Apple CEO Tim Cook kicked off the company’s 27th annual Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday by addressing developers in attendance and watching online with news that improvements were coming to its “category defining and world changing” four platforms.
“We love creating great apps,” Cook said from San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium at the start of a 2-hour keynote presentation. “We love creating great products that change the world. But we can’t do it alone.”
Cook said Apple’s App Store started eight years ago with 500 apps and today there are 2 million apps on the store, dowloaded 130 billion times. He said $50 billion has been paid directly to developers. There are now 13 million registered developers and at the conference, 100 of the attendees were under the age of 18. Cook even called out the youngest— a 9-year-old girl.
Cook also opened the event with a moment of silence “to honor the victims and the people who loved them” in the mass shooting in Orlando over the weekend.
Here are the highlights for updates coming to Apple’s four platforms: watchOS, tvOS, macOS and iOS:
Watch OS gets a new dock that allows users to switch between apps and those apps load a lot faster than previous versions of the operating system. Kevin Lynch showed off the “serious acceleration in app launch time” in a blink-and-you-missed it moment.
A new feature called Scribble allows users to do just that on the face of the Watch and respond to messages.
The Watch will also now have an SOS button in which users can call for emergency help, and launch their medical I.D. The Watch knows what number to call if you’re out of the country, too.
The Activity app is one of the Watch’s most popular apps. Activity Sharing is a new function that allows you to share workouts and see the workouts of friends and family on your list. Messages in the app allow you to offer motivation — or talk smack.
“The future of TV is apps,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior VP of internet software and services.
Updates for tvOS include an iPhone remote-control app. Also, Siri can search 650,000 movies and even YouTube. Single sign-on will make it much easier to sign in and get access to all of your apps.
“No presentation would be complete without some kind of naming controversy,” Craig Federighi, senior VP of software engineering, said to one of the largest rounds of applause. “The name of the world’s most advanced desktop operating system is now macOS.”
Continuing the theme of naming OS updates after California locations, the new macOS will be called Sierra.
After discussing severals new features such as Universal Clipboard, Federighi introduced Siri on the Mac. “How do you like being on the Mac?” he asked as the virtual assistant moved away from being just an iOS feature.
Apple’s iOS is getting its biggest update ever and new features include a redesigned lock screen, a new control center and expanded 3D touch as well as changes to iMessage, Music, Photos, Maps and News.
Federighi also dropped the highly anticipated news that Siri will be opened up to third-party developers.
Because so many people use their iPhones to take pictures, a good chunk of time was spent discussing changes to Photos, as Apple unveiled easier ways to find and experience photos you’ve taken.
Advanced face recognition can create people albums and object and scene recognition is also part of the deep learning in iOS 10. Advanced AI will cluster and relate images based on people and location and create Memories.
Cue came back to discuss Maps being opened up to developers. And users will now be able to search along a route.
Apple Music is being redesigned from the ground up with greater simplicity and easier navigation. The Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” got the audience clapping, and almost singing along, as lyrics are now an available feature.
A Browse tab offers a glance of new music, curated playlists and top charts.
Apple News has over 2,000 publications and 60 million monthly users getting information there. A new design creates sections such as top stories, trending, featured stories and topics such as sports. Subscriptions and breaking news alerts are also coming to the feature.
The next big step for iOS Homekit and automation in the home is coming with a new app called Home. Shades will close, lights will shut off, heat will go down and more depending on what accessories you’ve set up as Apple pushes further into making iOS your home control center.
For people who use their iPhone as an actual phone, voicemail transcription will allow you to see what a voice message is all about without listening. Changes are also coming to call notifications and contact cards.
Messages is the most frequently used app in iOS and rich links will enhance that experience. Camera and Photos integration will be modified and emoji will be three times bigger. Message will also highlight emoji-fiable words that you missed and allow you to tap and replace them with the artwork.
Handwritten messages also add a personal touch to texts. Bubble-effects that allow you to shout or whisper, full-screen functionality, and invisible ink further push the texting envelope.
Federighi came back on to announce that iMessage apps would be opened up to developers, allowing such things as stickers to be added to messages or lunch to be ordered. He also demonstrated the use of the silly Jibjab app in iMessage.
Cook returned to the stage to discuss the Apple coding tool Swift and the introduction of Swift Playground, a new app to teach kids how to code on iPad. A demo showed the ease with which a character could be moved around the screen via a few lines of code.
Cook said coding should be a required language in all schools and Swift Playground will be free because of that.
WWDC came after a particularly rough first quarter earnings report for the company in which revenue was down 12 percent from a year ago and profits of $10 billion represented a plunge of 22 percent. The tech giant’s iPad and iPhone sales declined by 16 percent and 19 percent, respectively, and Mac sales were down 12 percent to 4 million units.
The results represented the company’s first year-over-year drop in quarterly revenue since 2003.