The 12 Most Exciting Things Apple Announced Today

Photo: Courtesy Apple.
Apple kicked off its 2016 developer conference with a bang. Each year, Apple gives us a preview of what’s to come for the iPhone and Mac at WWDC. But today the Cupertino company gave us a ton of stuff to look forward to, not just on the phone and desktop, but on the Apple TV and Apple Watch, too.

Here are twelve things we’re most excited about from today’s announcement.

iOS

The bulk of today’s keynote was spent on upcoming iOS features, and we have to say, we’re pretty excited about all of them. Here are the ones we think are the most important.

Redesigned Lock Screen
With Touch ID, we often unlock our phone so fast we don’t even see the notifications on our lock screen — which kind of defeats the point. To correct that, now your phone screen will automatically switch on when you raise your phone, showing you your notifications. You can also use 3D Touch to press an onscreen notification and respond right there, without having to unlock your phone.

Messages
iMessage right now feels positively archaic compared to how it’s going to be. Apple is making iMessage way more Snapchat-like and way more emojified. Now, instead of having to scroll through your emoji keyboard to find the perfect icon to accompany your message, when you tap that keyboard button, the words in your message that have emoji equivalents will be highlighted so you can easily swap them out with the appropriate emoji (also conveniently served up when you tap that word). You can also add full-screen effects to messages, such as fireworks or confetti; you can more easily add drawings and custom photos or videos; and you can edit Live Photos before sharing them. iMessage also gets a fun tool called “Invisible Ink.” When you send a message or photo, it’s obscured to the recipient until they swipe over it — great if you’ve got a surprise, or something personal, to share.

Keyboard auto suggestions are also getting smarter, so you can more easily share your current location if someone asks where you are, or share a contact’s information if a friend asks you for a phone number.

Apple Music
Apple redesigned its Apple Music app, and it looks slick. The app features larger album-art imagery and a focus on the features you use most (Library, For You, Browse, Radio, and the music you’re currently playing). And one especially cool new feature: When you pull up a song, you can also see its lyrics below. Our karaoke game will never be the same again.

Maps
We know Apple Maps is the butt of many a joke since its bug-riddled launch a few years back, but Maps is turning into a really useful service. For example, with iOS 10, you’ll be able to search for things such as gas or food along the route you’re traveling, and if you decide to add a stop to your trip, Maps will not only redirect you, but also give you an updated ETA to your final destination.
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Photo: Courtesy Apple.

Apple Watch

The Apple Watch, in its current state, is really useful, but it has some issues: It can be sluggish loading an app, for example, and many actions take multiple taps. With watchOS 3.0, the Apple Watch gets a lot more handy.

Quicker Navigation
In addition to running more quickly all around, the Watch will let you respond more speedily to messages with better smart replies, and will give you the ability to write out a custom reply on the screen with a feature called “Scribble” (Google also announced a similar feature at its developer conference last month). And, as with the iPhone, you can now swipe up from the bottom of the Watch screen to access Control Center, so you can easily check your Watch’s battery level, put it into Airplane Mode, and more.

SOS
Something happened, and you need to call emergency services, STAT. Now you can do that with the SOS feature on the Apple Watch. It can automatically dial 911 (or its equivalent, if you’re in another country), notify your contacts that you just SOS-ed (along with your current location), and show your medical ID from your iPhone.

Activity Tracking For Wheelchair Users
Just because you’re wheelchair bound doesn’t mean you’re not interested in fitness. And now Apple’s activity-tracking app caters to you, too. Instead of “time to stand” notifications, you’ll get “time to roll” ones. The app is adding two workouts specifically for wheelchair users. Your activity-tracking rings are optimized wheelchair pushes, in addition to steps.

Breathe
And because we’re constantly stressed and overwhelmed, a new app, Breathe, will guide you through one- to five-minute deep-breathing sessions. You can schedule smart reminders for this app throughout the day so that you stop and take a moment to relax.
Photo: Courtesy Apple.


Apple TV

We didn’t think we’d be getting much in the Apple TV department, but Apple surprised us today. The Apple TV is getting better Siri searching, new apps, and two features we’re really excited about.

Remote App
If you own an Apple TV, you’ve probably lost its tiny accompanying remote at least once. Now you don’t have to worry about it — Apple is bringing back its Remote app, so you can use your iPhone as a remote control for the set-top box and as a game controller for onscreen games.

Single Sign On
Perhaps the most annoying thing about the Apple TV is having to go through and log into all the apps you’re already using on your phone. Not anymore: With Single Sign On, your Apple TV coordinates with your phone so that anything you’re already logged into there will also be logged into on your Apple TV.
Photo: Courtesy Apple.
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Mac

We're constantly swapping between searching, writing, and working on our desktop, then doing the same on our phone. With macOS Sierra, coming out this fall, doing that will be much easier. And of course, the Mac also got some new additions.

Siri
As expected, Siri made the jump from your phone to the desktop today. In addition to her usual capabilities, you’ll be able to use her to help find specific files. We’re curious how awkward Siri requests will be in an office scenario, but at home, using her to pull up information and data could be far quicker than tapping around your desktop.

Apple Pay
Apple Pay, if you haven’t used it yet, is an incredibly useful way to handle payments. No more pulling a credit card out of your wallet. You’ll be able to use Apple Pay on the web, too, tapping a button on a website and then using Touch ID on your phone to authenticate the payment. Super secure and convenient.

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