WWDC 2015 event recap

At WWDC 2015, Apple took the lids off of the next versions of all of its major operating systems along with a music announcement that was widely expected. Here’s what you missed.

OS X El Capitan


OS X El Capitan is the successor to OS X Yosemite that introduces enhancements to window management, built-in apps, and Spotlight search. Metal, the company’s graphics technology, is also integrated to deliver system-wide performance gains and enabling games and other apps to “tap into the full power of Mac graphics processors,” according to Apple.

“OS X delivers unparalleled integration between Mac hardware, iOS devices, apps and online services, and has helped Mac sales outpace the PC industry every year for the last decade. Customers loved last year’s landmark OS X Yosemite release and made it the fastest-adopted PC operating system ever. With El Capitan, we’re further refining the Mac experience with enhancements to window management, Spotlight, and built-in apps, and improving performance so everyday activities – from launching apps to accessing email – are faster and more responsive.”

-Craig Federighi, Apple senior vice president of software engineering

El Capitan ditches the Helvetica Neue system font for the San Francisco font. Mission Control also has an updated design to help you “find the window you need even faster,” according to the company. When your desktop gets crowded, you can drag a window to the top of the screen to access Mission Control’s new Spaces Bar and create a new Space. Also, the new Split View feature automatically snaps two app windows side-by-side in full screen mode.

Safari now features pinned sites to keep websites open and active in the tab bar and a mute button to silence browser audio from any tab. Mail introduces smart suggestions, which recognizes names or events in a Mail message and prompts you to add them to your contacts or calendar. You can also swipe to delete messages like in iOS, and juggle multiple emails while Mail is in full screen. In Photos, you can add locations to a single image or a Moment, and sort albums by date or title. You can also download third-party editing extensions from the Mac App Store and access them from the Photos app.

In OS X El Capitan’s new Notes app, you can drag and drop photos, PDFs, videos, and other files into notes, and add content directly from other apps like Safari or Maps using the Share menu. Checklists help you keep track of to-do items, and the attachments browser organizes your attachments in one view.

Spotlight also gets smarter in El Capitan, generating results for more topics like weather, stocks, sports, transit, and web video. You can also resize the Spotlight window to display more results or move it anywhere on your desktop, and use natural language to find files on your Mac based on their creation date or who they were shared with.

OS X El Capitan also features a new Chinese system font for both traditional and simplified users with 50,000 characters for “crisp on-screen readability,” according to Apple. Chinese keyboard input methods now offer updated vocabulary lists and a smarter candidate window. El Capitan also makes entering Japanese text faster by converting Hiragana into written Japanese and reducing the need to individually select and confirm word conversions. You can also select from four new Japanese typefaces.

El Capitan’s developer preview is available now for Mac Developer Program members, and will be available in beta next month, and in final form this fall from the Mac App Store.

iOS 9


iOS 9 was also announced with “powerful” search and improved Siri functionality. New iPad multitasking features allow you to work with two apps simultaneously, side-by-side or with Picture-in-Picture mode to keep watching a video while using another app. Detailed transit information also came to Maps, as well as a similarly redesigned Notes app that’s similar from its OS X El Capitan counterpart, and an all-new News app for the “best news reading experience on any mobile device,” according to the company.

“iOS 9 is packed with more intelligence throughout, and delivers big updates to the apps customers use most – Maps supports public transit, a redesigned Notes app provides great new ways to capture ideas, and a beautiful News app delivers content that’s personalized to your interests. With our new iPad features, users can take advantage of the power of iPad, working in two apps at the same time with Split View, Slide Over, or Picture-in-Picture.”

-Craig Federighi

Siri has been redesigned in iOS 9 with contextual reminders and new ways to search photos and videos. Proactive assistance presents the most relevant information when you need it and suggests actions at a particular moment to suggest apps to launch or people to contact based on usage patterns, and notifying you when you need to leave for appointments, taking traffic conditions into account. iOS 9 can also learn what you typically listen to in a certain location or time or day, so when you plug in your headphones at the gym or hop into the car for your morning commute, it can display playback controls for your preferred app. Typed search queries deliver more relevant results from categories like sports, videos, and simple match calculations.

For iPad users, Slide Over lets you simultaneously work in two apps at once without leaving either. Split View lets you work in two apps at the same time side-by-side, while Picture-in-Picture lets you continue a FaceTime call or video while using your apps. These new multitasking apps are supported by Apple’s built-in apps, and APIs are available for third-party developers to take advantage in their own apps. An all-new Shortcut Bar displays actions tailored for the app you’re in the keyboard, and new Multi-Touch gestures make it easier to select and edit texts.

In iOS 9, Maps adds support for metro transit systems and schedules, and subway station entrances and exits are precisely mapped, providing every step of your trip. When you plan your trip, Maps can offer a combination of trains, subways, buses and walking, and the new Nearby feature allows you to see what’s around you by searching for food, drinks, and shopping, among other things.

