Every year Apple puts on a big, worldwide conference for developers. This year’s WWDC was something of an exception. No new Apple hardware. The company doubled down on slick user eye candy. And developers get access to Siri.
Here’s my basic highlight list of what I saw from two viewings of the conference from the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium (has Apple ever held a larger venue?); one live, the other recorded. CEO Tim cook acted more like a moderator than Steve Jobs, introducing underlings for one product update after another.
Here’s my list:
watchOS – Can’t wait for this one. watchOS is faster and easier to navigate. There’s a Dock with user configurable apps instead of Glances (which appears gone). Apps load and display almost instantly. More interoperability between Watch and iPhone, too.
tvOS – It seemed odd that Apple would whet the appetite of attendees with watchOS and tvOS first, but maybe it’s like a star comedian who has someone of less stature warm up a crowd before a performance. System-wide single sign-on for apps that require a cable TV subscription. No more sign-on for each app. tvOS gets more Siri functionality, and, in a first, app developers can require a game controller instead of the default Remote.
macOS Sierra – Gone is OS X, replaced by a simple ‘macOS’ to fall in line with other OS’s among Apple’s various platforms, but with a nod to famous places in California. macOS Sierra follows in the tradition of previous OS X versions to become more like iOS, therefore, more familiar to Windows switchers who also own an iPhone. Continuity is enhanced, and Apple made the clipboard universal and shareable between devices. Copy something on one device and it’s available on another. That’s a plus.
iOS 10 – Apple claims the latest is the mother of all iOS upgrades and it might be except it’s really the mother of all eye candy releases with so many features more about visible usability than anything else. True to form, Apple says Messages is the most used app on the iPhone and it seemed to get the most attention with all kinds of eye candy; from Invisible Ink to animations and stickers, and more options than every for the two-fingered crowd.
I can’t be the only one who noticed a little of early Facebook in iOS 10’s Messages. Is it an app? Or, is it a platform that you use for most of your communications with others? Think about it.
Observations – Apple’s CEO shared the stage with underlings left and right. From the multi-geeky Kevin Lynch to the wildly visual Bozoma Saint John, Apple Music’s Head of Global Consumer Marketing. This WWDC had the most women on stage than any Apple event I can remember.
Once I’ve had a chance to rummage through the iOS and macOS developer betas I’ll provide more in depth look at my favorite features.