AMITIAE - Friday 9 June 2016
Cassandra: WWDC Notes (6) - open the Box: WWDC 2016 - MacOS and iOS 10
By Graham K. Rogers
One example of the continuity is the ability to unlock a Mac with an Apple Watch. Other examples are a universal clipboard (from iOS to Mac) which is fundamental to the way devices are used and which integrates with other new features, including Messages.
There are several improvements to iCloud: particularly concerning iCloud Drive. A major change is that files on the Desktop or in the Documents folder will be available on all devices, via the cloud. This new integration will also allow matching desktops. Optimised storage will reduce the data stored on any Mac, making room for new files as older ones are moved to the cloud, clearing space locally. A test improved space on a Mac form 20 Gigabytes free to more than 150GB.
A new productivity feature allows tabs on apps other than Safari including third party apps. Apple is also adding a picture-in-picture feature: a small video can be played on the desktop while the user carries out other tasks. This was well-received.
Even more applause was given for the news that Siri would be coming to MacOS. At least some rumours were correct. Siri would allow queries to be made for files and such searches can be refined verbally, like adding search parameters in the Finder. Search results can be pinned in Notifications. The use of Siri and its intelligent analysis makes it easier to carry out multi-tasking on the Mac, for example Siri can be used for messaging while typing in other applications.
The lock screen has been redesigned and there is a "raise to wake" feature that will avoid the annoyance of missing notifications because of TouchID. 3D touch use from the lock screen has been expanded allowing access to apps and messages. Users will be able to clear messages by one touch. An addition is a new swipe screen for music, as well as sliding right for the camera. Sliding left will reveal widgets.
Like MacOS, there are changes to Siri which is now being made available to 3rd party developers, including messaging apps such as SLACK, What's App and WeChat. A Siri photo search can now include apps like Pinterest. This beefed up Siri also works in CarPlay.
QuickType is to become more predictive with the addition of deep-learning algorithms, giving better responses through understanding. Siri will extract information from incoming messages. This now also works with multi-lingual typing.
The Photos app is improved to allow for easier finding of images and there are links to locations in Places as well as Faces which uses facila recognition to group images of people. Analyse of an image using 11 billion computations for each photo enables object and scene recognition. A new Memories feature analyses and collects several photos for people, topics and scenes, to bring back memories, bringing them into an intuitive interface. Using this technology an iPhone can bring in such grouped photos and produce a movie made of stills and movies. Theme selection will change presentation of the scenes and the music.
As well as Maps, Eddy Cue outlined a redesigned Music app, which tries to put music as the focus and, especially in For You, uses intelligent analysis to place the right music in front of the user.
This was demonstrated by Bozoma Saint John whose fresh approach got the audience swinging and clapping to the music she used. More of Ms Bozoma, please.
The Apple News app has some 2000 applications, including my extensions site. There is a new design which creates new sections for the user. We can create our own topics as well.
An important step forward here is the allowing of subscriptions (e.g. National Geographic), and there is to be a new feature of breaking news notifications. There was no information at this stage on country availability.
HomeKit allows networked devices to work easily and securely. This is being improved and Siri may be used to give instructions to devices. Geofences are another form of control, so when a user arrives home, devices can be turned on or settings changed automatically from iPad, iPhone or AppleWatch.
As on other devices, much work has been done in Messages which now can work with rich links to show images or videos instead of basic URLs. A camera is available in messages and there are now larger emojis as well as emoji predicitions: suggestions of emojis for words. Messages will now allow bubble-effects so different sizes of text can be displayed, including a concealed message. A Sketches feature has been added using digital touch, and the whole screen can be used for effects. All this provides some really nice ways to enhance messages.
Craig Federighi told the audience that like other parts of the Apple infrastructure, Messages was being opened to developers and any apps that can be used in Messages will be available using an App Drawer.
The iOS update will have considerably more in the way of Notes collaborations, conversation, the ability to edit Live Photos and a split view in Safari on the iPad. There was a massive list of new features shown on screen. I did notice that one of these is a long-desired feature allowing editing of RAW images within Photos.
Privacy is important to Apple and there is end-to-end encryption by default, this is applied using on-device machine intelligence, keeping data on the phone for user control. Differential privacy, allows the benefits of crowd-sourced learning, but keeps individual users' date private.
Several lessons are available and the app will be released as a public beta next month and the full app will be released with iOS 10 in Fall.
Young Developers Attending WWDC
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.
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