WWDC 2016 Roundup: macOS, iOS 10, Faster Apple Watch Apps, Robust iMessages, and More

BY Evan Selleck

Published 13 Jun 2016

Apple WWDC 2016

June 13 was the start of this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, and Apple knocked the keynote out of the park.

As is par for the course, Apple executives went up on stage, one at a time and sometimes in pairs, to talk about a ton of new features that are arriving in the company’s newest version of its mobile operating system, iOS. This year wasn’t any different. The event wrapped up not too long ago, and it’s safe to say that iOS 10 has a huge list of new additions, tweaks, and improvements when compared to iOS 9.

There’s also new things to unpack from the newest version of watchOS — watchOS 3 — which will make using the wearable and the apps installed on it even better. tvOS 10 sees broader use of Siri and a simpler way to log into apps. And Apple has gone ahead and changed the name of its desktop platform to macOS, and thrown in impressive Continuity features for good measure.

iMessages also got a laundry list of improvements and new features, there’s a new file system for Apple to cover its multiple devices and platforms, and a brand new app to help kids learn how to code.

So let’s dig in.

tvOS 10: Easier to sign in, view live TV

Siri for tvOS

The Apple TV Remote App will boast a Now Playing screen with playback controls, and features all of the Siri Remote features. Including the ability to use Siri, a gyroscope to play games, and a touch area for navigation. Entering text with the keyboard will work as well.

Siri will be able to search movies by topics in tvOS. “Find high school movies from the 80s,” was the example Cue used, which brought up Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Siri searches over 650,000 places of content. And Siri can search YouTube for content, too.

Live channels are getting a bigger focus. “Live Tune-in” will let Siri launch a channel, like ESPN 2, live. It’ll be available on the iPad and Apple TV. “Single Sign-on” will free up the burden of signing into providers. Just sign into the Apple TV, and you can sign into all of them at the same time. There will be a dedicated page to show all of the providers you have access to.

watchOS 3: Dock, Scribble, Breathe, Night Shift

New Watch faces in WatchOS 3

To quickly open your favorite apps, Apple has introduced a ‘dock’ that can be accessed by quickly pressing the button located below the digital crown. Users can put their own set of favorite applications into the dock. These applications will also refresh in the background and you will not have to open them to refresh their data.

Apple has also made it easier to reply to messages on watchOS 3. This includes a new feature called ‘Scribble’ that allows you to quickly scribble on the screen of the Apple Watch, with the OS automatically translating your scribble into the appropriate words.

Breathe is a new app in watchOS 3 that reminds one to take long, deep breaths periodically. This will help you cope up with day-to-day stress better and will improve your overall quality of life.

Taking a cue out of iOS, Apple has added Control Center to watchOS 3 that you can access by simply sliding up from the bottom of the screen. Control Center will provide you with quick access to some of the frequently used toggles and settings like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Night Shift.

macOS Sierra: Continuity, Auto Unlock, Apple Pay, Picture-in-Picture, Siri

Apple Pay in macOS Sierra

Auto Unlock will simplify logging into your computer in a big way. That will let Apple Watch users, which already have their identified authenticated, open up their Mac already be logged in. Universal Clipboard, another part of the new Continuity, will let Mac owners running macOS Sierra copy content from their Phone over to macOS, including texts and links.

With iCloud Drive, Apple will let users access their desktop, and all of their files, available from one Mac computer to the next. That desktop content will also be available on the iPhones as well, thanks to the cloud service.

Apple Pay is coming to macOS Sierra in a big way, thanks to website integration and more. Apple Pay on the web will let users use the mobile payment option within Safari, where there’s a “Pay with Apple Pay,” which will let you use Continuity and Touch ID on your iPhone to authenticate the purchase. Merchants include GILT, and many others.

macOS Sierra is also getting Picture-in-Picture with a dedicated button. The smaller picture can be moved around, and it works in full-screen mode as well.

And that’s Siri. “How do you like being on a Mac,” had Siri respond about no complaints regarding a “lack of Windows,” along with other quips as well. Apple asked, “Show the files I worked on last week about the off-site.” Siri offered a quick comment, and then also brought up the content. Users can then whittle down the options, too, looking for specific files that could have been sent from other people.

