Developer conferences are traditionally all about empowering app makers, and suddenly Apple’s is no different. During a keynote address at the company’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) today (June 13), the tech giant opened up many of its well-known apps—Siri, iMessage, and Apple Maps among them—to third-party developers.
The move marks a departure for Apple, a company famous for its closed system. But with tech companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon opening up their services to developers over the past year, Apple clearly thinks its ability to attract top app developers depends on having an ecosystem with a bit more freedom.
Here are all the new Apple services developers can now play around with:
- Siri: Finally. Developers have been asking for open access to Siri since the voice assistant first launched about 4 years ago and while Siri isn’t completely open now, Apple is allowing developers to perform all sorts of new tasks with it (her?). To start, users can now request rides through apps like Uber, send money to friends with Square Cash, look up photos from a certain time or place, send messages or make calls with apps like WeChat and Whatsapp, and set a car’s climate and settings with CarPlay. (This is of course in addition to all the stuff Siri can already do.)
- iMessage: As with other messaging apps that offer third-party support, developers can now create stickers (no coding required) for Apple’s iMessage. More important, iMessage now has its own App Store; users can share text, video, music, links, and more; edit photos; play games; send payments; and interact with friends—all from iMessage.
- Lock Screen Notifications: Notifications can do a lot more with iOS 10. They now support live information, so users can see if a friend is typing a text, or how far away an Uber driver is. Notifications can also display images and videos, and play music. Much of this is possible because of 3D Touch—the iPhone’s version of a right-click—which uses the amount of pressure applied to the screen to activate different functions.
- Widgets: Widget view is here, appearing both as part of the Control Center and when using 3D Touch on an app’s icon. App developers can use widgets to relay quick information, like the live score from the Golden State Warriors game.
- Apple Pay: Apple’s payment service is coming to the web, on both mobile and desktop Safari. That’s a big deal—Apple Pay uses Touch ID, so it’s more secure for online payments, and works without a password. Apple Pay also now works for in-app Apple Watch purchases.
- Home: Apple’s HomeKit—a developer toolkit to connect an iPhone to internet-of-things devices—has always been open, but until now it was difficult for users to see and control all their connected third-party devices. New app Home will let them do just that.
- Apple Maps: Apple Maps got a big design overhaul, and now supports new third-party features, like making restaurant reservations or requesting a ride. Apple Maps can also suggest apps and services based on a user’s location.
- Phone: Apple knows everyone is using other services to make calls; they’ve made peace with it. A new API allows apps like Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger to show calls directly on a lock screen, and all calls, regardless of service, will show up in the Recent and Favorite tabs in the Phone app.