the device.

Touch ID

Touch ID is now available to developers as well. The fingerprint scanner’s data will remain protected but the API opens the door to developers to use Touch ID in their apps.

HomeKit

Home automation is coming to iOS with the addition of the HomeKit API. Apple has collaborated with a number of companies in the home automation space and arrived at a common network protocol with secure pairing that will enable users to control their lights, locks, webcams, garage doors, thermostats and more.

HomeKit will allow users to talk to Siri. When a user says “Get ready for bed!” it will do everything it needs to: lock doors, dim lights, thermostat down, close the garage shutter door etc.

Graphics

Apple is also looking into high-end 3D gaming graphics with its new Metal API and casual gaming with SpriteKit.

Swift

Xcode is the toolset used to develop app for iOS and OS X and central to Xcode is the language used to code, Objective-C. Apple has decided to update Xcode with a new, faster language it has called Swift. For those who want to get a grip of the new language, Apple has released a guide in iBooks.

More to come…

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