People are already camped out and ready for WWDC15 to begin. Luke Gumbley (@lukegumbley), Layton Duncan (@PolarBearFarm) and Matt Nydam (@mattnydam) will be sharing their thoughts here as the keynote is happening. Feel free to tweet at us if you have questions! Our whole mobile team will also be following the keynote on livestream and chiming in as things unfold.
Layton covered WWDC14 last year and broke down what themes Apple was pushing and what they could mean for the future. Luke covered Apple’s special event last year, which was our first glimpse at the Apple Watch – which now has its own Xero App.
The event begins at 10am PST. Check back regularly to find out what’s happening at WWDC15 live!
Matt and I are in line. The mood is good despite the fact that the line was three quarters of the way around the block when we started. It got slightly worse when Layton iMessaged us to let us know he’d scored a VIP pass and so was still in bed…
We’re now inside the conference center itself, having been greeted by a posse of Apple employees, clapping and cheering with various degrees of enthusiasm. The lonely wifi access points have already been overwhelmed… hope my LTE holds out.
THIS JUST IN: We’re still in line. Layton (@PolarBearFarm) wins the official Xero “Team Player” award:
— Luke Gumbley (@lukegumbley) June 8, 2015
It’s kind of amazing, really. I figured three hours early was pretty respectable, but it now transpires that we’re almost at the back of the line. Scuttlebutt is the queue gets earlier by an hour every year… almost in the auditorium now, I think!
The hours of waiting are about to pay off… we have pretty good seats about 50m (54yd) back from the stage. I wandered up to the front to take a look at how the other half lives, and met a couple of very pleasant chaps in the front row, John (NY) and Daniel (SA).
“What time did you guys queue up?”. There was a long pause as they thought about it.
“Oh wow, that’s pretty good!”
“Six… last night.”
“Did you sleep at all?”
“Uptown Funk” comes on and the entire audience commences jiving in their seats.
Tim Cook takes the stage to rapturous applause after a great opening video starring Danny Pudi. The youngest scholarship student attending is twelve years old!
“Today we’re bringing native apps to the watch with a new version of the Watch OS, which gives the developers even more time to create even more apps for the Watch that will change the world.”
Craig Federighi now onstage… “Over 55% of active Mac users are using the latest version of our operating system (…) Yosemite has the fastest adoption rate of any OS ever”
New OSX is “El Capitan”, not kidding. Big improvements to Spotlight and window management, straight into a demo! Easily find your cursor by magnifying when you shake the mouse, New gestural interface for Mail. Pinning tabs and tab audio management make it to Safari.
Some really slick improvements to Spotlight. Getting into natural language searches here, looks like a play to make web search less relevant. Craig finds a giants game, looks up the weather, grabs some files based on the general content topic. The web stuff is pretty clever; if you don’t start in a browser then you might never need to get to Google.
Audible gasps and ‘oohs’ from the audience as Craig demonstrates that El Capitan finally has the ability to pin windows to the left or right of a split screen. Biggest response so far. This feature is slick. You can alter the size of the split by dragging the divide, or drag open programs over each other to create a splitscreen if you want to work on two at once.
The Metal graphics layer now on OSX. Lots of discussion of professional software improving, apparently Adobe are going to adopt Metal across the board. Craig touts a “Ten-X improvement… that’s ten times” to general amusement. Really enjoying the light-hearted tone and gags in the presentation. Epic now onstage giving a quick demo of metal with a complex scene rendering in realtime (their new game, “Fortnight”). Lots of talk about the reduced CPU usage – up to 70% reduction according to Epic.
On to iOS9 now. Apple focused on improving the ‘Intelligence’ of iOS… First step is Siri. Plenty of good examples of good natural language actions added to Siri. But “the best assistants are proactive. We’re bringing proactivity to your iPhone”. This is a bit of a mix of new stuff and Google Now, interesting. Plug in your headphones and ‘Now Playing’ auto-loads. Enter your car and the audiobook you’re listening to is loaded. Even more Googley: When you take a call from a number not in your contacts, it searches your email to find a probable contact. Reminders pop up when you have appointments, taking into account your current location and travel time. API for searching inside apps, again a recently announced Google feature. Apple clearly fighting hard to keep up with Google’s innovation here.
