Apple WWDC 2016
This month Apple kicked off its annual conference for developers to showcase 2016 plans, focusing on software and platform developments.
As every year, the event raised a lot of expectations concerning major platforms and software tweaks announcements. And as expected, Apple did their best to cover the bunch of innovations including their whole inventory: macOS, iOS, watchOS and tvOS.
This year Apple announced its “biggest iOS release ever” with improvements to 10 fundamental areas. I will concentrate only on few of them, which in my humble opinion, are the most significant ones.
One of the core functionalities implemented in iOS 10 from the UX point of view is the way of handling and displaying notifications. Currently, right from the start on your lock-screen you have a new feel and way of interacting with the notifications. They’re bigger, float on the screen, but most importantly reveal secrets via 3D touch. Upon the 3D touch they expand a set of information and advanced user options giving a native-like experience without really leaving the lock-screen.
More customisability! By introducing Users Notifications and User Notifications UI frameworks, Apple allows developers to customise the delivery and handling of local and remote notifications, while enabling adjustment of their visual presentation upon receiving data. This way, developers are given a powerful solution for delivering exceptional user notification experiences with their apps.
Siri 2.0 with SDK for iOS 10
Finally, Apple’s personal voice assistant will be open to developers via the provided SDK, so called SiriKit. This release will allow app developers that are creating their own apps and services to access Siri. However, it is expected that in its initial release only a few types of third-party app services will be available, such as booking rides, messaging, audio & video calling, photo search, payments, climate and radio controls and workouts.
Messages are getting smarter, allowing for better user experience and even more far-fetched personalisation, including the ability to change message bubbles, add stickers or animations. But what’s more important is the introduction of iMessage apps, allowing us to display third-party content directly.
Some may say it’s trivial but it is a long awaiting improvement that lets you switch to dark theme in ease, as it is now on macs. Especially handy while using mobile devices in the evening.
Completely redesigned native app, which will act as a control center for all smart home appliances and devices. Easy to use, intuitive: full control is right there at the touch of your fingers.
Innovations with photos look pretty exciting and bring improved search capabilities, facial and location detection that can be used to group images in a new Memories feature.
3D touch and Widgets
Last year’s hardware boosted devices (iPhone 6S) will now be able to get key information from apps or widgets using force touch.
Improved navigation, new API and integrated third-party services makes this release worth saying 'it’s all about getting smarter and more user-friendly'. Just imagine opening Maps and booking a table at your favourite restaurant.
It’s all about performance. The newest version of watchOS 3.0, significantly boosts performance which is claimed by Apple to be 7 times faster. Finally, keep it going Apple. Apart from that, there are a few features that watch users will certainly like:
Dock button – all your favourite apps brought to you at a single tap.
Fitness and activity tracking allows more personalisation like setting activity faces, new social sharing features and soon to come relaxation recommendations based on a heart rate.
The ability to draw on the watch’s face and have it converted to text.
SOS button – one touch button calling emergency services. What’s great is the location awareness so wherever you are, the right services will be contacted.
Finally, the less exciting but yet significant update is a release of a new tvOS. The new version, apart from introducing features like switching to a dark mode or a new remote app, also brings some huge UX innovations:
Single sign on – logging in each time you hit another service won’t be necessary anymore. Now you’ll just need to authenticate once and then enter all your favorite apps.
App syncing – as it is with continuity on a new macOS, being smarter means sensing other devices. With this new feature you will now be able to have your iPhone and Apple TV communicate with one another and automatically send your mobile apps to Apple TV.
Live tune-in – Siri will let you move to live streaming. It’s a pity though that it’ll be available only for ESPN and Disney.
Waiting for more to come...