So, we’ve already featured the main takeaways from this year’s Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, but what of the highlights? Here, we instead run through a few more specifics that caught our eye, both in the announcements that Apple made and the keynote itself. What did Apple get right? We all know at this point that the worst thing about the keynote was Drake taking to the stage in order to plug his new album for Apple Music – since when did Apple need pop stars to maintain credibility with the masses? – but what were the best things. For this piece, we sat down and compiled a list of the moments at WWDC 2015 that made us sit up and take note: things that are potentially game changing but have perhaps been overlooked by other sites reporting on the event. Bear in mind that these views are our own, and if you like feel free to mention your own favorite moments from the WWDC in the comments section below!
8. CarPlay for Auto Makers
We’ll start off with one of the lesser mentioned operating systems that saw an upgrade announcement at this year’s keynote. With the likes of iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan on the table, who cares about Apple’s CarPlay? Well, many people, in fact, least not the auto makers that have been looking for more control over what they can do with this powerful tool. At WWDC 15, Apple’s auto operating system also saw some big updates, including the fact that auto makers can now develop their own apps to control your car’s features. CarPlay will also now feature high-DPI screens in a variety of different sizes, which of course means that auto manufacturers can take the size they want to use and then develop their own product around it.
7. iPad Windows, Split-screen
No, we don’t mean some kind of horrific hybrid version of Microsoft Windows and iOS 9 on Apple’s tablet: instead, one of the key moments from this year’s WWDC was the upheaval of the interface on the iPad, which will now support split screens or windows. While so much of the event was directed towards change (even that slogan!) it was nice to see Apple go back with such attention to something that has been around for a while and look to improve it for the better. Anyone who has used an iPad for a prolonged amount of time will know how difficult it is to browse the Internet and do stuff productively: the split screen option is a welcome addition to iOS 9, meaning users will be able to watch videos in small windows while doing other stuff, and also see the content of different windows in a preview without having to switch out.
6. Concise, Interesting Factoids
One criticism I’ve always had about this kind of event from Apple is that they typically tend to bash the viewer over the head with impressive facts; and facts that the average user might not be interested in at all. Want to know the Q1 sales figures from China? No? This time, there was none of these boring details, with the slides and indeed CEO Tim Cook’s speech much more to the point. The most impressive of which being the 200 billion downloads on the App Store, which was announced to wild applause. I guess I should also mention, given the shot above, that this keynote was one rife with little jabs at different rivals – another highlight, if you will. Here, you can see Apple comparing the adoption rate of Yosemite with the same pitiful rate of Windows 8.1. There were other barbs sent out in the direction of Spotify, too.
5. More Control for HomeKit
Another thing that saw upgrades at the WWDC this year is HomeKit, Apple’s smart home platform. While HomeKit presented a huge amount of potential up to this point, the functionality remains somewhat limited but that all looks set to change with these specific upgrades. Developers will now be able to do a whole range of things with HomeKit, as represented in the Home app on your device. You will be able to adjust window shades, motion sensors and monitor security systems, all from the comfort and convenience of your smartphone – as long as it’s connected via iCloud. The fact that HomeKit is tied to Apple TV has turned many off, but the maximizing of its functionality gives this particular branch of Apple a bright future, and shows how important it is to them.