Calling all Apple fans, it’s that time again. Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), arguably their biggest event of the year kicked off today in San Francisco!
As always, Apple is providing a live stream of the keynote on its own website here. Requirements include Safari for OS X (10.8.5 and above), iOS (6 and above) or an Apple TV for this stream to work. Apple unveiled a slew of announcements to share with the world today. Here’s a quick rundown of our highlights from the opening keynote.
The latest version of OS X dubbed El Capitan builds upon the groundwork laid out by OS X Yosemite by tweaking the Mac user experience and improving system performance. It features an overhauled Safari browser, allowing users to pin tabs and mute noisy tabs that auto play music & video just like Google’s Chrome. This is a welcome addition and a long time coming. Beyond Safari, other enhancements include expanded search options in Spotlight and an improved Mission Control interface for better window management with split-screen functionality. Built-in apps are more streamlined and said to open 1.4 times faster in El Capitan. For professionals and gamers, the Metal graphics technology first introduced with iOS 8 is finally coming to Mac. It accelerates Core Animation and Core Graphics, offering up to 40 percent greater graphics rendering efficiency and delivering up to 10 times faster draw call performance. This results in a more fluid experience in games and pro apps. OS X El Capitan will be made available to developers starting today and then to the public in beta this July. While the final version will roll out as a free upgrade this upcoming fall.
The next version of Apple’s iOS mobile platform is unsurprisingly called iOS 9. It will be compatible with all Apple mobile devices that support iOS 8. Apple is focusing on making iOS 9 more intelligent. This starts with a major upgrade to Siri with a feature called Proactive that can offer suggestions based on your apps, context such as time of day or location -- all without compromising your privacy! Apple is replacing Passbook in favour of a new app called Wallet, which integrates credit cards, debit cards, store cards, and loyalty cards in one place. Apple Pay will also be expanding globally, launching to users in the UK starting next month. For power users, Apple introduces some new multitasking modes designed specifically for the iPad allowing you to run two apps simultaneously, side-by-side. You can even watch videos in a new Picture-in-Picture viewer, while using any other app. The new iOS 9 continues to add more features and enhance existing apps such as Notes, Maps, and an all new News app. As with OS X El Capitan, it will also be made available to developers starting today and a public beta this July. The final version of iOS 9 will be release later this fall.
Apple finally announced its much-anticipated music streaming service called Apple Music at the end of its keynote. This was an expected announcement following yesterdays leak. The service will combine music downloads, streaming radio, and a streaming music service into a single app. It’ll offer human-curated playlists from music experts from around the world based on your preferences, instead of an algorithm. There’s a feature called Connect where both all artists can post anything from lyrics, their latest tracks, backstage photos, to video clips of them recording in studio. Apple’s iTunes radio was also rebuilt with their first station called BeatsOne. A 24-hour radio station that’s dedicated entirely to music and music culture. The cost of Apple Music will be $9.99 USD per month, or $14.99 USD for a family plan of up to six individuals, with a three-month free trial. Apple says it’s new music service will launch on June 30 in over 100 countries. It’ll be available for iTunes on OS X and Windows, iOS and even Android this fall.
A new Apple TV set-top box and streaming TV service was not announced at WWDC as had been expected, which in my opinion made Apple Music the unwitting star of the show.