WWDC 2015: Watch Some Music While Apple Goes Bug-Hunting
Today was Apples annual World Wide Developer's Conference keynote. This time each year, the world gets to preview the hardware and software coming out of Cupertino. We traditionally see the next iterations of iOS and OS X, and maybe a new service or cloud-based offering. This year was no exception: iOS9, OS X 10.11, watchOS 2.0, an updated Apple Pay, and the all-new Apple Music were all shown off with Apples usual flare. If you'd like, you can watch the keynote presentation here, or get the highlights with this three-minute video clip from Cult Of Mac. Once you've seen the presentation, be sure to check out this musical summary of the announcements!
iOS/OS X: Bugs, Brains, and Battery
Most of you will recall that last year's release of iOS8 wasn't exactly smooth. There were a lot of bugs throughout the OS, from VoiceOver, to wifi, and beyond. Patches came out, but failed to fix many of the issues. There was even that one time Apple accidentally disabled cellular calling on many iPhones with a bad update! The whole iOS8 experience left a sour taste in peoples' mouths. OS X didn't fair much better, with users experiencing several bugs that affected wifi, bluetooth, Notification Center, mail, and more.
Well, Apple seems to have learned from its mistakes. Instead of adding a bunch of cool new features to this year's upgrades, Tim Cook assured us that the company would be focusing on major quality, stability, and security improvements. If things go according to plan, you can expect far fewer problems this fall when you upgrade your Apple products.
That isn't to say that Apple will be doing away with adding new shinies entirely. There are some nice features coming to Apple's operating systems, but they feel more like much-needed refinements, rather than major new add-ons. Of course, refinement is a wonderful thing--I'm not knocking this upgrade plan in the slightest!
OS X 10.11 "El Capitan"
The next Mac OS update will be incremental, refining and polishing the foundation laid down by last year's 10.10 Yosemite. At the keynote today, Apple claimed that Yosemite has the "fastest adoption rate of any operating system". This fact was used to bring out what amounts to the old saying: if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Yosemite works well, and is widely used across Apple's install base; they therefore want to make it better, not change it completely. Further evidence that 10.11 is a refinement upgrade to 10.10 is the name. El Capitan is the name of a mountain in Yosemite, suggesting that 10.11 is closely related to 10.10 and not different enough to get the name of a completely separate location. The feature set points to this as well, as it is mostly made up of performance improvements and enhancements rather than new features.
One major change is something most users will never notice directly: the Metal video programming layer is coming to the Mac. While that may sound like no news--or complete gibberish--to most of you, it is an important step. Metal allows for dramatic increases in all things video, from rendering games, to animations as apps open, to moving windows around, to bouncing icons. Moving all these system-wide animations, and those of apps that use Apple's interfaces to run, over to Metal offers a huge performance boost across your entire Mac. No, you may not be able to see the pretty visuals, but they will run no matter what. The faster they can do so, and the less power they need, the better your experience will be. Apple tossed out some impressive numbers to demonstrate this point: apps will launch 1.4 times faster and the time the Mac takes to switch between them is cut in half; Mail will take half as long to start downloading messages; PDFs will open in a quarter the time they do in Yosemite; and, in general, you should notice your Mac is much snappier.
Another new feature is one that many people reading this won't care about: window management. I'll not spend much time on this, mostly because it was hard to follow with audio alone, so I don't fully understand the details myself yet. The basic idea is that you'll be able to move windows around more easily; for instance, drag a window to the top of the screen to move it to another desktop, or move one window on top of another to make the two share the screen. This second feature is handy for dragging Safari links into Notes, or looking at Mail and Calendar side by side, for instance. Full-screen-capable apps will get a nice new feature: tabbed windows. If you have multiple windows open in a full screen app, you'll be able to click between them easily, giving you faster access to what you're doing.
Gesture control is also getting some attention. Users can swipe to delete emails, similar to iOS, or perform a "shake" gesture with one finger to make your pointer larger and thus easier to locate. The latter will not affect VoiceOver users at all, but the former is interesting. I can't help but wonder if some form of the actions rotor might be coming to the Mac, to be used as part of the Trackpad Commander. If so, this could provide a new opportunity for efficiency: on a link in Safari, you could swipe a finger up or down to access "open", "preview", and other options; in Mail, swipe to "delete", "reply", or "flag". This model could easily extend to every native app, and offer VoiceOver users a quick way to access common tasks. With gestures taking a larger role in OS X, I wouldn't be surprised to see big changes to the Trackpad Commander in the next couple years.
Speaking of links in Safari, Apple's web browser gained a few handy new tricks. First, you can now 'pin' websites, and they will remain open and available no matter what else you do. My impression was of permanently opened tabs, but visually distinct from regular tabs. This will be good for keeping sites like ESPN, Facebook, or Twitter open all the time even as you do other things. Safari also got the ability to play or pause audio/video playing in any tab, and to identify for you which tab is playing. If you have problems with auto-playing videos, for instance, you might be in for a pleasant surprise in El Capitan.
The Notes app received a major overhaul, and now supports embedding links, images, and map locations. You can drop these types of things into a note just like you would a Pages document, and not only will they stay there, but the changes will sync over iCloud. Combine this with Notes' new ability to turn text into checklists--with real checkmarks you can tick off--and this could be a very powerful text editor and productivity app.
