Apple’s keynote at its Worldwide Developer Conference didn’t have any hardware news, but it was jam-packed with new features for its four operating systems: watchOS, tvOS, macOS (yes, that’s a new name), and iOS. Free upgrades will be available to the public this fall.
Here’s a rundown of everything announced in the two-hour address:
The operating system that powers the Apple Watch will be faster, more organized, better prepared for emergencies, and more.
- Apple is speeding up its watch apps so they load almost instantly—or to be precise, seven times faster, according to vice president of technology Kevin Lynch.
- A dock is coming to the Apple Watch, which people can access from the side button to access their favorite apps.
- People will be able to scribble responses to text messages on the Apple Watch. The feature supports multiple languages, including Chinese.
- A new SOS mode will call emergency services and also send the user’s emergency contacts a map of his or her location.
- In addition to new activity watch faces, Apple is adding sharing features so Apple Watch wearers can compete against and message (read: talk smack with) friends and family.
- The Apple Watch will be able to track the physical activity of wheelchair users. Instead of showing them a “time to stand” notification, they’ll see “time to roll.”
- Apple is releasing a new health app called Breathe, which reminds people to perform breathing exercises.
The operating system that powers the Apple TV now has 6,000 apps. Today, Apple announced a few more, plus a killer feature that takes away one of the major pains of internet TV boxes.
- By far, the biggest update to tvOS is single sign-on, which theoretically removes the headaches that come from authenticating access to streaming apps. The company didn’t spend much time discussing how it works, but promises that users will only need to sign in once to their Apple TV and automatically gain access to apps offered by their TV subscriptions.
- A new iPhone remote app will use Siri to control the Apple TV.
- Siri for Apple TV will be able to search YouTube.
- HomeKit is coming to tvOS, paving the way for Apple TV to become a hub for the connected home.
The operating system powering Macintosh has a new name. Following the naming convention of iOS, tvOS, and watchOS, Apple has renamed its desktop operating system macOS (from Mac OS X). The first version sporting this new moniker will be macOS Sierra, which will have the following capabilities:
- Siri is coming to the Mac.
- Mac users who wear an Apple Watch will be able to unlock their computers without typing in a password.
- Apple will optimize storage on the Mac by keeping older files on the cloud, leaving room for new files.
- Apple Pay will be available on the web. Users who buy using Apple Pay on their computers will verify their purchases using the iPhone’s fingerprint sensor, TouchID.
- Tabs will no longer be just for browsers. People will have the option to add tabs for other applications.
- Picture-in-picture mode will let people watch videos in a small overlay on their computers while multitasking on other apps.
- Universal Clipboard will let people edit and copy from an iPad or iPhone and paste the changes on a Mac.
Apple dedicated most of the keynote to iOS 10, and it has a laundry list of new features:
- Apple is saving you a click. A new feature called “raise to wake” will automatically show a preview of the lock screen when the device is tilted.
- The lock screen’s user interface is getting a few tweaks. Swiping from the right will lead users to the camera. Swiping from the left will show them their widgets. There’s also a new control center for music.
- With 3D touch, which detects the amount of pressure people apply to the display, Apple is making its lock-screen notifications more robust. For example, 3D touching a notification can show a preview of an Uber driver’s location or let users respond to messages directly from the lock screen.
- Siri will be opened up to third-party developers. This means users will be able to use Siri to compose messages for apps such as Slack and WeChat and send money via Square or Alipay.
- Apple is also applying the power of Siri to its keyboard. With Quicktype, Siri will suggest context-aware information, such as a person’s location or calendar availability. Quicktype will support multiple languages.
- Facial, object, and scene recognition are coming to Photos.
- Like Google Photos, Apple is making it easy for users to create photo stories, complete with dramatic or cheesy soundtracks.
- Federighi says the computer vision will be rendered locally to protect users’ privacy.
- Apple Maps will be more proactive, showing users their commute times, next calendar event, and restaurant suggestions.
- Apple Maps will be opened up to third-party developers. Extensions could let users book a ride with Uber and pay for it using Apple Pay, for example.
- The company announced it has 15 million paid users and unveiled a new—but very familiar—redesign.
- Aside from the cleaner lines and larger fonts, Apple Music’s biggest change is to its playlist curation feature called “For You.” It’ll show recently played tracks, lyrics, and newly added songs.
- Apple is also adding a daily curated playlist called Discovery Mix.
- Apple News, which has 60 million monthly active users, is also getting a facelift. The app will show top and trending stories, news from topics readers follow, new topics based on what they’re reading, and editors’ picks.
- Apple News users will be able to subscribe to their favorite outlets.
- The app will also add breaking news notifications.
- Apple has a new app for controlling the smart home. Home, as it’s called, will show all of a household’s connected devices in one place. Tapping on the icons will turn the devices on or off. People will also be able to turn on scenes, which control multiple devices at once.
- Users will be able to access Home from the lock screen. In a demo, Apple showed how people can watch a live video feed of their doorstep from the lock screen.
- Voicemails will be transcribed.
- The phone app will support third-party VoIP calls, such as WhatsApp.
Apple’s clearly trying to appeal to the Snapchat generation with a number of fun changes to Messages.
- Emoji will be three times larger.
- The keyboard will include emoji prediction. Furthermore, Messages will highlight all “emojifiable words” in a text-based message, making it easy for them to swap out these words for their emoji equivalent, says Federighi.
- Bubble effects will let users adjust the size of the type and bubble.
- A new feature called “invisible ink” will let users obscure a message until the recipient taps on it.
- Messages will support handwritten messages and full-screen effects.
- Instead of displaying a URL in text, rich links will populate a preview of the webpage, music track, video, and more.
- Messages will be opened to third-party developers.
- Safari on iPad will get a split-view option.
- Mail will thread conversations.
- Users will be able to collaborate when writing in Notes.
- There will be new editing features for Live Photos.
- Swift Playgrounds, a free app designed to teach kids how to code in Swift, will be available in the fall.