WWDC 2014 – The Three Best New Features for Entrepreneurs
Apple offered us a look at its future by unveiling its new operating systems, OS X Yosemite, and iOS 8 at its Worldwide Developer Conference this past Monday.
For any business, it’s important to keep up with the latest software that you, your employees, and customers will be using – read on to find out which of these features matter the most to you. And, if you’re up for it, dive into a summary of the rest of the announcements that Apple made.
Apple CEO, Tim Cook, started the keynote off with a tribute-video to developers that showed how many lives are enriched by the apps they create. It was a fitting intro to what would be a software focused presentation.
Apple unveiled OS X Yosemite, iOS 8, and new developer tools to include Swift, a new programming language. All three phases of the presentation were chock-full of new tools and features, so much so, that I could barely fit it all into this article!
Well, I happen to know that you’re a busy person so I took it upon myself to boil down all these updates to the three I thought would matter most to you, the entrepreneur, and list them right here.
For those of you who are curious about all the other new features, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. After the entrepreneurial list of three, I’ve made sure to include a recap of the rest.
So read on to catch the highlights of Apple’s big show.
The Three Best New Features for Entrepreneurs from WWDC 2014
Life is as about as busy as it can get for an entrepreneur. You’ve got bills to pay, deadlines to meet, people to keep track of, and meetings to go to, which is why I’m sure you’ll take help where you can get it.
That’s where technology comes in; more specifically, software on your computers, mobile phones, and tablets that will make conducting your daily business a whole lot easier.
There was a plethora of new tools and features unveiled at WWDC 2014, many of which you will find extremely useful when it comes to conducting business; these are my top 3.
Handoff is the perfect productivity tool for someone on the go. With this feature you’ll be able to seamlessly continue work from one device to another. When your devices are in close proximity, they become aware of one another and will notice what you’re up to. The unused device will then prompt you, via an icon, to pick up your work right where you left off.
For instance, you might be finishing up an email on your iPhone as your approach your desk – the Mac on your desk will prompt you to finish your email there, and with a mouse click, you’re finishing your email with a bigger screen and keyboard.
2. Phone Calls and SMS Across All Devices
Yosemite has upgraded iMessage to now include all SMS and text messages. You can also now make and receive phone calls from your Mac. In one of the more memorable moments from the presentation, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, calls Dr. Dre from his Mac to chat.
Essentially, your Mac now functions as an extension of your phone – no more constantly checking your phone for missed calls or messages which means your focus can stay centered on your computer screen.
3. Mail Enhancements: MarkUp and MailDrop
The Mail app got an overall update to improve speed and reliability but, more importantly, it got a few new features to make it a more powerful tool for business.
The first is Mail Drop, the answer to your large-attachment woes. With MailDrop you can send files up to 5 gigs in size to other Mail users seamlessly, thanks to a helping hand from iCloud. When sent, your overly-large attachment routes through iCloud, bypassing those pesky data-guards at the mail servers, and links up with your email on the “other side.”
Mail users will receive your email just as it was sent, none-the-wiser to the journey the attachment had to make. However, if the email recipient uses another client, they’ll receive a link to download the attachment.
Another nifty Mail feature is Markup. This is built right into Mail and allows you to edit image attachments on the spot. This is especially useful for pointing out the most important parts of an image or signing documents on the fly – similar to Skitch. It will even “clean up” your arrows and circles (kind of like autocorrect for images) for a more professional look.
Honorable Mention: Instant Hotspot
With this, your Mac will sense your phone and automatically set up a hotspot for it. This means your phone is only few clicks away from being on the network.
With this feature, you won’t have to bother with connecting your phone directly – that is unlocking it, finding the wi-fi menu, connecting to the right one, and typing the password…only to find you typed the password in wrong. With Instant Hotspot, all you have to do is tell your Mac to allow the phone and you’re all set up.
So there you have it, the top three features, plus one, for entrepreneurs. Curious as to what else is coming up for Apple devices? Read on for a recap of Apple’s other announcements.