Searching is now much more natural. You can ask Spotlight for something like "unread mail from Pete" or "spreadsheets I worked on yesterday", and it will find just that. It appears that the age of exact syntax and careful use of the colon is over, finally. Add the Mac's existing dictation, and with two keystrokes (cmd-space and a double tap of the Function key) you can speak a natural question. It's not Siri on the Mac, but it's close. The intelligence goes the other way, too: the Mac can see a contact or event in an email, and "with one click" you can add it to your contacts or calendar. I'm not clear on how this will differ from the existing Data Detectors OS X already includes, but somehow, this will be faster and better.
As expected, El Capitan is out now, as a developer-only beta. There will be a public beta in July, and the upgrade will be released to everyone, for free, this fall. No word yet on compatibility, but if Apple sticks with the iOS9 model, 10.11 will run on any system that can handle 10.10.
I'll be honest: iOS9 has me far more excited than does OS X 10.11. There is some really wonderful stuff coming this fall, and it will be great to see how all of our lives are improved. Better Siri, context-aware searching, better battery life and performance, split screen apps on iPad, and more… and all of it on every device capable of running iOS8! That's right, iOS9 isn't dropping any devices from the support list, meaning you'll get it all the way back to the iPhone 4S and iPod Touch 5! Just like OS X, this update is in developer beta testing as of today, will be released as a public beta in July, and will be free for anyone to download in the fall. Best of all, it needs less than 1.5GB of space to install, compared to the more than 4.5GB iOS8 required.
The feature that touches the largest area is Proactive, a contextually-aware system that tries to offer what you need, when you need it. It starts with Spotlight Search. Open that, and you see not just a search field and keyboard, but a pre-populated list of items you might need. If it's noon, and you always check Twitter at noon, the Twitter app might be at the top of the list. If you recently texted your wife several times, her name might be in the list, in case you want to call or text her some more. If it's morning and you usually check your email when you get up, the Mail app could be waiting for you. iOS will use your location, the time, and other information to determine what you might need at any given moment, and have that ready in Spotlight. Try to think of Spotlight as more of an intelligent information hub, rather than just a search field.
Of course, you can still perform a search, and the same natural language features coming to OS X this fall will be present here as well. There's even an API, letting app developers offer up search results from within their apps, such as recipes in Yumly or Paprika. Video sites will be supported, letting you do a Vimio or Youtube search, then play the result--right inside Spotlight. If you have to leave Spotlight to go into an app shown as a result, there's a link on the page to return you to your search. My impression is that this is similar to iOS8's message reply feature; you can type and edit your text, and even review the conversation, but once you send the message, you're back where you were. Here, though, you'd go into an app, do what you wanted to do, then back out of it and land back in your search results list.
Proactive extends to the lock screen, too. The app you use most often at any given time will be waiting on your lock screen, similar to how Handoff works already. If you don't want that app, simply ignore it--it's not in your way at all. If you do want to use it, swipe it up to open it, and you're off and running. Speaking of running, Proactive can figure out when you normally exercise, and can start your running playlist when you plug in headphones. It can also learn other habits; For instance, if you always listen to an audio book while driving, when you get in your car, that book might be offered right on your lock screen without you having to do anything. Proactive can even examine traffic conditions and times on your calendar, reminding you when it's time to leave without you having to set an alert for a particular time. This is especially nice if you are out and about, as the travel time from the office to the doctor might be very different compared to that from home to the doctor. Wherever you are, your phone will know and remind you in time.
Siri will be much smarter, more responsive, and accurate as well. Apple claims that Siri already has the industry's lowest rate of misunderstood words--just five percent--and has gotten forty percent faster in the last year. Expect those numbers to improve even more, but that's not all. Siri will be more deeply integrated into HomeKit, able to issue your commands to locks, window coverings, heating and cooling systems, and other devices equipped with HomeKit technology (more of which will be coming in the next year).
Siri's ability to set reminders has gotten a bump: it can now remind you of things when you get into your car--no word on how it senses when you do that--and "this" is now a valid keyword. If you're on a webpage, or reading an article, or looking at an email, just say "remind me about this when I get home". Then, when you get home, the reminder appears; activating it will open the app you were in, back to the place you left off. This is one small, but very big, feature I've wanted for a long time! Finally, Siri can find pictures based on location and date; "pictures from my summer camp last July" is a query that Siri will understand, searching for images taken last July in an album, or at a location, it can identify as "summer camp".
The other big feature in Proactive is its ability to scan your emails for events and contact information. Similar to the data Detectors already present in iOS, Proactive can add people to your contacts, or events to your calendar or reminders, with just one tap. It can even see an incoming number during a phone call, and try to find any emails where that number was used. If it can, it will show you a name in addition to the number--its best guess as to who the caller is, based on the emails it found.
All this sounds a bit invasive, doesn't it? Knowing where you are and what you do all day, reading your emails, modifying your calendars… Apple addressed those concerns during the presentation. All this data processing is happening on your phone, and nowhere else, so Apple doesn't see it. If it needs to run a web search or send anything to the cloud, iOS does so only after anonymizing your data so no one knows whom the request is from. Privacy and security continue to be a top priority with Apple, and if I'm going to trust anyone with as much personal information as Proactive is getting, I'll trust them.
