Taking a bite from Apple at WWDC14

At bits.co, we’re (almost) as excited about other companies’ projects as we are about our own, so naturally, we were pretty keen to hear what next offering Apple was putting out. Finally, after months of anticipation, the ambitious tech giant finally announced its latest products and updates Monday at its annual 2014 Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.

wwdc14-home-branding
Image via Apple

Here are some of the Apple pickins’, introduced by CEO Tim Cook:

  • HealthKit– By partnering with other apps, your device will be able to monitor your medical history, vital signs, fitness levels and diet by integrating data from fitness-related devices including Nike’s. If only it could make you healthier just by opening the app. (We’re sure Apple’s working on that.)
  • HomeKit – Again, by joining forces with other apps, your device will magically turn into a remote control in “Smart-home” technology – meaning users will connect gadgets and appliances with their Apple device, such as lighting systems, garage door openers, baby monitors, home security, and even a weather station.
  • QuickType –  the tool will be one step ahead of your every move by learning your language patterns and suggest ways to finish sentences, an improvement over simple suggesting spelling suggestions.
  • Continuity –  Apple is also working to marry iPhone, iPad, iPods and Macs by introducing Continuity, a system that allows users to flip between devices while working on same projects or apps, even answering phone calls, texts, auto-hotspots. All of this will allow people on the go simpler always-connected functionality. So basically, you have no excuse to ignore anyone any more, and they’ll know if you do.
  • Swift – a fancy new programming language to help developers create applications more quickly.
  • iCloud Drive – store all of your files – Powerpoints, images, presentations and more in iCloud Drive and you’ll see it is pushed instantly to any of your Apple or Mac devices, without the need for any apps.
  • Metal – Apple is improving its graphics game by introducing the new feature to assist game producers working with iPhone or iPad 3-D processor capabilities.
Image via Apple
Image via Apple

Here at bits, we thought Monday’s announcement was definitely something for us to stop and take notice (Apple is pretty good at that, though.)

Since we’re a team comprised of seven developers, we also found the introduction of extensions pretty interesting. By allowing apps to include what are essentially APIs, (that’s geek speak for application programming interface, which allow other applications to get info from them), the whole process of sharing will be improved. The Pinterest demo does a good job at walking through the extension introduction.

The changes coming in iOS 8 and the integration with OSX will ultimately make for a better user experience, such as the improved feature  Airdrop, which will finally let you share files between iOS & Mac, and not just other iOS devices. So finally, Airdrop may be considered useful. Heh.

It opens a world of possibilities to developers — and that’s exciting. (we think!)

BING Translate (a big one!) will allow us to translate websites on the fly without needing to leave the page — potentially opening info to non-native speaking users. Over here, we hope Google will follow suit.

Image by Jeff Chiu/Associated Press
Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. Image by Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

And so, the goods were delivered, and the receivers accepted them with mixed opinions. Though Apple generally roles out new hardware in September, there seemed to be a collective disappointment from consumers and techies that there were no announcements for new or upgraded devices. Much of the speculation pointed to an iWatch, iPhone 6, or a TV set-top box.

From a web point of view, we agree with the united head-shaking and we’re looking forward to seeing hardware changes coming later in the year, but the new Safari Java Script render engine will make web apps faster and more responsive, and that’s a good start.

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