Even though Apple didn't announce any new hardware products (like the much anticipated iPhone 6) at yesterday's WWDC, they still gave us a number of creative software and development products, while providing much needed updates to existing software, like iMessage and Spotlight.
So here's just about everything Apple told us about yesterday:
OS X Yosemite
This is Apple's newest operating system. It'll be out in the fall, but a beta release starts this summer. With OS X, Apple gave us a flatter design, translucent panels, color shifting icons, and new icons (including a fancier trashcan.) There's a new "Today" view in the new Notification Center. It allows you to see events, reminders and the weather all at once. You can also add third party apps as you see fit. My full view here.
One of my personal favorite features got a major facelift. Spotlight looks better, and its much easier to launch on the screen. It can also search much more content and preview much of it, too, including apps, documents, web searches, Wikipedia, maps, contacts, and events.
The Safari browser got some minor function adjustments, but a whole new look. The address bar is now centered, and it is better at guessing what you're searching for. It'll bring up the most applicable Wikipedia article when you're searching. They have also added the "Share" feature from iOS 7 to OS X Safari. You can also scroll through your tabs horizontally. The most major visual change: bird's eye view search for all open tabs. This is also taken from the iOS design.
A few things happened to Mail: you can save drafts by swiping down, searching your inbox, then swiping up at any point to finish the email. Apple also promised Mail syncing would be fixed. (Ever see a mystery red bubble, but don't have any new emails? That's fixed.) Mail also offers image editing now with basic features like zoom, adding text, annotation, and arrows. You can also send larger attachments with the help of iCloud Drive.
This would have been awesome three years ago, but basically, its a Dropbox-ish file storing system based in the Cloud. It does allow you to sync between OS and Windows, so that is useful. My full review here.
This is another feature Apple should've put out several releases ago. Now, you can use AirDrop to share files between mobile and desktop devices. Before, you could only share mobile to mobile or between computers.
I use my iPhone as a Wi-Fi hotspot constantly. The process by which you turn it on without a USB connection is easy, but a bit clunky (three steps.) Apple has streamlined this. Now, OS X will automatically find your phone and be able to identify it as a hotspot.
iOS 8 Notifications
You can now automatically reply to an iMessage or event from the pull down Notification and lock screen. This is one of the many added features making iMessage better in iOS 8.
You can finally, finally escape the digital hell that is a group message. With the Details tab on the upper right hand side of iMessage, you can view your friends' location, share your location (for only a set time or always), add friends to the conversation, turn on thread specific 'Do Not Disturb' or just choose to leave the conversation altogether.
This is the most necessary and user experience-altering feature within iOS 8. My full review here.
Audio and Video Chat
With iOS 8, you can send self-destructing audio messages. They're also much faster to record and swipe, both just require a swipe up. This works for videos too.
Pictures can now be taken and sent with just two swipes. They also all live in the "Details" tab, so you won't have to scroll through the entire conversation to see your friends selfies.
Apple is getting into the world of smart predictive text. Based on your message history and who the message is going to, Apple will predict your words and phrases as you type. So, if someone asks you to see dinner or go to a movie, predictions for a response will be "dinner" and "a movie."
You can now install third party keyboards throughout your iOS devices. Apple users have been begging for this for years.
Rumors confirmed this in advance, and Apple didn't give too many details. Basically, they will offer a one-stop shop for health apps and fitness metrics, and things like weight, blood pressure, and medical reports can be stored there. Apple has been working with Nike and the Mayo Clinic on HealthKit. They have not yet released how they will track health in real time, though rumors of an iWatch and smart ear buds have circulated. My full review here.
We also saw this one coming, but in a slightly different capacity. Rather than building a smart iHome, Apple is offering a development space that will allow your iOS device to become a controller for home technology made other companies. Just adding to the Internet of Things. My full review here.
Apple has been needing an upgrade here for a while. The new iOS 8 photo app lets you edit and view images from other iOS devices. If you edit the picture anywhere, the most recent version will save across mobile devices. You can also store up to 5 GB of photos for free, but anything more than that is a (minimal) cost.
Up to six users (family members), can now share iTunes purchases, as long as the credit card is the same across all of their accounts. Family Sharing can also share calendars, reminders, photos, and locations.
iTunes Purchase Approval
As part of Family Sharing, Apple now allows a main user to approve and deny iTunes purchases. This means less Candy Crush purchase binges for kids who get their hands on their parents' iPhones.
Siri is a little smarter in iOS 8. They have improved voice recognition and language recognition. Shazam was integrated into Siri. She can also turn on your lights, heat and AC on through the HomeKit feature (though much of this will rely on what kind of devices you have in your home.) Most importantly: Siri is now hands fee. You can talk to her just by saying, "Hey, Siri."
And now we wait for OSX and iOS to hit the shelves.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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