Apple expands Siri to Macs, kills OS X, revamps 'iTunes' and 'Messages' at WWDC

The developer event introduced upcoming software updates across Macs, iPhones, Apple TV and Apple Watch

Posted June 13th, 2016

Story highlights
  • Siri is coming to Mac computers and will be opened to more developers on iOS.
  • Apple introduced no new hardware updates in its presentation.
  • Big updates to "Messages" and "iTunes" are coming.

 Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference keynote in San Francisco was focused exclusively on software and began with a moment of silence for victims of the weekend nightclub shooting in Orlando.

Apple CEO Tim Cook began the event by denouncing the shooting and asking attendees to rise for a moment of silence. "Rise and join us in a moment of silence to honor the victims and the people who love them," said Cook. 

Apple's announcements were focused on improvements to its software for Apple Watch, Apple TV, Mac computers and mobile devices including the iPhone. It also is revamping its increasingly bloated iTunes software to be more streamlined and intuitive and adding many features to "Messages," the most used app for iOS. And it introduced new apps including "Home," a new app using its HomeKit infrastructure for home automation and "Swift Playgrounds," a free iPad app to teach coding to kids using the company's Swift programming language.

Many of the updates, especially to apps such as "Messages" and to Apple TV, felt like catch up to competitors such as Facebook, Amazon and especially Google's Android software, which have offered many of the features Apple touted in the Monday presentation.

Most significant are its updates to its Mac software: it will do away with "OS X" as a name and roll out macOS Sierra, which will be out in the fall and available as a public preview in July. macOS Sierra will be the first Mac desktop software to integrate Siri voice commands and will also offer a universal clipboard, desktop sharing across different devices via iCloud Drive, Apple Pay on the web, a feature that could save disk space by pushing old files to iCloud, and a way to unlock the desktop instantly for those wearing an Apple Watch.

Andrew Burton / Getty ImagesEddy Cue, Apple senior vice president of internet software and services, helps introduce the new mobile software iOS 10 at an Apple event at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, California on Monday.

For mobile devices, iOS 10 will open up Siri to outside developers, allowing the voice feature to access more apps. It will offer more features from the lock and home screens, support more messaging features through apps such as Slack and WeChat and improvements to photos and typing, the company said.

Apple TV will get an improved Remote app, new "Sling" and "FOX Sports" apps and a feature that promises to eliminate the need to sign into all TV streaming apps separately. 

For the Apple Watch, the next operating system watchOS 3 will have faster app launching, letter-by-letter handwriting recognition, improved 9-1-1 dialing features (even in other countries), improved activity tracking and "Breath," a new app from Apple to teach and improve deep breathing.

Apple's iPhone software will do better to detect spam calls and will offer voicemail transcription, the company said.

And "Messages," what Apple says is its most used iOS app, is getting larger emojis, emojis in predictive typing (Apple seems very bullish on emojis all of a sudden), full-screen effects (think fireworks) and the ability to scribble in handwriting and paste in links with previews of the content. Apple is opening up "Messages" to developers with plug-in apps as well.

The company declined to offer hardware updates for its aging MacBook Pro and iMac lines or any other new products that weren't software-related as the event concludes.

The Verge has a 10-minute wrap-up of the event you can check out below: