WWDC 2016 Keynote’s Honorable Mentions

Only a handful of new features from each of Apple’s platforms can be showcased during an Apple keynote. Apple has to be very selective in what they believe has the “wow” factor, which means that many features are first announced on either a Preview page, or the developer documentation.

While these features may not have been considered keynote-worthy, they’re often the most interesting. Last year, I summarized some of those features, and I’ve done the same again today. So, in no particular order, here is a collection of updates to watchOS, macOS, iOS, and tvOS.

watchOS

  • The Photo, Timelapse, Motion, and Extra Large watch faces support complications.
  • The HomeKit framework supports camera and doorbell accessories. Developers can build apps to interact with IP cameras and view live streams, access audio, etc.
  • The presence of an app’s complication on the watch face tells the system to keep the associated app in a ready-to-launch state. That is, the system attempts to launch your app in the background, keep it in memory, and give it additional time to update.
  • Workout app can run in the background, and launched from their counterpart iOS app. I imagine this would be used by fitness apps to start a workout and have the watch automatically display the correct app.

macOS Sierra

  • Support for additional Messages features that were demoed during the iOS portion of the keynote.
  • Safari extensions are getting overhauled with Safari 10, and rebranded as Safari app extensions:
    • Extension development is moving into Xcode, allowing for use of native APIs.
    • Safari Extensions can be sold and distributed through the Mac App Store.
  • The Live Photo Editing API allows third-party editing extensions to apply edits to an entire Live Photo, while retaining the motion and sound of the original Live Photo.
  • Apple File System is Apple’s long-awaited replacement to HFS+

iOS 10

  • Apple Pay is also available on the web in iOS, not just a feature available in macOS.
  • SiriKit cannot be used by every type of app, so being able to say “Add a new task to Omnifocus” isn’t possible just yet. The types of apps that SiriKit can be used with are:
    • Audio or video calling
    • Messaging
    • Payments
    • Searching photos
    • Workouts
    • Ride booking
  • Safari supports split-view in iOS 10 on iPad, allowing you to view two pages at once.
  • A Sticker pack that provides stickers for use in Messages is a specific type of Messages app extension, not just a Messages app in itself.
    • You can create a Sticker pack without writing any code: Simply drag images into the Sticker Pack folder inside the Stickers asset catalog in Xcode.
  • Support for RAW photos is now available on iOS devices that use the A8 or A9 CPU. iOS 10 also appears to now support RAW photo output from the camera, allowing for photos to be outputted in DNG file format.
  • HealthKit adds new metadata keys to use for weather types, a feature that many popular fitness apps use. This is useful for any runners that want to include weather information for their run.
  • HomeKit provides additional support for interacting with IP cameras.
  • The new Photos framework allows for the editing of Live Photos.
  • iOS 10 allows for the stock apps (Mail, Stocks, Calendar, etc.) to be deleted. Rather than a glitch, the apps are showing up on the App Store.

tvOS

  • Support for UIPasteboard allows for copy/pasting of text between devices. This is a very useful addition, especially if you make use of randomly-generated passwords that are stored within a password manager.
  • Automatic App Downloads For Apple TV works similar to iOS: download a universal app to your iOS device and it will automatically download to the Apple TV, as well.
  • The External Accessory framework from iOS is now available in tvOS, which “provides a conduit for communicating with accessories attached to any iOS-based device”. This should allow for a whole range of additional accessories that the Apple TV can support.
  • In a reversal of previous requirements, tvOS games can now require MFi controllers. Before this, Apple required that all games available for tvOS be playable with the Siri Remote. With that restriction removed, it opens up the Apple TV to a wider range of games.

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