Is iOS eating your battery? Not anymore! iOS9 claims to offer an hour more battery life than iOS8, and that's before you hit the Low Power switch. Yes, iOS is finally getting a toggle that lets you put your device into a state where it draws as little energy as possible, though we don't yet know exactly what it shuts off to do this. Apple said today that this setting can extend your battery by another three hours, perfect for that dreaded "twenty percent battery remaining" message popping up when you're still an hour from your charger. Part of how it gets more time out of each charge, even without Low Power Mode, is by implementing the same Metal API that OS X uses. This and other tricks let your device do what it needs to do while using fewer resources to do it. In other words, not only will you see better battery performance, you'll see better overall performance and, possibly, a snappier operating system.
News is the name of a brand new app. The experience, from what I can tell, is like a combination of RSS and Flipboard; you are presented with a list of articles that iOS thinks you'll like, pulled from a wide range of sources. When you first set it up, you will be asked for your preferences--topics you like, news sources you follow, and so on. Once done, News will start pulling articles from those sources in those topics. It will learn over time, as it watches what you read and what you skip over, and will soon be presenting you with personalized, auto-curated headlines whenever you open it. There's a way to bookmark articles for later reading, to favorite them, and even to explore new types of content to see what else you might like. I suppose it's more of a Flipboard/RSS service, paired with a technology similar to Pandora or iTunes Radio. News will only be available in the United States, Australia, and the U.K. at launch.
Other notable updates include Notes and Maps. Notes receives the same feature set as on OS X: text formatting; link, image, and map pin support; note attachment view; and, exclusive to iOS (for now): drawing. You can draw on your screen with a finger, and your artistic creation will appear right in your note. Maps is getting the long-awaited transit directions feature we've hope for since 2012, and can now guide you through public transportation in several major American or Chinese cities. Most of us will have to wait, but if you live in one of the few places this feature supports, you'll have a much easier time getting around. Maps can even take you to the correct entrance of larger transit hubs, and factor the time it will take you to walk to your next conveyance into account.
Finally, HealthKit is receiving updates to what kinds of data it can handle. It will let you track UV exposure, reproductive health, and other details in iOS9. Presumably, this means it will finally be able to track menstruation, a feature women have been asking for ever since HealthKit launched. Other incremental updates include expanded gaming APIs--such as the ability to record your screen during a game or leverage mapping for in-game maps--and a feature that lets a two-finger touch on the keyboard turn it into a trackpad for controlling your cursor and selecting text. There's no word on how, or if, VoiceOver will handle this new trackpad feature--or if it would even benefit from doing so.
The iPad is getting all the changes I've already listed, of course, but is also receiving some special features of its own. In short, it will become a far more capable productivity device than ever, and owners of iPads--especially Airs or Air 2s--should be very excited.
iOS9 on the iPad brings with it a whole new way to multi-task. You can enter the App Switcher and view full-screen previews of your apps, then slide between them, or pull one next to another and--for the first time ever--put both side by side. You can have both apps running at the same time, both on your screen at once, each responding to your input. Open up Calendar and Messages, to check your schedule as you're planning a trip; keep Pages and Safari open while you do research for a report; the combinations are endless, and you can see how very useful this feature would be. You can even watch a video in one app as you open and use another, or shrink the video down to a tiny icon so you can use a different app but continue to have the audio from that video playing in the background. In either case--two apps or an app and a video--you can adjust how much of the screen each one takes up, based on how much of each one you need.
The on-screen keyboard is receiving a big refinement in the way of on-screen controls. There are formatting buttons on the keyboard, letting you style and manipulate text without going to any special menus or performing extra gestures. Additionally, as I mentioned previously, touching the keyboard with two fingers will turn it into a trackpad.
Even better is the support for external keyboards. iOS has supported keyboards for years, of course, but the iPad and iOS9 take it a step further. You can see what hotkeys an app has set up--such as command-n for New--and you can initiate a Spotlight search directly from the keyboard. Perhaps most useful of all, you can switch tasks with a keystroke (command-tab, I assume, but I don't know for sure). NoApp Switcher at all, no four- or five-finger gestures, just a keystroke. Combine that with the power of viewing two apps at once, and the updated on-screen keyboard, and your iPad becomes a true productivity powerhouse.
iOS9 will run on all iPads that support iOS8. However, some features will not be available for older models. What we heard today was that the task-switching gestures in iOS9 will only be present on the iPad Mini 2 and 3, and Air 1 and 2. The split screen features are for the iPad Air 2 only, and will not be coming to the iPad Mini at all.
Last year, Apple Pay debuted on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, then extended its reach through the Apple Watch. More and more banks, credit unions, and merchants have gotten onboard, and the service has enjoyed steady growth. By July, Apple expects over one million locations to support it, and that doesn't count all the apps that offer it. In fact, apps that implemented Apple Pay (letting users pay with a fingerprint from within the app, instead of typing in their card details) report that their checkout rates have doubled, according to today's presentation. Even Pinterest is getting in on the action, providing pins users can use to buy physical objects through Apple Pay--a service supported only on iOS.
