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.
Siri will have a couple great new features in iOS 8. One is hands-free operation, such that you can simply say "Hey Siri" and Siri will respond. This, of course, will be especially useful if you're in your car.
Apple announced their new HealthKit platform and Health app. The main idea is that HealthKit is a single comprehensive repository for all your health and fitness information. The announced platform goes far beyond the rumors.
Apple's vision is stunning. A new feature being demoed right now is Continuity. You can make a call on your phone and then as you sit at your Mac, you can continue the phone via your Mac.
While iPhone Lifers are interested in iPhones, iPads, and iPods, the "halo effect" means Macs are important too. As customers become Apple users for the first time, they appreciate the quality, performance, design, and finish that Apple provides; and when it's time to purchase a computer, a Mac often ends up on the short list. Of course, iOS app developers have to use Macs, so iOS and Mac devices are linked together. Finally, Apple has been combining the best features of iOS with Mac OS, and vice versa. With that in mind, let's look at the Mac news from today's WWDC keynote.
As reported now on several tech sites, the attached parody video (which is a scream, by the way) will make you indeed wonder why you need another premium Apple gadget on your person. But then I had to muddy the waters by adding a mind-blowing tech video from Carnegie Mellon University that demonstrates some stupendously cool things that are possible on your wrist. You won't believe it.. Read on to see it!
Blogger Kevin McNeish has been writing his Unleash Your Inner App developer series for over a year now, sharing his app development expertise with nonprogrammers who have a great idea for an app but don't have the programming skills to build it. The series has been very popular as a result of Kevin's easy-to-follow, in-depth instructions. Now the series is being updated to reflect the most recent version of iOS 7 and we'll be posting an updated post every weekday starting today.
Apple's stock continues to jump up, and there's a tremendous amount of enthusiasm as everyone looks ahead to Apple's keynote on Monday at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). Stock analysts and fanboys have been wondering if Apple still has its mojo in the post-Steve-Jobs era, and CEO Tim Cook has continued to promise that new product categories are coming. Everyone seems to be anticipating we will indeed get something new on Monday—if not hardware, then almost certainly a new platform or two. Let's take a look at what we know is coming, what seems likely, and what's rumored.
The worst-kept secret in Apple's recent history (post iPhone 4 leak) has been the multi-billion dollar acquisition of Beats by Dre. It finally was announced, yesterday, just days before Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference. This gave the newest Apple employees, Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre, a chance to participate in the Re/code conference. Iovine spoke with his new boss, Apple's Eddy Cue, on a range of topics.
It's probably snowing in Hades right now. The rumors turned out to be true; Apple has purchased Beats for $3 billion dollars, and they are about to officially place one of the most popular and profane rappers of the genre on their executive board. As Apple's Tim Cook said in an interview with the New York Times; Dre and his partner Jimmy Iovine (who was also hired in this deal) are "really unique" and that it's "like finding the precise grain of sand on the beach. They're rare and very hard to find."
Apple has announced it will televise its WWDC Keynote, which will take place at 10 a.m. Pacific time on Monday. Specifically, the announcement will stream to Apple TV users via a channel that will appear Monday morning. And visitors to Apple.com can watch it using recent versions of Safari on a Mac or iOS device, or Quicktime 7 on Windows. If you have the WWDC app and an iOS or Mac OS developer account, you should have access the keynote as well as all the videos of the conference sessions, once they are posted.
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