Apple’s yearly keynote at their Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) just wrapped up, lasting almost 2.5 hours, where Apple CEO Tim Cook and others introduced several new updates to Apple’s software, and some new services. Here’s what’s new:
OS X El Capitan
Apple’s first announcement of the day was the next major release of the Mac OS X operating system, version 10.11. Although there are some minor features added when compared to the current release (version 10.10 Yosemite), El Capitan (named after the rock formation within Yosemite National Park) mainly focuses on stability and speed improvements. Apple states that activities such as launching applications, switching between applications, displaying e-mails, and opening PDF files are up to four times faster than in the previous version of OS X.
The biggest feature added in OS X El Capitan is split view, which allows you to work in two different applications side-by-side, with resizable and swappable windows.
Apple’s iOS operating system, which runs on iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches, was also updated, with version 9 being announced. Some of the new features added in iOS 9 include:
A new “News” app will be included with iOS 9, replacing the “Newsstand” application introduced in iOS 5. The news app lets users customize news stories based on the topics that they’re interested in, and lets publishers control the content, allowing them to add interactive features, such as photo albums, animations, and videos.
Apple’s mapping service got off to a bumpy start when it was launched with iOS 6, but has slowly been improving over the past several years. With iOS 9, Apple hopes to improve the platform even more with the addition of public transit directions in many major cities.
Multitasking on iPad
Apple has taken the same Split View interface from OS X and brought it to the iPad, allowing iPad users to run two apps side-by-side. In addition, a new picture-in-picture view has been added so a user can work on something else while watching a video.
Although unannounced during the keynote, Apple’s website indicates that they will be releasing an application for Android devices in the Google Play store that assists Android owners in transferring their data to an iPhone.
Other iOS 9 features include a longer battery life, a smaller operating system size, and speed and reliability improvements over iOS 8.
Although the Apple Watch was only released at the end of April, Apple has already announced version 2.0 of the watch’s operating system, now being called “watchOS”. New features include new watch faces, “Time Travel” (which allows a user to move forward or backwards in time to see upcoming or past appointments), and apps that can run natively on the watch, without needing to be connected to an iPhone.
Apple’s final major announcement of the day was the long-awaited music streaming service, which replaces Beats Music.
Apple Music works very similarly to other streaming music services, such as Spotify, but it also combines elements from other music services, such as SiriusXM’s Internet radio service.
For $9.99/month (or $14.99/month for a family of up to six people), subscribers have unlimited, streaming access to the entire iTunes library, as well as a new 24/7 live streaming radio station, Beats 1 (which appears to be similar to SiriusXM’s Hits 1), which will be available in over 100 countries, and broadcasts live from Los Angeles, New York, and London.
Limited features will be available for free, while the rest require a subscription. In addition to being available on Apple’s devices, Apple Music will also be available for Windows and Android.
Public Betas of OS X El Capitan and iOS 9 will be available later this summer, while the final release will be sometime in the fall. Both OS X El Capitan and iOS 9 will be free upgrades.
OS X El Capitan and iOS 9 will be supported by all current devices that are capable of running OS X Yosemite and iOS 8.
Apple Music will be available with the release of iOS 8.4 on June 30th.