This year, Apple Pay is expanding in a big way: not only will more American retailers--including Baskin Robins and even Square--start supporting it, but it is moving overseas! The U.K. will receive Apple Pay in over two hundred and fifty thousand locations, including the London Transportation System, in July. At launch, over seventy percent of bank cards will be supported, and Apple expects that number to grow.
The other push is loyalty cards. Duncan Donuts, J.C. Penney, BJ's, and other retailers will be offering loyalty and rewards cards that you can add to Apple Pay, which will appear in the Wallet app (this is the app we currently know as Passbook). Instead of paying with your regular debit card, for instance, you might pay with a Duncan Donuts card, thus earning you points. Since your phone knows where you are, doing this is easy; the card associated with the store you're in will be offered by default, though you can easily choose a different one if you want to.
Apple Watch OS Update
The Apple Watch launched barely six weeks ago, and Apple is already releasing a beta of its next major operating system update: watchOS 2.0. The big deal here is the support for native Watch apps. This means that apps can run on just the Watch, without requiring a companion app on the iPhone to be installed and the phone to be nearby. Exercise tracking and music playback have been possible without a phone since watchOS1.0, but now any app can run untethered. Weather can update, you can get notifications, third-party exercise apps will work… and most of your apps will run faster! Needless to say, any app that requires the internet will need the Watch to be connected to a wifi network if your iPhone isn't in range.
Native apps have another advantage: they can hook into the Watch's onboard hardware in a way not allowed before. They can access the microphone, heart rate sensor, other HealthKit data, speaker, digital crown, friends button, Taptic feedback engine, and accelerometer. They can even play back short videos.
watchOS 2.0 will include a range of other improvements as well, some of which are:
- Make any of your photos, or photo albums, into a watch face
- Apps can make their own complications, which you can add to your watch faces
- Siri and Maps both get the same features introduced in iOS9, and Siri can even respond to a command to show the glance for a particular app, or start a certain kind of workout
- The digital crown can be used to show what your Watch will look like--weather, reminders, and so on--at different times of the day, known as "time travel"
- While charging, the Watch can show the time, and play a wake-up alarm
- You can have more than twelve friends on the Watch, sorted into different groups. Friends can now be added directly from the Watch, instead of requiring you to use the iOS Apple Watch app.
- You can add colors to digital drawings, use dictation to reply to emails, take FaceTime audio calls, and more
As you probably expect by now, watchOS 2.0 was released as a beta to developers today, though no public beta program was mentioned. The update will be here this fall, and will be free.
There's a new player in the crowded music streaming arena: Apple Music. This is Apple's response to Spotify, Pandora, and the other streaming services out there--and it actually sounds rather compelling. Here are the highlights.
For $9.99 per month, you'll be able to access:
- Stream nearly any track iTunes has to offer, whenever you want
- Save tracks to your device, for offline listening
- Listen to Beats One, an internet radio station run by three big-name DJs from three major cities: New York, Las Angeles, and London. This station puts "great music first".
- Get personalized playlist recommendations based on what you're listening to. These playlists are suggested by humans, not just algorithms.
- If you're an artist, use the Connect feature to post behind-the-scenes content, photos, songs, or whatever you want, as a way of connecting with your fans
Apple Music will arrive in more than a hundred countries by July, as part of the iOS8.4 update; this iOS update will also deliver a completely re-designed Music app. In the fall, iTunes will get the feature, bringing it to Mac and Windows, and there will even be an Android version. While the price is $9.99 per month for an individual subscription, you can sign up as a family and pay $14.99 per month for up to six people. Each person in the group will have an individual account, so no one's playlists or recommendations will interfere with those of anyone else. This is a great deal--even two people would pay nearly $20 between them, and the savings just get better from there. The $10 price is in line with other popular services like Spotify, and Apple is even offering a three-month free trial of its new music service.
That's All, Folks
That's everything! To summarize:
- El Capitan will deliver stability, gesture support, better searching, and easier window management to the Mac
- iOS9 will introduce Proactive, a contextually aware helper that provides the apps, contacts, and information you need, when you need it, without you having to ask
- iOS9 will also bring better searching, a great new way of moving the cursor/highlighting text, the new News app, an big performance improvements to Apple's mobile devices, and the iPad gets support for split screen apps
- Apple Pay hops the pond and gains many more retailers, including Square
- The Apple Watch gets a huge update, including support for native apps
- Apple Music debuts, offering unlimited (well, we think it's unlimited) streaming of the entire iTunes music database, Beats One radio station, and personalized playlists for just $9.99 per person per month, less if you sign up as a family.
No, we didn't see amazing new features like when Apple Pay or Siri were first introduced, but I think Proactive and the iPad improvements are plenty incredible. The focus was on stability and security, and I anticipate a lot less headaches when we get our hands on all this new software compared to last year's updates. I'm excited to play with iOS9 and OS X 10.11 this fall, and I might even give Apple Music a try. I don't have an Apple Watch or an iPad, but I'm thrilled for my friends who do, as they will enjoy a hugely improved experience in a few months.
How did you feel about today? Underwhelmed? Excited? Don't care? Will you be trying the public betas this summer, or sitting it out? To the comments section! Go!
News App, Notes, and of course, Apple Music Additions to iOS 9
These are the changes in iOS 9 that caught my attention the most. If the News app looks as good as I anticipate, then a few other news-based apps will be promptly deleted, which means more space for me. Whoohoo.
