Apple was streaming the keynote live, and it is up for streaming on demand. This is a great trend as couch commentators like me can talk crap about it without having to wait for Apple to “post produce” it.
Anyway, let’s get on it.
As usual, the keynote started with a video of people saying how various apps have changed their lives. Looks like the focus is on the people. It would’ve been great if Apple had mentioned more groundbreaking apps instead of some useless ones like Candy Crush, but oh well. Tim Cook started with the usual stats. Mavericks vs Windows 8. Oh, Windows 8 only has 14% of market share. But 14% of how many users Tim? Remember that world wide market share of OS X is really tiny, minuscule compared to Windows. So even 10% of Windows users count as a LOT. Typical Apple reality distortion technique. Fact is, we are seeing more and more Windows devices in tablet form factors that are only $300-$500.
Craig was up next to talk about the new OS X. Craig Federighi always seems like a d-bag to me, but the script of the keynotes and his jokes were usually quite funny. The joke was on trying to find new name for the next OS X. OS X Weed? That would’ve been awesome. 😀 So the next OS X will be named Yosemite. And, another video, showing the new flatter look, inspired by iOS7.
So, what’s new? Translucency everywhere. Kinda like Windows Vista. New dock (flat, just like right now if you put the dock on the sides), new trash can icon. Dark mode, with white on black translucent background. I have a feeling I will like the dark mode, a lot.
A big update is for the notification center. Now you can have different widgets on it. Just like… yes, Windows Vista’s Gadgets. Remember those? 😀 New Spotlight. In previous versions of the OS, Spotlight has always been on the top right corner, out of the way, simple. In Yosemite, it will be at the center of the screen with huge search bar. I don’t like it. It feels that it is on my way, blocking what I am doing. Why the change? It was fine on the top right corner. Context wise, it fits as the search icon is on the top right corner. In Yosemite, having it in the middle of the screen just doesn’t feel natural. Boo. On the bright side, you can do unit conversion on Spotlight now. Sounds like it’s baby step of putting Siri on OS X. Maybe next version. Spotlight has become universal search ala Siri.
Oh, Craig kept showing the translucency. Seriously, who cares? Do people really want to be reminded how Yosemite is copying Windows Vista?
Next, iCloud Drive. What? Remember when Steve Jobs announced iCloud, how it’s not another “drive in the sky.” Well, Steve Jobs is rolling in his grave now. iCloud is basically just like Dropbox/
SkydriveOneDrive/Google Drive in Finder. I don’t think this is the vision of iCloud. Is this the signs of Apple crumbling without the vision of Jobs? Mail drop, basically using iCloud as a reservoir for your email attachments, kinda what Microsoft and Google have been doing (using OneDrive and GDrive respectively). Oh, the file size can be up to 5GB. Whoop dee doo, as free iCloud accounts has ONLY 5GB. :roll eyes: An interesting feature is the built-in markup within Mail. Signature on PDFs is also great.
Safari now has more awesome bar, with built-in
Siri Spotlight. More power efficient, which is great (poor Firefox, but I still prefer Firefox). Demo by somebody named Brian. Err, yeah, not sure who he is… 😀 I don’t think Favorites in the search bar is good. If you only have few websites, sure, but I have a boatload of sites in my Favorites. I never realized the “Send to” feature though, even though it’s been there, at least on Mavericks. The auto shape and dialog bubble recognition of the new Markup feature in Mail looks neat though, but I hardly use the OS X Mail app anymore ever since I have the iPad.
Airdrop between iOS and OS X. Finally! Although I wonder if there’s a limitation on which hardware is supported. The Hand-off feature seems too good to be true. Will have to see how it works in real life. Ability to do a hotspot when you have an iPhone nearby is awesome though. iMessage syncing all messages with all devices. And phone calls too, including using the Mac as a speakerphone. Gee, sounds familiar… I think Palm did this, and Motorola also did something similar. Of course, Palm is gone and Motorola is bought by Lenovo. These features may not be new, but Apple’s implementation across all Apple devices and Apple’s presence would probably put these feature to the mainstream. Oh, and a call to Dr Dre, hinting on Apple’s purchase of Beats Audio.
Free OS X Yosemite in the fall, with public beta program in the summer.
100 million iPod Touches. Maybe it’s time to update that Tim. Oh, time for a jab at Android, and how people bought an Android device by mistake. Ha ha Tim, very funny. Your iPhone is not water proof yet Tim. What Tim Cook was suggesting is the superior experience of iOS, unless if you have A5 devices or older, which are bogged down by iOS7. Another jab to Android is fragmentation. Valid point this time. Malware on Android, 99%… Err, oookay, good point, but Apple has its own problems.
iOS 8. “Giant release.” Spoiler: new programming language with Swift.
Craig is back (since no more Scott Forstall). Interactive notification, eg. ability to reply to a message right in notification. Android has something similar, but it’s not universally supported, and the variants between OEMs don’t help either. Better Safari UI for the iPad. One thing I find annoying with the Mail app on iOS is that when I’m composing a new email, I cannot do anything else. No multi-tasking within the mail app. This is highly annoying. Luckily, looks like Apple noticed that, and on iOS 8, you can swipe down the compose “window” to get back to there mails. Nice! People probably won’t appreciate this as I see most people are still using web-based emails (instead of using the mail app to access their accounts).
