WWDC 2017 for Developers

by Gokul Sengottuvelu
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Apple’s biggest developer event of the year always has some major announcements. We’ve got a wrap up summary for you below!

Watch OS 4

Apple watch gets a Siri-based watch face. A single tap will essentially pull up all the necessary information on the watch face including traffic, boarding passes and your routines.

With this update, Apple Watch will be able to transmit information to gym equipment and get important metrics like incline and speed. A wide range of gym equipment manufactures have already signed up with Apple.

Another important developer feature is the core Bluetooth availability with Apple Watch. This will allow developers to develop apps which talk to beacons and other BLE devices. The Developer Preview is available starting today, and will be a free update to everyone by this Fall.

MAC OS 10.13

Apple launched the latest version of Mac OS today, christened “High Sierra.” On the face, it seems mostly full of incremental improvements, but Craig Federighi noted that this version includes deep technologies that lay a strong foundation for the future.

  • Photos received a major overhaul, with improved machine-learning algorithms that are better at facial detection.
  • Apple also brought the Apple file system from iOS to Mac OS. It is a 64-bit file system with inbuilt crash protection and cloning.
  • HVEC will now replace H.264 as the default video container.
  • The graphic rendering API known as Metal is now Metal 2, which will make your code run 10x faster. Apple is working with Steam, Unity and Unreal to give VR support to the Mac. And so this Mac update also comes with Metal for VR. They’ve also opened up the API for machine learning.
  • Safari is faster than ever. Apple benchmarked Safari and on a Mac, it’s 80% faster than Chrome.

Mac Os High Sierra Version 10.13 will ship later this year. The developer beta will be available by late June.

iOS 11

Lots of new stuff for iOS11. Significantly, Apple claims 86% of their devices are running the latest operating system and Android is quite fragmented.

  • iMessage gets iCloud support, which means deleting a message in one device deletes the same message everywhere else.
  • Apple Pay gets a major push, and soon 50% of retailers in the US will get Apple Pay. You can also send your money seamlessly with Apple Pay and iMessage integration. Meaning you can send money just like sending a SMS. Pretty impressive stuff!
  • Siri translates. Incredible, right? You can ask Siri to translate something in English to another language. In the demo, Craig showed Siri translating a sentence to Chinese.
  • Videos shot in iPhone are now HVEC encoded, resulting in better compression rate. Developers also get access to the depth information from the camera in the form of new APIs.
  • Control Center gets a major overhaul. This is one of my personal favorites. It just squeezes everything into one page. The interface looks beautiful and thanks to 3D touch, offers seamless user experience.
  • We also got quite a few new effects for live photos. One cool feature is that you can capture the best frame in the live photo and make it as your key photo.
  • Map gets indoor navigation support. This will come in quite handy in malls and airports.
  • iOS 11 comes with an important feature called “Do not disturb while driving”. It detects when you’re driving the car (you can turn it off if you’re a passenger). People on the other end can bypass do-not-disturb mode by replying as urgent. I’d call this a life saving feature!
  • There’s finally a design overhaul to the AppStore which was due for sometime now.
  • ARKit is the new Apple’s augmented reality framework. In the demo, Craig showed Pokemon Go, and leveraged the kit to place Pikachu on the sidewalk.

iOS will be available for developers today, and a public beta will land in late June.

Honorable Mentions

A couple tidbits that didn’t fit into other categories, but are too important to miss.

  • Amazon Prime is coming to the TV app and all Apple TVs. Woot!
  • There were some hardware announcements in the form of the latest and greatest iMac Pro, and some price cuts to different models.
  • There’s a new 10.5″ iPad with some cool new features, including a dedicated files app. File drag and drop feature reminds us of a unifying Mac and iOS experience. Spotlight can now search your handwritten notes.
  • HomePod is Apple’s speaker, which contains an array of six microphones around its rim. Trigger voice commands via “Hey Siri”, and you can ask her to read the news, get the weather, set a reminder, and anything else you’re doing with Siri. The speakers have “spatial awareness”, which redirects sound based on the acoustics of the room.

Conclusion

It was a packed keynote with a lot of updates. My personal favourite though, is a small one: person-to-person Apple Pay. You can send money to someone just like you’d send an SMS. I’m curious to see how this will change the payment landscape; it has the potential to disrupt the way we transfer money.

And now I’m looking forward to the technical sessions at WWDC, and can’t wait to see the apps that developers will be building using all these amazing features!

Categories: Events

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