I can't wait to see the checklist feature in notes. The first thing that comes to mind in my life is creating grocery lists.
The revisions and additions to the new Apple Music app is most definitely the highlight of WWDC 2015 for this music lover.
New Operating Systems and Services
I'm always impressed by the AppleVis Editorial Team's thorough, detailed, accurate reports on Apple's two principal annual events. Megcap's report on yesterday's WWDC keynote was well written and easily understandable. Having worked as a journalist for many years I'm quite aware of the requirements of accurate reporting. Congratulations, Megcap!
One disappotment for me during yesterday's WWDC keynote presentation was absolutely no mention of accessibility. I have no doubt whatsoever that Apple has worked dilligently to make the new operating systems and services accessible to everyone. Even a brief assurance of such a continued strong commitment to accessibility would have been very welcome indeed.
Throughout the years the AppleVis Editorial Team has adopted and maintained a rigid nondisclosure policy during the annual beta cycles of new operating systems. Theoretically, disclosures are illegal. However, practically speaking, there are countless discussions of operating system betas on the Internet, and many beta updates and eemonstrations are posted on YouTube and other video sites. I think that it behooves the AppleVis Editorial Team to let members know from time to time just how accessible or inaccessible the various betas appear to be. I also feel we should be told about such things as new languages supported in VoiceOver. For instance, I found out from an iOS 8 beta 3 demonstration that Hebrew would finally be supported in VoiceOver. Regrettably, I did not find this out on AppleVis.
Apple is well aware of the fact that millions of people throughout the world are clamoring to know what's going on during the beta cycles. It is quite unlikely, therefore, that the company would take steps against anyone who discloses anything during these cycles. While I believe in following the law, I also firmly believe that the AppleVis Editorial Team should not shirk its responsibility to inform website members about operating system accessibility, both during and after the beta cycles. To avoid serious nondisclosure violations, specific discussions of other aspects need not, and perhaps should not, take place during the beta cycles.
I realize I have opened a can of worms here, but as a rule I don't shy away from healthy controversial discussions. Therefore, I hope that the AppleVis Editorial Team will accept this comment in a positive spirit, as this website continues to grow and flourish. I want to acknowledge all of the dedication and hard work that has made this website possible.
In conclusion, I would like to urge AppleVis and similar websites around the world to work together to offer and share information and comments with blind people everywhere. I have recently discovered rich sources of informative Apple accessibility-related articles, guides and podcasts for blind people on several Italian, French and Spanish websites. Especially noteworthy are the brilliantly written Italian mini-manuals on iOs, OSX and Amadeus Pro. They demonstrate incredible dedication and extremely admirable work indeed.
Here's to the continued growth and enrichment of AppleVis!
The NDA ‘can of worms’ and AppleVis
Firstly, thank you for your kind words about AppleVis.
Now. on to the perennial “can of worms”.
To get the answer out of the way first, we will not be changing our position on the discussion on AppleVis of beta Apple software.
As you say, you need only to look at the thousands of Apple rumour sites scattered across the Internet to know that our position on Apple’s NDA isn’t widely shared. That should tell you that we don’t take the position because of a fear of legal action. We are not so naive to think that something said on AppleVis is going to have Apple’s legal team reaching for their keyboards when they choose (for whatever reason) to allow mainstream sites to openly discuss all aspects of the beta software.
However, what distinguishes us from the vast majority of those rumour sites, is that we are not trying to sell ourselves to advertisers. They exist to generate revenue, we exist to promote the accessibility of OS X, iOS and now watchOS.
Now, again, we are not naive enough to think that Apple will spontaneously drop its commitment to accessibility because somebody comes on to AppleVis and says something about the beta of iOS 9.
However, what I can tell you, is that our position on the NDA is recognised and regarded by the very people inside Apple who should matter to us. As a result, they value and respect our community. They listen, and quite often the result is that things happen. Of course, we are also not naive enough to think that we are the only voice that Apple is listening to. But, we are a voice, and one that gets heard.
So, as a community, what matters the most to us? Do we want to know about a bug or problem in a beta build? A bug or problem that may never make it to the final release of the software. Or, do we want to have a situation where Apple takes notice of what is said on AppleVis, and there’s a chance that this may result in a positive outcome?
And, that’s just Apple.
As a community, we are regularly reaching out and trying to engage with 3rd party developers. Trying to convince them that accessibility matters, and that they should strive to ensure that their products offer fair and equal access to all. Most of those developers will have NDAs and legal restrictions of their own. We cannot expect them to be keen to engage with us, if they see that we have what might be regarded at best as a ‘cavalier’ attitude towards what they rely on to protect their livelihoods and intellectual property
We appreciate that many people disagree with our position on Apple’s NDA. Of course, that is their right. However, we have to do what we believe is right and in the best interests of our community.
recap of WWDC?
I am impressed with the lack of fancy stuff in this years incarnations of IOS 9 and OSX. This means that I anticipate many bugs being fixed. However, I presume by it's absence, the apple TV did not get a make over? Also, the new music feature sounds cool, as well as the news ap. Awesome recap as always, and did I mension applevis is awesome?
Have a blessed Day!
