WWDC 2016: Our favorite new features

Even if you aren’t a developer, WWDC is always an exciting time for Apple fanatics. It’s the public’s first look at the software we’ll get to see when it rolls out in the fall. This year’s WWDC promises some great new features across iOS, macOS (formerly OS X), watchOS and tvOS.

Here’s a quick rundown of the features that really caught our attention:

For nearly 10 years, iPhone users have grappled with finding a place to hide the native apps packed into iOS (I literally can’t even with the Tips app) from throwing them to the last page of the home screen to nesting them in folders within folders. Your struggle is over, people. 🙌

While this wasn’t explicitly stated at WWDC yesterday, developers have been buzzing about it since they got their hands on the iOS 10 Beta. Now, rather than staring at that judgy Health app while you force down another donut, you can simply delete it and re-download it from the App Store on January 1st.

Thank the Lord of Light for this one. Handoff, which until now has just been a way of texting while at work, is finally getting a little more useful.

With iOS 10, if my thumbs get tired typing a lengthy email (read: Tumblr post) I can just copy the text, or image, or address from my iPhone and seamlessly paste it into the web browser on my Mac.

While fast, a 250GB solid state drive just doesn’t cut it in a world with 2GB photoshop documents and 4K videos of my cat trying to get unstuck from the couch cushion.

One of the biggest updates to macOS Sierra, besides its naming formula, is better, more automatic integration to iCloud. No doubt these features are a grab for more monthly iCloud subscriptions, but with the addition of these these features they can take my money.

The first thing that excites us about Sierra is a back up feature that caches old and redundant files in the cloud to clear precious space on your Macbook Air. In the live demo at WWDC, it nearly quadrupled the amount of free space on the Mac in question.

Secondly, as the goal of the cloud is effortless movement between devices, another feature further simplifies that move. If you are like me and everyone else I know, your most relevant files (read: all my files) are saved to your desktop. Now, when you access your iCloud account from another device, your desktop files are automatically included and are probably just as messy as you left them.

The only complaint I have ever had with Messages on Apple Devices (besides the very real hatred I feel for green bubbles) is that as third-party messaging apps have added new features that make talking to your friends—or frenemies—through a glowing square more human, Apple has lagged behind.

A few new features to Messages include bubble effects, 3X bigger emojis, emoji prediction, handwritten messages, fullscreen effects and Digital Touch. Also, get excited for rich links with in-message previews of webpages, music and video.

Bubble effects allows for fun animations that express emotion better than a blooping white bubble. You can swipe to reveal exciting news or jokes with “invisible ink,” make a bombastic announcement with a thud or make a soft apology reminiscent of a tiny kitten pretending to regret destroying the leg of your sofa.

The emoji features are nothing new, but being able to automatically convert words into emojis is fun. And bigger emojis are more fun.

These ee-moo-jis are fun —My mom

The Photos app is getting a major overhaul with iOS 10. It is now smarter and more nostalgic than ever. Using “computer vision,” your pictures are now organized using facial, object and scene recognition. It can automatically create albums for vacations, group and serve photos based on the people or subjects included. I can’t wait for my group of perfect bagel photos to be served on the first day of my low-carb diet.

Like Instagram, you can also view all your photos on a map, reminding me of all the trips to New Orleans that I was hoping to forget. But unlike Instagram, Apple Photos can now create video highlight reels of trips paired with music and set to themes you select (ex: Epic, Romantic or Fun) instantly. Pretty neat.

The coolest thing about all these new features, is that they are all happening locally—taking advantage of the fastest mobile processors Apple has ever used—so no one is face-tracking grandma other then the iPad.

Oh, and a few other things

Heres a TL;DR of the other big news from the two-hour keynote:

iOS

  • The lock screen is more customizable (you can come back now Android defectors). Introducing “raise to wake,” 3D touch capability, third-party widgets and brand new notifications
  • Siri now belongs to the world, her API has been opened up to developers so now she can call you an Uber or send a GroupMe
  • Apple maps are now “more proactive” but probably still garbage
  • Apple Music has been completely overhauled with a brand new look, new capabilities and a daily, curated playlist called “Discovery Mix”—watch out Spotify
  • HomeKit is now Home. It is smarter, with Siri integration and “scenes” to set the mood
  • Voicemails are now transcribed, making it even easier to avoid your alumni call center asking for donations

macOS

  • OS X IS DEAD. LONG LIVE macOS Sierra
  • “Your filin’ is stylin’” — Siri is now available on Mac, and she is still just as cheesy
  • Tabs now works on all applications, cleaning up your experience
  • Apple Pay is now available on web, no news if this is a Safari-only feature
  • Picture-in-picture now allows for better (or worse) multitasking

watchOS

  • watchOS 3 is here and it will greatly increase the speed of the Apple Watch
  • Introducing a dock for easy access to apps
  • You can now respond to texts by writing with your finger. Your messages are then transcribed
  • SOS mode will keep you safe
  • Minnie Mouse is here!
  • Breathe, an app focused on meditation, is there to make your day a little better

tvOS

  • Single Sign-on allows users to login to their cable providers and be given automatic access to all of the apps and channels included in their cable package
  • The iPhone will now be able to better control the Apple TV
  • HomeKit is now available on Apple TV
  • Automatic app downloads across all Apple devices

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