OS X Yosemite
Craig Federighi, introduced us to OSX Yosemite: “OS X started with the bold design of Aqua and over the years it’s evolved to the refined look we all love today in Mavericks. With Yosemite, we continue this evolution.”
Let’s take a look at Yosemite’s continued evolution in a little bit more detail.
Yosemite got a make over with a focus on “clarity and utility.” The toolbars and windows have been refined and now use a translucent material meant to take on the personality of the desktop. This refined and modern look is meant to give the user a better sense of place as they work with multiple applications and windows.
The icons have been recrafted but still retain their “Mac feel,” while the typography is clear and consistent throughout all menus, windows and controls.
To help keep the user focused on the center of their screen, where their work is, Apple is also introducing a “dark mode” to keep bright-colored distractions around the edge of the interface to a minimum.
The sidebar gets a major makeover, adopting the translucent material of Yosemite while also increasing the features it has. Most importantly it has a “today view” which allows you to quickly look over your calender, the weather, to do’s and more.
One of the best things about the new notification center is that you can now customize it with third party apps, making it more useful than ever before. These changes bring Yosemite’s notification center functionality closer to that of iOS.
This has always been a fast way to find stuff locally on your computer, however, Spotlight just got an increase in wattage. Now, when you click on the little magnifying glass, a search bar appears dead center in your screen – again, keeping the focus towards the center, where you are most comfortable working.
Typing in just the first few letters of an app or document will bring it up with an inline preview. Furthermore, not only does Spotlight check your local storage but it searches the internet as well. These searches offer smart suggestions, for example a common search term might yield a snippet of a Wikipedia article.
This is Apple’s Dropbox-style file synchronizing system. It will allow you store documents in the cloud and access them across all of your devices via the finder. iCloud works on Yosemite, iOS, and even WIndows!
Apple was able to pack all the power of Safari into a single bar in order to provide you with more room for your content. You can bring back your favorites bar if you want to but you wont really need to because your smart search bar will automatically show these favorites to you when you go to type in a search.
The address bar has been minimized and centered, but has gotten smarter. You can type a search in and press “enter” for a google search, or you can select from its suggestion list which could show a relevant Wikipedia article – just like Spotlight.
They’ve also added a “share” button, like iOS, and a recent recipients menu. To further enrich the browsing experience, Apple has also added a “tab view” which allows you to get a nice birds-eye view of all your sites, with each site having a stack of pages that you visit.
Also more convenient is multiple tab scrolling – you can now scroll horizontally searching for those annoying tabs that have run off the screen.
Some of the most notable announcements came in the “Continuity” part of the presentation where Apple showed how its bringing all of its devices closer together. You’ll notice my summary is a little sparse here because it’s the continuity features that I found to be the most useful for businesses – which obliged me to move them up top.
Craig Federighi really summed it best: “at Apple we believe you should be able to use the right device for the moment – you’re phone when you’re on the go or your iPad when you wanna kick back on the couch. Maybe your Mac when you’re trying to get some work done.”
To sum it up, Apple wants the transitions between these moments to be as natural and seamless as possible. For an entrepreneur, these moments occur hundreds of times a day. Plainly put, continuity saves time, money, and stress.
AirDrop For All
This long requested feature finally came through. Whereas you used to only be able share files from mobile to mobile or Mac to Mac, you can now share files between mobile and Mac. This only seems natural when taking the other Continuity features (Handoff, Hotspot, and Phone Call features) into consideration.
iOS got a big update, not only for the end user but for developers as well. Visually, there doesn’t appear to be any major changes: iOS 8 builds on the design of 7 and has enhancements for both iPhone and iPad.
Apple now allows you to respond directly to Notifications. Instead of having to open a full app to respond to a message or accept a calendar event, you can simply pull down the top of your screen and reply right there.
This also works beyond messaging, such as with third party apps like Facebook or Twitter – allowing you to quickly manage a post without having to open the full-blown app.
As a bonus, you can add third-party widgets to the Notification center that will give you updates such as breaking news or sports scores.