Siri will also play music from Apple Music, too. She can also search for images from the web as well. Those results can be dragged from Siri’s dedicated window and dragged into a document or onto the desktop. Siri will also dictate messages to be sent.

iOS 10: New Lock Screen, 3D Touch, Memories, Apple Maps, Home, iMessage

iOS 10 Lock Screen

Apple has redesigned the Lock Screen in iOS 10 with better 3D Touch integration. The latest version of iOS also comes with ‘Raise to Wake’ feature that automatically lights up the screen of your iPhone when you pick it up. This way you will be able to view the notification without having to press any button on the device.

With 3D Touch integration, you can respond to messages, view email content, and more right from the lock screen itself. There is also a Clear All button to clear all notifications from the lock screen.

Apple has further improved its Photos app for iOS 10 by adding facial, object and scene recognition feature to it. There is also a new feature called Memories that will automatically group photos based on their location, time taken, and more. It will also create a highlight reel of the best photos and videos from a particular event. All of these features work on-device without using your photos being uploaded to the cloud.

With iOS 10, Apple is introducing a new Maps app for the OS. The new app features an easier to use UI, with more information density and features like Dynamic view; Quick Controls to see route details; support for alternate routes, and more.

Apple is also opening Apple Maps to developers using Extensions that will allow third-party apps to integrate into Apple Maps. This will make it possible to book a car/hotel or book a table in a hotel right from inside the Apple Maps app.

A standalone HomeKit app was expected to make its debut in iOS 9 last year, but that did not happen for some reason. A year later, Apple is finally releasing ‘Home’ as a part of iOS 10 that allow one to control all HomeKit-compatible devices connected to their account from one place.

The Home app also features Scenes that allows you to chain multiple reactions into one. So, for example, with a ‘Good Night’ scene, the lights will automatically dim, music will stop playing, and more. Scenes will also be supported by Siri.

The new iMessage app in iOS 10 gains support for previewing links, videos, and other files that are sent through it. Emoji on iMessage are also getting 3x bigger and Quicktype will also provide emoji suggestions based on the message you are sending. There is a new ‘Tap to replace’ feature that helps highlights words that you can replace with emoji.

There is a new Bubble effect feature that lets you send messages with bigger, smaller, or hidden bubbles to better share your emotions. You can also send handwritten messages in iMessage i.e. you can scribble down in your own handwriting and send it to your friend or family.

Other new features in iMessage include full-screen effects, Digital Touch, full screen effects, and more.Like with Apple Maps and Siri, Apple is also opening iMessage for developers. The company is also introducing an App Store for iMessage where users can find apps that are developed specifically for iMessage.

Apple Music: New UI, lyrics integration

iOS 10 Apple Music

Apple Music features more artwork, bolder font, and a black-and-white UI that should make everything pop a bit more and easier to navigate. Opening up the Apple Music app will open the Library, and there’s a new Downloaded Music section, which will show the locally-stored music. There’s a Recently Added section, which shows albums, playlists, and songs that were recently added to the library.

Apple Music’s multitasking has changed, too, and there are now lyrics, just as had been guessed, that can be scrolled down to below the artwork. The music playback controls will stay at the top of the screen for easy access.

Apple’s Swift Playgrounds

Swift Playgrounds

Fundamentals of Swift is the first lesson. There is a preview of the content, with graphics and the description. There’s an introduction of the coding concept, and when the user is ready, there is an option to quickly jump into the coding part.

On the right, there’s an interactive aspect, which can be swiped, pins-to-zoom, and more. On the left of the screen there are instructions, which have a problem to solve, with the area below to enter the code.

Commands appear on the bottom and are quick type suggestions for code. Entering code has the animated content on the right follow suit, and students will complete lessons one-by-one.

Everything Else

Apple wasn’t finished with the noteworthy things once the conference’s keynote ended. Here’s what’s been reported since Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, walked off stage:

  • Apple Seeds Developer Beta 1 for watchOS 3 and tvOS 10
  • Apple Seeds Developer Beta 1 for iOS 10
  • Apple Seeds Developer Beta 1 for macOS Sierra
  • Apple File System for watchOS, tvOS, iOS, and macOS
  • Why You Probably Shouldn’t Download the iOS 10 Beta if You Aren’t a Developer
  • And How to Install the iOS 10 Beta if You Want to Try it Out Anyway
  • Hidden Features Found Within iOS 10 Already
  • iOS 10 Will Let You Remove Built-In Apps from the Home Screen