WWDC 2016 Event Recap

NOTICE AS OF 5/1/2020: This is a revised edition of the WWDC 2016 Event Recap video that we did years ago. For the website, we decided to convert it into an article only, along with adding some tidbits here and there to make it a bit more of an interesting read. Hope you guys enjoy this as we continue to make more content for both our website and YouTube channel. 😉


Hey everybody, Sage here, and today we’re going to be recapping Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (or WWDC) for 2016! A lot has happened, the presentation’s over, and oh my goodness, there were a lot of stuff that were announced—and now we’re gonna be talking about it, recapping what happened during the Keynote.

Now, I was able to take notes during the Keynote, so I could at least talk to you guys about what I thought of it. I’m not going to cover EVERYTHING that was in the Keynote; I’m only going to cover most of what was there, mostly stuff that caught my eye; some of what was announced probably didn’t catch my eye or I couldn’t care less about. If I missed something major that you probably liked, don’t hound me please; that would be appreciated.

So without further ado, let’s get started with this recap!

Image Credit: Apple Inc.

watchOS 3

So, the first thing that Apple announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference for 2016, was watchOS 3.

One of the biggest features (or at least the ones that were announced) were improved performance when launching apps, which means the apps sort of “insta-launch” (or launch 70% faster according to Apple).

They also added a dock (that sort of works like multitasking in iOS), accessible by pressing the side button. The Apple Watch gets a Control Center, and there’s a feature called Scribble, where you could draw letters using your finger, and it will input them into a text box. You can then keep drawing the letters down to write a message.

A couple new watch faces were also added, and switching between them was made easier: just swipe to the left and right. Finally, you can call 911 by holding down the side button on your watch (if you hold it down you’ll get the power screen, but if you keep holding it down it will actually call 911), useful if you’re in an emergency like a house fire or a robbery.

watchOS 3 also has some new developer API’s for people who develop apps for the Watch, so if you’re a developer, good for you; you get the new API’s.

The developer preview was available on the day of its announcement, with the free upgrade made available in the Fall.

Image Credit: Apple Inc.

tvOS 10

The next thing that was announced was a new version of tvOS (also known as tvOS 10).

One of the new features in it was the Remote app for the iPhone, so in case you lose your Siri remote, you can control your Apple TV using your iPhone. It pretty much acts like a Siri remote, plus you can type on it using the on-screen keyboard, which makes using the remote to navigate with the keyboard more convenient.

There were also enhancements to Siri, so you can do topic search and YouTube video search with Siri. There’s also a feature called Live Tune-In: Basically, what it does is you can command Siri, for example, “Watch ESPN”, and it will take you straight to the ESPN video channel.

Another new feature is Single Sign-On. Basically, it removes the task of signing into all of the video channels individually; just sign in to one channel once, and all of your video channels are automatically signed on and accessible.

Finally, tvOS gains a dark mode, just like in macOS.

And since this is WWDC, there are new API’s for tvOS, so developers can use them in their apps.

The developer preview of tvOS 10 was available on the day of its announcement, with the free upgrade for Apple TVs made available in the Fall.

Image Credit: Apple Inc.

macOS 10.12 “Sierra”

The next piece of software we’re going to cover is OS X 10.12 “Sierra”. Oh wait, I read that wrong; it’s actually macOS 10.12 “Sierra”. Yeah, Apple rebranded OS X to macOS to be more in-line with the new naming scheme (iOS, tvOS, watchOS, etc.), so everything matches.

Anyways, Apple announced macOS Sierra at the Developers’ Conference, and there were some major new features added:

The first one is Auto Unlock; you can now unlock your Mac using your Apple Watch.

The next one is Universal Clipboard; basically you can copy text or an image from one Apple device, like an iPhone, and you can paste that text or image from your iPhone over to your Mac wirelessly.

There are some improvements to iCloud Drive; it will now appear on pretty much all of your devices, including your Mac, iPhone, iPad, etc.

There’s also some new tools added for Optimized Storage, allowing you to get rid of old files and free up space, by storing your old files in the cloud.

Apple Pay is also coming to the Mac; just click the Apple Pay button during checkout in Safari, and you’ll need to use your iPhone with Touch ID to complete your purchase. Along with this, Apple showed a rather humorous picture of a woman carrying an iMac to a store, trying to “Touch ID” it or something. Good one, Apple.

