10 Things You Need to Know About Apple's Big Event This Week
Monday kicked off Apple's 2016 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). There were plenty of announcements covered during the 2-hour keynote, and we've rounded up 10 highlights from the event.
No New Hardware Announcements
Though WWDC is primarily for software developers, the total lack of new hardware was pretty disappointing. We still have no news on a new Apple Watch or the iPhone 7, both of which should be out later this year. Also notably missing was any mention of the Siri speaker Apple is rumored to be working on as competition to the Amazon Echo and Google Home.
Easier Emergency Assistance on the Apple Watch
The new SOS function (which is only currently available in the US and China) offers peace of mind to people who might often be alone. Holding the side button enables you to call a local emergency number automatically. SOS will call from the watch itself if you're on WiFi and if not, then it will use your iPhone. Once the emergency call has been placed, SOS will notify your emergency contacts, send a map of your location, and then display your medical ID information for medical professionals to see.
Apple TV Gets Single Sign On Mode
Syncing cable accounts to Apple TV has been a bit of a pain until now. Users had to take the time to authenticate their TV provider for every single network app. But now, Apple is introducing the "single sign-on" feature, which enables you to sign in once and immediately have access to all your network apps.
Sierra Will Feature Siri and Apple Pay
Apple changed the name of OS X to macOS, with this year's version titled Sierra. The free OS upgrade in the fall will finally bring Siri to Mac desktops and laptops. Additionally, Apple Pay will be available on the web, enabling users to shop at a number of online retailers.
One Home App to Control All Your IoT Products
Smart home products typically have to be controlled by apps designated for each brand. But Apple is introducing one app to control all your Internet of Things devices. There's more accessory types available, and every major maker of smart home accessories is reportedly covered. Home support is also built into the Apple Watch, and the Home app will come on iPhones by default. Unfortunately, that means any users who aren't interested in it have one more app to hide.
iMessage Adds Effects and Animations
Soon you'll be able to customize your messages with things like bubble effects, invisible ink, handwritten notes, and bigger emoji. What's more, you'll have the ability to turn on a feature that'll highlight words in messages that can be replaced with emojis.
Photos Adopts Instagram- and Google-Like Capabilities
Photos will have a map view that shows where images were taken, much like Instagram. And Apple is incorporating facial recognition to sort through who's in your photos, similar to Google Photos.
New Recommendation Shortcuts in Maps
Find specific cuisines in restaurant search mode, or just find nearby stops like gas stations along your route. Plus, see how long it'll take to make one of those detours. The app also now includes traffic along your route, with a dynamic view that will zoom in near your turns and zoom out on longer straight roads. Thanks to CarPlay, you'll also be able to see turn by turn directions in the info cluster on the dash in your car.
Apple Music Redesigned
Apple Music has gotten a new look and design that is more intuitive and familiar for users. Opening the app takes you immediately to your library, and then you have the option to navigate with sections that match those found on iPods — like playlists, artists, albums, and more.
Apple Really Wants You to Integrate
Several of the developments announced during the keynote dealt with integration across all your Apple devices. Apple announced features like Auto Unlock, Universal Clipboard, and Apple Pay for the web. The problem is that, for these features, you'll need at least two Apple products. Auto Unlock uses your Apple Watch to unlock your Macbook, instead of typing your password. Universal Clipboard enables you to copy something on one device and then paste it on another. And Apple Pay via the web is only going to work if you have an Apple Watch or iPhone that can authenticate your purchases.
All in all, the WWDC keynote showcased some neat new tricks. But it also highlighted the fact that your Apple experience is always best when all your devices are iGadgets.
Readers, are you excited about any of Apple's WWDC announcements? Or did you feel a little underwhelmed? Let us know in the comments below!