iOS 9, OS X El Capitan, Apple Music Headline WWDC Kickoff
iOS 9, OS X El Capitan, Apple Music Headline WWDC Kickoff
By Don Reisinger
OS X El Capitan Coming This Fall
Apple is again launching a new version of Mac OS X this year. The company's Senior Vice President Craig Federighi announced that the operating system will be known as El Capitan and be available later this year for free. El Capitan will be available as a public beta program in July. The production version will be released for download in the fall.
El Capitan Brings Some Modest Updates
Apple's OS X El Capitan comes with several rather small updates, including one that helps users find a cursor on-screen. In addition, the operating system has added some neat new Safari and Spotlight additions, including the ability to "pin" favorite sites to the tabs bar to instantly load them without taking up too much screen real estate. Spotlight is also smarter, letting users input standard queries, like "files I opened last year." It will display the items that relate to the search. Apple also touted the operating system's improved windows performance
Apple's iOS 9 Makes an Appearance
As expected, Apple showed off the latest version of its mobile operating system: iOS 9. The platform, like El Capitan, is a free upgrade and comes with several enhancements to the way people interact with the operating system. Most importantly, the updated OS includes some key features users had been asking for over the past few years. The operating system is a quarter of the size of iOS 8, saving valuable storage space, and includes some energy-saving features that will add an additional hour of battery life to the iPhone 6. A public beta will be available in July, and the final version will launch in the fall.
Apple Talks Up Siri as Competition Heats Up
Apple spent some time talking about Siri, saying that it has reduced accuracy errors by 40 percent. The personal digital assistant has also gotten a much-needed facelift and has received some extra intelligence, like prioritizing important items in reminders. Plus, Siri has added some Cortana-like features that allow it to "learn" about users, such as a user's iTunes music preferences during a morning jog. Siri will even be "proactive" by suggesting apps and other information to use at a given time.
Apple Pay Service Growing Rapidly
Apple Pay has quadrupled in size since it launched last year, Apple announced during its keynote on June 8. The company says that within the month, more than 1 million locations will accept Apple Pay, and it expects that number to continue to grow rapidly. Better yet, Apple Pay will expand to the U.K. this year and will get more integration in popular apps. Apple Pay's companion app, Passbook, has been renamed to Wallet.
Apple Improves Maps Features, Performance
Apple Maps has received a relatively nice improvement, boasting faster response times and more integration with key software elements, such as Siri. But perhaps its biggest update is the addition of Transit, a feature that will provide navigation and other key information to users when they're on ferries, buses, trains and other alternative forms of travel.
Apple Takes Aim at Flipboard With News
Apple announced a new app it's calling News that will attempt to reimagine the way people consume content on iOS. Apple has partnered with several prominent news organizations, including Conde Nast and The New York Times, to deliver their content through the News app. News is similar to Flipboard in that it provides curated content to users based on their preferences. According to Apple, none of it will be tracked, so users can be assured that their favorite publications are kept confidential. Think of News as a content-aggregation service that automatically feeds content based on taste.
Apple Revamps Multitasking on the iPad
Although iOS has been slightly different on an iPad and iPhone, the company has made a bigger leap between the two in iOS 9. For one, multitasking has been redesigned on iPads, allowing users to open a second app without leaving the one they're in. Apple's iOS 9 on iPad also includes a picture-in-picture feature to show a video in small size over another app, such as email.
WatchOS to Support Native Apps
Arguably the most important addition to WatchOS that Apple announced at WWDC is that it will come with native apps, meaning Apple Watch will be far more useful when it's not connected to an iPhone. Audio and video can be accessed from the watch, as well as health information and more. Another important addition is something called "Complication." With that, users can decide what mixture of information they want to see on their Apple Watch face, such as time, battery charge on an electric car, temperature and other information. WatchOS 2 also has several iterative updates, like better access to the Apple Watch digital crown, to round out the update. WatchOS 2 will launch this fall.
Apple Finally Introduces Long-Awaited Music Service
Apple CEO Tim Cook at WWDC announced Apple Music, or an "ecosystem," as Apple puts it. The service is built on three parts. First of all, Apple Music has a music-streaming service that relies on human-curated content and not algorithms like those found in services like Pandora. Next, Apple Music has a 24/7 global radio station called Beats One that is not based on genre, but only plays "great music." The last component is Connect, a service designed for current and upcoming artists to share music, videos, lyrics and just about anything else with listeners. Apple Music will cost $10 per month for individual users and $15 per month for families with up to six people. It's launching on June 30 and will be available on Windows and Android later this year.