When Tim Cook took the stage, he left all doubts and rumors behind the stage. He didn’t seem to care what the industry, the people or the investors were thinking or saying. He didn’t care that people were calling Apple a Google-follower. Jobs didn’t care about what people that, why would he. He went in, declaring that Apple remained at the epicenter of the industry. He established the notion that the next few days would be important not only for the company, but for the industry. And in order to make the next few days count, he declared that the WWDC would host 100 sessions during the week, bringing together developers from 70 countries and more than 1,000 Apple engineers.
There were a lot of announcements made on Day 1, so let’s quickly go over some of the main one. A new operating system has been launched for Apple Watch, which would bring native apps to the device. Other apps like apps to transfer content
App ,would still need coordination with an iOS device. Apple also announced Metal for Mac, which “enables developers to create richer 3D games” on the Mac OS. Some numbers followed, including the significant 40% reduction in Siri’s word error. Considering the fact that Siri addresses over a billion requests per week (from all over the world), an error rate of 5% is pretty impressive ‒ whether human and machine. A highly-publicized jab directed at Google during the event involved Apple’s lack of interest in user content, “we don’t mine your email… we honestly don’t want to know.” Good to know that.
A lot of updates have been made to Apple Pay, in order to make online purchase and checkout more seamless, and to integrate it with offline purchases at retail stores as well. The iOS 9.0 has seen some updates as well in the form of a multitasking feature, which was met by loud applause at the event. The iPad’s split screen feature, combined with the OS’ multitasking feature means that now you can watch your favorite episode of House of Cards
, while sending a work email. More updates on the iOS 9, include an improved battery life. The OS has an additional one hour use on a full charge of iPhone and the low power feature adds three additional hours. Hooray!
… One more thing
One of the most important announcements at the event came in the form of Apple’s music streaming service. Considering the fact that Apple started the music revolution with the iPod, people expected a major music-related announcement when the company acquired Beats Electronics and Beats Music for a reported $3 billion. Apple Music is Apple’s dynamic music streaming service that focuses on creating a balance between the love of art, and the appreciation of artists. It seeks to empower artists and music lovers alike, to create a medium where experiences are curated and relationships forged between the artist, his art, and the art lover.
Apple Music will be available for iOS users starting June 30th
, while Android users will have to wait until Fall to use the service. Also, for anyone wondering, the service isn’t free. Apple Music comes with a monthly subscription fee of $9.99, with a free 3-month trial. Apple is also offering a “Family Plan”, with a monthly fee of $14.99.
Now you may be wondering, what is so different about Apple Music. Well, this is Apple’s version of a redesigned music-streaming experience. It can be broken down and explained with its three key components – Apple Music, Beats 1, and Connect.
Apple Music uses your current music library and merges it with Apple’s full slate of 30 million songs (in iTunes). It features customized playlist that are created by a select list of artists, tastemakers and experts, and also gives subscribers the ability to create and upload their own lists with other users and artists. This is where Apple Music is different from other music streaming services like Pandora or Spotify. There is no algorithm working to create playlists. These playlists are curated by actual people, people who love and make music, who have impeccable music taste, unlike a computer that has none.
Beats 1 is Apple’s 24-hour music station, featuring BBC’s Zane Lowe. Lowe has been chosen to be the “voice of the station” that wants to provide a more diverse outlook around music. The station would play artists from all genres; it would also include in-depth interviews and other original content.
What we’re most excited about is Apple Connect, the social extension of Apple Music. Connect allows artists to host their own pages, where they can share everything… their music, live videos, photographs and other exclusive content with their fans. Also, these pages are where both artists and users can socialize, by commenting and engaging with each other in real-time.
Here’s to hoping that the rest of the week for WWDC is as exciting as the first day, and that Apple stays true to its claim; that it shows its naysayers that it is not only at the epicenter of innovation, but also at the helms of it.