Apple kicks off its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco today, with a keynote address this morning. It looks like the show for 2014 will focus heavily on new software, including (confirmed by banners spotted on the show floor) iOS 8 and the next version of OS X.
xCode & Swift
Apple just introduced a new programming language called Swift. This is enormous news.
iOS 8 is available in beta form for developers today, and available to everyone in the fall.
Apple introduces Homekit, a framework that lets smart home devices connect to your iOS device. This framework lets developers easily build in support for smart home items. It’s not an app, but a background tool that should make integrating this stuff easier.
Notification Center Interactive Widgets
Re-vamping the App Store
Re-vamping search functions bigtime, which has been an enormous complaint from developers and users. Trending apps, continuos scrolling, editor’s choice, app bundles to sell several apps together and more. And video screenshots are coming to the iOS App Store. And boom, Apple launches its purchased company TestFlight as its own service TestFlight. And it’s free.
Apple hasn’t made iCloud free, 20GB are now $0.99c a month and 200GB for $3.99 and an un-priced 1TB plan. Not free, but better than before.
Photos and iCloud
Every photo you shoot is now on all of your devices. And iCloud will store ‘more than your device can physically store’
There are also details about what exactly the editing is doing to your photos, with much, much more granularity. Does this obsolete iPhoto for iOS? Basically Photos.app is the new iPhoto.
Up to six family members that share the same credit card now get to share all of the media that you buy. If a family member tries to make a purchase, it will ask you for permission.
And now we’re on Healthkit, a ‘single place that applications can contribute to a composite picture’ Health, an app that lets you monitor all of your metrics in one place.
The Health app and Healthkit framework are a way to integrate and compile all of the hundreds of health-related apps and metrics into one composite view of your body’s health.
Share information with your doctors directly
This is interesting, it wasn’t highlighted in a big way, but voice and video messages can now be set to expire, just like Snapchat. So, time-limited iMessages that will ‘self destruct’.
Messages gets some huge improvements like naming a thread, adding and removing people and putting individual threads on Do Not Disturb. You can also get a nice gallery view of all of the images in a thread.
As you type you get suggestions for the next words
Spotlight suggestions comes to iOS as well, integrating App Store, point of interest, song search and movie results all right in the search list.
You can like things on Facebook with an actionable notification. Actionable notifications are big, and part of a big ongoing trend I’ve talked about that are making apps more ‘invisible’. You get benefits without ever having to launch them.
You can now minimize an email message to get access to your inbox, which brought a lot of applause from the audience.
OS X Yosemite
An OS X preview is available for developers today, OS X Yosemite arrives in the fall for free from everyone else.
You can also now use your Mac to take phone calls coming from your iOS device, and you can use your Mac as a speakerphone.
Handoff is a new feature that lets you jump back and forth from iOS to the Mac and continue working on a document, email message or more on both platforms. Airdrop Between iOS & Mac
Wireless hotspot connections are now easier, allowing Macs to auto-enable hotspot internet connections to your iOS device.
And it’s demo time again, which is showing off some interesting stuff Mail for marking up images.
So far, Apple is dropping bombs on Box (with Aaron Levie in the front row), Dropbox, Google and Firefox.
Mail Drop is encrypted iCloud attachments up to 5GB. Apple is going full tilt on iCloud expansion and support throughout the system.
iCloud Drive, cloud storage for Windows, iOS, OS X and Web for all of your files, with a traditional folder interface.
Now we’re talking about iCloud Drive, a new file storage system for iCloud. Essentially this is a Dropbox-like folder that links iCloud, iOS and OS X together, showing you all of your files.
He’s got showtimes of movies, streaming items from the iTunes Store and more in a search for ‘Godzilla’ in the new Spotlight.
Craig is now on to his OS X demo, joking about Jony Ive’s ‘custom crafted aluminium’ camping spoons with ‘chamfered edges’.
Pretty slick new interface for Spotlight that combines both offline and online info. This is really a strike right at Google, which does much of this in its search results.
Google disintermediates sources at the search bar, Apple one-ups them by doing it at the OS level.
This is definitely a focused, cosmetic refresh that brings OS X in line with iOS in terms of design language and interactivity.
Federighi uses the phrase ‘sense of place’ when talking about the transparency, which is part of the continuity they’re looking for between the two OS’s.
And now we have an OS X video being shown, which displays how the design is being changed to more closely line up with the icons of iOS. We’re seeing all of the new design elements in closeup.
That was a fairly nice visual comedy bit from Federighi, accompanied by an Indiana Jones-style map.
Craig Federighi is now out to talk about OS X.
Cook says OS X and iOS will be getting play, but also touts a ‘huge’ release for developers that has its own dedicated section of the presentation. New developer tools are on the way and that draws big cheers.
“Our youngest developer here is 13″ says Cook. “They’re going to be building apps for a very long time.”
Cook quoted a number of attendees here for the very first time, which is essentially a nod to the random lottery Apple put in place this year instead of first come first served for tickets.
Photos via Techcrunch