Apple unveils OS X updates and iOS 9 at WWDC keynote

Apple Inc. lifted the curtain on its latest operating systems for developers during its Worldwide Developers Conference keynote today. The tech vendor is updating OS X, iOS, and its new watchOS.

Craig Federighi, senior vice-president of software engineering at Apple, gave a rundown of the new OS X El Capitan.

  • Pin sites in Safari aren’t just bookmarks. These pinned sites actually get cached in your browser so you can load them more quickly. There’s also a new and more accessible way to get to these sites in Safari.
  • Spotlight is now a bit smarter and can interpret searches written in natural language. For example, you could search for “mail from Phil about El Capitan” and find those emails.
  • There’s a new split screen feature to quickly snap application windows next to each other. You can do a 50/50 split on your monitor or have one app take about two-thirds of the screen.

Aside from the feature improvements to OS X El Capitan, Federighi also promised some under the hood performance enhancements. Apple’s Metal rendering algorithm will now be supported on OS X, which will lead to faster graphical rendering for working with Adobe applications or playing 3D videogames, for example.

Next it was on to introducing the changes for iOS 9. Federighi gave a rundown of what’s new when it comes to Apple’s iPhone and iPad OS:

  • Siri is going to become more proactive. If you like to listen to music when you run in the morning, it will learn that habit and display your playlist on the lock screen of your device. An API for search means that you can have deep links for apps that are opened up right out of the Spotlight search menu.
  • Apple won’t be creepy with personalized predictions, Federighi says. “We don’t mine your emails, your photos, or your cloud to learn things about you. Honestly, we just don’t want to know.” This will be done on device.

A few of Apple’s marquee apps that come pre-installed with iOS are also seeing some changes. Apple Maps is getting some upgrades. It will now include directions and navigation for transit, but the feature is only available in certain cities at launch, including Toronto.

Apple is introducing a new application, News, that will take the place of Newsstand. The app will aggregate news from many publications based on user-set preferences and serve it up to users in one seamless digital-magazine style interface on iPhone and iPad. News is going to launch in the U.S., U.K. and Australia first.

Jennifer Baily, vice-president of online store at Apple, introduced some new updates to Apple Pay, Apple’s tap-to-pay service for iPhone and Apple Watch that launched in the U.S. last year.

  • Pinterest will be working with Apple to launch “buyable pins” so iOS users will be able to launch a way to make a purchase of a product with retailers like Macy’s.
  • Apple Pay is launching in the UK in July. It will even be accepted by the city’s public transportation system, for riders of the famous red double-decker buses.
  • Passbook is being renamed to Wallet, reflecting all the different things that can now be stored in it.
  • Apple worked with Square on a terminal that can accept Apple Pay, which should be easier for smaller merchants to deploy.

The iPad will also be getting some unique updates for iPad with iOS. The biggest update is how multi-tasking will work. There’s a new visualization for switching between apps. Also, there’s a new “slide-over” feature that allows a user to slide out a frame that’s about one-third or half of the screen and interact with another app.For video, you can use a picture-in-picture feature to continue watching and listening to video while focusing on another app. The slide-over view is available for the iPads released over the past several years, but the split-view feature is only available on the iPad 2.

Developers will be able to get the beta of iOS 9 as of today, and there’s even a public beta – a first for Apple – available in July. Apple will be making iOS 9 open source too, and releasing the compiler for use by developers.

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Brian Jackson
Brian Jackson
Editorial director of IT World Canada. Covering technology as it applies to business users. Multiple COPA award winner and now judge. Paddles a canoe as much as possible.

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