WWDC 2014: A Roundup of What’s New

WWDC Yosemite


Earlier today, Apple kicked off its annual Worldwide Developers Conference with its traditional keynote introducing what the company has been working on for the previous year. While WWDC is meant for developers—making it a non-traditional place to introduce new products—Apple typically reveals the updates it is bringing to its software. Here’s what you need to know about this year’s revelations:



One of the biggest changes introduced at WWDC 2014 was to the operating system for Mac. OS X “Yosemite” brings a refreshed look that closely matches the new design introduced with iOS 7 last year. With the redesign, Apple brings a much more refined and modern look to the operating system that brings iPhone, iPad and Mac much closer together in terms of user experience.

In addition to the new look, Apple introduced a lot of new software features to match. A major new feature is the ability to send and receive both phone calls and traditional text messages on OS X (previously, you could only do so for iMessages and FaceTime calls). The feature effectively turns your Mac into an extension of your iPhone, allowing you to do more with you Mac without having to pick up your phone.

Further tying iPhone, iPad and Mac closer, Apple introduced features such as Handoff, Instant Hotspot and Airdrop between iOS & OS X. Handoff brings the ability for apps to effectively share your work across your devices (for example, you could start typing an email or document on your Mac and instantly continue on your iPhone or iPad from where you left off). Instant Hotspot allows you to much more easily use your phone’s data connection with your Mac on the go (beware of data use, though). Airdrop allows you to share files and data between devices.

Finally, OS X Yosemite also brings a revamped Notification Center, which now shows the “Today” view previously available only on iOS 7 and adds the ability to install “widgets”. Widgets, which have previously existed on OS X in a different form, allow apps to create mini versions of themselves that you can access and use for simple tasks just by opening the Notification Center. A full list of features is available on Apple’s website.



Following the major redesign introduced by Apple in iOS 7, iOS 8 goes further to refine the design and introduce much more powerful functionality on top. A big feature many have been asking for is interactive notifications, which Apple revealed today. The feature allows iPhone and iPad users to interact with alerts and notifications without having to switch to a different app. For example, you can respond to a text message without having to switch away from Safari to Messages.

Speaking of Messages, Apple introduced a new feature that may make Snapchat nervous: the ability to send self-destructing messages. Messages can now send audio recordings in addition to text, images and videos. Apple has also brought the ability to mute conversations (a lifesaver if you have a lot of chatty friends in a group conversation) and even leave conversations altogether.

Following Google’s lead, Apple has introduced a new feature for Siri that allows you to invoke it by saying to your iPhone, “Hey, Siri.” Siri also integrates Shazam, allowing you to identify and tag song.

Finally, Apple introduced a brand new Health app and smart home capabilities. Health is a centralized hub for tracking health and fitness data. Apple stated that third party partners such as Nike and Mayo Clinic would also offer the ability to use such data to plan fitness activities, monitor health and wellness, communicate with medical professionals and more. Alongside Health, the new HomeKit feature for developers allows apps and services to connect with your iPhone—giving you the ability to control and interact smart home devices such as thermostats, lights, security devices and more.

A full list of new features being brought with iOS 8 is available on Apple’s website.


While WWDC brought us a glimpse of what we can expect as consumers, its focus is mainly on developers. Apple had a lot to offer them, from thousands of new APIs in OS X Yosemite & iOS 8 to a brand new programming language, Swift. Altogether, WWDC introduced how Apple is changing the way we interact with our devices and how our devices connect to the products & services we use in our daily lives.

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Author: varun.Pramanik