US National Vanilla Custard Day

Jun2014 03

WWDC 2014

Tim Cook took to the stage to introduce the 25th anniversary of the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco. He, of course, talked about how the sales and account numbers were up and then quickly brought Craig Federighi on to show off the next version of the Mac Desktop -- OS X Yosemite (10.10).

Yosemite features a nicely refreshed UI, menu and dock along with other graphic-parity with iOS. Spotlight becomes front and center with a new look. iCloud Drive is a new cloud based file storage system (5GB for free, 20GB for $0.99 per month) which can be used by other services such as Mail Drop, allowing larger attachments (up to 5GB) to be sent via email.

Safari gets the new look and best of all, no Silverlight plugin is required for Netflix users anymore as the built in HTML 5 render has been enhanced. There is also a new "show all tabs" view that will be most welcomed and new sharing abilities to other services. Hopefully Pocket will be able to plug into this.

Continuity was the next thing Apple talked about and (finally) announced that Airdrop will work between iOS and OS X now. You'll also be able to start working on an email on your iPhone, get near your Mac and then continue where you left off on that Mac.

Instant Hotspot allows your Mac to turn on your iPhones Hotspot presumably via Bluetooth and Making / Receiving Phone calls on the Mac via the iPhone allows your Mac to be speaker phone and this was demo when Craig called Dr Dre to let him know that he'll see him around campus.

iOS numbers came down from Tim Cook with 500 Million devices worldwide and the fact that iOS 7 has a 97% satisfaction rating, with the overall install base of iOS 7 on all iOS compatible devices being 89%. There were Android numbers too such as Android has sewn up the Mobile Malware market with a 99% piece of the pie. :)

iOS 8 contains new features such as smarter notifications that you can pull down to do more with such as reply to an iMessage, QuickType is a new predictive words/sentence text input (back like what I had in the good ole Palm days), Group Messaging gets a much needed update with add/remove and leave thread features. iMessages also gets audio and video messaging which looks both very easy and cool to use.

Enterprise gets a mention along with HealthKit, a single place to provide and store your health information. PhotoSteam got a boost too, allowing you to access all your photos on all your devices. It wasn't entirely clear how this works, but if they can pull it off, it sounds great. The Camera also got some nice tweaks such as allowing you to quickly smartly adjust brightness, shadow, etc.

You can now activate Siri by saying "Hey Siri" as an in-car feature, Shazam song recognition using the iTunes Store and a couple of other things Apple snuck in there at the end.

The App Store is getting a bit of a revamp with trending searches, category and related searches, App bundles (developers with multiple apps can bundle their apps together), App preview via videos in the App Store. Apple also introduced Testflight, which they bought and I've been using for sometime. So it's good to finally see it's been brought into the Xcode world.

Next up the SDK interoperability got some love with custom Sharing Sheets, custom widgets in the Notification sheet and Safari extensions. Custom keyboards are now available system wide. I know this will make a few people happy.

TouchID was opened up with API access, Camera and Photo APIs were also opened up. HomeKit was the next new API announced allowing home automation vendors to build greats apps with Siri integration. iCloudKit available free (with limits) is a server-side area available for storing databases, etc. ie. much like Parse.

Metal is a new API that allow developers get closer access to the A7 chip meaning better graphics. Epic Games then demoed a virtual Zen Garden which showed off the power of this new API. Quite amazing.

SpriteKit then got a quick mention with some new features along with the new SceneKit, which is for 3D game development.

Xcode 6 was announced with a ... wait for it ... new programming language called Swift. It's Objective-C without the C baggage. No semi-colons either. It can run along side with Objective-C code, so no need to worry just yet. Swift via "Playgrounds" in Xcode gets compiled in real-time allowing you to automatically see your code change on the fly.

And that my friends was the game changer. Apple has already released a copy of the Swift Programming Guide on iBooks, which I encourage you all to grab a copy of. I'm sure there will be a bunch of sessions on Swift at WWDC too.

Overall, it was the first time in a long time, that the WWDC keynote has been just about the software, which was refreshing. No new hardware announcements, just the hint of an event in that magnitude in Autumn/Spring.



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