Apple

WWDC: What kinds of app and OS changes should you expect?

Each WWDC brings a lot of changes with it. This year's was no exception, so what should business tech users look forward to in 2016?

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

iOS, watchOS, macOS, and tvOS are all getting major updates in the near future, all aimed at making your life in the Apple ecosystem a bit easier. Let's break the changes down by these four software platforms to find out what's coming your way.

SEE: Apple OS X 10.11 (El Capitan): Performance and features fine-tuned, but few surprises (Tech Pro Research)

iOS 10

Apple announced iOS 10, which is due out in September with the release of the iPhone 7. Apple is always trying to find ways to minimize your need to switch apps, and some of the biggest new features are geared around eliminating taps.

Take quicktype for example. Apple calls it a "deep learning" system that's designed to predictively answer questions and suggest answers. Say someone asks you for your office address in a text message. If your phone knows where you work it should prompt you to simply select the address, automatically dropping it into a text without the need for you to type.

VOIP apps are more and more common for business users, and Apple seems to know that. You'll no longer have to deal with a bunch of different programs popping up for each different VOIP system you use—they'll all show up just like regular phone calls. That includes being in your list of previous calls, which is incredibly convenient for those who spend lots of time using VOIP at work or on the road.

watchOS 3

watchOS 2 was supposed to fix a lot of the problems of the initial release, but it didn't quite get everything right. Apple appears to have been listening, because the watchOS 3 features are designed to answer the complaints that users still have.

App load times are reported (by Apple) to be up to seven times faster than on watchOS 2, which should come as a relief to everyone wearing a watch. How many times have you needed some instant information on your wrist but spent precious seconds staring at those six little white dots?

One of my personal favorites on the Apple Watch is the ability to respond to texts without getting my phone out of my pocket. This feature isn't perfect, though, which Apple intends to fix with scribbles. You'll soon be able to write words right on your watch screen, which will convert to text. If smart replies have been of use to you then you'll also be happy to know they're going to be in the text notification as well.

SEE: Apple File System revealed at WWDC 2016, focused on encryption and SSD support (TechRepublic)

macOS Sierra

For starters, it's no longer OS X: Apple has rebranded its desk and laptop OS as macOS and is launching Sierra along with it.

One of the standout features for users who worry about losing important data is better integration with iCloud. Automatic syncing of files will start going beyond just your pictures. Sierra will allow you to auto backup your documents folder and your entire desktop. Good for the average use, and even better for those who are using their Mac for business.

macOS Sierra will also integrate Siri and Apple Pay, making seamless purchases and voice commands much more accessible than they were before.

tvOS

Quick question: how many remotes are sitting on your coffee table? How about the conference table? Plenty of us would say "too many." A new remote app for iOS will take care of your Apple TV remote, so feel free to tuck it away in a safe, and less cluttered, place.

Apple is also adding single sign on to tvOS, making it much easier to take advantage of all the channels you're subscribed to.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  • Apple continues to make things easier for users, and the new iterations of its OSes are all streamlining something. You'll be able to enjoy less hopping between apps and more time doing the stuff you need to do.
  • Open APIs seems to be the new standard at Apple, so expect a lot more third-party integration with apps in the future. Again, the aim is to make your experience smoother, simpler, and more efficient.
  • Plenty of people have been predicting doom and gloom for the future of Apple, but this year's WWDC has generated a lot of interest. Whether that will follow through to successful outcomes is another thing altogether. Keep an eye on Apple products around release time to see if they're right for your office.

Also see:

WWDC 2016: Apple's product announcements are losing punch (TechRepublic)

Apple WWDC 2016: Five things you may have missed (ZDNet)

WWDC 2016: Will your Apple device run macOS Sierra or iOS 10? (TechRepublic)

WWDC 2016: Here's Apple's pick of this year's best-designed apps (ZDNet)

It's Tim Cook's Apple Now: What WWDC 2016 Teaches Us About His Vision For The Company (Fast Company)

About Brandon Vigliarolo

Brandon writes about apps and software for TechRepublic. He's an award-winning feature writer who previously worked as an IT professional and served as an MP in the US Army.

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