As expected, no new hardware was unveiled at during this year’s keynote, but there were many notable announcements made as Apple previewed the next iterations of OS X and iOS, confirmed Apply Pay will be making its way to the UK, and finally showed off Apple Music in all its glory. We’ve wrangled up all the info for the big announcements and put them in one place for your convenience. So, without any further ado, let’s dive in.
OS X 10.11: El Capitan
There won’t be any huge changes to OS X with this update, but there will be plenty of quality-of-life improvements across the board. Split-screen multi-tasking windows will be introduced, and the Spotlight search feature will become more user-friendly, allowing for users to type in “pictures created in 2014” and get the desired results. Other improvements includes new mouse gestures, the ability to mute open tabs in Safari, a new way to pin websites while browsing, and the introduction of the Metal 3D SDK, which will improve app launch times and the performance of games. Expect the full rollout of El Capitan in the Autumn.
Virtual assistant Siri will be getting an upgrade in the next iteration of iOS, with Apple putting emphasis on the word “proactive” during the WWDC keynote. Much like with Google Now, Siri will track your activities and app usage and react as needed. For example, Siri will be able to suggest people you might want to call, highlight news that is relevant to your interests, and bring up the “now playing” menu on your lockscreen when you plug in your headphones, all without being prompted. Privacy concerns were also addressed, with Apple promising that any data would be stored on your device as opposed to in the cloud.
Elsewhere, many commonly used apps will be getting improvements, such as Maps gaining public transit information, and the introduction of News, which will replace Newsstand. Utilising a Flipboard-like interface, allowing users to read articles from specific publications or see recommendations based on your interests.
For iPad users, new gestures are being added such as the ability to turn the virtual keyboard into a touchpad, and the multi-window support will also be available. On top of this, users will be able to use the slide-over feature to quickly switch between open apps, or even use the new picture-in-picture mode so videos are still viewable. Like OS X, iOS 9 will be rolling out in the Autumn.
After its big reveal last year, Apple Pay is finally going beyond the US, making its international debut here in the UK next month. Apple claim there will be 250,000 locations that will accept the payment method, including McDonalds, Marks & Spencers, and the Post Office. The most notable addition to that list was the London transport network, so those without an Oyster Card can avoid queuing at the machines every time they want to jump on the tube.
Most high street banks will also use Apple Pay, although the notable exception from the list is Barclays, who have stated they are working with Apple to reach an agreement on the service. It has also been reported that transactions will be capped at £20, similar to other contactless payment methods.
The next iteration of WatchOS will deliver some upgrades and new features to the Apple Watch. There will be new watch faces, including the ability to use rotate through your pictures in the background, but the more interesting addition comes with ‘Time Travel,’ which will alert users to future appointments and weather forecasts. Other new features include the ability to respond to emails, being able to watch videos, and make Facetime audio calls directly from the Apple Watch – something that will no doubt please Dick Tracy fans everywhere.
Perhaps the biggest news was the announcement for full support of HealthKit and HomeKit, the latter of which will allow the Apple Watch to be able to connect to nearby WiFi instead of to an iPhone. Much like with OS X and iOS 9, WatchOS 2 will be coming this Autumn.
Finally, the news everyone was expecting was saved for last. The contender to Spotify’s crown will offer a music streaming subscription service, a 24/7 radio station named Beats1 headed by former Radio One DJ Zane Lowe, and a social network platform called Connect where artists – including unsigned bands – will be able to post updates, pictures and videos to their fans. As far as subscription costs go, the current prices are stated as $9.99 a month, although a family subscription of $14.99 will allow up to six people to enjoy the service. UK specific pricing has yet to be announced.
The Apple Music app, which will require iOS 8.4, will also become with default music player as well, making it the one-stop-shop for all your musical needs. The improvements to Siri will also work with Apple Music, meaning you can ask for a certain genre, songs by a particular artist, top songs from a particular year, or even something more vague like “That song from that Volvo advert” and Apple Music will play what you want. Apple states that it will have a catalog of over 30 million songs, but there are no specifics which labels or artists will be included (bar Drake, who was on stage singing the service’s praises.)
Lastly, Apple Music will be available on iOS at the end of the month, but it will also be available on Android devices in Autumn of this year and PC's via iTunes. There's no word on whether it will be making the leap to Windows Phone though, despite the fact Beats Music was previous available on the platform.
And that's your lot. What did you consider the highlight of this year's keynote? Did anything impress you? Perhaps nothing did? Let us know in the comments!