The next feature is regarding Tabs: They are now throughout the system, including first and third-party applications; developers don’t need to recode the app in order to add them. So if you thought full screen on every single application in El Capitan was crazy enough, now Tabs are pretty much everywhere: Maps, Keynote, Pages, etc. It’s pretty much all apps; they’re getting tabs.

Another new feature, which also caught my eye, is Picture-in-Picture. Basically, if you’re watching a video in Safari, there will be a picture-in-picture (PiP) button. You click on it, and it will put the video on any corner of the screen. (Now if Google Chrome would add it built-in, that would be cool, because I use Chrome pretty much all the time for convenience sake. I used to use Safari back then, but I don’t use it anymore now.)

Lastly, but not least: Siri is coming to the Mac. Finally. It’s going to be available as a Dock icon or in the menu bar, and it’s going to work similar to Microsoft’s Cortana in Windows 10. (For the record, Microsoft did implement a virtual assistant into their operating system first before Apple did; proof of Apple playing catch-up.) It’s not only going to have all the commands you would expect from iOS, but also some Mac-exclusive commands.

And those were the major features in macOS Sierra that Apple at least covered. The developer preview was made available on the day of its announcement, and the public beta was made available in July, with the free upgrade being made available in the Fall.

And yes, before you ask, Sierra dropped support for the 2007 to 2008, and the majority of 2009 Macs; you’ll need a Late 2009 or later iMac or MacBook (the 13-inch one from 2009, and the 12-inch one from 2015), or a 2010 or later MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac Mini, or Mac Pro to run it. Xserve support was also dropped.

Image Credit: Apple Inc.

iOS 10

And last, but not least, iOS is being upgraded to version 10. iOS 10 was announced at the Keynote, with 10 major new features.

The first one is a redesigned lock screen: It now has widgets and also works with 3D touch.

The second feature are enhancements to Siri. Not much has changed in terms of the commands, but now Siri is going to be available for developers, which means they can now implement Siri into their apps.

The third feature are enhancements to QuickType, the first being Siri intelligence. For example, if someone sent in a “Where are you?” text, Siri intelligence will automatically suggest your current location the next time you’re about to type in a message. Another example is if someone sent in a “Where’s John’s or whatever person’s email?” text, Siri Intelligence will automatically suggest that person’s email. And the best part about this is that it works in multiple languages, so you don’t have to switch to a different keyboard.

The next feature is a huge upgrade to the Photos app. One of the new additions is the ability to browse photos by places. It also now has advanced search with face object and scene recognition, so you can search by object, face, or scene. (An example would be if I want to search for photos of a particular computer.)

But the biggest feature in the new Photos app is Memories, where it basically takes photos, like a trip you went to or something, and it places it in a “memory” album, and you can also make short movies based on those Memories. You also change the theme of it, and it will also change the font, as well as the music. Most of those features are also available in macOS Sierra.

The next feature is a redesigned Maps app. It not only has easier-to-access controls, as well as proactive suggestions, but also a dynamic view when you’re driving and going in directions; you can now pan and zoom, and you can also zoom out so you can see the traffic conditions ahead of you. You can also search for a place while in directions. For example, if you just want to get some gas for your car, or if you want to purchase some food, you can now do that in the Maps app while you’re in directions.

As well as that, there’s also new APIs for Maps, so developers can implement those new features into their third-party apps.

The next feature is a redesigned Apple Music app. It looks much simpler, and they also added lyrics, and the ability to look at top charts.

The next feature is a redesigned News app, with added subscriptions, and Breaking News notifications.

Then, we come to HomeKit, which has its own app, called Home. Basically, it allows you to control your HomeKit compatible devices (such as a thermostat or light bulbs) using your iPhone or iPad. There’s also Siri integration, so you can say to Siri something in the likes of “Good Morning”, and it will turn up the shades, and turn on the lights, among other things, which I think is really cool.

Then we have some enhancements to the Phone app; it now has Voicemail Transcriptions, where you’ll be able to get a transcript of a voicemail, so the days of listening to voicemail are finally over. At the time however, the transcriptions thing was in beta.

But the biggest and final major feature in iOS 10 is a complete overhaul of the Messages app, and…oh my gosh. The first big addition was Rich Links; basically it’s kind of works like Skype does: when you post a link, it shows a preview of what the link has, as well as the description of what it has. It works for music, websites, videos, etc.

Then you have Camera support, so you can now take pictures, and instantly send them off in the Messages app, removing the extra steps of going into the Camera app.

