Siri and Siri SDK
This one's a no-brainer. Having the voice-control and artificial intelligence capabilities Siri brings to the table will be important factors in future Apple application development. Like IBM is doing with Watson (although not nearly to the same deep intelligence level), Apple is spreading around its IP in order to tie everything it has together—and with the same Swift codebase.
A smarter new Siri not only is more capable of answering more complex questions (see tvOS below), but the new Siri software development kit announced at the show will provide it with more capabilities—including the ability to add spoken-word support to new enterprise applications that haven't yet been developed.
This fits directly into Apple's strategy of tying all its devices to each other and the iCloud for storage. This will pay dividends to developers building enterprise apps for use in iPhones, watches, tablets, Macs and in the cloud.
Apple TV and tvOS
Apple TV, after a not-so-impressive start several years ago, has been retooled and designed, and the product's new steps are apparently headed in the right direction.
"We've said that the future of TV is apps," Apple's Eddy Cue, Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services,
told the WWDC audience. "We now have more than 1,300 video channels, and we have more than 6,000 native apps in just seven months."
Sling, which has built a loyal customer set during the last decade, brings its large set of live cable TV channels to Apple TV, something the service sorely needed. This also will help Sling introduce itself to a huge new set of potential customers.
Fox SportsGo, which offers multiple live telecasts at the same time (like one might see in a sports bar), will join the Apple lineup sometime this summer. France-based Molotov, which offers more than 100 live channels and on-demand programming, will become an exclusive feature on both tvOS and iOS, starting in July.
Apple introduced its new Siri Remote, which uses both touch navigation and voice control to tell Apple TV what to watch. Users can give Siri instructions as generalized as "Find me high school movies from the '80s" to bring up a selection of films such as "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," "Sixteen Candles," and "The Breakfast Club."
"Given the impressive developer stats, tvOS is getting developer traction," Moorhead said. "The improvements to search, adding many video channels, phone as a remote, and instant watching will make huge improvements in the experience. Instant Sign On is the Trojan horse, where if cable companies supported, could really replace the cable box.
"What will determine commercial success will be Apple's ability to market it because consumers will need to be reminded what the new Apple TV can do. Many consumers see Apple TV as what it was before, and that's a streamer, not an interactive platform."
One of the coolest new capabilities in iOS 10 is voicemail transcription, which should prove to be a huge time-saving and collaboration feature. When VT is turned on, the receiver of a voicemail message can view it as text rather than have to log in and listen to the message itself.
Apple and Cisco Systems have joined to build a feature that enables voice calls to be directed to wherever the receiver happens to be; this uses Cisco's Spark internal social network to find the person.
Apple also has promised developers that it will soon supply an extensible iMessages SDK, which potentially would be a very important toolset, due to all the new apps that will be forthcoming on the messaging platform.