Written by Philip Magson
Apple’s annual Worldwide Development Conference took place in June and amongst the usual raft of announcements were several interesting business developments.
The WWDC kicked off in San Francisco in early June, complete with the all hype we’ve come to expect from an Apple event: tickets were on sale for $1599, and only available via lottery. Amongst the big draws this year were new operating systems, new payment methods and a new music streaming service… But since most of us didn’t have a chance to pop across the Atlantic to see for ourselves, we’ve compiled a list of the WWDC’s most exciting business developments.
Multitasking seems to be the big feature for the new operating system, ‘El Capitan’, which will release in beta in July before a free upgrade in Autumn. Users will be able to multi-tab emails, use multiple apps simultaneously and enable ‘Split View’, which will allow for multiple windows on-screen at the same time.
The OS also features an improved Notes app, and has been given a more powerful engine – an enhancement Apple claims will make everyday tasks much quicker: PDF files, for example will open twice as fast. It sounds a little trivial, but if you consider how many PDFs you interact with each day (I tend to read several), the time savings could add up.
The WWDC did not disappoint iPhone and iPad owners, with numerous interesting new features announced, including improved security and a longer battery life, both good news for business users. The new OS will also be ‘smarter’: it will learn your behaviours and your habits, in order to make simple work tasks smoother and other processes, like calls and searches, more integrated – Siri, for example, will be able to recognise phone numbers by reviewing emails, and automatically schedule appointments in your calendar.
iOS is also getting the enhanced Notes app – a huge benefit for mobile business users who like to synch between various devices. In addition, the iPad is getting enhanced keyboard functionality, and the iPad Air2 is even getting the Split View feature – another push towards multitasking functionality.
The mobile payment system is finally coming to the UK. It arrives in July and will let users pay for goods and services at a huge range of locations across the country. 70% of bank cards will be supported, 250,000 pay-points will be available at launch and will include public transport – making the trip to business meetings a little easier…
Talking of public transport, Apple Maps will finally be getting a directions feature. The app will also include detailed public transport information, such as which tube to catch. It’s a helpful feature for commuters but initial release will only be in London in the UK.
This one was a surprise: Apple is making its programming code, Swift, open source, meaning developers will be able build apps for iOS and OSX much more easily. The move has the potential to kickstart an innovation boom which could benefit business users as much as everyone else. Apple also announced Swift 2 – for released sometime later in 2015.
That all depends on how extensively you use Apple products, but the push towards multitasking capability and the improved Notes and keyboard functions are all features designed to appeal to business users and lure Android fans from their devices. In terms of BYOD deployments, the number of personal iPhones in the SME market is significant: if those users buy into Apple’s on-going push into business, Android phones will have a fight on their hands.
What do you think of Apple’s announcements? Are they enough to tempt you away from your Android device? Let us know…