My guess is that when Apple has its conference later on in the year to show off the new hardware is when AppleTV will be mentioned, if at all. Also, surprisingly, the feature I am looking forward to the least is Proactive. If I wanted a computer to do my thinking for me, I'd have been born with a motherboard inside my head. Haha.
iOS 9's exciting new features
There were plenty of new exciting features unveiled last year as well as yesterday: And no doubt, features like Apple Pay and Transit integration in Maps are likely to have a great impact on people with visual impairment; but the main question is, when will they be rolled out in Europe as a whole?
Hello. Thank you for such a great article on yesterdays WWDC.
Personally, I'm looking forward to IOS 9, and the news app. And looking forwad to Apple Pay making an appearance in the UK, and on London Transport.
Received my Apple Watch today, and can't wait to play with it when I get home tonight... SO Apple Pay in the UK from July is very timely, ha..!!
But am disappointed of no mention of the new Apple TV. That is what I was really looking forward to. I have the 2nd gen Apple TV, and was hoping to buy the 4th gen soon. Darn it..!!
Take care folks..!!
Apple Pay, Apple Watch
Delighted to see this rolled out in the UK! I was travelling home late last night in a London black cab, and the driver and I agreed that Apple pay would be marvellous for London cabs. This morning, Boris Johnson (mayor of London) confirmed that part of its roll-out on London trannsport services includes support for black cab drivers to offer Apple Pay. As someone who has quite often made his way back from the centre of London very late in the night, what a relief it will be not to have to worry about having plenty of cash for the fare! Yes, I know Uber and that sort of thing would prevent such a worry in any case, but I am quite a traditionalist and would like to support the black cab trade where I can.
Like others, I'm glad to see the shift in focus towards stability improvements for existing features this time round. I'm not sure how useful the new bells and whistles such as ProActive and reminders to get a coffee on the way to work are, but I suspect such things will end up being features I use.
One thing nobody has yet mentioned is Watch OS, and the "timepiece enhancements". do these begin and end at the bedside alarm feature, or are we talking more than that e.g. tactile time feedback? Either way, very pleased to see third party developers can access the taptic engine, which is one step closer to a tactile way of telling the time. If we can have that, I can see myself getting an Apple Watch.
amen, amen, amen, Sockhopsinger! I don't want my computer or phone thinking for me!
I Have Yet to Hear It, But
Hi all. I have been putting off listening to most audio on here until I get some external speakers, which I think will be sometime this summer. Not that the built-in speakers are bad, they're great actually. But I happen to live in an area with a boat-load of trains passing by constantly, and even maxing out the volume on here sometimes isn't good enough. That said, I want to echo what has been said about these recaps and such. My reason for joining AppleVis to begin with was to get reliable and timely information about the accessibility of Apple products, particularly as it relates to those of us with vision impairments. That's exactly what I'm getting, so thank you to the team and please keep it up. As for the keynote itself, I'm excited to hear it. The next major release of OS X sounds pretty awesome. I'll be curious to try out Apple Music.
Excited About watchOS 2
Being an Apple Watch owner, probably the most exciting thing about the WWDC Keynote was the announcement of watchOS 2 and support for third-party complications. Native apps don't excite me all that much, as VoiceOver is just too sluggish yet for me to really want to do anything other than use Glances and other quick forms of interaction. However, third-party complications really have me interested, especially in terms of weather apps (I'm very particular about where my forecast data comes from). The Nightstand mode also sounds cool, and that will be one more function I can easily transfer over to my Watch from my iPhone.
Hi! I really enjoyed reading the detailed blog post above: thanks very much for that! There are several improvements in IOS 9 which interest me, the iPhone being my only Apple device so far, but I can understand people not being happy about the new Proactive thing making your device think for you. For this reason, I hope the Proactive feature can be turned off by those who don't want it in IOS 9, just like we can already turn off things like Health and Hand-Off in IOS 8 if we don't want to use them. Obviously, people like me who don't want to try the IOS 9 beta will have to wait till later this year to find out if this new feature can be stopped.
A question about the watch
Everyone keeps saying third-party complications. Is that correct? Don't you all mean third-party applications? That was my initial thought, but I keep seeing everyone else using that term. When I hear the term complications, I certainly don't think of anything good.
David Goodw's Comment
I'm pleased that a member of the AppleVis Editorial Team has addressed my comment about operating system beta cycles. However, with all due respect, and I sincerely mean that, I think that he misses my point.
I don't feel that there should be specific discussions about accessibility bugs during this time. However, I think that the blind community deserves to be given a general idea about the degree of accessibility of new operating systems while they're being tested, and it should be told about what new VoiceOver features that are introduced. In this regard, the very informal Hebrew VoiceOver demo on YouTube I spoke of in my previous comment had nothing whatsoever to do with advertising interests.
If the majority of members of this website feel that the AppleVis policy should be modified, then it is incumbent upon the AppleVis Editorial Team to act accordingly. Democracy dictates such behavior. Of course if otherwise, then so be it. The current policy naturally remains intact as is.
Apple doesn't "love" us or anyone else. It wants us to buy its prnucts. If the company claims to have a strong commitment to accessibility, it stands to reason that it better demonstrate that commitment, no matter what AppleVis says or does.