The News app delivers a reading experience that combines a print magazine’s demand with digital media’s interactivity. News can learn your interests and suggest relevant content that can be shared with friends or saved for later. News delivers articles from a variety or publishers and one million topics to allow for a personalized reading experience. News is powered by Apple’s new News Format, which supports custom typography, galleries, audio, video, and interactive animations, allowing publishers like Conde Nast, ESPN, and the New York Times to create unique editorial layouts for iOS users.

iOS 9 also adds Apple Pay support for Discover cards, reward programs used at merchants like Walgreens and Kohl’s, and participating store-issued credit and debit cards. Shoppers can manage their cards in the new Wallet app. Apple Pay will also come to the UK next month.

iOS 9 features battery optimizations that can provide a typical user with an extra hour of battery life, according to the company, and a low-power mode to extend battery life even further. Software updates will require less space than previously and Install Later will allow updates to happen when a device isn’t in use.

iOS 9 is available now for iOS Developer Program members, a public beta program will be available in July, and in final release this fall for free for the following devices:

  • iPhone 4s and later
  • iPad 2 and later
  • iPad mini and later
  • iPod touch 5th generation



Apple previewed watchOS 2, the first major Apple Watch software update, which features new watch faces, third-party app information as watch face complications, and new communication capabilities in Mail, Friends, and Digital Touch.

“We are thrilled with the feedback we’re getting from Apple Watch customers, and after just a few weeks of availability we’re excited for developer to start building native apps for watchOS 2. We think Apple Watch users will love being able to see information from their favorite apps right on the watch face, and enjoy the many new experiences developers will dream up now that they have access to even more innovative features of Apple Watch.”

-Kevin Lynch, Apple vice president of technology

WatchOS 2 will let your favorite photo become a new watch face or view photos from your photo album with every raise of your wrist with the new Photo and Photo Album watch faces. With the Timelapse watch face, you can choose from a selection of timelapse videos shot over 24 hours in iconic locations like New York City, London, and Shanghai.

Time Travel lets users scroll with the Digital Crown to explore events in the past and future like meetings or activities, the week’s forecast, and information from third-party apps.

With Mail, you can respond to messages using dictation, smart replies, or emoji. You can create multiple Friends screens, which can each hold 12 friends. New friends can also be added directly on Apple Watch. Digital Touch lets you draw and send sketches with multiple colors on the same canvas, giving you more tools in your sketches.

Nightstand Mode transforms Apple Watch into a bedside alarm clock, with the Digital Crown and side button serving as the alarm’s snooze and off buttons respectively.

Workouts from third-party fitness apps will now contribute to your daily move and exercise goals.

Siri can now be used to start specific workouts and launch glances.

Lastly, Activation Lock lets users secure their Apple Watch with their Apple ID, preventing another use from wiping or activating the device if it is lost or stolen.

watchOS 2 will be available this fall as a free Apple Watch update.

Apple Music

Apple Music

Lastly, Apple closed its keynote with Apple Music, a streaming music service that couples on-demand music, Beats 1 (a worldwide live radio station from Apple), and a new way for music fans to connect with their favorite artists.

“We love music, and the new Apple Music service puts an incredible experience at every fan’s fingertips. All the ways people love enjoying music come together in one app – a revolutionary streaming service, live worldwide radio, and an exciting way for fans to connect with artists.”

-Eddy Cue, Apple senior vice president of internet software and services

“Apple Music is really going to move the needle for fans and artists. Online music has become a complicated mess of apps, services, and websites. Apple Music brings the best features together for an experience every music lover will appreciate.”

-Jimmy Iovine

Apple Music puts the service’s entire catalog at your fingertips across your device. Starting with your music form the iTunes Store and ripped CDs, your music will live alongside Music’s 30 million songs.

The service has a “For You” section that provides a “fresh mix” of albums, new releases, and playlists,” which are personalized for you.

Siri can also be used for playing music with commands like “Play me the best songs from 1994,” “Play the best FKA twigs song,” or “What was the number one song in February 2011.”

Beats 1 is Apple Music’s live radio station that is entirely dedicated to music and its culture, broadcasting live in over 100 countries led by DJs Zane Lowe in Los Angeles, Ebro Darden in New York, and Julie Adenuga in London. Beats 1 will offer “exclusive interviews, guest hosts, and the best of what’s going on in the world of music.”

Apple Music Radio gives you stations created by radio DJs ranging from indie rock, classical, folk, and funk. With a membership, you can skip as many songs as you like.

Through Apple Music’s Connect feature, artists can share lyrics, backstage photos, videos, or songs directly to fans. Fans can comment on or like anything posted by an artist, and share it through Messages, Facebook, Twitter, and email. When you comment, artists can respond directly.

Apple Music will launch on June 30 with a three-month free trial and a $9.99/month subscription fee afterwards. There will also be a family plan supporting up to six users available for $14.99/month.



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