Apple WWDC: Developer Conference Keynote Brings Big Promises
The next update to Apple's mobile operating system, iOS 10, will be "the mother of all releases," CEO Tim Cook said today during the kickoff keynote at the company's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco.
The "biggest iOS release ever," will include a redesigned Lock screen experience, new levels of artificial intelligence provided through the Siri digital assistant, improved functionality for HomeKit home automation and a wide range of new features for Messages, according to senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi. A developer preview of iOS 10 (pictured above) became available today, with a public beta set for July and availability as a free update coming this fall.
During the morning keynote, Apple executives also took the wraps off the coming updates for macOS (formerly OS X) Sierra, watchOS 3 and tvOS. Cook opened the presentation by calling for a moment of silence in the wake of yesterday's deadly attack in Orlando and closed by announcing the coming launch of Swift Playgrounds, an iPad app designed to encourage people -- especially school children -- to learn how to code using Apple's programming language Swift.
Siri Opening Up to iOS Developers
Some of the new capabilities that will be introduced with iOS 10 include a raise-to-wake feature that will let users automatically wake their iPhones just by picking them up, as well as artificially intelligent sorting and categorizing of photos, a more proactive Maps feature, subscriptions for Apple News and voice mail transcriptions for missed calls so users don't have to listen to voice mails. The update to the Messages feature will also be a "doozy," with new support for inline videos, emoji predictions, text bubble effects and even handwritten messages, Federighi said.
The release of iOS 10 will also open up the Siri intelligent assistant to developers with SiriKit, enabling the creation of new apps that integrate with Siri. Siri will also have an increased presence in areas such as QuickType, which will introduce new contextual predictions and predictive typing in multiple languages.
iPhone users will also be able to access Apple Pay via the Web as well as through their phones or Apple Watches, with purchases made on a desktop being authenticated seamlessly via TouchID on connected phones or watches.
Swift Playgrounds will 'Revolutionize' Code Learning
The coming update to Apple's desktop operating system, macOS Sierra, is also set for a public beta in July and general release in the fall. In addition to adding a Web-based version of Apple Pay, macOS Sierra will also add new capabilities for Siri and cross-device integration of files and documents, so items saved on a desktop can also be accessed via a user's iPhone or iPad. That integration will also enable a user to copy and paste seamlessly from one device to another.
Other new features being introduced in macOS Sierra include Tabs for almost any app, picture-in-picture capability and a new Memories feature in Photos that adds facial, object and scene recognition for sorting, grouping and categorizing photographs.
The coming update to watchOS, meanwhile, will make it easier for users to launch apps, as well as navigate and track health and fitness goals. New capabilities in AppleTV include single sign-on and more support from Siri.
In detailing the Swift Playgrounds coding education app that will ship with iOS 10 this fall, Cook said the app "will revolutionize the way people learn to code." To encourage more people to begin learning how to code using Swift, Apple will make Swift Playgrounds available for free, he said.
Image credit: Product shots by Apple; iStock/Artist's concept.
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