On Monday in San Francisco, Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference featured several software updates, app improvements and a subscription music service. Here’s the rundown in case you missed the live stream.
Photo courtesy of TechCrunch
OS X El Capitan
Apple’s Mac software, OS X 10.11 will be released next Fall for free, with a public beta available this July. “El Capitan” will feature improvements to Spotlight, with the option to search using phrases like “Files I worked on in August.” Many OS X apps have been improved, like new swipe interactions for Mail, as well as the ability to mute all Safari tabs with one click. Following in PC’s footsteps, Apple has introduced window management, which allows you to snap applications to one side of the screen. For developers, Apple has introduced Swift 2, the second installation of their its new programming language and Metal API for graphics.
In iOS 9, Maps will include public transit directions and Apple Pay will now be called Wallet and is soon available across the UK. Goodbye Newsstand, hello News! News will let users select certain publications and topics to appear on the app. The News app will even suggest content based on what you tend to read. Siri is becoming more “proactive” (in this author’s opinion, borderline creepy). Siri will now automatically add calendar events, use context to suggest songs for your morning run and be able to figure out an unknown number by searching through your email.
These functions extend to the iPad as well, in addition to a new split screen and picture-in-picture option that allows you to view video while still using other programs.
iOS 9 has been released for developers and will be free for the public in July.
Watch OS 2
Apple Watch already has a new operating system, after just a few months on the market. Watch OS 2 will allow users to change the watch face, make FaceTime audio calls, use HealthKit, HomeKit, Maps, Wallet and play back video. Developers can now create native apps for the watch and the watch can receive WiFi. Apple developers have even made it so that we can Time Travel. Just kidding, but by turning the digital crown, complications on the watch will adjust and tell you calendar events, anticipated weather and more.
Photo courtesy of Billboard
Arguably the most exciting announcement of the day was the revelation of Apple’s new music streaming service, Apple Music. Apple, and a very nervous Drake, discussed Music and its three components. Apple’s new service includes; a 24/7 live radio station in partnership with Beats 1. There will also be a music social network called Connect where upcoming artists can share their music and pictures. The third part of Apple Music compiles all of your existing iTunes and downloaded content with a catalog of over 30 million songs for both online and offline listening. Apple also announced that a staff of music experts will be responsible for created curated playlists based on your preferences and that there will be a “For You” section of suggested content. Apple music will be $9.99 a month, or $14.99 for families of up to six people.
What will Apple’s improvements mean for companies like Spotify and Flipboard?
Many of Apple’s new features resemble apps that many of us already use. The News app is essentially Flipboard, while Apple Music combines SoundCloud, Spotify, Pandora and iTunes all into one platform. Will these companies be able to withstand the competition of multi-billion dollar Apple?
In the case of Spotify, much of the battle will be in which artists give exclusives to which service. While Spotify is already accessible in many places, including Uber, Apple Music is a streamlined way to access music. More here.