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WWDC 2015: Top five announcements

Apple’s WWDC included a lot of news that we were expecting, and a few things we didn’t see coming. Apple has stiff competition coming from Android, Google, Samsung, Spotify, and others. iOS 9, OS X El Capitan, Apple Music, and updates to Siri make Apple products current with Windows 10, Google Now, and Spotify. There’s a lot to take in from this Apple event, and some small changes that will have lasting effects on Apple and the market.

These are our top five most important announcements from Apple’s WWDC event that we believe are important and exciting for the company.

1. iOS 9

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While iOS 9 isn’t a total rehaul of iOS like iOS 7 did. It still brings a lot of features and updates that keep it competing with Android and Windows phone. The small changes are the new colorful redesign, continued protection of personal data, and brought some updates to core apps.

The larger updates come to iPads with more advanced multitasking that make it work like Windows. iPads now can snap windows side by side and interact with both simultaneously.  It’s something that iPad users have asked for since its launch, as more students and business use them as their main machines.

2. Apple News app

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Apple News was quickly announced and demoed, but it seems like it could be something more powerful than Newsstand was. It allows for any publication big and small to plug into something that’s installed on everyone’s phone. It’s competing against Flipboard, and really doesn’t have any features that strongly differentiates the service. It is however installed and integrated into everyone’s iPhone.

It doesn’t need any extra sign up and works on everyone’s iPhone and iPad. It also allows for news companies to build articles for the News app, similar to how Facebook has instant articles on their site. The app is also intelligent, and learns what you like over time.

The new app will launch in the U.S., U.K. and Australia.

3. Improved Siri & Proactive Assistant

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Siri is pretty dumb when compared to Google Now or Cortana. Siri is now getting smarter to compete with other services. Now you’ll be able to say things like “Show me pictures from Last WWDC,” or “Remind me to buy milk when I go to the grocery store.”  A new feature now packed into Siri is now “Siri suggestions” which is inside search results that suggests people you might want to contact, apps you might want to use, news stories you might be interested in, and local points of interest nearby.

Also assisting Siri is what Apple calls proactive assistant. It’ll make suggestions based off your actions each day, and will learn over time. For example if you plug-in your headphones each morning and listen to a certain playlist it will recognize that and start to automatically playing that playlist.

These recommendations extend to emails, adding events, and smart caller id. It’s smarter and is now on the same level as Google Now. It’s making Siri more of a personal assistant that can know what you like and what you do throughout the day. Apple’s biggest point in all of this is privacy and how all the information stays locally on your phone so it’s always secure.

4. Apple Music is Official

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What may have the biggest uphill battle is Apple Music as it tries to compete with Spotify, Rdio, Tidal, and other streaming music services. It’s priced at $9.99 for one person and $14.99 for up to a family of five, which is priced similarly to other services. The big difference is what Apple is calling connect which allows artists to interact and connect with fans right on Apple Music.

It also packs 24/7 radio being DJ by Zane Lowe, and other DJ’s from LA to NY. It’s being called Beats1, similar to BBC Radio 1, and will replace iTunes Radio and all branding of Beats Music. Apple Music also features smart playlist that are recommended from music experts and not algorithms.

5. Swift is now open source

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Yes you read that right! Apple’s newest programming language is going to be open sourced, a huge shift from Apple being closed offed and very protective of their products. By the end of the year we will see Apple’s Swift language open sourced. This means Swift could reach far beyond Apple’s walled garden and into new areas. App developers could use Swift to code for more than just iOS and this means companies like BlackBerry could use iOS apps more easily on their operating systems.

Final Thoughts

Apple had a lot of software and service updates, and later this fall Apple will surely release new hardware to take advantage of new software and services. There are plenty of features that Apple has released that we didn’t talk about because they are small incremental updates, and won’t make large changes to Apple.

Tell us what you think about the announcements from Apple’s WWDC in the comments below! Also tell us if you think something else Apple announce should bump one of the things we listed.

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