At this WWDC, there was no major overhaul in either the OSX or the iOS. Yes, we did see new releases: OSX 10.11 El Capitan and iOS 9, but both are minor upgrades aimed at improving performance and at the same time bring a more stable OS experience.
Starting with the OSX.
1. Improved Search: The new Spotlight Search can now do so much more, including provide weather results, or the score of a recent game. Spotlight will also search by natural language, so you can find files by typing “Show me the document I was working on last Tuesday” or “the projects I did July last year”. It’ll also search inside apps, so you can, for example, find a particular note in the Notes app. Apart from Spotlight, all the search bars, including the ones in Finder and Safari are improved. You can now search using natural language within Finder too!
2. Mission Control and Split View: Multitasking is a core feature of OSX; Mission Control is essentially the best way to view and switch between all the apps currently running. With El Capitan, Mission Control gets an all new UI and window management becomes very easy. You can now drag a window to the left top corner of the mission control to drop it on a new desktop. Or you can just drop it on the tray to make it full-screen. You can now drop another window onto a fullscreen app to create a split screen view such that you’ll be fully be able to control both apps on the screen and drag-drop things between one to another.
3. Mail, Notes, Photos and Safari: Apple has made small upgrades to all these:
- Mail gets multitouch swipe features and brings the iOS style Compose box that will slide down when you want to read your mail. You can drag and drop into the compose box directly from the inbox while writing a mail.
- Notes gets a much needed upgrade. You can now make to-do lists, drag photos or drop in links into notes. Links will automatically show a thumbnail preview (that’ll even show up on the Notes list).
- Photos now accepts third-party editing tools, just like the iOS app does. The app is said to be more faster and responsive.
- Safari gets pinned tabs, so you can always have your favourite websites up and running at all times. The pinned tabs take up less space and load up instantly as they are continually refreshed in the background. Safari also gets a speaker icon on the search bar to control audio playing from any of the open tabs, so you can mute a YouTube video without even switching to the YouTube tab.
Other than these, there are some performance improvements. Apple brought Metal to Mac, enabling games and heavy apps to directly draw power from the GPU. Here are some other performance figures:
Here are the 3 biggest features in the new iOS:
1. Search and Siri: Yes, again. On iOS 9, you can swipe left off the home screen to see an all new, beautiful search screen. This screen will give latest updates, new apps installed and a quick access to your contacts and will change based on location and time. The search is smart, so you’ll be able to look up stocks, game scores and weather right from there. Siri gets new improvements too: Siri will now understand context (like if you ask Siri to "set a reminder of “this”" while browsing a website, Siri will create a reminder about visiting the website. Its very similar to Google Now on Tap) and it’ll search all new things, like “show photos from last WWDC”. The proactive assistant will know what you do and where you go, so when it learns you go for a morning jog everyday, as soon as you plug in your headphones in the morning, your device will automatically play workout music. Also, calendar requests from email will automatically be added to your calendar so you don’t need to do anything, not even need to read the mail. You’ll get reminded to leave for a meeting based on the time it’ll take you to reach the place (using Maps traffic data).
2. The iPad update: iPad Air 2 will get full fledged split screen multitasking. iPad Air and above will get Picture in Picture, so you can watch a video (like from ESPN) as you use any of your other iPad apps. Slide over will bring up a small sidebar that’ll run an app like Twitter while you use the rest of the screen for whatever you want to do. All these features make the iPad more productive than ever and add serious value to the screen estate.
3. News and Wallet: News is an all new app on iOS: you can now read from hundreds of sources beautifully curated on the iDevice. It is pretty much like Flipboard. News will learn about you and your reading habits and will accordingly provide you with articles. Sadly though, its only launching in the US and 2 other countries as of this September.
Wallet is the new Passbook. Wallet will now hold not only credit cards, but also store/privilege cards. Apple also announced that Apple Pay is coming to the UK soon.
The new Notes app comes to iOS as well.
Again, there are battery and performance improvements, with an all new Low Power button that’ll extend the battery by more than an hour. Security improvements include a 6 digit passcode instead of a 4 digit one, and two factor authentication to secure your account.
Overall, the improvements are great, but not major. I’ll drop a review of the public preview of both these when I get my hands on them in July.
Check back tomorrow to learn more about Apple Music. If you liked this article, remember to hit the like button and share! Keep Technonerding!