Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) 2014 has begun and yesterday was the keynote address which showcased iOS 8, OS X 10.10 Yosemite and new tools for developers. Here are five new things that Apple showed at the conference that stood out:
HomeKit: Smart home from Apple was definitely the buzz before the event began and the Cupertino-tech giant didn’t leave fans waiting. Craig Federighi, senior vice president of Software Engineering who pretty much dominated the stage during the keynote, showed off the HomeKit. Essentially it will allow users to connect their iPhone/iPad and control stuff like garage-door openers, lights, and security cameras, even thermostats and switches.
Users can just control these through Siri. For example they could say “Get ready for bed” and the house lights will dim. Of course you’ll need to have products that are certified for the HomeKit. According to The Verge, “Apple will run a certification program for HomeKit and initial partners include August, Honeywell; iHome; TI; and about a dozen more.”
Essentially HomeKit will allow you to control your smart lock or smart lights via your iPhone and iPad provided they have the the Apple certification.
Continuity: Essentially this is syncing between OS X and iOS 8. This was something we had all been waiting for. Some features of continuity include:
a) AirDrop– which Apple has long-maintained as its answer to NFC– will now function across iOS and OS X devices. Initially you couldn’t AirDrop file from a Mac to an iPad. Thankfully, Apple has decided to solve this problem.
b) The other bit of syncing from iOS 8 and OS X includes the ability to receive calls, text messages on your iMac or Mac or even iPad itself, no matter how far the iPhone is.
c) Instant Hotspot where users can can just connect their iPhone’s cellular connection to start a Wi-Fi hotspot without typing in that long password.
d) HandOff syncs across devices which basically ensures that if you are working on your iPad or iMac and switch device, the other device will take you back to right where you had left off.
Also if you had started typing an email on your iPhone and then switched to the iMac, the iMac’s Mail client will prompt you about that email (it will show as email from iPhone) and you can finish typing it there on the iMac. You can also start a document in iWork on a Mac and switch to the iPad, and the iPad will suggest you to take up your work from where you left off.
This kind of syncing between iOS 8 and OS X devices definitely puts the Apple ecosystem way ahead of the Windows 8 ecosystem.
HealthKit app: Apple has shown that it wasn’t just joking about getting into the Health business. The HealthKit app can pull in data from other third-party apps and this can be accessed by healthcare professionals as well of course depending on how much access users give to this app.
Apple partnered with the world-renowned Mayo Clinic to make HealthKit happen, and the Clinic was all praise for Apple’s new innovation in the health sphere.
With HealthKit, your iPhone will keep a tab on your important health metrics on a daily basis, and over a longer period. After Mayo Clinic, Nike is also partnering with Apple for HealthKit. Apple promises that the data on Health will have deep privacy protections in place to store these sensitive records safely.
Swift: This part of the presentation was aimed solely at the developers and Apple showcased a new programming language called Swift.
According to Apple this is much faster than Objective-C, and for the company this is the the future of development across iOS and OS X. Swift code can live right besides C and Objective-C code in the same app. What this means is that developers can seamlessly interchange languages.
According to AppleInsider, “Swift can be used for basic apps, like social networking, or advanced 3D games using the new “Metal” graphics optimization.”
The language also offers “full control of time, so a developer can fast forward or backward to see how their app might react in certain situations,” according to the report.
Siri with Shazam integration: Siri got some upgrades as well. It now comes with Shazam integrated which means that you can now use Siri to identify any song. Of course, Siri also got a lot more powerful with HomeKit and you can now use it to dim the lights or open the garage door. There’s also streaming voice recognition and improved language support.
More on the line of Google Now, users can now say ‘Hey Siri’ and it will appear. Also you can buy iTunes content from within Siri itself.