Along with that, for people who love emojis, they are now 3x bigger, emoji predictions have been added to QuickType, and tap to replace was added to emojis, so you can replace words such as “taco”, with an emoji of a taco. (This definitely won’t mark the end of the English language as we know it.)

Another new feature in the Messages app are bubble effects: For example, if you want to say “Congrats!”, you can customize it to make it so that the message starts up large, and then it grows smaller until it’s back to normal size. Another example is if you’re saying “I’m sorry” you can customize it to where it starts off as very small text and then it goes back up to normal size.

Along with that, you can now send messages with invisible ink: It’ll basically hide the text or picture, and you’ll have to use your finger to uncover that text or picture, so that’s pretty nice for sending hidden messages.

Tap Back allows the user to like or love a message. It’s kind of works similar to Facebook, where you can like replies and like posts.

There’s also handwritten messages, so now you can write messages using just your finger.

And then you have Full Screen Effects: For example, if you’re sending a message saying “Happy New Year!”, you can customize your message with a full-screen effect, such as fireworks. When you send it, fireworks will appear in full screen.

Now this next feature is pretty interesting: There is now an app store for iMessage, so you can get stickers easily in the Messages app, without having to download them from the App Store app. And speaking of stickers, you can also implement them into photos, and even messages.

And of course, there’s going to be APIs for Messages as well, so developers can implement it into their own apps.

The new Messages app is also going to be available in macOS Sierra, so you’ll be able to receive messages with the stuff I mentioned earlier from iDevices.

So those were the major new features in iOS 10 announced in the Keynote, but there’s also another major feature Apple forgot to mention: You can now remove some stock apps pre-installed on your device. These apps include Stocks, Weather, Watch, and of course the Podcasts app, so that’s pretty cool.

Sage’s Fun Fact: The ability to remove stock apps is nothing new; Android has had that feature way before Apple put it into iOS; another example of Apple playing catch-up with their competitors.

The developer preview of iOS 10 was made available on the day of its announcement. The public beta was made available in July, with the free upgrade being made available in the Fall. iOS 10 is compatible with the majority of iOS 9 capable devices, except for the iPhone 4S and the iPad 2.

Image Credit: Apple Inc.

One More Thing… Swift Playgrounds

So after those four big announcements, Tim Cook secretly pulled a one more thing… (He didn’t actually say it in the Keynote, but it was somewhat obvious.) He started talking about Swift, and then he announced a new app, that will allow consumers to learn how to code in Swift, called Swift Playgrounds.

It’s basically an app for your iPad, that will allow kids to learn how to code in an entertaining way: By playing games and solving puzzles that teaches you how to code. The idea is sort of similar to Code Combat: A game where you learn how to code by playing a combat game, and it’s mainly targeted for kids, as well as students who want to learn how to develop apps.

There’s also a coding keyboard in Swift playgrounds: It looks like a standard iPad keyboard, except if you hold down a key, you’ll get an alternate key, in gray above the normal key.

Swift Playgrounds was available as a developer preview on the day of its announcement, with the public beta being made available in July. The app itself is free, and would come to the App Store for iPad in the Fall.


So that’s pretty much it for WWDC 2016, and the stuff that they announced. Now it’s time for me to briefly express my opinion on what I think of this stuff: I would personally care less about watchOS or tvOS, because I don’t own a Watch or Apple TV.

What did catch my eye however was macOS Sierra. Honestly, I think it’s a good release. Yeah, there are some features I couldn’t care less about such as Auto Unlock, Universal Clipboard, and the new optimization tools, but Siri was probably one of my favorites; I’ve wanted Siri in macOS since 2014, and now it has finally come.

What also enticed me during the Keynote was the new Messages app in iOS 10: It was kind of like Skype on steroids. The addition of Tap Back, Rich Links, and the new emoji features, just blows Skype out of the water. (Now if Apple could release iMessage to Windows and Android users…)

And the third and final thing that enticed me was Swift Playgrounds. I think the idea of teaching people how to code in Swift in an entertaining way is interesting to say the least. If I ever plan to start coding an iOS app, it will probably be with Swift of course, but I’ll need to learn that first. At least I won’t need to purchase an app that will teach me how to code in Swift; I can just use Swift Playgrounds to do exactly that.

So those were the things that enticed me the most at WWDC 2016, concluding this recap. Hope you guys enjoyed this read, and as always I will see you all next time. Peace. 😉

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