This is slick. Emails that look like appointments (e.g. “Hey you’re invited to potluck tonight”) are auto-added to your calendar. Now demonstrating how to search for potato recipes. This is a hungry audience; the Poutine gets applause. Can’t get over how much iOS9 Intelligence is a direct head-to-head battle with Google Now. Finishes on some strong points about user privacy; searches and info are held on-device, not associated with your Apple ID and not shared with third parties.
On to Apple Pay! Square is launching an NFC reader that supports Apple Pay, this is big news. Claiming a 2x increase in checkout rates due to the ease of payment. It’s a powerful argument. Apple Pay launching in the UK, able to pay for London transport with it! Man, they pick great partnerships at Apple.
‘Passbook’ renamed to ‘Wallet’, a lot of murmuring in the audience at this one. Not that this ambition was secret… but if they weren’t already, all other wallet providers should be trembling. Surprisingly brief Apple Pay section, though. The announcements were big but not transformational, I was hoping for a little more. I guess they’re still building momentum.
Notes improvements pretty slick, sketch with your finger. Maps pretty interesting. Claiming a lead of 3.5x over the next “maps provider”. Again murmuring in the audience. Are they calling shenanigans? I don’t know many people using Apple Maps right now, although I will say that navigation with a Watch is pretty great. Lots of applause at the new transit maps. Big focus on China, murmur murmur murmur.
My watch tells me it’s time to stand up.
Dedicated news app! This could be huge. Man, this is lovely. They’ve created a format for producing articles that’s pretty impressive. Apple news has been Snow Fall’d. Lots of chat about how the app keeps track of your interests, likes and dislikes and curate a feed for you. I wonder how concerned we should be about living inside a filter bubble? The intelligent machine learning topics seem very powerful. Interesting plug for the ‘next level’ photo mosaics. Looks a lot like Flickr… News rolling out in US, UK and AU. Sigh, no NZ.
On to iPad. Super cool feature; two-finger touches on the onscreen keyboard turn it into a kind of a trackpad for the cursor. Shortcut keys have also been added for copy/paste and the like.
MULTI-TASKING! Drag from the right and you pull in a sidebar that holds another app. You can pull down from the top to switch the sidebar app to anything running; tap on the backgrounded app on the left, and it loads a true split-screen view. This view is very equivalent to the new El Capitan splitscreen, including dragging the separator to resize. I predict thousands of auto-layout migraines with this… looks amazing though.
Picture-in-picture now! If you switch tasks while watching a video, it stays on top in a sub-window. You can drag it around, pause and replay and resize it. Craig claims that if you’ve been using size classes and autolayout you can drop straight into this. Muted laughter from the audience… Everyone’s gonna do it but no-one’s sure how easy it’s really gonna be.
A cornucopia of updates now. They’ve added low-power mode (another Lollipop feature). They’re also claiming an extra hour of battery life for typical use. Some notes about 2FA for iCloud. General laughter at the news that the software update for iOS9 will only be 1.3Gb.
Holy toledo, I’ve never seen so many announcements in one slide. Craig talking superfast kind of skipped over the announcements of Swift 2 and UI testing in XCode! Then the next slide with six new APIs they’re releasing, including ReplayKit – gives the ability for users to record and share videos of themselves playing your game. Quick updates to HomeKit and CarPlay, nothing too amazing there though.
Swift! Huge applause. Another packed slide, like 30 language improvements aargh! Gonna be a busy week. Here it comes… “We think Swift is gonna be the next big programming language… we think it should be everywhere.”
SWIFT TO BE OPEN-SOURCE!!!!
Libraries being released for OSX, iOS and Linux. This is huge news.
Tim Cook back on stage now, speaking in a hushed voice as he announces that the App Store has made it to eight zeros. That’s 100 Billion downloads, an unimaginable number! He carries on to revel that Apple has paid over 30 billion dollars to developers. Big applause for an uplifting ‘thank you’ video for devs about the societally transformational aspect of apps. Starring Neil deGrasse Tyson
Here it is! “We want to talk now about the next opportunity to transform the world, and that’s the opportunity to bring native apps to the watch with a new version of watchOS”. Kevin Lynch now onstage.
