Apple’s WWDC 2014 keynote: A live analysis

Above: Apple WWDC 2014

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi / VentureBeat

We’re ready and waiting for Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, which kicks off at 10 a.m. Pacific today.

Instead of running a traditional live blog, we’ll be diving a bit deeper into what all of Apple’s announcements mean. We’ll also be looping in analyst and expert commentary as we receive it.

Here’s everything we expect to be announced at the keynote, including iOS 8 and the next version of Mac OS X. Watch Apple’s WWDC keynote live here, and follow all of VentureBeat’s WWDC coverage here.

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 201412:07 pm

That’s all for me now, check out all of our WWDC coverage here. And check back for further commentary and coverage on WWDC throughout the week.

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 201412:06 pm

If anything, this WWDC keynote shows Apple isn’t shying away from its tendency to relentlessly refine its products. iOS 8 and OSX Yosemite may look just like their predecessors, but under the hood they can do a lot more.

My biggest takeaway from this keynote: I can’t wait to see what the integration between iOS and OSX will look like over time.
Microsoft made a big leap by combining mobile and desktop user interfaces in Windows 8, but it was able to do so because it really didn’t have any presence in mobile. Apple, on the other hand, has to figure out a way to make iOS and OSX exist alongside each other. Today, we got our first glimpse at how that will happen.

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 201412:00 pm

This WWDC is all about simplifying Apple’s services for devs. CloudKit gives developers a simple way to integrate cloud storage and notifications. Metal opens up the power of high-end gaming on newer iOS devices.
Apple has even developed a whole new programming language, Swift, which makes it easier for developers to build apps for iOS and OSX. It will work alongside Objective C, which Apple has relied on for the past 20 years. But clearly, the goal is to push developers to the faster, newer language.

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 201411:53 am

As expected, Apple is also getting into the home automation game with HomeKit. It basically serves as a “common network protocol” for home automation, Federighi said.

And of course, there’s Siri integration.

The home automation market currently has no widespread protocol for devices to talk to each other. We’ve seen some, like Zigbee, struggle to make this happen for more than a decade. At this point, it’s up to Apple and Google to make the definitive home automation standard. It’ll be interesting to see how Google’s entry compares to HomeKit. 

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 201411:43 am

I’m surprised Apple moved off of Health in iOS so quickly, given just how most of the iOS 8 rumors before today revolved around it. Perhaps we’ll see more over time, but it’s likely that Apple doesn’t yet have the killer partnerships (outside of Nike and the Mayo Clinic) necessary to truly show off the app.

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 201411:34 am

Whoa, Apple really is opening up. Now you can use third-party keyboards in iOS. Android’s list of benefits over iOS is quickly disappearing.

TouchID is also opening up to third-party apps.

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 201411:32 am

Apple is also opening up its app SDK a bit. Now apps can share a bit of data with each other, similar to Android. For example, you could see an “Add to Pinterest” option in your sharing menu when you install the Pinterest app. That’s something only a few apps had access to in the past.

Federighi also showed off how Waterlogue, an app that turns pictures into watercolors, can be used directly from the Photos app. Expect to see developers take this integration in new and interesting places.

Dylan Tweney June 2, 201411:30 am

Wall Street is not impressed. Apple stock is down about 1.35-1.4 percent so far today.

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 201411:27 am

The App Store is getting a few big updates as well: A new explore tab will let you find apps by category. You can also see the apps that are currently trending.
Devs can also now bundle apps together, which could be useful for sales, and they can create short videos to show off their apps inside the store.

Apple is also finally making use of its TestFlight acquisition. Now devs can hold public beta tests for their apps. Previously, TestFlight was used by internal testers and the media to get a look at apps early.

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 201411:23 am

Federighi confirms two long-running iOS 8 rumors around Siri: Shazam integration and hands-free car support. You can now say “Hey Siri” while driving to send your phone commands.