Spotlight also got a powerful boost in iOS 8. Instead of just being able to search for local apps and contacts, you can now search for much more. Just like Yosemite’s version, you’ll be able to search for nearby restaurants, and receive relevant suggestions for common searchers.
An improved predictive keyboard, QuickType learns your typing behavior and offers smart suggestions based on the context of your message. Messaging your boss? It’ll know that you use more formal words and suggest those. Messaging a friend? It’ll remember that you are more casual with your language.
It’ll even offer suggestions as answers to questions. For instance, if you someone asks you if you would like to do dinner or a movie, it will offer up “dinner” and “movie” as possible reply words.
At last, Apple also now lets you install third-party keyboards across all iOS devices to give you a more customized experience.
This heavily used app got an update to match. You can now send audio and video messages with the “tap to talk” feature, share your location, and even send messages that self destruct.
You also have more control over group messaging. You can now name your threads, set them to not disturb you, and also add or remove people from threads, including yourself.
Health and HealthKit
This app comes with iOS 8 and is designed to help people track their personal health data. Not only will it allow you watch your fitness and health metrics or your trends over time, but it will integrate with other metric tracking apps and compile this information create an overall custom profile for you. Your privacy is, of course, carefully controlled during this process. Nike and MayoClinic are first on the list of integrations with HealthKit.
This type of health tracking could have a gigantic impact on the health industry. Imagine the app noticing that a recent blood pressure test was too high for your normal range and alerting your doctor so they can be proactive in treating you.
“We believe Apple’s Healthkit will revolutionize how the health industry interacts with people. We are proud to be at the forefront of this innovative technology with the Mayo Clinic app,” said MayoClinic CEO John Noseworthy.
This is “the easy way to share what’s important.” The family sharing app is like the digital version of your family fridge. You create a family unit and share everything from photos to documents to events. You can also find your kids devices and know right where they are.
This will also allow up to 6 members of a family to share iTunes purchases across device. A nice addition for is the prompt that asks for parents permission before one of the kids makes a purchase (sorry kiddos.)
Apple is bringing your photos together on all your iOS devices with iCloud. Your photos are no longer trapped in one device or the other but will be available across all your iOS devices.
There is also a smart search option which allows you to match on things like albums, location, and time. Furthermore, a smart edit feature allows you to lighten, darken, crop, or straighten photos and much more. The neatest thing about these edits is that they are synchronized in real time so that changes you made on your iPhone are instantly ready for you to pick up on your iPad.
This was one of the features you might expect to fall right in line with Apple’s “continuity” approach (shared between OS X and iOS), however, that is not the case. Apple did say that it is working on a solution for this that should be out in 2015.
Siri also got an upgrade in iOS 8. Siri can now identify songs thanks to a Shazam integration. Siri also turns your mobile device into a sort of full-home controller, turning the thermostat up and down or dimming the lights around the house when it’s time to relax and go to bed.
Siri is now also hands free, so you can call her up by saying “Hey, Siri” and it will come up ready for a command – similar “OK, Google.”
In spite of the massive amount of consumer features unveiled, the news for developers may have stolen the show with Apple announcing a new programming language and an array of tools that make it easier for apps work with one another. Most important was the announcement of a new programming language that caused quite the stir.
“What would it be like if you could have Objective-C, without the baggage of C” asked Federighi just before he announced the new programming language. “The language is called Swift and it totally rules!”
Swift is the future of app development for Apple and will be easy to adopt since it can exist along side the previous programming languages. The simplicity of Swift will mean less time making apps and less time fixing bugs – a win/win for everyone involved.
Are you ready?
Though the release isn’t until this Fall, I’m sure you’re already thinking of all the ways these Apple updates will benefit your business. If you’re looking for that extra edge to drive engagement, email captures, and sales, click here to sign up, and we’ll show you how to launch a mobile optimized campaign that converts at 10% or higher!
Tell us what you think and we may quote you in a future article:
Did you agree with my top three? Which features do you think are the most important for entrepreneurs? Were you expecting new hardware to be unveiled? Leave your thoughts and questions in the comments below.