At its annual conference for software developers on Monday, Apple is trying to demonstrate that it is still a purveyor of high-quality software and services.
Siri might be grabbing the spotlight at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference 2016, but the company’s biggest software star is still the iPhone and iPad operating system: iOS. Apple has just made iOS 10 official at its keynote in San Francisco. iOS 10 brings a revamped lock screen and support for more advanced notifications. Users can interact with messages from a lock screen via 3D Touch, and notification widgets can support video and other rich media content. 3D Touch can be used with notifications to interact with and pull up more data from the underlying app.
- Read more: Android apps on Chromebook become a reality
As expected, Apple has renamed Mac OS X to macOS. The next-gen version of Apple’s PC OS is codenamed Sierra, and heavily emphasizes integration with other Apple hardware. A universal clipboard can be simultaneously accessed by macOS and iOS devices, and a feature called Auto Unlock lets users unlock a Mac using an Apple Watch. iCloud Drive is being updated to let users see the same desktop on multiple Macs, as well as iPhones.
Siri is arriving on Macs, and (as rumored) Apple Pay will support web-based Apple Pay payments, including via TouchID fingerprint authentication. Safari-like tabs will be supported by apps in general, videos can be moved to a picture-in-picture box, and old/unused files can be automatically moved to iCloud to free up storage space.
Also confirmed: Siri is being opened up to third-party developers. Siri will be integrated with the iOS keyboard to make “intelligent suggestions,” and leverage a user’s location and contact info. The Photos app is being updated to support (with the help of AI) face and object-recognition, and to automatically group related pictures – echoes of Google Photos, but with the processing done on a device rather than in the cloud.
Apple Maps is also being opened to developers. Maps’ UI has been revamped, and the app now provides suggestions to users about local points of interest. Apple Music, which now has over 15M paid subs (up from 13M in April), has been updated to feature lyrics and provide better discovery tools.
Apple News now supports access to subscriptions, along with breaking news notifications. A new Home app for iOS and watchOS will act as a hub for controlling smart home devices relying on Apple’s HomeKit framework. There are also phone updates: Voicemails get transcribed and can be automatically scanned for potential spam (useful in China). The Messages app now supports links with embedded media content.