As Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference chugs on it's clear that the company is placing special emphasis on the merging of iOS and OS X by offering new features compatible with both systems. This effort toward greater cross-device compatibility suggests that Apple is working toward a unified platform for all its devices (read more about the company's synergistic approach to its devices here). The introduction of a new programming language that works on iOS and OS X – one of several recent announcements at WWDC – only affirms this idea:
- Say hello to Swift: Anyone who's dealt with programming knows the process can be both dense and time-consuming. Ever the innovator, Apple is seeking to change that with its new programming language Swift, OS X and iOS-compatible coding that makes the act of basic coding a much more efficient process, according to PCMag. Geared toward meeting the needs of everyday coders instead of professional programmers, Swift manages to take coding language that previously would have consumed lines upon lines and express it in a single character. This consolidation will undoubtedly help encourage a boost in app development, and make it easier for people unfamiliar with coding to get acclimated to the process. According to NBC, the new language is already a hit with current coders as well, since the language and its visuals-based presentation promises to make work easier for all.
- Breaking down the features of iOS 8: One big announcement on the conference's opening day was the introduction of iOS 8, the company's upcoming mobile operating system. A Washington Post article has helped lay out the new features this eighth iteration will provide. Perhaps the most notable feature is the built-in health hub we discussed yesterday, which functions to monitor personal health information and serve as a direct linkage to healthcare providers. But there are other offerings that will set iOS 8 apart. Among these is a much-needed addition to the system's group messaging feature which will allow for greater user control when it comes to leaving group chats or adding/deleting members. iOS 8 will also allow for easier media sharing options and enhanced predictive text features for messaging.
- Creating even more of a push for synergy: The conference introduced some other new things that also illustrate the company's focus on creating cohesion among its various devices. One of these things is “Handoff” a technology that according to ComputerWorld will allow users to harness proximity awareness technology in order to remotely “handoff” information from, say an iOS 8 device to an OS X Yosemite computer. This technology will be a welcome development for the many BYOD companies out there that encourage their employees to do work for the enterprise via a smartphone. With Handoff, an employee finishing a presentation on her iPhone can seamlessly beam it onto the company's computers as soon as she approaches the building, thereby cutting out the burdensome step of email, which also places constraints on file size. It will be interesting to see the impact Handoff has on the BYOD climate. Other continuity-oriented features will include the creation of an interface that shows the receipt of text messages on a user's Mac as well as the possibility to use your Mac as a second cellphone, taking audio calls or visual-based calls. Since WWDC is not typically the platform for hardware announcements, we'll have to wait until later to see how this company move toward greater connectivity impacts the design of various devices, which is sure to be the case.
We're just as excited as you are about these developments, and look forward to bringing you more news from the conference tomorrow.