WWDC 2014: The Latest and Greatest from Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference
The annual gathering of Apple’s developers took place earlier this week in San Francisco, and top Apple execs Tim Cook, Phil Schiller and Craig Federighi took center stage to reveal what new products and features users can expect to see from Apple in the near future.
Before we get into the specific announcements from the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), let’s talk numbers and take a look at what Apple has been up to as well as their growth as a company:
9 million registered Apple developers (47 percent increase from 2013)
800 million iOS-powered devices sold to date
80 million Macs installed to date
130 million new customers in the past year
1.2 million apps currently available in the App store
75 billion apps downloaded to date
12% growth in the Mac market share (whereas PC has declined)
Now back to the WWDC. The event’s keynote speech delved deep into what Apple has been working on tirelessly for the last year and what users can expect to see at its annual fall release. Here is a breakdown of new features and key additions for Apple’s newest release: iOS 8.
Healthkit – There is a clear health and fitness focus in the latest software upgrade. Healthkit provides a composite profile of your favorite fitness apps and health information, similar to how Passbook organizes boarding passes, movie tickets and loyalty cards. Healthkit syncs your health-related apps into one convenient space. ‘Health’ is the primary app within the profile; it has the ability to track a wealth of information such as activity (steps), nutrition, heart rate, sleep, weight and blood pressure. It also integrates with third party applications, such as Nike.
QuickType – Apple has finally revealed that they are providing predictive typing, a feature already commonly used with Android products. QuickType will be able to guess your next words as well as adapt your language depending on who you are talking to.
Group Messaging – Group messaging is getting a serious facelift. The updated feature will allow users to: name friends, add and remove members, and permanently leave a thread. And, for the real winner, you can apply “do not disturb” settings at any time!
Homekit – This new platform allows users to control locks, doors, lights, cameras, thermostats, etc. with one central device. Apple has partnered with a variety of third-party vendors to make this possible.
Interactive Notifications – This feature will allow users to respond to notifications such as texts or Facebook messages while still remaining in the application currently in use. How? Simply pull down the notification window and easily respond to the pressing message at hand. Users will have the option to respond with text, picture, video or voice recording without interruption.
Family Sharing – Six members of a family are now able to share iTunes purchases, including applications, music and movies, with one central credit card. This feature also gives access to linked members’ calendars, reminders and photos. Parents also have the ability to control children’s purchases because permission to purchase must be verified by the main cardholder.
Synced Photo Editing – iOS 8 will automatically sync your photos with iCloud to ensure that images are available across all applications. There are also new affordable iCloud plans:
20 GB for $.99 per month
200 GB for $3.99 per month
The iCloud Photo Library will also include new smart editing features that allow users to manually adjust multiple effects such as contrast, color, light exposure and more.
Overall, the results from WWDC 2014 are consistent in terms of the types of information Apple usually presents. Nonetheless, the features and additions they presented should continue to please their user base and help the company stay amongst the leaders in the smartphone market.