The task switching screen is now cluttered with favorited contacts at the top. Not sure if this is a good idea as there’s no context between the task switching screen and contacts. On the iPad demo, the auto recognition of messages for calendar events seems neat. Spotlight on iOS gets richer ala Yosemite (and overlapping with Siri). This extends to the search bar on Safari. QuickType, predictive typing. Just like the various keyboards on Android like Swype or Swift key. Neat, but I rather have support for multiple language in one keyboard instead of switching keyboards back and forth. Continuity brings integration with iDevices. This is going to be great.
Messaging app gets a lot of improvement. I still think iOS Messages to be better than the dozens of SMS apps on Android. Video and voice messages. Nothing new, but iOS 8 makes it easier to actually do it right on the Messages app. The summary on group messaging is great. Many SMS apps, even well known ones, on Android cannot even handle location on Vcards properly (many not at all). The skit with Craig is pretty funny. I can see the auto reply audio messages can be frustrating though, with people sending unintentional messages. Looks like now Apps can share files, instead of importing and exporting stuff when dealing with multiple apps.
Enterprise, with Craig focusing on security and privacy. Those two words seem to be the buzz words of the year. Imo this is where Android is lagging.
Health. Yup, the rumored Healthbook, dubbed HealthKit and Health app. Integration with other apps and Mayo Clinic. This is going to be interesting, and we will see which companies that can adopt this. Healthcare companies are usually slow in adopting new techs. Interesting is also the mention of Epic. Many hospitals are using Epic, so this can be huge. See, a lot of tech bloggers only care about iWatch, but Apple is taking a much bigger leap than the others by working together with healthcare providers. That’s real innovation.
Family Sharing, a long awaited feature. It’s basically the ability to aggregate purchases of family members, and great notifications for parents.
Updated Photos app. Seriously, I think it’s time for Apple to just consolidate iPhoto into this. Updating the stock Photos app seems dysfunctional when there’s iPhoto (that seems to be ignored). The new editing features are really great. It basically make the editing I usually do in Lightroom into a simple scrollable setting. The inter-devices editing is great as previously, you will have multiple copies of the photo. Photos on the Mac? WTF happened to iPhoto? Did Apple just kill iPhoto? Oh, and an app for Windows too? This is BIG imo.
And now, your photos, and videos, will be using the iCloud drive’s storage space (previously, photo stream doesn’t count). Oh and yes, stingy Apple only gives you 5GB free. For photos, that may be okay, but for videos? Come on Apple. Of course, Apple wants you to pay more. 99c per month for 20GB. In contrast, Google gives you 15GB free. Microsoft gives you 7GB free, and an additional 3GB if you use the auto camera upload feature. Apple’s 5GB free doesn’t look as great anymore. Apple has 200GB plan for $3.99 a month. This is actually not that bad. In comparison, Google gives 100GB for $1.99 a month, while Microsoft wants $100 annually for 200GB. Dropbox, which imo is the gold standard, offers 2GB free (with many promotions to add more free storage), and 100GB for $9.99 per month. So iCloud drive is not bad if you are willing to spend some money, but for freebies, you get better deal elsewhere.
Okay Hey Siri, basically a copy of Okay Google. No demo, so I wonder if this would be more of a feature for the new iPhone. I would think the “always on” feature would drain the battery on current and older iPhones.
Tim is back. Now developers can bundle apps. App previews, which is just a video trailer/preview for an app, something that is nothing new on Google Play. TestFlight, ability for debs to invite users to beta test their apps. Craig (Superman… Really? :roll eyes) came back to the stage with some new features form the SDK, namely extensibility. It allows apps to share things back and forth more openly, just like Android, but Craig said it is still secure. Yes, hopefully more apps will utilize the sharing feature. Widget on notification tray. By the way, the extension has three dots, just like… Android. The extension on Safari seems awesome though. The demo is for Bing translate, but I’m hoping there will be deeper extensions to allow things like Adblock or things like that.
Third party keyboards. Say what? Yeah, now iOS allows third party keyboards. Hopefully there will by Swype for iOS. TouchID for 3rd party apps. Camera APIs for manual controls. I can sense more fancy camera apps. HomeKit API, common protocol for home automation. CloudKit, basically offering developers a free “server.”
Metal, replacing OpenGL. (?) Yeah, Apple was big in pushing OpenGL ES as the standard, but now that they are the major player in portable gaming, looks like Apple decided to do its own, called Metal. SpriteKit for more casual games. SceneKit, to create 3D games easier, I guess? I sense Apple pushing more into gaming. Maybe a new beefier iPod Touch? Of even games on an Apple TV? Very interesting, but I wonder if this is more of an incentive to make games exclusive to iOS.
New programming language. This is very big. From Objective-C to Swift. Native Cocoa and Cocoa Touch. It is going to be interesting how this would attract new developers, and how current developers would adopt it.
iOS 8 in fall, supporting anything with an A5 chip onward. Yes, no iPhone 4 there, so that’s it for iPhone 4 users. The support for A5 is important as many small businesses are still using the iPad 2 (since Apple themselves was still selling it until recently).
Tim returned to wrap up the keynote. No hardware here folks, purely software. We actually saw a lot of new stuff here. iOS 8 is pretty much redesigning iOS under the hood with Metal, Swift, and the various Kits in the new SDK. Now I’m actually excited to see what Apple has in store for the iPhone 6 to take advantage of many of these new features. My 2 cents.