In recent times I have become quite disillusioned with Apple. The keynotes were kinda boring, and there was nothing really interesting. I usually tuned in to the keynotes just because I felt that I should. In fact, it got to the point that this time around, I almost missed the keynote. When I did open the stream, I found I had missed out completely on the new OS X presentation, named Yosemite, but just managed to catch iOS 8.
I was immediately surprised by the lightness of the talk, I mean one of the jokes was about a mad hairdresser ruining Craig Federighi’s hairdo. Instantaneously I was paying more attention than I had in the previous three keynotes. Furthermore, there were actual moments in the keynote where I sat up and said, wow that is pretty cool. I have not had that since the iPhone 4 release! So here is the low down on the two big things release:
OS X Yosemite
The big thing about OS X Yosemite is a closer alignment with iOS and mobile, thus tying its users more closely into the Apple eco system. Firstly, there is a redesign of all the icons, more in style of iOS 7. The flattened symbols look really nice, and the redesign of the main programs like safari, maps and calendar look really nice. The biggest thing though is the added capabilities of your mac in terms of a mobile. Basically you will not only get your iMessages on your mac, but also actual mms and sms. This will make Messages quite a bit more useful, and helpful in terms of keeping all your information in one place. However thing that really intrigued me is the fact that you can now make and receive calls on your mac. If your mac is connected to the same Wifi network as your iPhone, then when your receives a call, you get a notification on your mac and then it can act as a speaker for your phone. I find this a really cool feature, especially since I am someone who tends to leave my phone somewhere and then lay down somewhere, often getting to lazy to get up again. While this step is more evolutionary than revolutionary (I feel I have applied this cliché quite a few times to Apple releases) it is a really positive evolution, and I welcome more like it.
While iOS 7 was a real game changer in terms of iOS, 8 continues that revolution in great style. There are several features that are really interesting.
Firstly, the new messaging app, which looks to jump on the wave of new messaging methods. Apple have introduced a handy new way of sharing their location, pictures and videos, as well as generally making it feel more whatsapp-y.
Secondly, Apple have now introduced a new app, HealthKit, which will collate all available health data from other apps and gadgets, and perhaps in the future predict when you may need to go to the hospital.. This points to Apple releasing some kind of gadget that will tie in with this, perhaps a smartwatch? One thing that did come about from the HealthKit announcement was the naming debacle. Another company which does something similar to the app, already has that name, twitter handle and website. Therefore you may see a name change.
The last feature that really interested me is Apple’s new open approach. This is first exemplified by the fact that iOS devices will be able to use external keyboards come fall. This means that Android users will no longer be able to brag about being able to use Swype and Swiftkey, while smirking at Apple users with their crappy keyboard. In a similar vein, Apple has now allowed developers to add widgets to their apps. Now, notification centre will actually become actually useful.
There were many other exciting features, like a redesign of multi-tasking, which if you have a compatible iOS device I would seriously consider checking out if I was you.
This is a really good update to iOS, which I await with anticipation.
This keynote was Apple without fear, without expectation. They introduced great new products, and even a new programming language, swift. They have made their platform more open for developers and customers alike. Finally they seemed to have shrugged off some of the “fail-without-Jobs” aura, and moved on. I really hope for more of this.