With upgrades to iOS, OS X, Apple Pay and watchOS, Apple is ready to take its massively successful platforms to the next level.
Find out what’s in store for the Mac, iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch as Apple builds on previous greatness — plus get an earful of a new little project called Apple Music — as revealed today at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference.
watchOS 2: It’s time for Apple Watch to be awesome
Apple Watch came out six weeks ago, and Apple is already putting out the second version of the operating system for the wearable. We’re getting new watch faces, including ones that will showcase our photos, photo albums or Apple’s own time-lapse videos of big cities around the world, like Shanghai, New York and London. A new nightstand mode replaces the need for any kind of Apple Watch stand (until they come out with ones that let you rotate your watch to the side), and also gives you a little alarm that can be snoozed with a press on the Digital Crown.
Native Apple Watch apps
Allowing developers to create apps that will run natively on Apple Watch, without having to rely on a laggy connection to the iPhone, is an evolution we can all get behind. Going for a run without your iPhone or being able to connect to known Wi-Fi networks will make the Apple Watch that much more interesting and useful.
OS X: El Capitan
The next version of OS X, called El Capitan, is an evolution of the Mac operating system that will bring improvements in both performance and user experience. Finding your mouse becomes easier with a zoom when you shake it, Safari gets pinned sites that stick around even after you quit the app, and search gets natural-language abilities across the Finder, Mail and Safari
Split-screen view comes to windows management, with easy ways to put apps into their own Space, and easily get two apps onscreen at once. Notes gets new graphical and checklist capabilities, and there’s been a ton of improvements to full-screen mode.
Performance has been greatly enhanced too. Metal comes to the Mac, adding game and high-end app acceleration by combining OpenCL and OpenGL into its own API for developers to find 50 percent to 70 percent rendering speed improvements. Epic Games took to the stage to show off Fortnite, a fort-building, zombie-storming title that packs a ton of layers into one smoothly rendering game.
Proactive Assistant will assist you … proactively!
Siri’s getting a host of improvements, including increased accuracy, a new user interface and context-sensitive intelligence. Called Proactive Assistant, the contextual help will do stuff like bring up your running music when you plug in your headphones in the morning. Siri will also sport a new look that borrows the rainbow waveform at the bottom of the screen from the Apple Watch version.
The next iteration of Apple’s mobile operating system will have quite a few evolutionary updates itself. The iOS team has extended battery life to give us up to four hours of extra battery life per day with a new low-power mode.
Apple Pay gets more corporate than ever
Apple Pay is adding retailers, more store credit, debit, and rewards cards, and even more corporate partnerships. Apple Pay is also coming to the United Kingdom, with even more partners than the United States had at launch. Passbook gets a rename; now it’s called Wallet. Boom. Notes gets plenty of improvements, too, with checklists, extra text formatting, the ability to add pictures and sketches, and will sync across all your devices just like always.
Maps continues its evolution, as well, with the addition of mass transportation views (called Transit). You’ll now get buses, trains, subways and even ferries all available in the built-in Maps app. If you’re finding merchants that accept Apple Pay, you’ll see that as well.
Apple News steals Flipboard’s gig
New to iOS 9 is an app that replaces Newsstand. Apple has partnered with the titans of publishing to create beautiful content, rich typography and a Flipboard-style information flow. Publishers can create layouts that include images, galleries, and even videos. Partners include The New York Times (with 30 free articles daily), Vogue, Wired and Bon Appétit, and will roll out in the U.S., the U.K and Australia. The final note — even smaller publishers will be able to contribute, so we’ll see how that plays out.
Finally! iPad multitasking gets real
Split-screen multitasking will bring a massive evolution of the way we use our iPads. You’ll be able to bring over any app to the Slide Over panel on the right of your iPad Air 2 (the only device that supports this higher-end feature).
Apple Music tries to do it
Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine tripped over his script, but Apple Music got a great send-off from the Apple Team today. With a streaming service, new tools for artists to connect with fans, and a 24/7 global radio station called Beats 1 rolled into one, Apple Music has the potential to become the best way to discover and consume the amazing breadth of songs and artists available on iTunes now. Evolutionarily, it could help those that choose to join the ecosystem as indie artists in the near future.
Swift wants to take over the world…just not on Windows
Swift 2 is now open source. Apple said so. That means that anyone can start building apps for Mac, iOS, and even Linux (!!) with Apple’s new programming language and environment. it’s like they want the world to use their tech. Crazy, right? Hopefully, Apple will allow anyone to contribute to the source and allow everyone else to actually use the new contributions, all free of charge. A dev can hope, right?
HomeKit and HealthKit evolve slowly but surely
Apple’s platforms for tracking everything you do and controlling your entire home with apps and devices continue to evolve. HomeKit gets more hooks into Apple Watch, supporting home security systems and mechanical blinds, and can be accessed from anywhere with iCloud. The Health app adds tracking for hydration reproductive health, how much you sit around and UV exposure.