Have you ever noticed that when Apple rolls out a new product, like the Apple Watch or latest iPhone, there are already a host of apps ready to install and use on the new gadgets? That happens because Apple gives software developers a heads-up about what it's working on and what new gadgets will be out on the market in the months to come.
Today is the start of one of those heads-up meetings. Apple calls the four-day event the World Wide Developers Conference, or WWDC. There's been months of speculation leading up to WWDC 2015. If you use iPhone, iPads, Mac computers, Apple Watch or other Apple gear, this is a sneak peek of the big changes coming to your gadgets. And if you love music, just wait until you see the best that Apple saved for last.
iPad users get a major upgrade with new capabilities. Apple announced that the next new operating system for iPad, iOS 9, will allow multitasking and split-screen displays.
Split view allows two apps to be open and displayed on the same iPad screen.
But that's just scratching the surface of today's big announcements.
Mac users will soon get an all-new operating system. On the heels of Apple's current OS X Yosemite, Mac's new system is dubbed OS X El Capitan. Apple says it will be offered as a free upgrade for users this fall.
The new Mac software offers a ton of handy improvements for easier, faster use. In addition to the clever additions, Apple promises some dramatic speed improvements and longer battery life. Apps within OS X, like the browser Safari and Apple's email program, Mac Mail, also have some neat tricks built in. Taken individually, few if any of the changes are headline grabbers.
For instance, lose your cursor on a busy screen? Jiggle your mouse and it shows up 10 times bigger. Stumble upon a website blasting unwanted music or audio? Instantly identify which tab is offending and mute it without muting your entire system. Based on a number of these kinds of new features displayed, I'm looking forward to downloading OS X El Capitan when it becomes available.
Mobile gadget improvements
The operating system for iPhones and iPads will get a big overhaul this fall with the free upgrade to iOS 9. If you recall the bungled rollout of iOS 8 that crashed phones and was too big for many users to download, Apple seems to have learned a valuable lesson. For folks with older iPhones and iPads, Apple has slimmed down the installation file to less than 2GB. That should minimized the panicked deletion of photos, music and apps to open up storage space on your gadget that so many folks experienced with iOS 8 when updating your old device to the new OS.
On a practical level, there’s a new low-power mode in iOS 9 that could help you stretch out your battery life for an extra three hours. When your juice starts running low, just switch into power-saver mode until you can charge up.
Included in iOS 9 is a new service called News. News will help you pull together on one screen news that's interesting to you from anywhere in the world. You can follow more than a million topics. News will learn from the stories you read to bring you even more news you might not find otherwise.
Apple turned upside down the concept of mobile gadgets just 8 years ago with the first generation iPhone. One of the biggest game changers for mobile gadgets was Apple's App Store. App Store lets you search and find apps to help your iPhone or iPad do nearly anything. Today, Apple announced the App Store has passed 100 BILLION app downloads. How many apps do you have? Apple says the average number of apps per user is 119.
In the early days of the Internet, online music was a chaotic jumble of illegal MP3 downloads with few legitimate ways for fans to get the music they love. Apple's iPod, iTunes and later iPhone dramatically changed that. Today, Apple announced the next big thing in music.
Apple Music is putting the human touch back into online music. Details are sketchy today, but Apple CEO Tim Cook says it's “The next chapter in music. It will change the way you experience music forever.” Apparently Apple is putting real live humans in charge of picking playlists to account for the intangible emotional factor of music that computers and algorithms just can't crack.
Tell Apple Music what you like and you’ll get handpicked music based on your tastes. Get recommendations for albums and playlists you’ll love from experts — real people who know and love music. Apple Music will be available June 30 in over 100 countries with iOS 8.4 for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch and as an update to iTunes on your Mac. But Music isn't just for the Apple crowd. Apple Music will be available on Windows and on Android later this fall.
Other announcements today included dramatic new improvements to the software that powers Apple Watch. WatchOS 2 will be available as a free update this fall, and will work on every Apple Watch. With Apple's HomeKit, you can directly control lights and other things in your home from Apple Watch apps.
Apple also showed off new capabilities to its car entertainment system, CarPlay. CarPlay allows you to safely use your iPhone in your car. And now it lets you connect wirelessly. Apple says your CarPlay-enabled car will automatically sync with your iPhone without even taking it out of your purse or pocket.
While Apple didn't roll out any dramatic new gadgets that you'll be seeing on store shelves, these updates to the software that powers your Apple gear should be some welcome improvements.