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 201411:21 am

A new “Family Sharing” feature in iOS 8 lets you share access to iTunes
purchases between your family members. And it also lets parents approve
purchases from their kids before they go through.

Juggling family and parental needs is likely going to be a big focus for Apple, Google, and other companies working in mobile. We’re past the point of parents refusing to let kids use gadgets — now we need to figure out ways for parents to manage their kids’ access to technology.

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 201411:14 am

Nike and the Mayo Clinic are partnering with Apple on Healthkit. Guess we know why Nike dumped its Fuelband hardware now.

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 201411:12 am

Apple’s health pursuits finally come into focus: Federighi announces HealthKit, a platform for third-parties to tap into iOS health data, and a new Health app which brings it all together.

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 201411:01 am

Another useful feature in iOS 8: “Quicktype” automatically suggests words that you’re typing. Apple says it will learn from your behavior while respecting your privacy.

It sounds a lot like Swiftkey, my favorite alternative keyboard on Android.

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 201410:58 am

iOS 8 adds interactive notifications and support for “Continuity” task switching with OSX. No major design changes this time around.

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 201410:50 am

Once again, Cook is breaking out the stats. 89% of iOS users are on iOS 7, while 9% of Android users are on Kitkat. Over 1/3 of Android users are using a 4 year old version of the OS.

Of course, Apple has complete control over the iOS ecosystem, something that no Android device manufacturer has.

Dylan Tweney June 2, 201410:49 am

Stripe cofounder John Collison remarks: “The Mac is becoming a cloud-powered external display for iOS devices.”  

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 201410:48 am

Tim Cook is switching the conversation to iOS. He points out 130 million people last year made iOS devices their first Apple gadget.

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 201410:45 am

Yosemite is available for devs today, coming in the fall to the general public. Best of all, it’s going to be a free update.

For the first time, Apple is also opening up a beta program over the summer.

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 201410:43 am

Federighi is calling Dr. Dre during the keynote. This is awkward and hilarious. But what a welcome to Apple for Dre.

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 201410:40 am

OSX Yosemite can now push text messages from non-iOS devices to the Messages app. You can also push calls from your iPhone to your Mac.

Both are very useful features, and it could be a sign of further integration to come between iOS and OSX. Perhaps Apple doesn’t need to go the Windows 8 route if its tablets and desktops can easily communicate with one another?

Dylan Tweney June 2, 201410:38 am

Farhad Manjoo notes: “It’s worth pointing out that Windows Vista also had lots of translucency.”

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 201410:37 am

Airdrop, Apple’s simple file exchanging app for iOS, now also communicates with OSX. We’ve been waiting for this forever.

You can swipe up from a document on your iPhone or iPad and send it to your Mac. This also works in reverse. Nice!

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 201410:35 am

It’s 2014. A key feature that Apple is showing off in its latest OSX is simple image editing in its mail app. Yay?

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 201410:29 am

Safari now has a tab view everyone! (Just like Chrome and Firefox!)

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 201410:28 am

A nice new, security-focused feature lets Mail users encrypted attachments through iCloud. As consumers get more concerned about their privacy, this sort of thing could be useful.

But is it enough to get people to use Apple Mail?

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 201410:26 am

Oh Craig, does anyone really use Apple Mail anymore? Revamped iCloud Drive access seems nice, though.

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 201410:25 am

Spotlight search is a bit more refine and no longer relegated to the top right corner of your screen. Federighi showed how it could be used to find movie listings, or find something on the iTunes store.

Slick integration, but the better question is why did this take so long to happen?

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 201410:23 am

The longer Federighi goes on with this OSX Yosemite demo, the less excited I am. Transparent windows are nice and all (Aero Glass, anyone?), but it’s still basically more of the same.

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 201410:21 am

A good take down of Cook’s knock on Windows 8:

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 201410:19 am

There’s finally a dark mode in OSX Yosemite. That’s very useful at night, when you don’t want to be staring at bright and colorful windows.