I have encountged inaccessible apps for Apple products, as well as recalcitrant developers who refuse to make their apps accessible. I also know that Accessibility is doing precious little to quash this negative attitude. As far as I am concerned, this is certainly not showing how supportive Apple is of the blind community. That is why I support the National Federation of the Blind resolution passed last year requiring that all appls be made accessible to everyone. Of course it dwells on accessibility for blind people. But, in any event, if Apple's accessibility commitment is so strong, it should not accept inaccessible apps, or be content with inaccessible parts of operating systems, at all.
Finally, if, during the beta cycles, we blind folks have to go elsewhere to find out how accessible the new Apple operating systems appear to be, then doesn't that defeat one of the principal purposes and aims of AppleVis?
i will first talk about what i liked from this years wwdc and then move on to other topics. i first really liked the enhancements to Siri. it is no secret that Siri has now started to lag behind when compared to other digital voice assistants. so i have no doubt that these enhancements such as being context aware will be huge for productivity. i was a bit superized when they didn't bring siri to the mac as Kortana was coming to the desktop in windows 10. i also like the improvements to spot light. it might actually get me to use spotlight now. smiles.
furthermore, i literally cheered when they announced that transit directions was coming to maps. while the city i live in doesn't have very good transit, help from apple telling me where to go i think will help me out immensely. i will be anxiously waiting for it to come to my city.
moving on to less popular topics, i have always been an opponent to applevis's decision to be siolent when it comes to beta software. i understand that you're under an NDA, however i wish to point out some incongruities with applevis's stance that has been taken. an earlier comment was made that Applevis is respected amongst apple because of its stance to keep silent on beta software and other related topics. while i have no evidence to refute nor support this statement, it seems fairly reasonable. yet there is a forum here full of jail breaking hint, tips, and howtos. in the apple NDA it says, "You acknowledge that unauthorized disclosure or use of Apple Confidential Information could cause irreparable harm and significant injury to Apple that may be difficult to ascertain." if anything could cause irreparable harm and significant injury to Apple i would think it would be jail breaking and not the disclosure of information about beta software such as screenshots, audio recordings, and videos. while most jail breaking is harmless and is very secure, there are still hackers out there that want your information. jail breaking can open up your device to such attacks. leaking personal data and possibly secrets about the ios software as a whole. here is what apple has to say about jail breaking.
i have tried to get information out of the applevis team as to why they support jail breaking and still maintain this steadfast aversion to talking about beta software. its rather hypocritical to take these to separate positions if you ask me. it has even gone as far as to delete posts about beta software. i'd much rather see a closed thread than a deleted thread or post. if i've seen a thread or post has been deleted i obviously wonder what it contained. and to me says that Applevis is trying to hide and sensor things.
one idea i've thought of is to have a specific beta forum. it could only be posted in by maybe Applevis team members or have an authentication system that when someone marks there account as been an ios developer it will ping the apple servers and you have to validate with your apple id which obviously has developer access. that would allow you to post in this forum. that way for people like me that don't have a developer account would at least be able to read about whats going on. apple probably wont allow that, but its some thoughts.
i echo the thoughts expressed in the previous post. Applevis, could we get some of these questions answered please?
Clarification for Daveed
Actually, no, “one of the principal purposes and aims of AppleVis” is not to provide a forum for discussing the accessibility of pre-release software. It’s called ‘beta’ for a reason, and that reason means that there will be bugs in it, and some of those bugs will be accessibility-related.
One of the bottom lines for us is that we know from past experience that publicly tracking the status of bugs through the beta cycle can be counter-productive, so is not somewhere that we plan to revisit any time soon.
Comment Re Supposed "Clarification"
One of the principal purposes of AppleVis is to discuss the accessibility of all Apple software and hardware. By not discussing pre-release software accessibility, yet allowing jailbbreaking discussions and podcasts, AppleVis is deonstrating incredible hypocrisy while practicing extraoordinary censorship. Apple abhors jail-breaking. It's against everything the company stands for. It is considered to be reprehensible. Yet AppleVis appears to encourage it while maintaining this strange, strict position regarding total lack of beta software accessibility discussion. Sorry, folks, but that just doesn't wsh!
More thoughts, anyone? This very seriers matter should have been discussed long ago. AppleVis is certainly a fine website, but its undemocratic tendencies must be quelled!
The jailbreaking comparison is a logical fallacy
The comparison with jailbreaking is a logical fallacy. Jailbreaking is legal, whereas Apple’s NDA sets out what is not legally permitted. So, although I understand why you would want to draw the comparison to serve your purpose, its underlying reasoning and logic does not stand up.
Well, if you don't like it
You pay for your own website and you can discuss whatever you want.
My two cents
First of all, the subject of this thread was "recap of wwdc" or did I miss something? To that subject, my opinion is that it sounds like apple learned alot from the "mistakes" made with ios8 and what they want to do with ios9 sounds like the way to go. I'm very anxious and excited about ios9 and hope fall comes soon. Secondly, to the off subject about nda and betas, I understand that people want information all of the time, everywhere and about everything as soon as possible, but the fact of the matter is that applevis is here for us and the applevis team is doing a great job. The way applevis decided to lead this site and decides on what is "allowed" is in my opinion correct. Applevis is on the right track and applevis does listen to us and applevis does consider what we say and want before answering and deciding, just like in a democracy. We don't have to use applevis the way it is, we have the choice. My choice is applevis. If someone wants something else, the web is big, use something else or even better make your own website and run things like you want. So those are my two cents worth of opinions. With great respect to all applevis members and their opinions, thanks for your thoughts and for respecting mine, have a nice day, Fritz
"Complications" are the extra pieces of information displayed on a watch face. For example, the Complications on my Apple Watch face are battery status, temperature, the date, and the sunrise/sunset times. Currently, it is not possible for developers to create their own Watch face complications; this will, according to yesterday's Keynote, be changing in watchOS 2.
