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Software Announcements Dominate Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Keynote

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

When Tim Cook took to the stage at the Moscone Center in San Francisco for the Keynote of the 2014 Apple Worldwide Developer’s Conference, we pretty much knew that hardware wasn’t going to be the main focus. And Tim and company didn’t disappoint as the keynote was largely dominated by updates to both OS X and iOS. This left many to believe that the keynote was finally what it was meant to be … developer centric. Which, if you translate it right, means slightly boring for you and me. But even though we didn’t get to see a shiny, new, and larger iPhone 6 or an iWatch, much of the groundwork was laid for Apple’s fall event. Here’s a basic rundown of the rich and interesting upgrades to your favorite Apple’s operating systems.


We’re here to celebrate the developer community and all the apps they’ve created. This year is about OS X and iOS and how they work seamlessly together. – Tim Cook, WWDC14 Keynote

Right off the bat, Apple CEO declared that hardware simply wasn’t in the offing when he stated that this year was all about Apple’s two main operating systems … OS X.10, and the new iOS8. Both contained huge updates and here’s a few highlights …

OS X (Yosemite):

The first big announcement was that OS X.10 took its nickname from another popular California landmark … Yosemite National Park.? In announcing Yosemite, Apple’s Craig Federighi stated that only the big dome national park could match the “beauty and power” of OS X.10. And from the looks of it, he may be right. First off, the interface has gotten a facelift which shows that it’s taking the next step towards merging with iOS.

Yosemite comes with a new interface, new design, flatter icons, and translucent windows that adapt the personality of desktop. This means that if you change your desktop wallpaper, the windows will adopt that color scheme. That’s aesthetically cool, even if it’s rather useless from a practical standpoint. But what is practical is that users can choose a 50% dark mode of menus and toolbars, to make staring at the screen a bit more easier on the eyes.

Yosemite also updated Spotlight search to search globally, not only the desktop and the computer itself, but although searching the internet. Additionally, Yosemite will allow for private tab browsing through Safari, which will enable a user to do his private banking on one tab, while searching for other related information out in the open. Safari will also be able to stream both Netflix and videos encoded in HTML5 without the need of installing a plugin. Safari will also have a bird’s eye view of all visited websites in a stacked configuration. Meanwhile, in mail, users will be able to annotate images with special editing tools including a nifty magnification bubble, and drawing tools that will allow to draw arrows, thought and dialog bubble, and other things which will then be smoothed out into a slick graphic style.

But the real killer feature of Yosemite is the ability to AirDrop between iOS and OS X. Users can hand of open files from their desktop to their mobile device with a simple swipe, as the OS becomes aware of what devices are around it and can communicate with them. It can also turn your iOS device into an instant hotspot which you can log into, and you can send SMS Text messages and even make phone calls with your iPhone acting as an intermediary. And that turns your OS X device into a speaker phone. That is really cool.? OS X Yosemite was made available for free to developers today, with everyone being able to download it this fall. However, Apple is planning a free Public Beta Preview this summer.

iOS 8.

The iOS 8 Update will be what Tim Cook called a “giant release,” with similar updates to Spotlight search, mail, and Safari. But it will also give users the ability to respond to iMessages, third party apps like Facebook and Twitter, from both Notifications and the Lock Screen. And users can access their favorite contacts by giving the home button a simple double tap. Additionally, keyboards will provide predictive words and even response suggestions to questions, as well as the ability to remove yourself or another from a group chat with a simple swipe. Another option in iMessages is the audio/video and still image sharing with wave forms. So, if you’re driving, you can send an audio file, rather than dictate a response through Siri. And users will also be able to automatically find their friends as Apple has incorporated that particular app into iMessages.

Users have also been waiting for iOS’s healthkit options and Apple plans to add the ability to curate the data taken from third party health devices like the FitBit and then to decide what data can be accessed from 3rd party health apps. And with a tie in to the Mayo Clinic, that data can be uploaded and compared to a patient’s profile and if their heart rate, blood pressure or any other issue is deemed out of those parameters, a doctor will be automatically notified.

Family Sharing also comes to iOS8, which will give a family of up to six members the ability to share calendars, group messages, and even media bought off individual iTunes accounts for no extra charge.? And in a huge update to iTunes that will certainly be popular with parents, access to any particular app can be refused, meaning that any kids trying to buy music, apps, or in-app purchases from the app store can be denied as parents will receive a message asking for confirmation. Now THAT I like.

iOS 8′s Photo app will also provide with Smart Editing tools which provide far more capability including to adjust the light, contrast, color and other parameters to a photo to improve it on the fly, and then when saved it’ll populate to the cloud and all signed in devices.? And speaking of which, Apple’s Photostream will no longer have limitations to it. Renamed iCloud Photos, it will give users access to all photos & Videos in the cloud. The first 5GB of storage will be free, with prices starting at .99/mo for an additional 20GB, and all the way to $4 for 200GB. Now that’s a killer feature. It won’t replace the free 1TB of storage I get through Flickr, but it’s certainly going head to head with Google+.

Siri gets a little smarter with song recognition through Shazam, the ability to buy songs and content through iTunes, and also gets 22 new languages. And Apple is also releasing a HomeKit, which will allow developers to write apps that will direct Siri to do home automation, meaning you can tell Siri to set your home’s temperature, close the garage, and even lock the door if you forgot. Another cool feature that’s finally coming is the ability to create widgets which can be seen in the notification center. So pretty much anything can be done within Notification Center, and that’s huge.

Other features for developers will enable them to have access to extensions across multiple apps, rather than being sand-boxed within their own app folder. And Apple is finally giving users teh ability to install third party keyboards. For gamers, Apple is launching a new feature called “Metal,” which will enable developers to directly access the iPhone’s GPU and have even better, console level graphics. And that’s important because it means that Apple is getting REALLY serious about gaming and we could actually see an AppleTV refresh in the Fall with gaming as part of it. So it makes sense that we see Metal inserted into iOS 8. Apple is also providing a SpriteKite for casual games that provides advanced features for more capabilities.

Lastly, Apple announced a new programming language for app developers in iOS 8 called SWIFT, which promises to provide the power and speed of Objective C, without the baggage that comes with it. And by the response, Developers are pysched to get their hands on it. And according to?the Verge, what we heard at today was only the beginning, as features not mentioned included Facetime Call Waiting, Battery usage by app, travel time notifications, a Tips app, separate focus and exposure controls in camera (I like that), and even accessibility features like special braille keyboard.

So, at the end of the day, was there anything that filmmakers can take away from today’s keynote? Not really. But for your every day use, the next step is here and it’s pretty darn cool. And it lays the ground work for the hardware that Apple is going to introduce in the Fall. So while this WWDC keynote wasn’t much from a consumer point of view, you can bet that some September/October, it WILL be.


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