These visual upgrades are nice, but it’s surprising how much more forward-thinking Windows 8 seems to be. Tim Cook may make fun of it, but Windows 8 looks more like the future. While OSX Yosemite just seems like another layer of polish on an already refined product.

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 201410:17 am

Big changes in Yosemite: Colorful toolbars, new icons, and slick translucent windows. It really does look the love child of iOS 7 and OS X.

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 201410:16 am

Judging from the preview video being played, OSX Yosemite brings in a lot of colorful design elements from iOS 7. But it still looks very much like OSX.

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 201410:15 am

Craig Federighi, Apple’s SVP of software engineering, announces OSX Yosemite.

Let’s pour one for the failed names: OSX Weed and OSX Oxnard.

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 201410:13 am

Tim Cook wastes no time for a sick Windows 8 burn. He points out Win 8 has only reached 14% of Windows users, even though it was released a year Mavericks.
Cook says Apple has sold more than 40 million copies of Mavericks and it now accounts for 51% of the Mac user base. He claims this is the fastest adoption of any OS ever.

But it’s worth pointing out Mavericks was a fairly small update for Apple, and OSX’s user base is far smaller than Windows’. It’s the equivalent of a Windows service pack.

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 201410:09 am

The youngest developer at the WWDC keynote today is 13, Cook says.

Apple pro-tip #2: Get ‘em while they’re young!

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 201410:08 am

Tim Cook just hit the stage, pointing out this is the 25th WWDC anniversary. It’s pretty astounding how much the meaning of WWDC as changed over the years — from desktop, to media, to mobile.

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 201410:06 am

We’ve asked our readers for their thoughts on the WWDC keynote. This seems to be a common refrain:

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 201410:05 am

This pro-dev video seems reminiscent of Errol Morris’s work, the renowned documentary director who also did Apple’s “Switch” ads.

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 201410:03 am

Apple is starting the keynote off with a video that’s all how awesome developers are.

This marks our first Apple pro-tip: Know your audience!

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 20149:58 am

Things are going to be kicking off soon, if we all survive this Coldplay song. I believe in you all.

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 20149:53 am

iOS 08: I’m hoping for a lot of refinement on the design vision iOS 7 kicked off. There are aspects of iOS 7 that bug me to this day, though even that’s certainly improved since launch.

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 20149:50 am

Word is we’re not seeing any major new gadgets or products from Apple. But that’s fine, especially for a developer conference. It’s far more important for Apple to focus and sell the benefits of its new OS X and iOS versions.

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 20149:47 am

Oh, we all know the feeling.

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 20149:16 am

Forrester analyst Frank Gillet offers up his thoughts ahead of the keynote:

“Given the core developer audience, Apple’s WWDC keynote will focus on
new operating systems for iOS and Mac – with features such as the
rumored Healthbook and Apple certification for third party home
automation products, plus natural extensions or hardware updates of
existing product lines, such as Mac updates, a new Thunderbolt display,
or more on software for iBeacons. Look for details on improved App Store
tools for developer management, marketing, and monetization. But don’t
expect a dramatic new product category – that kind of announcement will
have its own standalone event, and would be too distracting for all the
details that Apple needs to cover for its massive and vital developer

Devindra Hardawar June 2, 20148:55 am

Here are some stats from eMarketer as we wait for things to kick off:

Apple’s smartphone share is expected to rise to 40.5 percent this year, up from 40 percent last year. Android, meanwhile, is predicted to rise 0.5 percentage points this year to 50 percent.

Apple is also expected to lose tablet market share this year, reaching 51.8 percent down from 54.5 percent last year. But that’s only to be expect as cheap Android tablets become more prevalent, and Apple keeps the iPad and iPad Mini at significantly higher prices.

More information:

Apple designs and markets consumer electronics, computer software, and personal computers. The company's best-known hardware products include the Macintosh line of computers, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. Apple software includes t... read more »

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