WWDC: Apple's New iOS and OSX Yosemite Arrive
Today was the WWDC conference for Apple's new and improved OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) and iOS for their mobile devices. There really wasn't a lot "new" today, but there were a few things "improve"”. There are quite a few things that are new to Apple, but I know a lot of the mobile announcements in iOS 8 has already been implemented on Android. WWDC was basically Google I/O 2012 Deja vu in many respects, but it was still an interesting conference to watch.
Despite my grammar issues on social media today trying to keep up with everything that was presented, Apple announced updates for their two main platforms: OS X 10.10 for the Mac and iOS 8 for their mobile products (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch). They started off talking about the names to call the new OS, and claim to have sent their crew out on a journey throughout California to find a name. There were a few interesting names that were brought up at the conference but I think they have a winner with OS X Yosemite.
A couple of things I picked up from the Livestream is that you are able to change colors from light to dark on OS X Yosemite. Now pages can be translucent and they have updated their toolbar and with the transparent windows, you can lay web pages and more on top of one another and still see some content behind the active window (think Vista Aero). Small things like that can make the user experience better, but these have already been done on Windows - years ago. Customizing your desktop interface is not a new thing. One thing that did impress me though were the tabs. You can scroll through your tabs and this is handy if you're the person that has 10 or more tabs open at a time. (Raises hand)
OS X previously didn't have a universal search like Windows 7 or Windows 8, so Apple has added a feature that most PC owners will recognize! If you start typing something you are trying to search for, whether it's on the web or a document on your Mac itself, a search bar pops up and you can start searching away! Windows 8 does that from within their Start screen. Apple calls this feature Spotlight, and you can type in anything from maps to documents to things on the web, and it will try and find what you're looking for.
Cloud syncing between all your devices is new to Apple and you can pick up the last thing you were typing up between your phone and Mac. This is pretty cool actually. You can continue an email that you started typing on one device and switch to another - real-time. This is new and while you can limp through the process with "Draft" email in GMail, this is much more elegant.
There are quite a few other little things that I know I've left out about OS X Yosemite, but those are some of the key features I found interesting. When it comes to iOS 8, let the games - or should I say trash-talk, begin! To sum up a lot of the iOS 8 "innovation", they could just have shown off a Jellybean device. Apple is trying to be the next best thing and are distracting users from copycat features by trash-talking Android and their fragmentation. (It hasn't hurt them yet). Tim Cook really showed no class as he bashed Android and while Apple claims 97% "satisfaction" with iOS7, the only thing I ever hear from iOS 7 users is that it is horrible. I'm not saying Android is perfect, but it has lead the software innovation race over the past few years.
I applaud Apple with a slow clap they finally brought their mobile OS to 2012. They claim that 130 million were new to Apple last year and half of them switched from Android. You also have to take that with a bucket of salt as Mr. Cook also incorrectly reported that over 33% of Android users are still using a four-year-old OS. This is clearly not true and can be confirmed from a number of sources. In truth, many of Apples' "new" things in iOS 8 have been done by Android 2-3 years ago.
One of Apple's new features for iOS 8 is the ability to "flick" away notifications (sound familiar?) and the combination of Siri and Spotlight pretty much matches up with Google Now for Android. Again, these are catch-up moves, not innovation. One good thing is that Apple has updated their keyboard and will finally allow third-party keyboards to be installed. Predictive text has also finally arrived on Apple products. GeekBeat did mention that predictive texting isn't nearly as fast as what Apple was saying - but we should cut them some slack as iOS 8 won't be out for public release until the fall. It's odd that Apple trash-talked Android so much, then did the same things that they've been doing for the past few years. I guess they were just taking advantage of the "Patent Truce" that they declared a couple of weeks back.
The rest of the conference talked about some new apps and a programming language that will interest app developers and fitness nuts. A health kit app is added for those that want to keep track of their health better. This is kept in the cloud and hopefully Apple doesn't get hacked and all of your personal health information is kept secure. Other nifty features related to families sharing the same iTunes account include notifications and approvals if a purchase is being made in the App Store. Your credit card and iTunes card is a bit safer now (from your family members at least).
Some home automation will make its way into iOS 8 and with a click of a button you'll be able to change your thermostat, open your garage, turn on your lights and more. Other tidbits include an update to the gallery and will enable you to do basic editing on your device. iOS 8 will allow you to view all your photos on all your devices through the cloud - much like Google+ and Android. That’s right. This is "innovative". As photos are uploaded to the cloud, it will take extra battery power as well as eat up your data plan. Make sure to keep track of both of these things so you have enough juice and data to get through the day.
In terms of programming, Sprite and Scene can be used to quickly program games for iOS 8. There is also a new programming language called Swift that is better and faster than Objective-C. Swift code will be much easier to use as well. Apple introduced “metal” that is designed for A7 processors that allows for better gameplay as it ties in closer to the hardware directly. Games from EA, Epic and more will integrate deeper on your device for a faster, smoother experience. The graphics look very impressive for a mobile device with "Metal" making it much better and offering more processing power and in turn more realism - all on a mobile device. Once iOS lands, you'll be able to download Zen Garden to showcase the power of your device. This will be free in the App Store and perhaps can be downloaded early if you’re a developer.
Apple is becoming a bit more open as the iOS 8 beta is available today and will be available for all of your devices in the fall. It will work on anything from iPhone 4 and up and will probably launch when the iPhone 6 is released.
All in all, there are some interesting things coming down the pipe for Apple users and I'm glad that they are getting these updates and features. As I said before, I know I missed some things so make sure to check the links below for the bits that I missed.
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