This year’s WWDC felt different than previous years. Things have been more evolutionary since iOS 7. However, iOS 10 seems more of a revolutionary iteration to the Apple ecosystem and vision. There were many initiatives uncovered that gives us clues to the future of Apple.
It has been clear from the beginning that Apple takes Siri seriously. However, it seemed Apple has been stagnant in this space since its introduction in 2011 (yes, it’s been that long!). WWDC showed us that Apple has been working hard in the lab to play catch up. Though, Siri has been under-utilized by many of its users, there’s been something missing . So what was it? Unlike Google, Apple needed years of data collection to catch up and seems like it’s finally about to pay off. Differential privacy will give this an even bigger boast. However, most of all, opening Siri up to developers with SiriKit will be the game changer that will change the landscape for Apple’s AI.
HomeKit has a new Home app and takes a front seat in iOS 10 with a dedicated area in Mission Control.
Previously, HomeKit required developers to create their own app to leverage the framework. Now in iOS 10, the Home app is baked right into iOS and unifies the smart home dream. This is exactly what is needed in the clunky and fragmented smart home sector.
Instant messaging is integral to the technological evolution. It has made email look like fax. We are seeing new ways instant messaging platforms are being re-imagined by the introduction of chatbots. iMessages is the most used Apple app and now it has also been opened to developers. Although you can expect to see new ways to send kitten GIF’s in iMessages, expect to also see more profound advances that will move iMessages to the AI category.
The new CallKit framework allows VoiP apps, like Skype, to act as first-class phone citizens. You can make VoiP calls from the native contact cards, and even better, receive VoiP calls as if they were regular phone calls. This is the exact disruption we need against the traditional cellular carriers. Get ready to dump your minutes for data.
The Today Widgets and Notifications have been somewhat merged in a sense. Widgets now appear on the lock screen, but that’s not the only place you see widgets. 3D Touch notifications and even app icons from the home screen pop-up full fledged, interactive widgets. Opening apps is becoming less and less of a requirement, widgets from the lock screen and from notifications may be the only thing you need from an app.
It is clear from this year’s WWDC that Apple envisions a new era beyond the traditional apps-in-a-grid-on-your-home-screen model. Instead, opening up native iOS services to developers allows apps to be automatically served to the user based on context. This is indeed a new app-era, which shifts from the app-centric model to a service-based model. The entry point to your app is no longer opening up your app icon anymore, but opening up native services, such as Siri, Maps, or Messages, that will surface your app logic to the user.