Apple WWDC Keynote: Yosemite, iOS 8 But No Hardware

WWDC 2014

Apple CEO Tim Cook takes the stage to thunderous applause. Cook tells the crowd this is the 25th anniversary of the conference. Two-thirds of attendees are here for the first time, he says. The youngest developer in the audience today is 13 years old.

Cook says there are nine million registered Apple developers, up over 50 percent since last year. We’re here to talk about the Mac OS 10 and iOS. “You’re going to see some great new features for both.” He promises “the mother of all releases for developers.” Cheers.

What about the hardware Tim? (There wasn’t any it turns out.)

Cook boasts that while the PC industry declined by 5 percent, Macs grew by 12 percent last year. There are now more than 80 million Mac users; and more than 40 million copies of Mavericks installed since October. He says this is the fastest adoption of any PC operating system in history. He compares Windows 8 adoption, which is apparently just 14 percent.

Craig Federighi bounds up on stage to discuss OS 10. He jokes about Mac OS naming and running out of cat names. He jokes about some of the proposed place names (OS 10 Oxnard, OS 10 Rancho Cucamonga, OS 10 Weed)

New Mac OS: Yosemite

The new Mac OS is called “Yosemite.” There are lots of subtle cosmetic changes and updates. Federighi goes into extreme detail about how the new look and design features carry through across windows and desktop experiences. I’m waiting to hear the words “fine corinthian leather.”

Spotlight search is more prominent in the new release. It appears as a search bar near the center of the desktop. As you type you see in-line content preview. Desktop search is now much more useful on the Mac.

Federighi is offering a live demo of the new UI in action. He launches the Map and Calendar apps. Calendar has a range of new features and appears generally improved.

He moves to the notifications center, which features interactive content and “widgets.” It becomes a kind of dock for commonly used widgets now. It appears there’s going to be much more you can do with the notifications center.

We now get a list of new features:

iCloud Drive: All iCloud content will be available in the finder window. All docs, folders, etc. automatically sync across devices. The content is accessible from iOS and Windows machines.

MailDrop: is intended to enable sending of large files to third parties (up to 5GB). It works slightly differently for recipients on Macs and Windows.

Markup: using the trackpad, users can now annotate, add text or draw on pictures in email messages and pdfs.

Safari: Apple has made the Safari tool bar thinner (no more visible bookmarks, but they can be revealed). As you type, “smart search” shows favorites in a drop-down. Safari also integrates Spotlight search as well. There’s now a grid-based tab view. Safari supports HTML5 video so can stream Netflix video in the browser without a plug-in.

All this looks like Apple is doing a baby steps version of “universal search.” Apple was showing content (Wikipedia) in a preview, bypassing the need (for some things) to go to “regular old Google search” on the desktop. This is very interesting and will be worth exploring later in more detail.

Continuity: this is a cluster of functions that allow users to move between Apple devices and access the same documents, websites or content. This includes Air Drop, which works between iOS and Mac. Another feature called Handoff allows users to “pick up what you’re working on your Mac right on your iPad” and vice versa (includes websites via Safari). All Apple devices are aware of each other and enable seamless switching between them. There’s also simpler hotspot setup for the Mac using the iPhone.

The Mac will now show caller ID and will work as a speaker phone, tied into the iPhone. This is some pretty cool stuff. You can now initiate calls from within Safari to your contacts or to any phone number online.

Federighi calls Dr. Dre. They banter about Dre being a new Apple employee. Very scripted but cute.

Yosemite is coming for all users in the fall and will be free. Developers get it today. Non-developers can get Yosemite in beta this summer by signing up.

Now iOS 8

Tim Cook returns to announce that 800 million iOS devices have been sold to date:

  • 100 million iPod Touch devices
  • 200 iPads
  • 500 iPhones

There are more than 130 million new Apple iOS customers this past year. Cook says that many of these are switchers from Android. “They had bought an Android phone — by mistake,” Cook says to laughter. Nearly 50 percent of Apple customers in China have come from Android handsets.

This seems intended to answer critics and institutional investors who worry about the iPhone’s competitive positioning.

Cook says that “almost 9 out of 10″ iOS users are running the latest OS — in “stark contrast to Android.” Only 9 percent of them are on KitKat, says Cook. Over 33 percent are running Android from four years ago, which is “ancient history.” That means they can’t receive the latest security updates. Cook says the reason this matters is that 99 percent of mobile malware targets Android handsets.

