On 4 June 2014, Apple opened up its World Wide Developers’ Conference 2014, aka WWDC 2014, a week for developers who got what was coming to them as they found out that they can cancel their holiday plans since they’re going to be working all summer long.
Apple’s announcements of OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 bring plenty of new ideas and functions for which applications will have to adapt in order to profit from the change. The fruitful party started with OS X Yosemite, a major version of Apple’s Mac operating system. With a flat design inspired by iOS 7, Apple wants to strengthen the connectivity between its products, allowing two OSes to interact with each other. As such, apart from the apparent similarities in terms of design, Apple seems to have focused on changing iCloud (Apple’s online data storage facility), the price of which decreases with an increase in its competiveness. The concept to bring together all of your Apple devices with the same iCloud email address is called ‘Continuity’. It includes, for example, ‘Handoff’, an application that allows users to make phone calls on a Mac (computer) rather than on an iPhone. The Mac can also use the iPhone as an automatic Wi-Fi instant hotspot, without the necessity of handling the iPhone; it will also indicate the status of the phone, such as battery life, Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity, etc. ‘Continuity’ goes further by sinking all documents on the iCloud, allowing its users to work between a Mac and iPad or iPhone with ease.
The Spotlight search function has also been improved greatly, inspired mainly by the application ‘Alfred’ that Mac fans should recognise quickly (documents will even be shown from the search window directly). Meanwhile, Mail will have a software of its own in order to edit photos on the spot, and will allow, as usual thanks to iCloud, to send attachments as big as 5 GB. iCloud Drive is itself inspired by Dropbox, showing its contents through folders on the Mac and Windows platforms. OS X Yosemite will be free to download and install; it is now available in Beta version, and, for the first time, will be able for everyone to test in beta version this summer.
The other star of the show was, obviously, iOS 8, with its endless list of additions and modifications. For example: the interactivity of the notifications that will allow iOS 8 users to reply to messages from the pop-up notification without leaving the current app in use – similar to the interaction in the lock screen (eg: marks an email or Facebook post as seen, or deleted, from the lock screen without unlocking the phone). The mail application in iOS 8 is inspired strongly by the ‘Mailbox’ application, itself bought recently by the company ‘Dropbox’. It will allow iOS 8 users to swipe horizontally on the mail in order to bring up options for it (e.g.: Delete it all, mark it as red).
Plenty of new applications are similar between Yosemite and iOS 8, such as the ‘Mosaic View’ of webpages on the Safari browser. Apple’s lucrative application, ‘App Store’, was obviously not left unchanged; it will allow, thanks to an update, families to share applications between Apple devices for up to six people with one single purchase. When talking about applications, Apple does not forget its most used app: ‘Messages’. ‘Messages’ now allows its users to send out audio messages in a simple manner as well as delete someone from a conversation. Apple has expressed its wish to make iOS 8 easier to work with by its developers. Alternate keyboards will therefore be allowed throughout several applications (such as the ‘switchkey’ one). But it doesn’t stop there; the usual keyboard will be upgraded and inspired by Google’s mobile phone’s OS: ‘Android’, with word predictions related to messages received.