Apple didn’t just announce its Apple Music streaming music service at its WorldWide Developer Conference in San Francisco on Monday — it also had some other major announcements to share:
Picture-in-picture video streaming for the iPad
Want to watch a live stream of your favorite sports team while answering emails? Now you can, even if you’re just using an iPad: Apple introduced advanced multitasking features for the iPad as part of iOS 9, the next version of its mobile operating system, at its WorldWide Developer Conference (WWDC) on Monday.
The new multitasking features include a picture-in-picture mode that makes it possible to resize a video stream, and move it freely around on top of another app. Apple is also adding the ability to use two apps side-by-side, and quickly move data from one app to another, and an easier way to switch between multiple running apps.
Some of these multitasking features are reserved to the most recent iPad models, like the iPad Air 2 that the company previously introduced. And, of course, users will need iOS 9, which will be available as a public beta to consumers in July, with a final release following this fall.
A more intelligent Siri
Another major area of updates for Apple’s mobile efforts is Siri, the company’s mobile assistant. Apple is bringing a lot of contextual awareness to Siri that in many ways resembles what Google has been doing with its Google Now counterpart. For example, users can now set reminders for content from any app, and Siri will look up phone numbers for incoming calls from unknown callers based on a user’s past emails.
The big difference, which Apple executives kept coming back to throughout the keynote: Apple is doing all of this on the device, and not uploading its users data to the cloud. Google wasn’t mentioned by name, but these privacy-related remarks clearly echo Apple CEO Tim Cook’s recent criticism of Google’s privacy practices.
Apple Pay is coming to the U.K.
Apple is beefing up its Apple Pay payment platform, which is coming to the U.K. next month. More than 1 million retailers will support Apple Pay next month, and the company also is partnering with Square to introduce a new reader for small businesses to accept Apple Pay at your neighborhood coffee shop.
Apple Revamps and Renames its Newsreader App
Apple introduced a new news reader app for iOS, aptly called News, at WWDC that aims to combine content from newspapers, magazines and blogs all in the same place. News is the successor to Apple’s Newsstand app, and comes with a bunch of new features, including support for animations, photo galleries and videos embedded directly within an article.
The company was able to struck some far-ranging partnerships with publishers for News, allowing it for example to present 30 free New York Times articles per day — something that the newspaper isn’t making available on the Web.
Apple is bringing native apps to the Watch
Apple announced a new version of the software powering its Apple Watch, dubbed watchOS, at the developer conference as well. The new version supports a number of feature updates, but the biggest news is that developers will now build dedicated apps for the wearable device.
In the past, the Watch simply functioned as an extension for apps on a user’s iPhone. Soon, users will be able to install apps directly on the watch, and use them by connecting to known Wi-Fi networks — users won’t even need to have their phone turned on.
“For us, this is a major moment,” said Tim Cook, comparing it to the launch of the App Store for iPhones seven years ago. Since then, Apple has clocked 100 billion iOS app downloads, Cook said Monday, adding that it has paid out $30 billion to developers.