Okay, so that was the WWDC 2016 Keynote, the opening for the annual Apple, Worldwide Developers Conference, and annual pilgrimage to Santa (Tim Cook), to see what goodies they have in store for us for the next year.
The clue is in the name (D is for Developer), so this conference is very much Software based, for the Software Developers like ourselves who create and develop software, and mobile apps that work on and with Apple Hardware and Services, such as the iPhone and iPad. Typically there are no Hardware announcements, and true to form no new iPhone, iPad or Macbook announcements, but of interest none the least as it gives us an insight into the new features available (normally on our existing devices) in the next release of macOS (as it’s now known, no longer OS X) and iOS, in this case iOS 10.
So that’s where we shall start, iOS 10, the big one for us, if for no other reason than between now and September (ish) we need to work through our existing portfolio of iPhone apps and build a compatibility plan to ensure the app is optimised for the new iOS 10 experience (iOS 9 was on over 70% of all handsets within 6 months of launch, we can’t afford to be tardy!). Luckily for our clients the majority use us to not only develop the existing mobile app but engage us for ongoing support and maintenance so there’s no surprising cost implications each year.
New features wise, none of note, but don’t be disheartened, the age of the smart phone is now a mature one and the expectation of great new things each year is misguided, for Apple (and indeed all Smartphone manufacturers), it’s about making things better, improving, expanding, and there’s a lot under the hood;
- Siri – Love her or hate her, she’s getting a facelift, improvements behind the scenes, integration with keyboards, and the big news for us is an SDK, so we can incorporate Siri technologies into the apps we create for you.
- Homekit – A dedicated Home app from which you can control your smart home devices, think lightbulbs, thermostats and the fridge!
- VOIP and Messaging – New SDK’s so that VOIP calls from your apps present themselves like normal phone calls, and new iMessage hooks so other apps can hook in, and even dedicated iMessage apps so you can create your own messaging add ons.
- More – On top of all of that we have an Apple Music makeover, Face and object recognition in photos, prettier maps and improved notifications.
On the desktop we have
Mac OSX sorry macOS (little ‘m’), specifically macOS Sierra (our Beta invite has landed so it’s out there), the big one here (apart from the rebranding) is Siri, fully embedded into the latest Mac operating system, from sending messages, to finding files. to all the other functions we’re used to on the iPhone (love em or hate em!). We also have tight integration with other Apple devices, Apple Pay on the desktop, start your web purchase as normal and authenticate your payment via the Touch ID sensor on your iPhone. Or how about binning off your password, let your Mac unlock and awaken automatically by purely being in the presence of you, wearing your Apple Watch of course.
And lastly for our summary, the Watch itself, a difficult new market that’s not yet found it’s feet and other platform vendors are struggling to find their use case. For Apple Watch owners it’s another big tranche of improvements, the headliners are;
- Faster App Launches – Always a bugbear, if it’s quicker to get your phone out of your pocket, unlock it, and then launch the app then how does the watch help? Apple are promising less than a second to launch, and optimisations for your favourite apps.
- A new ‘Dock’ launched from the side button
- Scribble, you can literally write messages on the screen and send them that way, some interesting use cases no doubt!
- Activity Tracking – The Social Sharing, ala Fitbit is coming, so you can see your friend’s accomplishments and motivate yourself
- Minnie Mouse as a watch face – You heard it here first!
As always there is much, much more, whether we can bring these features into your business and offer improvements, or the MD just fancies a new shiny Macbook, we’re always happy to help. Give us a call, let’s get a coffee.
dotUK is a cross platform mobile app, desktop and web based software developer based in the North East of the UK