Welcome to this week's review of some of the most captivating Apple news stories. It's been a full week with lots of exciting headlines, many of which focused on Apple's impressive Keynote at WWDC 2014. We'll also take a look at some interesting developments concerning new MFi (Made for iPhone) peripheral devices. Let's jump right in!
With the addition of Beats and Dr. Dre, Apple continues to push the idea that they know how to party. Music and musicians have always been a part of Apple, going back to Steve Jobs' love of the Beatles and Bob Dylan. It was a major dream come true for him to have them finally on iTunes, and featured in a number of Apple commercials. Jobs wasn't the only "Apple Steve" who was into music. Steve Wozniak started the unprofitable (by design) but impressive US Festival in 1982 and 1983, like Woodstock with (slightly) fewer drugs.
Apple's Messages app will be getting many great new features in iOS 8, and it's likely the app that will see the most significant changes. One of the most requested features for Messages had been the ability to respond to alerts of incoming text messages from the lock screen or from within other apps, rather than having to open the Messages app. iOS 8 will now offer that feature.
Apple, notorious for its secrecy, has loosened up its restrictive NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) for the beta versions of iOS 8, OS X, and Xcode 6. In the latest version of the iOS Developer Program License Agreement, they have added the following statement in the Confidentiality section under the topic 10.1 Information Deemed Apple Confidential:
As an app developer, I was pleasantly surprised by the WWDC announcement of App Bundles. A developer will be able to group together a set of apps and offer them at a special combined price. Think back to the old pre-Office365 days when a consumer might buy Microsoft Office versus buying Word, Excel, and PowerPoint separately, and get a better price by doing so.
Even if you had the opportunity to watch the Worldwide Developers Conference keynote in Monday, you may be interested in watching selected segments again. You can now do that, as Apple has posted the video both on the Apple website and on their official YouTube channel.
Now that iOS 8 is in the hands of developers, we'll likely be getting a lot more detail. Apple was able to give only a very cursory overview during the keynote. Macworld has posted an article on 20 features that Apple didn't talk about during the keynote. Some of these are pretty cool, such as time-lapse mode for the camera, private browsing tabs in Safari, battery usage by app, and more. The article covers detail related to features of Camera, iBooks, Siri, Safari, Settings, and Calling.
Everyone asks me right after (and often during) an Apple keynote "what was the best thing they announced?" Since this event was all about software, and there were so many new features announced, I had to ponder it all and let it sink in. And I thought, "What would my wife care about?"
So I have a news reader app on my iPad called Pulse (free), which has lived there for years. It is among the best news apps I have found (though the recent LinkedIn version is garnering complaints), and I say humph. What more do I need? Enter Reverb and the latest Pearltrees 2.0 (both free). Reverb is not a bourgeois news app that spews AP wire content to elite techno-snobs. It shakes things up by dumping material from a cornucopia of sources into each news topic. Though it can be a bit discomfiting, it's mostly just darn refreshing! While Reverb helps one find interesting content on a particular topic, Pearltrees helps you to collect, and even create your own! These two freebies will take you down many enjoyable or even daring roads on the interwebs, which is the point of the journey, yes?
Epic Games' Tim Sweeney took the stage at WWDC as once again his company's technology was prominently featured at the Apple media event. This time however, instead of swinging swords as Infinity Blade's tragic hero Siris, the team behind the best selling Infinity Blade series was there to show off the capabilities of iOS 8's new level of gaming software called Metal.
So the word is out. iOS 8, Xcode 6 and the new Swift programming language are headed your way. What should you do? Should you continue to learn iOS 7 and Objective-C or should you make the switch to iOS 8 and Swift programming? I've already had several emails and tweets asking about this as iOS developers ponder this important question.
WWDC's keynote with Tim Cook and company has come and gone, and what is striking is not what was announced, but what was not announced. A new version of Mac OS and iOS is always to be expected at WWDC. WWDC is when and where developers go to learn direct from the source. I've attended a few times and it's been a great way to learn about new frameworks and tools. It's a no brainer that Apple would use that venue to reveal the next generation of their mobile and computer-based operating systems. But Apple usually has one or two hardware announcements at WWDC. With a captive audience of 5,000-plus Apple computer owners, plus countless more watching the live stream, it's a great opportunity to sell hardware. Maybe not a new phone but usually there is a refreshed or all new MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, or the Mac Pro or Mac mini. Last year it was the dramatically redesigned cylindrical Mac Pro. Before that it was the MacBook Pro Retina. After all, in a crowded room, it's likely that someone is celebrating a birthday that week. So, with such a broad product line from Apple, there is always some device ready to be updated.
Today during the keynote at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, Apple announced some exciting new products and upgrades. Much of what we predicted was right on, while a few things barely got a mention or were left out altogether. Here’s a rundown of the announcements that got us the most excited.
When Tim Cook opened up by saying that iOS 8 accompanies the biggest release of the Apple SDK since the launch of the App Store, I thought it might just be hyperbole. It wasn't. There are tremendous changes in store for iOS app developers that will drastically change the way you create apps. I'll start with the biggest change first.
Imagine you’re arriving home after work, and before you can fumble around for your keys, the door simply senses your presence and unlocks, the lights turn on, music from your favorite album begins to play from your speaker system, the air inside is cooled to your ideal temperature.
What you’re envisioning is actually already possible. All of the technology exists—with products from companies such as Belkin, Insteon, Vera, and Nest—but it hasn’t been leveraged into an integrated system that’s accessible to the everyday person.
If there was a common theme for WWDC 2014, Tim Cook articulated it at the end. He said what's great about Apple products is that their operating system, devices, and services work together in harmony, creating a seamless experience for users. And that seamless experience was expanded in dramatic fashion today, with the announcement of new technologies such as HomeKit, HealthKit, iCloud Drive, and Continuity. Apple also announced a ton of new features for built-in apps in iOS 8 such as Mail, Messages, Photos, and Safari.
As expected, Apple introduced HomeKit, a platform to standardize new and existing home automation systems. They didn't announce any new hardware, but that's probably for the best. Rather than stifle competition, HomeKit can help encourage competing vendors like Lowes, Schlage, Google's Nest and others by making it easy to work together. Lights, locks, thermostats, garage door openers from different manufacturers can now be controlled by Siri or third-party apps, as long as the devices leverage iOS 8 and HealthKit.
Touch ID has been very successful on the iPhone 5s, increasing both security and convenience. It's rumored that Touch ID will now be on all new iOS devices, including the forthcoming iPads.
Apple made two significant announcements related to the iOS keyboard today. One is predictive capability, called QuickType. Depending on context, iOS is now smart enough to predict words as you type.
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