AMITIAE - Tuesday 15 June 2016
Cassandra: WWDC Notes (5) - Open the Box: WWDC 2016 - WatchOS and tvOS
By Graham K. Rogers
As Andy Inahtko wrote in a Tweet, "Very little big news, but very big little news. . . "
There had been rumors of changes: a blue iPhone, improvements to Siri and other ideas (like new MacBook Pro computers) have been floating around for weeks now. Rumors are a poor bet with Apple which may be in part why Wall Street never understands the company. The only sure thing is when the keynote announcements begin. In the end, this time, there was nothing on hardware. Instead the two-hour presentation focussed on the many changes to Apple's four operating systems that will appear in the next few months.
Instead of couching this in general terms, it is always Apple. With manufacture, there are other problems, especially with regard to materials currently used and most would have to be imported, adding to America's bill: the presumptive President might chew on that.
In the presentation Cook began by outlining Apple milestones: this was the 27th WWDC; there are 13 million registered developers, 2 million of whom were added this year; those attending this year came from 74 countries, with 70% attending for the first time; Apple had awarded 350 scholarships this year to young developers. Over 100 developers under 18 were attending the Conference, with the youngest only 9.
There are now over 2 million apps created by these developers and so far there have been 130 billion downloads. Cook was pleased to announce that some $50 billion had so far been paid to developers.
Outlining the events, Cook made a point that the philosophy at Apple is improving people's lives and focused on the four major platforms that are at the core of Apple's output, starting with the Macintosh. He of course included the iPhone and iPad, followed by the Apple Watch and the Apple TV.
Also added to WatchOS will be a form of the Dock, where users' favorite apps may be accessed quickly; a Control Center (swipe up) like on iOS; and major improvements to Messages (which is also improved on other Apple platforms). In the Messages app, it will be easier to choose ways to reply, including a new "Scribble" option: the user will write on the screen. This is available in English and Chinese.
A number of apps or features within the operating systems are aimed directly at Chinese users, suggesting, that Apple is increasing its involvement with users there. In the same way, the update to Logic Pro last week sent two clear messages: Chinese users have a priority; and the Mac is not done yet.
Watch faces and their use are also updated, with more display options (Minnie Mouse, Activity, Numerals) and switching between watch faces will be easier. It will be easier to add complications.
Apple Watch - Image Courtesy of Apple
More fitness-related features have been added, including the ability to share data: among friends and family members. Activities of others can be viewed and comments can be made with messages. As wheelchair users exercise in different ways, algorithms for the Activity have been added to take account of the different body use. Working with experts, Apple has now developed special settings: for example, instead of Time to Stand, there is Time to Roll.
A new app, Breathe, is added in recognition of the importance that deep breathing has. Before leaving the house on any day, I sit and count to 100 Users are able to specify a time to breathe and the app provides a summary after each session. New APIs to help developers have been added and one of these adds Apple Pay to watch apps
The AppleTV remote is to be updated and an iOS app will be available to allow an iPhone to act as a remote controller. Siri has been improved with enhanced search for movies and for YouTube. Channel activation codes have been simplified by the use of an app allowing a single signup. A dark theme will be available for better viewing and an app downloaded on iOS will download automatically on AppleTV
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.
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