I’ve been pretty busy over the last couple weeks, which explains the lack of content on this blog. Last week was Apple’s developer conference, though, so I wanted to publish a few quick thoughts on what they’re planning to do this year. First, I’ll list some things I’m excited about, then some things I’m not too thrilled with.
- Metal for OS X: This is actually a much bigger deal than most people realize, I think. First it will remove the sluggishness that many users are experiencing (myself included) on Yosemite. Animations like Mission Control will work much more smoothly. But more importantly, this is going to give Mac a performance edge over any Windows product currently on the market. Using After Effects as an example, Macs will be able to run this around 8x faster than current Windows users can on the same hardware. Video games made with Metal may also be getting a 50% performance boost (give or take) over current Windows implementations. Windows 10 is adding developer features features that will compete with this, so OS X probably won’t have an edge very long. I’m very happy to see this kind hardware acceleration becoming more common and more powerful, regardless of the platform. This is a big deal.
- Split Screen Multitasking for iPad: Yes, the Surface Pro has had it forever. Those devices, though, are bigger and heavier than iPads and I never found them to be suitable for reading eBooks. They were always more of a laptop than a tablet. I’m excited for this improvement, because it makes the iPad more productive without making it too large or cumbersome for tasks like reading.
- Notes App: I can’t stand Evernote’s user interface, so I recently switched to OneNote, which I don’t like very much better. Apple’s new Notes app is supposed to compete with this, so I’m excited to see where it goes.
- Intelligence: I’m using this as shorthand for the feature that will allow both Spotlight and Siri to become more aware of context, integrate with apps, and take more complicated natural-language queries. I’m especially excited about being able to have Siri remind me of text messages and emails. I think this feature is also going to make the Apple Watch… worth its weight in gold (I’m sorry).
- Combining Developer Licenses: I have an iOS developer license and I just got upgraded for free to a Mac developer license. This means that any iOS apps I might be working on are much more likely to also be made for OS X. This will probably encourage small development shops to do the same thing, which means more apps for OS X.
- Open Source Swift: This is a big step for Swift in becoming a viable programming language. I may actually end up implementing Swift on my server because it’s a language I’ve been learning and it would remove the need for recoding certain parts of a project I’m working on in a web language like Node.js or PHP.
Now here are some things I’m not exactly excited for:
- Apple Music: We’ll see how this goes, but they spent way too much time talking about it. I don’t see any substantial benefits over Spotify, other than tighter integration with OS X and iOS. The service looks decent, but it was overplayed at a developer conference.
- Photo Faces for Watches: Apple announced you’ll be able to display the time on your Apple Watch against a photo background that you choose. This might look great for professional photographers, but I’m envisioning selfies and food pictures on people’s watches as the most common use. It’s all a little to reminiscent of Myspace for me.
I haven’t covered everything here, so I’ve included some links below with more information straight from Apple: