Well, yesterday was the keynote speech at Apple’s World Wide Developer’s Conference — an event I used to enjoy attending when I worked at Apple — and while they announced no new hardware products, as some were hoping, they still said a bunch of interesting things. Here’s a summary of what they are:
OS X 10.10 “Yosemite”
The Mac’s operating system is getting a major overhaul. It will run on any Mac that can run 10.8 “Mountain Lion” or 10.9 “Mavericks”. Here are some of the things to look for when Yosemite is released later this year:
- New look and feel: While the basic ways of doing things are the same, fonts and icons have changed, and translucency is everywhere, in the service of what Apple considers to be beautiful.
- iCloud Drive: Freely add files and sync them across your Mac and Windows computers, and iOS devices. (Dropbox could not have been happy to hear about this.)
- Send attachments of any size using Apple Mail, without needing third party services for larger files. (I know some of you will be psyched about this.)
- AirDrop between Macs and iOS devices. (I’m psyched about this.)
- Mark up and annotate mail attachments directly within Mail.
- Revamped Safari offering simplified user interface, superior performance, and private searching.
- Revamped Spotlight that searches the web in addition to on-comptuer content.
- If your iPhone is nearby, the Messages app can receive SMS text messages, not just iMessages.
- If your iPhone is nearby, you can, on your Mac, see caller ID for incoming iPhone calls, dial from your Mac address book, and use your Mac as a speakerphone.
The iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch operating system is also getting an update later this year. It will run on any device that runs iOS 7, with the exception of the iPhone 4 (but the 4S is still eligible). Here’s some of what’s coming:
- iCloud photo storage. That’s right, your entire photo library can be saved on iCloud and synchronized between your devices. No dinky Photo Stream, the real thing. When they bring iPhoto for Mac on board with this sometime next year, a long-sought holy grail will at last be found.
- Revamped search that includes web content as well as on-device content.
- A new keyboard that predicts the next word you’re going to type, so all you have to do is tap it. (Other phones have had similar functionality for years; it works well.) In addition, developers are now able to develop alternative keyboards, so you might be able to buy one that lets you input faster or more comfortably than Apple’s does.
- Family sharing lets you use a single credit card across multiple Apple ID’s, with designated Apple ID’s requiring permission to purchase. This is huge.
- Enhanced Messages app that provides more media and group chat functionality like what you get in WhatsApp and Line.
- There’s a new Health app designed to act as a central place that integrates other fitness and health related apps and devices.
My favorite announcement, though, is the one that will go unseen by users: Apple announced an all-new programming language of their own devising called Swift, which offers faster app performance and much simpler coding. This should reduce bugs, speed the release of apps, and make app development accessible to even more people. And make developing for Mac and iOS more fun.