Earlier today, Apple announced a ton of new things. The company has four different platforms to work with now, with iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS, and while all of them share an aesthetic similarity both in software and hardware, they’re each different enough to bring plenty of new features to the fore.
iOS 10, for example, has ten new major additions in the lineup, which iPhone and iPad (and iPod touch!) owners can look forward to later this year. Those ranged quite a bit in function, from a huge boost to Apple’s iMessages (which Anna went over already), and even giving Siri a big boost of usefulness, even down into the Quick Type keyboard.
As is par for the course here, Apple introduced a lot of new things, but this year felt a bit different. This year feels like another shift in what many might call “the right direction” for the Cupertino-based company. Specifically, Apple is making more moves to be developer friendly in a way that’s a bit different from how it used to be.
Now, Apple has always been a favorable place for most developers. Despite its walled garden, the iOS App Store hosts a ton of apps, and Apple has paid millions out directly to developers in return for stocking their digital storefront. Apple’s success is bolstered in part because iOS, and now its other platforms, have so many people using apps, and so many developers are ready to publish their apps in the app stores.
When I say it’s different, it’s because Apple is opening up aspects of its software that, up until recently, would have traditionally stayed locked down. We all know that Apple likes to build things itself, even if that means absorbing smaller companies to get their hands on what they were working on, and then implement it themselves in a later version of its platform(s).
While Apple will never stop acquiring companies, and building upon features it likes, it’s also, at the very same time, opening up its own apps for developers to work with. Apple Maps will work with Extensions so you can book a table right from within the app, and even call for a ride sharing service when you finish the meal. iMessages is even getting help from developers, which is essentially like opening it up like Facebook has done with its Messenger app.
Developers are getting a big chunk of the pie here, and the users are the ones that will really benefit from this.
This keynote was one of my favorites, by far. I can’t wait to get my hands on the new iMessages and talk to my daughters with the awesome full-screen effects and other changes. (It’s like all of the reasons I like Google’s Allo, but without having to install another app.) And then there’s also the fact that iMessages will now let you set read receipts for specific conversations and contacts. It’s not just a blanket feature anymore.
And I’m even going to admit that I’m excited for a digital clipboard! I have a lot of content that I paste on my iPhone, but then run into a wall when I want to get that content, as easily as possible, to my Mac. Yes, I can use AirDrop, and that’s how I do it now, but it would be so much easier to just copy a link in TweetBot, and then be able to paste that link in my browser on my bigger screen. That’s a feature that I’ve wanted, and here I am about to have it.
But, just because there are things I feel like I’m still missing, let’s go ahead and talk about it. First: Dark Mode. At this point I think Apple is just trolling iOS users, because the feature is available on its other platforms. It’s been available in OS X (now macOS) for a while now, and the Apple Watch already has a less-than-bright-white user interface. And now Apple added a Dark Mode to tvOS! And yet, iOS users are left to wait.
Second: Customizable Control Center. I haven’t been quiet about the fact that Control Center is easily one of my favorite features on any mobile platform, but I want to be able to customize the options that I have in it. And while it looks a lot better in iOS 10, I’m not entirely sure that I like the fact there’s a new dedicated panel for the music player. That just means something else I have to swipe to. Just let me customize Control Center, get rid of the things I don’t want/ever use, and I’ll be a happy camper.
How do you feel about everything that Apple announced at this year’s WWDC? Is this enough to keep you in the Apple camp a year longer? Let me know!