Your iPhone & Mac Just Got SO Much Smarter

Photo: Courtesy Apple.
Today, Apple announced some of the biggest new things headed to your iPhone, iPad, and desktop. At its annual developer conference, known as WWDC, the company revealed it's getting a new music-streaming service, tons of new Apple Watch features, and a much more helpful Siri.

Usually, Apple's onstage presenters are pulled from the company's almost all-white, almost all-male executive leadership team. But this year, Apple had not one, but two female execs onstage (finally). First, vice president of Apple Pay Jennifer Bailey offered us updates on Apple’s mobile payment platform, and vice president of Product Management Susan Prescott introduced Apple’s News app (an iPad-focused aggregator that organizes articles and images with scrolling, animations, and tappable images). Hopefully, we'll be seeing more and more of these female leaders who are making waves in tech.

Until then, here are three ways your i-life is about to get easier, more streamlined, and more fun:
Photo: Courtesy Apple.
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Finding Stuff & Staying Organized Will Be Easier
Say you get a text message with a task you need to do or a link to check out. Soon, you'll be able to tell Siri "Remind me about this when I get home," and she will. You can also use Siri to search your photos; go ahead, say, "Show me photos from last May in San Francisco." Siri will learn from your behaviors, giving you lock-screen access to apps when you normally use them — like automatically launching Spotify after you plug in headphones, for example.

The next version of OS X, El Capitan, also gets search better. Enter queries like "Mail I ignored from Jessie," "Documents I worked on last December," or "Slides from Tim" to pull up exactly what you need. Plus, it'll do this up to four times as fast as OS X Yosemite does now.
Apple Watch Apps Will Actually Be Useful
Right now, Apple Watch apps are basically shells of their original iPhone versions, only able to fetch and display information from their iPhone counterparts. But, the Apple Watch 2.0 apps will be able to access your mic, play audio, tap into your heart-rate sensor, and use the "digital crown" to navigate through lists and menus. You'll be able to control HomeKit-connected products (such as lights, thermostats, and security cameras) using your watch.

The watch face itself will also get more useful (and attractive): You can select photos, albums, or Apple-selected time-lapse images to be the background of your watch, and developers can create their own "complications" (the current temperature, how many emails are in your inbox, and so on) for the watch face, so you can quickly glean information without opening an app.
Apple's New Music App Could Be Better Than Spotify
Apple just launched a new streaming service, Apple Music, that fuses your iTunes library with recommendations and a 24/7 Internet radio station — so you've always got new tunes, whether you're cranking out a report or pounding the pavement.

The app looks at your listening habits and the music you already own, to serve up other artists and songs you'd potentially enjoy. It could do to music-streaming what iTunes did for music-downloading: make it so simple that any other alternative would just be a waste of time.

Apple Music will arrive in iOS 8.4 for iPhone and iPad users, will be added to a new version of iTunes for desktop, and will arrive on Android in the fall. It will cost $10 a month following a free, three-month trial — and if you want to share music with family or roommates, you can sign up for a $15-per-month family plan.


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