Today, Apple held its annual Keynote at the Worldwide Developers Conference of 2014. A lot was announced, focusing primarily on OS X, iOS, and Developers. Here are the top 10 most important things Apple announced today.[divider][/divider]
OS X 10.10 Yosemite
Apple unveiled the newest version of OS X today, named Yosemite, and it will be free to the public this fall. Itâ€™s got some interesting new changes.[divider][/divider]
OS X Yosemite sports a new look that is a sort of cross between iOS, the current look of OS X, and Windows Aero. It has a ton of translucency all over the place, making things look like they are moving behind each other. In addition, many icons have changed to feature a more â€˜flatâ€™ design.[divider][/divider]
Mail got a pretty great set of new features which include the ability to edit and share files using Mail via iCloud Drive (Iâ€™ll get to that in a bit). This allows users to be more interactive with the content they send via E-Mail, and effectively removes the limitations of images being too large for a given recipient and things of the sort. This is done using a new feature called MailDrop which letâ€™s you store attachments up to 5GB in iCloud.[divider][/divider]
Needless to say, this is Appleâ€™s direct competition to Google Drive. Apple has created iCloud Drive to be used on Macs, iOS, and Windows. It has a powerful search function which has been extended through a much improved Spotlight.[divider][/divider]
Apple has focused a lot on the concept of continuity between Macs and iOS devices. Many of the showcased features were very impressive. Continuity is the concept of a seamless experience in transition between devices.[divider][/divider]
Handoff is arguably one of the best features showcased today. Itâ€™s a new feature that will allow you to start a task on your iOS device and in an instant continue it on your Mac. As an example, imagine you start writing an e-mail using your iPhone. Your Mac will recognize the iPhone nearby, and you can simply click on a button that pops up on your Mac and continue the e-mail in Mail down to the last character you typed on your iPhone. Same thing goes with webpages. Letâ€™s say youâ€™re browsing a website on your Mac, but you have to walk away. You swipe on the Mac and it opens on your iOS device as you walk away. It seems to work great. Airdrop also now works between iOS and Mac to make this feature even better.[divider][/divider]
Youâ€™ve always been able to iMessage using your Mac, but the standard SMS messages would not pop up on the Mac iMessage. Well, now they will. And more importantly, you can actually answer those messages using iMessage, and the SMS will be sent to your phone, which will then send it to the recipient. This works for Phone calls too! You can receive phone calls on your Mac, iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. You can make calls from the Mac as well, and it will route through your iPhone, without ever even touching it. You can also send voice messages in iMessage now.[divider][/divider]
The big news is obviously the one everyone cares about. iOS 8. Last year, Apple introduced iOS 7 which changed the user interface significantly and brought a lot of new features to the table. This time, Apple has focused on improving things that are already there, and introducing some much awaited for things.[divider][/divider]
You can now interact with notifications without ever having to leave the app you are in. So, as an example, if you receive a text message, you can swipe down on the notification and answer it right in the notification bubble. This works on the lock screen too. This feature is extensible because developers are now allowed to make their own widgets for your notification center! Another example of this is Facebook. If you receive a new notification, a popup will show up where you can Like it, or comment on it, right from the notification bubble. Great stuff.[divider][/divider]
Spotlight is actually useful now. It takes a page out of Ubuntu Touch and basically allows you to search anything and everything in real-time. Start searching for an app. If you have it installed, it will take you to it. If you donâ€™t itâ€™ll show you the link to it on the App Store. It will search for books in iBooks, e-mails, contacts, movies, and so much more. And itâ€™s lightning fast.[divider][/divider]
Apple introduced 2 important things regarding keyboards. First, they introduced something called QuickType, which basically brings predictive typing to the standard iOS keyboard. So it will try to finish your phrases for you by suggesting words and learning from how and what you type. Secondly, 3rd party keyboards like Swype and SwiftKey are now allowed on iOS.[divider][/divider]
Â Family Sharing
Families can now set up their iOS devices to work together. Up to 6 devices can be using a single credit card to buy apps, and if an app is bought in one phone, the other 5 devices can use it as well, free of charge. And if you have a child that wants to buy an app, the App Store will make the child ask the Parent for permission before buying the app. Family Sharing will allow families to share calendars, photos, reminders, locations, and more. The photos app also got new editing features akin to VSCO Cam.[divider][/divider]
(but this time itâ€™s really important and users should read this too)
Extensions, Swift, and HomeKit/HealthKit
Apple has finally brought one of the most sought after features to developers. Extensibility. This will allow your apps to interact with each other. Imagine being inside the Photos app, and having a button which allows you to edit that photo using another app, then when you hit save, the change is automatically applied to the photo in the Photos app and youâ€™re taken right back to it. Or sharing a picture from within Safari directly to Pinterest via a pop-up that shows up on your iPad. This ability to connect your apps together is something Android has been doing for a long time, and now that iOS has it, there is MASSIVE potential for making the User Experience even more fluid.
The same feature allows developers to create widgets that are interactive inside the Notification Center. Imagine you are bidding on eBay. You have a widget that letâ€™s you know when you are outbid, and you can simply tap a button in your notification center to bid again. No need to go to the app.
Swift, is a new programming language that Apple has created to make new apps a lot faster and easier to make on iOS and Mac. Theoretically, going forward, youâ€™ll be seeing apps that are a lot more responsive and do things faster.
Lastly, HomeKit and HealthKit. Taking a page out of Samsungâ€™s and Sonyâ€™s books, Apple is trying to unify the ability to do Smart Home interaction by bringing it all together under one roof. Developers will be able to control various Smart Home technologies from various manufacturers using the HomeKit that Apple is providing. This is small now, but it can potentially change the way we interact with our homes. Apple wants you to be able to get home and say â€œSiri, Iâ€™m home. Can you turn on the lights and TV please?â€ That kind of stuff. And Apple has created a platform which will allow developers to store and share health information across apps and services such as the Mayo Clinic.[divider][/divider]
Apple did really well at WWDC today, but they didnâ€™t show much more than what is stated here. A lot of things that were rumored, did not happen. Apple had a Keynote filled with tools that offer iOS a ton of potential, but that is up to developers to fulfill. It was a safe presentation, and the upcoming year should look really interesting for Apple. Now, letâ€™s just see how Google will respond in a couple of weeks with its own Google I/O conference when it unveils the next version of Android.