Timepiece improvements – as expected, complications now opened up to devs. Time travel quite an interesting feature – rotate the crown to modify the time and see what’s happening in the future, then click to return to the present. “Flux capacitors not included”. Rest the watch on its side and it goes to ‘night stand’ view. Typical Apple, fantastic minor touches that end up being some of your favourite parts of the device.
Loads of other minor improvements. Best one is the ability to load specific glances with Siri – viewing glances is a bit clunk if you have quite a few. I’d say they’re moving to make Siri the primary interface on Watch.
Watch now supports native apps. Yet another packed slide on watchOS2 improvements, calling out the major ones: Microphone, Speaker, Video, Accelerometer, Digital Crown, HealthKit and HomeKit access. This is all no-brainer stuff. I’d say it was meant to be in the first release but slipped. Interestingly, Kevin’s now giving a live demo. It’s a lot slicker than my one at Xerocon last week, but then he appears to have a secret Apple watch tethering cable. Interesting that even Apple doesn’t have wireless Watch demo ability yet.
Palpable tension in the room as Kevin demos replying to an email on Watch using Siri. Four seconds… five… a nervous titter rolls around… then relief as the reply shows up! Kevin plays it cool, not a single bead of sweat, hands like a surgeon. Can’t imagine what was running through his mind there.
One more thing… Huge tension in the room until Tim Cook says the fateful words: “Now, we love music…”
Shoulders slump around the room and there’s an audible group sigh, because no-one cares about Apple Music.
"One more thing" – yaaaaay! "Now, we love music…" – awwwwww. #WWDC15
— Luke Gumbley (@lukegumbley) June 8, 2015
They’re bringing someone onstage!
Please be Dr. Dre. Please. Please be Dr. Dre. #WWDC15
— Luke Gumbley (@lukegumbley) June 8, 2015
Turned out to be Jimmy Iovine.
“Apple Music is three things…” another titter from the audience. “Now think about this. You’re in a special moment. You’re exercising… or another special moment”. Is Jimmy makin’ a makin’ love joke here? Possibly. But mostly he’s talking about how good Apple Music is gonna be at choosing the next song.
The three things, for reference, are:
- Revolutionary music service
- 24/7 global radio
- Connecting fans with artists
Eddy Cue now! It’s actually kind of a big deal if Apple Music is gonna stream the entire iTunes catalogue. Taylor Swift sent a bit of a shockwave through streaming services when she dropped off Spotify. I’d be pleased if Apple prevented that split from getting as out of hand as it has for TV… but it’d be at the price of a pretty huge monopoly.
Now Drake is onstage? From behind me: “What?!” He’s doing a pretty great job though, a surprisingly good storyteller. He’s a fan of Connect, which if you’ve lost track is the third item on the list of things Apple Music is (“Connecting fans with artists”).
Happy birthday Phil Schiller! Live video on the main screen shows all the execs are sitting in the front row of the crowd. Turns out when I joked to Matt earlier that I might queue up at 3am to get the chance to smell Tim Cook, I actually wasn’t too far off the mark.
Connect looks a heap like Twitter. I wonder if it’ll eventually shift across to non-music celebrities? You can buy movies and TV shows on iTunes as well, after all. Can’t see it taking Twitter over unless there’s an integration, but it’s an interesting play.
Eddy now showing off Siri’s natural language features for playing music. I had a bad moment there for a second though, the opening of “Shut up and dance” sounds a lot like U2. For a second there I was having flashbacks. Also notable as the only demo today that went wrong! “Play the song from Selma” waits several seconds before bringing up Imagine Dragons. Eddy plays it cool though, just saying “Let’s try that one again”. Proves the demos are really live though. Amazing that the rest of the demos went so well!
Gasps from the crowd when this actually happened:
I never, ever, ever thought I'd hear the word 'Android' spoken at WWDC #WWDC15
— Luke Gumbley (@lukegumbley) June 8, 2015
Presumably Eddy is now offstage washing his mouth out with soap after announcing Apple Music was coming to the platform that shall not be spoken of.
Finishing up with a pretty sweet performance by The Weekend, hitting his new song for the first time. Sound system in here is awesome!
That’s a wrap! Wifi drops back down to zero as everyone simultaneously hits up the internet. Just gonna sit here and think for a bit before summarising.