Nothing was announced that isn't already self-evident, leaked, available on some other platform, or a refinement that is due. That was my honest assessment. This is no bad thing; on the contrary, it springs hope for stability ahead, which I think is badly needed. New shiny-shiny is nice, but not at the expense of basic functionality.
Off topic can of Worms
Off topic can of worms.
I hate it when threads go off topic, but in this instance I feel it necessary to go off topic and support the Apple Vis Team and their strong stance prohibiting discussion of Beta Software.
I am sorry Daveed, but until a Company has released their product to market or you have handed over cold, hard cash for their services we have no right to be picking over their unreleased products.
We can clamour to know all we want, but I see no compelling reason to support the call for Apple Vis to violate the NDA’s.
Accessibility of prerelease software
What I'd like to know is why the accessibility of prerelease software even matters. For starters, prerelease software isn't the software the average user is going to use. And second, any accessibility bugs/issues should be reported as part of the beta process, and not discussed openly, in order to keep any potential bystander effect to a minimum.
In the long run, it's far more beneficial for users to learn about any potential problems at release than during the prerelease cycle, since hearing about accessibility issues of beta software can only discourage users. If users are concerned about how beta versions of software are going to affect their day to day activities, they shouldn't be beta testers in the first place.
What stands will AppleVis be taking when it comes to discussion of public betas?
Public betas come with an NDA, too
Anybody taking part in the public betas will be required by Apple to agree to an NDA before downloading and installing the software, so we shall be asking that people respect that NDA when posting to AppleVis.
But, as others have already said, this thread has become somewhat hijacked by off-topic posts, so I would respectfully ask that discussion now revert back to the actual topic.
In support of AppleVis
Re public betas, I'm guessing the stance will be exactly the same as it is with the discussion of the public beta of MS Office for MAC, which is to be found elsewhere on this site. Whatever the stance is, I support it. The Applevis team do a great job in what they provide and in what they advocate. This advocacy is given extra weight by the fact that they work with, rather than against, Apple. Not everything has to be run on democratic lines. These guys on the editorial team have expertise as evidenced by this and other top draw articles. Speaking for myself I'm happy to leave them to it and let them carry on bringing great content and great advocacy like this.
Back to the topic: one thing I would have loved was an ability to have the Siri voices as our Voiceover voices. I do like the UK Siri voice and imagine it would be great to listen to with Voiceover. Forgot to mention this earlier.
Thanks for the clarification re public betas David. I withdraw the first sentence of my previous post! Keep up the great work.
The NDA and jail breaking
While I understand that applevis wants to not violate software agreements, it does suprise me that they would support jailbreaking. Not only does jailbreaking your device possibly expose it to security breaches, but it is a direct violation of the applecare program. While I will not violate any NDA, I think the same respect should be given to the idea of hardware protection. If apple detects that a device is jailbroken, you lose your applecare support, straight and simple. I am not trying to be critical of applevis, but am nearly stating a fact. All of that to say this, there is not a greater resource for apple accessibility than applevis, and you guys have given me an idea for something that could benifit the college I work at.
You guys are awesome, and keep up the good work.
WWDC Thoughts, and a Speculation
Hi all. First off, I'd like to give my thoughts on this year's WWDC. I just listened to it in its entirety, and I'm going back later to listen to the musical summary of events that was posted here. Both my window air conditioners are in for the summer, so the train interference was minimal. But anyways, I liked what I heard. I'm excited for the next major release of OS X, and hopefully I will get my hands on an i-device of some sort soon. I loved the demonstration of Apple Music, and it will be interesting to try it out. Given the excellent track record for accessibility that I've come to know and expect from Apple, I am sure Apple Music will work well with VoiceOver and vice versa. It might not be the greatest in the beginning, but that's to be expected. So there are my thoughts concerning my second WWDC. Cupertino is doing really cool stuff in my books. Now to my speculation. I'm wondering if the reason for no mention of VoiceOver or any other accessibility features at these events, is since Apple has integrated them so tightly into their core operating system. I may be way off the mark with that, but I just wanted to throw it out there.
Think I have the answer, re no mention of accessibility
I've read some articles about WWDC, and Apple actually had a session about accessibility, all on its own. Most of them were streamed online so if you have the WWDC app, you might see if you can find it and give it a listen. Since Apple has integrated it into iOS and OSX, it's definitely part of the operating system, but it's not something that the average joe uses every day like we do, so while most people might think it's cool, they're really there to hear about the eye candy, and the other stuff that's more of interest to the vast majority of the user base. So yeah, Apple's committed to making their products accessible, they just show it off in a different way than at the main keynote.
Nice blog post! i've heard that there will be an optional iCloud drive app.