Computing and technology giant Apple held it’s enormous Worldwide Developer’s Conference this morning in its home town of San Francisco. Whilst many were speculating that a new version of the iPhone, or even the much vaunted iWatch would be revealed, Apple’s biggest presentation of the year instead was focused solely on software and operating systems. Notably, the company unveiled new platforms for its three primary products, iPhone, iPad, and Mac, in both mobile and tablet system iOS 8, and desktop platform OS X Yosemite. But through all the whizz-bang technobabble that comes with a presentation like this, what new, handy features can you expect from these upgrades (which will be free, and will roll out from this forthcoming Spring)? As always, we’ve got your back.
The main takeaway is that the two new platforms will be far more similar than past incarnations. The desktop OS X will be moving towards the mobile iOS in both appearance and functionality. You’ll be able to make your phone or tablet communicate with your computer a hell of a lot easier. For example, if you start typing an e-mail on your phone and realise it’s a bigger job than you thought, or if you need to chase down media or attachments, with one push of a button you’ll be able to transfer what you’ve already written across to your Mac and continue typing from there. And if your phone rings and it’s in another room, you’ll be able to answer the call on your Mac, using the onboard mic and speakers.
Text messaging gets an overhaul in the new iOS, with features similar to Snapchat being integrated into the messaging function. You’ll be able to send audio or video at the push of a button, which will have a self-destruct feature (y’know, Snapchat) so the recipient will only see the media once before it “vanishes.” Even better are the changes to Group Texting. A Do Not Disturb feature will prevent your phone from blowing up constantly during incessant group threads; you’ll have the ability to name Group Text threads; and you’ll also have the ability to add or remove people from it, as well as dropping out altogether yourself. Pretty cool.
HEALTHKIT AND HOMEKIT
Two new functions being brought in to this new generation of operating platforms are HealthKit and HomeKit. HealthKit is a hub that will incorporate data obtained from third party fitness apps like Nike+ and retain all health and fitness-related data in one place, much like how Passbook operates for tickets and such. The new Health app has been partnered with the Mayo Clinic and will allow you to input things such as blood pressure and other vital information, letting you fully monitor your own personal health concerns.
Meanwhile, HomeKit is a function designed to let you control home appliances and electronics from your smart phone. This means if you live a smarthome enabled fancy place, you’ll be able to dim or turn off household lights, locks your doors, or closes your garage doors on command. You’ll even be able to set up a total home automation function that does all of those when you tell Siri you’re going to sleep. Though I bet she still won’t open the goddamned pod bay doors if you ask her.
iCloud gets something of an overhaul with the addition of iCloud Drive. This is, essentially, Dropbox. There’s no real discernible difference between iCloud Drive and Dropbox. It’s the same thing. Apple’s just taken the Dropbox functionality and applied it to iCloud to discourage you from using services that aren’t Apple-related. It’s kind of what they do.
Both iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite will be hitting your App Store in Spring. It’ll be free. But upgrading is still optional, of course.
Photo: Justin Sullivan via Getty Images.