While the first day of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference did not include any major surprises, the company unveiled interesting details about its much anticipated music service launching this month, new versions of its OS X and iOS operating systems, and software updates to its car, home and smartwatch products. Apple is replacing its Newsstand app with “News,” and Passbook has become “Wallet.” The company announced new partners for Apple Pay, including Trader Joe’s and JC Penney, and an upcoming compatible reader from Square.
Jimmy Iovine, Drake, and Tim Cook unveiled Apple Music, a new service that will allow subscribers to stream their favorite songs and watch music videos in HD. As anticipated, it will run $9.99 per month, but Apple is also offering a $14.99 family plan for sharing Apple Music with up to five other people. The new service is slated for iOS availability starting June 30th and will be coming to Android devices this fall.
As expected, Apple unveiled updates to its operating systems. The OS X experience has been tweaked with El Capitan (OS X 10.11) that includes new features for Safari such as the ability to “pin” sites and mute audio in multiple tabs, more extensive search capabilities for Spotlight using natural language, and better windows management including the ability to split the screen between apps and desktop layouts.
Apple will provide developers with a beta version of iOS 9 in July, while the final version is expected to ship this fall. The new iOS 9 offers a low power mode to save iPhone battery power, new productivity options for the iPad, and more functionality for the Notes app and HealthKit. Additionally, Passbook has become “Wallet” and Newsstand has become “News.”
The following are highlights of other key Apple announcements as reported by The Verge:
- Siri now suggests individuals you may want to call, apps you may want to use at a certain time of day, and breaking news you may want to read. While this bears a fair resemblance to Google’s tools, Apple is playing up its privacy advantages, promising all your data will stay on the phone instead of in the cloud.
- Apple Pay will be coming to the U.K. in July. Besides eight banks and a variety of British brands, it will work with the London transportation system. Apple’s Passbook service, meanwhile, is turning into a service called Wallet, and Apple Pay itself is getting support for rewards cards.
- Newsstand is out, “News” is in. It’s an app that lets you read articles from all sorts of publications — essentially a combination of Flipboard and Facebook’s instant articles.
- The Apple Watch has a new operating system: watchOS 2. There’s a little bit more interactivity overall — you can, say, reply to emails instead of just reading them. Developers will have more control; they can make apps that play back video and audio using the watch speakers, and there’s full support for HealthKit and HomeKit.
- HomeKit, Apple’s smart home platform, is being expanded beyond its current limited functionality. Currently, HomeKit is tied to Apple TV, but it sounds like soon enough, you’ll be able to use your iPhone or iPad as well, as long as it’s connected via iCloud.
- CarPlay will allow auto makers to develop apps that control your car’s features. Going forward, you won’t have to leave the CarPlay OS to do things like turn the heat on. CarPlay will also now support high-DPI screens at multiple display sizes.
The Must-See Moments from WWDC 2015, CNET, 6/8/15
Everything We Learned Today from Apple’s WWDC Keynote, Gizmodo, 6/8/15
Apple Unveils Apple Music, New Software, The Wall Street Journal, 6/8/15
Apple Pushes Unified Subscription Music App, The Wall Street Journal, 6/8/15
For the Streaming Music Competition, Threat of Apple Music Turns to a Sigh of Relief, The Verge, 6/8/15
Spotify Plans to Match Apple Music’s Very Cheap Family Plan, The Verge, 6/8/15
Apple’s ‘News’ App is Latest Sign of Distribution Shift for Publishers, The Wall Street Journal, 6/8/15
Apple Said to Build High-Speed Network for Fast Content Delivery, Bloomberg, 6/8/15