If September is the month for Apple hardware, June is most certainly known for its software. Apple has kept to tradition, hosting the annual Worldwide Developer’s Conference on the first week of June – and letting it act as a platform for its most important software updates for the year. So it was business as usual for the most part, until there was “One more thing…”
First up, Mac OS X. Apple has been bringing out annual updates for its Macbook and iMac OS for years now, and Mavericks last year was fairly substantial. This year’s update (called El Capitan, I kid you not), is far more behind the scenes work. It’ll increase performance of programs and apps, add the once mobile exclusive Metal API for enhanced graphical performance and make tweaks to Mission Control and Spotlight. There’s a beta out next month, but you’ll probably have to wait until Q3 to get your hands on it properly.
Following that was the suspected iOS 9, which will bring with it some new native apps and a lot of under the hood enhancements. Battery life has been extended, performance increased and the overall size of the OS shrunk for easier upgrading. iOS 9 on the iPad will finally support Multitasking in various interesting ways, while the Newsstand app will be replaced by just News – which will aggregate news stories from multiple sources, like Flipboard.
The biggest change is Siri, who will now act as a more proactive rather than dormant assistant. Siri can now automatically generate calendar entires based on message, mails and more, while also automatically detecting when you want a particular type of music (like some energetic techno for a morning run). Siri will also try guess unknown incoming calls from numbers in your other apps, while also deep linking suggested apps you might want to use at certain times of the day. All of this with an added promise of privacy – with Siri now never taking information away from your device and storing it somewhere else.
The Apple Watch is also getting a new OS soon, which will add a ton more interactivity to the device. With gimmicks like new watch faces out the way, Apple is opening up Watch OS to developers in ways they expected at launch. What this means for the device is that it’s starting to look like something that actually justifies at least the base price – especially with fitness features being cracked open for other apps to meddle with. It’s still early days, but it could mean that the next Apple Watch is a far more focused, understood device.
But the biggest (although still expected) news was saved right until the end. Apple CEO Tim Cook, along with guests such as Drake, formally revealed Apple Music – the company’s very own streaming service. Coming June 30th with an iOS update, Apple Music will act as three different things. First and foremost, you’ll be able to stream a massive selection of music and videos, as well as listen to a new 24-hour Apple driven radio which is hosted by top musical personalities. That’s essentially what you’d expect the service to at least do.
In traditional Apple fashion though, it goes further. Using a feature called Connect, Apple Music will allow artists to directly connect with fans – allowing them to share videos, audio bits and more on personalised pages. Not only that, but the service will act as a platform for upcoming, unknown musicians to get their music out there, with the potential of a million strong user base having direct access to their creations. It’s a truly new platform for music, rather than just a Spotify competitor.
And it all comes for $9.99 (or $14.99 for a six person family plan). It’s not revolutionary in the way it approaches streaming, but having it native on your Apple device makes it far more handy. Not only that, but Apple Music will come to Android too later this year – in a move that basically confirmed how the Google owned OS can no longer be ignored. Ultimately, it was the biggest news from WWDC this year, and I can’t wait to try it out.
Last Updated: June 9, 2015