It is hard to believe that it is already the 27th Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) for Apple. Besides me, more than 5,000 attended the conference to find out what Apple will do for watchOS, tvOS, iOS and macOS.
Yes, OS X is finally called macOS. I will miss the old name but hey, at least the naming convention looks consistent now.
Before diving into the program of the day, Tim Cook led the auditorium in a moving moment of silence for the victims of the tragic Orlando Shooting.
The new watchOS 3 looks a lot faster, which is welcome. With each iteration, WatchOS has gotten faster and more usable. You can now share Activity with your friends and family, which is useful for keeping motivated and for trash talking your fitness "opponents". This means I may have to buy my wife an Apple Watch now. I also like the Scribble feature that lets you write on the Apple Watch screen. And SOS will call for help via your iPhone or wifi, without you needing to know what the emergency number is for the country you are in.
And oh, Minnie Mouse is joining Mickey Mouse as a watch face in watchOS 3. And you can even change her outfit colour. Minnie fans, rejoice.
Eddy Cue came on to talk about tvOS, and now you can do Single Sign-on for all your Pay-TV apps on Apple TV 4. Not terribly relevant to us since we don't have that many Pay-TV apps in Singapore. But the new Remote control app that mimics the Apple TV 4 remote is most welcome.
macOS gets a nice big update, besides the name change. macOS Sierra finally brings Siri to the Mac. I use Siri a LOT in my Apple Watch and iPhone so this is a welcome addition for me. You can search for your files on the Mac with Siri, and even get Siri to find photos or work files with criteria you speak.
Universal Clipboard also got me excited. This lets you copy and paste seamlessly between your Mac and your iDevices. Also cool: Craig Federighi showed us how you will be able to use Apple Pay for your online purchases on your Mac. How it works is you click on the Apple Pay option on the website and then you authenticate payment with either Touch ID on your iPhone or by using your Apple Watch.
iOS 10 is a huge huge update. I don't even know where to start. Messages will support full-screen messages, stickers, emojis on steroids and other third-party enhancements. Some of these sticker and emoji action look like the features we already use on Line, Telegram and WeChat but I have to say that the Apple implementation is slick.
Yes, Apple has opened up Messages to developers to add functionality to it. In fact, Apple seems to have opened up a whole lot of the iOS core features to developers, the most significant of which is Siri.
You will be able to tell Siri to send a message via WeChat or Whatsapp, tell Siri to book a restaurant… I cannot wait to see how developers make use of Siri. That sounded kind of wrong.
Photos is another exciting iOS 10 improvement. Memories is a function that will be able to identify faces, and group people, places and things into albums. Then you can use the grouped content to create Memories movies, a slide show made up of photos and video clips from say, your trip to Seattle or Japan in June 2016, and set it to music.
Apple Music gets a long needed overhaul too. The interface is bolder and cleaner. I shall give it a go when it is available, to see if it is improvement enough to lure Spotify stalwarts.
Interestingly, Apple revealed that there are now 15 million paid subscribers to Apple Music. That is a lot of paying customers. Maybe there are many Taylor Swift fans.
Bozoma Saint John, Head of Global Consumer Marketing Apple Music & iTunes, who presented this segment, was a breath of fresh air in the presentation. She played some cool music (Rapper's Delight by the Sugarhill Gang) and tried to get the auditorium dancing and rapping along. Sadly, we failed her in the rapping department. What a cool lady!
And finally, Tim Cook revealed a free gift in the form of Swift Playgrounds for iPad. The app allows anyone, especially kids, to learn how to code in Swift. Now that is something I wouldn't mind letting my kids play with on the iPad, instead of just games.
Coding is indeed an important language for kids to pick up, and Swift Playgrounds may be a great gateway to interest them enough to learn more.
Here is a nice summary of the features in one video, used with permission from Apple: