Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tech Time ::: Apple WWDC 2014

Photos via Engadget and Apple.com (all had STELLAR coverage)

Yesterday was the Apple WWDC 2014 Keynote, which brought some incredible unveils.  This might well be one of the biggest WWDC Keynotes in years.

First to be unveiled was OSX.10 for Macs which will be available for FREE this Fall, and it looks...interesting. It's definitely more along the lines of iOS7 styling, super clean icons, etc., with a new notification center similar to that in the iOS version.

Aside from the expected big App store updates, some of the more appealing to me were an updated Mail app, though admittedly I don't use it often because it's not a full push app with Gmail addresses, but hopefully Maildrop will fix that. Maildrop is a fabulous new way to send large files up to 5GB. 

I was also pleased with the "Handoff" feature, which allows you to take over not only work you were doing on your iPhone or iPad, but also calls with your Mac acting as a speakerphone and finish SMS conversations on your Mac from your iPhone. 

You can even make calls and start SMS chats with your computer without even needing to interact with your phone! AND...Instant Hotspot? Yes, please! Total connectivity. Even if all you're doing is declining a call from your mom. 

Mostly, though, I was really excited by Apple's take on Dropbox, the iCloud Drive, a cross platform cloud storage utility, which allows you to view files and folders backed up on both your iOS devices and your OSX devices (even Windows!) and move items between the two.  Finally, making iCloud more like it should've been all along. 

Pricing is competitive as well, with the first 5GB of iCloud storage for those shots is free as it has been, 20GB will cost a buck a month (great savings over current pricing) and 200GB will be available for $4 per month (so, uh, I'll be doing that one!) I love redundancy with my backups, so this and Dropbox combined will rock.

I literally just updated to Mavericks over the weekend, and did so with incredible hesitation, though I am like that with every OS update, because I am always paranoid my programs will cease functioning properly, so I always do it after most of my current orders are finished just to be safe.  So we'll see if I jump on this. Then again, when I buy my Macbook Pro in a few weeks/months, it will probably come with 10.10 already.

Get more info on OSX Yosemite here at Apple.com.

Once the excitement from OSX Yosemite (they've moved from cats to parks) slowed, they unleashed the new iOS8. This new iOS version brings us an even cleaner, snappier iOS7, with some huge new additions like widgets in Notification Center (!!!), a significantly improved Mail app (yay!), 

updates to the keyboard functionality, ability to use third-party keyboards (swype users!), actionable notifications (finally!) 

and 3rd party app updates in the Notification Center (Facebook, for example).  And that's just a short list...


In addition, there are some pretty fascinating updates to the Message app including a "voicemail within a text" type feature and improved Group Text features (ever wanted to remove someone from a chain? Or get added to a chain and getting texts from people you have no idea who they are? Done!) 

There's also a revamped Apple Maps app that really does a great job making people say "what's google maps?" with integrations like public transport systems being included. It's immensely more stable and a lot more accurate than ever before.  

You will also be able to ask Siri what song is playing in the background (linked through Shazam) and SIRI can find out and bring you to the screen in iTunes where you can purchase the song for yourself.

Even better? TouchID will be able to unlock other apps besides just your phone and iTunes/Appstore purchase!  There was a brief mention of how TouchID skyrocketed the use of passcode and security on the new iPhones (why would you not use this or a passcode?) 

So if you want your fingerprint to be tied to your banking apps, your Mint app, or even your email and calendar apps...done! 

Hopefully soon the rumored pay-with-iPhone feature that it sounds like the brilliant Angela Ahrendts is looking to implement will follow?

Also of note was "HealthKit," a "Passbook" type service run through the new "Health" app, which handles medical information.  I know my husband is screaming about the privacy issues related to this, but I actually think it sounds great. I keep a locked note of my medical data on my phone (prescriptions and doctor contacts, specifically), and backed up in dropbox, just in the event it's necessary. But if my husband or parents or sister are not available to access that (those are the people with access), this gives a medical professional access. 

This gives you the option to track various stats such as your weight, your fitness through, say, Nike's iOS friendly products, and sleep metrics, presumably using the motion sensor already in your phone.

Another interesting add was the "Family Share" feature. The examples used were family sharing calendars and photos, as well as FindMyiPhone for tracking the whereabouts of your clan...

and above all, that your kids use your account to buy apps and music on their devices, and this feature sends a "Jimmy wants to buy this app" kind of pop up to Mom or Dad and you can approve or decline the purchase, and if you approve it, this app or song you just greenlighted is available to everyone using that same account.

The next big unveil was Apple's HomeKit, for home connectivity, so you can open your garage door or unlock/lock your doors with your phone. 

They're working on a system to create a Nest-like thermostat control, and light control options.  They've apparently taken huge strides to ensure security and safety with this product, that doesn't make me want to rush out and use it, though.

iOS8 will also be available for FREE this Fall, presumably right around the time the mythical iPhone6 is out. iOS8 is set to work on iPhone4S and newer as well as iPad2 and newer.  Get more info on iOS8 on Apple.com.

After those two massive announcements, there were a host of pretty impressive developer-related announcements, before they closed out this year's Keynote.

HUGE Keynote! HUGE! Cannot wait to check out all these features.  Want to watch the entire thing for yourself? Check it out here.

What features sound the most appealing to you?

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