Like Christmas, it comes once a year. It is a joyful day for every iOS and OS X developer. I am talking about Apple’s keynote at it’s annual WWDC event. Joyful that it was live streamed this year, I walked away with more excitement than I thought I would have.
I previously wrote about How Apple Could Improve iOS 8 And The iPhone. As of today they have tackled two of those items: better battery life and more iCloud storage.
The first comes in the form of better app power monitoring though. It doesn’t actually improve battery life.
Now users can see precisely how much power an app is using. Knowledge is half the battle and this will go a long ways towards helping people to better control the battery usage on their devices.
The iCloud storage limitations got better today. While you are still stuck with only five gigabytes for iCloud accounts at the free level, you can upgrade to twenty gigs for only $0.99/month. It’s not great, but it’s not a bad price either. Users can also upgrade to 100Gb+ starting at $3.99/month. That’s decently competitive with other storage solutions.
One of the things I am most excited about is the new Health app. It’s Apple’s way of aggregating all your health information from other apps into a single place.
I wrote a couple weeks ago about Apple getting into the healthcare space and I can see the start of something really great here. I expect many health apps to integrate quickly with the Health app, and we end up getting a better over view of our own health. This could help to open up healthcare in a good way.
I have wanted widgets for a while. When the Notification Center was originally released, I kept expecting the “one more thing, widgets!” It didn’t come.
Now they’re here! I still have an idea to let developers update their app icon dynamically, but this is still great. It does feel a little limited, but I don’t doubt that developers will make use of it.
Invite The Family
For as long as I have had an iPhone I felt that I should not have to pay twice for apps that me and my wife use. So we shared an iTunes account. It wasn’t super inconvenient, but it wasn’t convenient either.
Now as long as both accounts use the same credit card, purchases will transfer across accounts! It seemed like a no brainer to me. CD’s, movies, hardware. Tech is often shared across a house hold, so I am very happy to see this happen.
When they first started demoing the new Continuity features I wasn’t too excited. But by the end I could see that there was something too this.
I have long felt that there was potential to better integrate devices with their desktop counterparts. Document syncing seemed to be that answer. Apple took it to the next level.
Now you can literally pick up one device and finish where the other left off. It will sync the file, yes, but it will open straight into the document that you were editing.
Your phone knows what app and file you are using on the desktop and vice versa. Swipe the icon on the lock screen and now you’re editing that file on your phone.
They demoed this using their own apps, but I am curious to see if this is opened up further for third party developers. It will be a big win for productivity.
I get tired of hearing from androidians talking about sharing data between apps. Thing is I see the usefulness in it. Still, I very much believe Apple was doing the right thing for security by keeping apps in walled gardens.
Well now apps can offer data and functionality to other apps. They’re still walled in for security, but one app can call to another to get data, pass over data, and even allow the other app to provide UI elements.
This is another very excited feature. It opens the door to third party keyboards. I can see a lot of functionality being built around this. And the best part is that the user can control that access between apps!
This is another instance I am glad Apple put thought into doing it right and didn’t just open things up. Take a lesson world!
I hate group texts. Apple finally fixed that. You can now add and remove people from a group text. And best part, you can also mute the conversation!
I always hated getting stuck on massive group texts with tons of people that I didn’t even know responding. I also hated responding to a bunch of people I didn’t know, because I didn’t realize it was a group text.
It’s an area that seems pretty obvious to me: it’s very easy to solve from a technology standpoint.
The other great new feature in Messages is that as a part of Continuity your non-iMessage texts (the green bubble conversations) also show up in the Messages app on your computer!
It’s finally open to developers. Basically it unlocks the keystore for the user, effectively unlocking an app or encrypted data inside of the app.
It’s still completely secure in that developers never touch the fingerprint data. Easy win.
A New Hope?
Swift is a new programming language by Apple. I’m not joyed by the prospects of having to learn a new language, but I think this could end up being very good.
In the keynote, they noted massive performance improvements. That makes it worth considering.
Swift promises to work along side Objective-C, which means as developers we still have access to the enormous number of libraries out there and we don’t have to throw out our existing code right away.
I enjoy following the keynotes at WWDC. This year I was not expecting much.
Truth is that there is way more new features than I listed here. I finished that keynote very excited to see where the platform is going. There is a lot of new functionality available to developers.
There is always talk about iOS getting stale or left behind. Today’s keynote takeaway is that the iOS and OS X ecosystem has never looked brighter.
What feature are you really excited to see? What one thing were you hoping for that they missed?