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WWDC 2015: iOS 9, Apple Music, Watch OS 2.0 and other updates from the conference

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Though the WWDC 2015 wasn’t as engaging as everyone may have expected, the two-hour long session had some big software announcements and major tweaks. From iOS 9 to building car apps, here’s a quick look at everything Apple announced at the WWDC.

iOS 9
Apple has unveiled its new mobile OS, iOS 9, that will run from the iPhone 4S to iPhone 6 Plus and tablets such as iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad 2, iPad 3rd gen, iPad 4th gen, iPad mini, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3 as well as the 5th gen iPod Touch. The main feature on the iOS 9 has to be the Proactive Assistant, which is Apple’s way of taking on Google Now. Proactive Assistant is basically a major upgrade to Apple’s virtual assistant Siri which can now give you contextual search results based on your location, search history and time of the day. It will come with the new news app that replaces Newsstand, along with tweaks to the Notes app and Maps app. iPad power-users will get some much needed features such as short cuts for cut, copy, paste functions; a new mode that turns the keyboard into a trackpad and a multi-tasking mode for the iPad. Just like with the OS X El Capitan, the iOS 9 will also support multi-tasking mode on the iPad. Unlike previous iOS update capacities, the iOS 9 will only come as a 1.8GB installation size. Along with less space, the low power mode squeezes three extra hours out of the battery.

News app
News app was the other major iOS 9 announcement which basically aggregates news based on your interests, in a rich multimedia format. Think an amalgamation of Facebook Instant Articles and Flipboard and you have Apple’s News app. The News app has tied up with The New York Times for 33 articles a day (there were no details whether users will be able to access this for free or will have to shell out money, since The New York Times generally offers only 10 articles per month for free) along with magazine publisher such as Conde Nast as well as with countless bloggers. News app tends to keep the font size similar to the original source articles so that users feel that they are reading the articles on their home site. This sounds an awful lot like Facebook Instant Articles. Just like Flipboard, the layout is rich and one can embed photo galleries as well as videos in a News app article. Also content has been optimised for both iPad and the iPhone. It will first be available in the US, UK and Australia.

Apple Pay
Apple Pay will now be acceptable in the United Kingdom as well and will be coming to more countries in the near future. As usual there was no mention of India. Apple Pay has also added support for loyalty cards and in-store credit cards. Also Apple Passbook has now been renamed to Apple Wallet which will integrated your debit card, credit card, loyalty cards, all in one place.

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OS X El Capitan
The new version of OS X has been christened OS X El Capitan. While there weren’t any dramatically new features that were showcased with El Capitan, it seemed like more of a refinement of the features on its predecessor Yosemite. In terms of performance gains, Apple claims that there has been a 1.4x times increase in app launch times, 2x improvement in app switching speeds, up to 4x improvement in PDF opening in Preview and so on. Apple has brought Metal to the Mac OS, which gives games and apps direct access to the graphics processor on your Mac. Mac OS X has finally got the Split view mode which lets you work on two apps simultaneously. Read here to know more.

Apple Music
Apple has finally announced its much speculated music streaming service simply called – Apple Music. Apple Music will be priced at $9.99 (approx Rs 640) per month and to get users hooked on to it, Apple Music will be free for the first three months. For a family plan for up to 6 accounts Apple Music will cost $14.99 (approx Rs 960). The service will be launched in over 100 countries by June 30. Also Apple Music will be coming to Android operating system by fall. One of the major additions to the service will be Siri integration. You can speak out commands including natural language commands such as ‘Play me the top song from 1990′ or ‘Play me more songs of Eminem.’ Beats 1 will be the radio service associated with Apple Music. It will start off with three 24/7 radio stations which will be broadcast globally from locations such as New York, London and Los Angeles.

Watch OS 2.0
Apple has managed to quickly announce an update to the recently launched Apple Watch – watchOS 2. It brings more options for watch faces. Users can go beyond simply reading emails, and can now even reply to them. Developers will get more control and there’s also full support for HealthKit and HomeKit. Improvements  in the iOS 9 — like transit directions in Maps — will be made available for the Apple Watch too. Developers get access to the latest watchOS right away.

Homekit and car apps
The company’s smart home platform, Homekit, has been updated to now adjust window shades, motion sensors and security systems too. Apple’s auto operating system has also got some big upgrades. CarPlay will allow auto makers to develop apps that control the car’s features. CarPlay will also support high-DPI screens at multiple display sizes.

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