Federighi is back on stage to discuss iOS 8. Here are some of the features he describes:

  • Interactive/actionable notifications — you can reply inline or take action (e.g., respond to email) from the iPhone’s notifications center (Android has had this). It works on the lock screen too. It also works for Apple apps and third party apps
  • There is a new tabs view for iPad and left panel for bookmarks access (same as Safari for Mac)
  • Mail: if you need to access another email while composing, swipe email down (he demos various mail features)

Spotlight on iPhone — wow, Apple is providing a bunch of content (including apps you haven’t downloaded) in Spotlight search. Very interesting. (See Danny’s discussion of Bing and search from today’s announcements: Mac “Spotlight” Search Drops Google For Bing; Becomes More Siri-Like In OS X “Yosemite.”)

QuickType: supports predictive typing suggestions (Android keyboard and especially Swiftkey have long offered this). It personalizes predictive text.

He again describes “continuity” and the ability to “pick up” where you left off on another Apple device, and answer phone on your iPad.

There’s new location sharing (time bounded) within messages (if the other person has shared his/her location). There’s also a new pretty cool feature called “Tap to Talk,” which enables voice and video messaging. Users can thus record and send audio and video though the messaging app. It works on the lock screen as well.

Federighi is talking about iCloud Drive again for the iPhone and iPad. It’s also compatible with Windows.

HealthKit: provides a “composite profile” from third party fitness and health apps — all your health data in one place. It’s a place to store users’ personal health information and selectively share it with third party apps. There’s also a “Health” app. Federighi is drops some partner names: Nike, the Mayo Clinic. 

Family Sharing: allows families to share digital content purchases across devices (up to six family members sharing the same credit card). When kids try and make a purchase, parents prompted for permission on their device.

Photos + iCloud: Every photo is now available across all Apple devices. They’re automatically stored on iCloud. Your device now has access to more photos in the cloud that it can store locally. There are also a number of improved and simplified photo-editing capabilities. Like “continuity” demo’d earlier, this capability contemplates multi-device usage and content access.

Pricing: 200 GB for $3.99 per month. Lower storage amounts for less money; 5GB per month are free.

Siri now has a “hotword” like Google search; “Hey Siri” initiates a Siri interaction without touching the device. As anticipated Siri has also integrated Shazam’s song-naming capabilities.

Tim Cook is back on stage talking about what iOS 8 enables for developers. There are now 1.2 million apps; 300 million people visit the app store every week. And 75 billion apps have been downloaded from the app store.

App Store improvements: Adding an “explore” tab. Adding trending searches and related searches. Developers also now have the ability to create “app bundles” so users can buy multiple apps at a discount with one tap. Introducing app previews (video. Has been in Google Play for a long time.)

Introducing TestFlight, enabling users to beta test apps and provide feedback to developers. All the features will be available in the fall.

Federighi back on stage to talk about the developer facing features. He says that with a new capability “extensibility” apps can offer services and content to other apps. “An app like Bing can offer translation right inside of Safari.” Developers can create interactive widgets that update from within notifications center. As an example of extensibility, he’s showing a Bing translation demo on iPad within Safari. These are like PC browser plug-ins. You can now also install custom keyboards on the iPhone.

TouchID: Third party apps can now use TouchID instead of passwords. However the third party apps don’t see the fingerprint. It unlocks keychain items (conventional password storage).

HomeKit: Universal control for third party app software for the home (lights, locks, security). This is the same concept as HealthKit. There’s also Siri integration (“Get ready for bed” triggering actions in the home — e.g., locking doors).

Metal: offers dramatically improved high end 3D gaming graphics and performance improvements. An impressive “Zen Garden” demo from Epic Games shows how rich these graphics are.

SpriteKit and SceneKit: offer improvements and new capabilities for casual games.

We’re now deep into the developer zone as Federighi introduces a new programming language “Swift.” Swift is faster than Objective-C, which is faster than Python. Wow, we’re now looking at code on the screen. It’s “fun and interactive” to write Swift code. Now we’re seeing the live creation of a casual game in Swift.

Tim Cook returns to the stage to summarize the day:

  • Yosemite — is the future of OS 10
  • iOS 8 — the biggest release of iOS since the app store

He says with intensity, only Apple can create great integrated software-hardware experiences. Speaking of which, it doesn’t appear we’re going to get a hardware announcement. Yep. No new hardware. 

Related Topics: Apple | Apple: iOS | Apple: iPad | Apple: iPhone | Top News


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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