Apple WWDC 2016 Overview – iOS

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This is the third part of my Worldwide Developer Conference 2016 event overview. In this part I will get into iOS 10, one of the four operating systems by Apple. The operating system running on Apple iPods, iPads and iPhones (and Apple CarPlay). iOS 10 operating system features were presented at the Worldwide Developer Conference 2016 on June 13th.

Lock Screen Refresh

With this version of iOS activates the lock screen whenever the device is picked up: “Raise to Wake” on devices with Touch ID. So simply just lift the device and it is ready to go, unlock it or open the device.

A feature that was removed with this is “Slide to Unlock”. It appeared that most people used the Touch ID to unlock the phone anyway so now when you pick up your device it will say “Press Home to Unlock” or if already unlocked “Press Home to Open”

Sliding will in fact still do something, it will bring up your Widgets panel when swiping to the right. Swiping left will bring up the camera.

Siri

To access Siri from your apps Apple provided the SiriKit SDK in iOS 10. Right now the SDK is limited to Booking Rides, Search Photo Apps, Send Messages, Calling, Payments and Workouts. The reason for this limitation is the risk of privacy breaches. Apple likes to control what is accessed through Siri and user information should not be able to be accessed through Siri.

Removing Stock Apps

Now you can remove Stock Apps from your device. This wasn’t possible earlier. Stock Apps are the preinstalled Apps from Apple such as: Calendar, Compass, Contacts etc. etc..

Messages

Messages got a big overhaul and took a huge part of the Keynote. Many new features arrived at the Messages App. From animated backgrounds, more visual link where the message shows you a preview of the content like pictures, videos to written messages using ink. Emoji’s are the next big thing in Messages. Emoji’s will sometimes show bigger sized, when there are more size will change back to normal. Writing a new message allows you to highlight the possible candidates to be replaced by emoji’s and easily swap out the words by icons. More message customizing can be done with the use of new Stickers.

Photos

As we have seen with photo services from other providers Apple is adding more machine learning to their systems. It will now recognize up to seven facial expressions and thousands of categories recognizing subjects such as dogs, cats, flowers, whatever … Apple also added Memories. With Memories pictures are bundled from similar events. Your vacation in Spain for instance, or the event in a sports arena last weekend. Interesting statement again related to privacy is that Apple stated not able to ‘see’ the images.

Apps Update

Controlling your home is added with the new Home app. Switch on or off your lights or other HomeKit compatible devices. Apple Music has been updated, many UI updates and lyrics are added. Apple News got an update, breaking news notifications and the option to have subscription based information.

Apple Pay web payments can now be done through Safari with participating websites. A “Pay with Apple Pay” button will be available where you will be able to pay by authentication through the Touch ID.

And what else is there?

Besides the features mentioned above there are numerous other updates. Not so big, smaller updates but overall a lot. For developers one important thing is probably that a large part of the kernel is now available unencrypted. Not sure this was intended or published by accident.

 

 

Apple WWDC 2016 Overview – watchOS

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This is the second part of my Worldwide Developer Conference 2016 event overview. In this part I will get into watchOS, one of the four operating systems by Apple. The operating system running on Apple Watch to be exact. It is the third update on the watchOS operating system presented at the Worldwide Developer Conference 2016 on june 13th. An update with new apps, watch faces and most of all a significant improvement of performance.

New watch faces

Three new faces have been added to the set of existing faces. Minnie Mouse with adjustable clothing to match the color of the current band you attached to the watch. An activity face to show you how you are progressing in your day and a Numerical watch face to show you just one number depending on the current time.

Face gallery on the iPhone

The Apple Watch app on iPhone now contains a Face Gallery where you can change the properties of the watch faces, like the color of the Minnie Mouse dress. You could do this in previous versions on the Apple Watch but now you can do the same on the larger screen of your iPhone in the Apple Watch app.

New ‘Favorites’ Dock and Control Center

The navigation has been changed for watchOS 3 where the button on the side of the watch previously showed a list of your contacts. This is now replaced by a collection of your ‘favorite’ apps. This collection replaces the Glance view you brought up by swiping up. Instead of the Glance view, when you swipe up, you will get the Control Center, just like you are used to see on the iPhone. Also switching the face plates is a lot easier in this version. Simply swipe left or right, no longer is the deep press needed to bring the other faces up.

Quick loading of apps from memory

Besides changing the navigation also the use of memory has been changed significantly. Your favorite apps you put in the Dock view are constantly available in the background and stay in memory to enable quick switching between apps. These apps are always updated in the background. Apps running in memory are to be seven times faster than on the old system.

Not only the docked apps will be loaded in memory but also your most recent used apps. When browsing the apps on the dock it will display a current snapshot without loading the app completely. You can add up to ten aps to the Dock view.

Emergency call

A new feature on the Apple Watch is SOS, if you press the lower side button for over three seconds the watch will call the local emergency service. This depends on where you are. In the Netherlands supposedly it would call the 112 emergency service instead of 911 in the US.

Calling the emergency service will also provide the medical information such as age, weight, allergy information and more.

Activities

Sharing of your activities

Sharing your activities is hot nowadays, who doesn’t own an activity tracker? Apple did notice that and next to adding the Activity watch face they added activity sharing so you can share your stats with the friends you like.

Wheelchair support

Activity tracking has been made compatible for wheelchair users. Instead of telling you to stand up, which can be awkward if you can’t, the watch will now suggest that it is “Time to roll” if you are in wheelchair mode. Also pushing the wheels of the wheelchair is now a supported activity in this mode.

Workouts

Several improvements have been made in the area of the Workouts. For instance there is now support for automatic pausing in case you are stopping for traffic lights or some other reason. Registration will pause and will start again when renewed motion is detected. Lifting your arm is now sufficient to show you the stats of the workout. Manually putting the workout on hold can also be accomplished by pressing the Digital Crown and stopping is now done by right swiping instead of force touch. If you are doing a workout that is not in the list you can use ‘other’ workout types.

New apps

Breathe App

One app in particular they spent some time on was the Breath app. With this app you will get support to train your breathing and get into control to be more relaxed. The watch helps by showing images and graphics to indicate how you should be breathing.

Reminders and Find my Friends

Equal to the iPhone the Reminders and Find my Friends app is now added to the Apple Watch for you to use. As ‘docked’ app the Find my Friends app will always be active in the background and allows you to quickly show you where your friends are located.

Heart Rate

With the replacing of the Glance view there is now the Heart Rate app. This was the only thing that didn’t already have its own app outside the Glance view.

Messages

Immediately after receiving a message you can now send a reply by really writing on the screen using the new Scribble feature. You can also do that in Chinese if you like, just draw the characters on the screen.

Leftovers:

Authentication

With watchOS 3 you can use your watch as an authentication device for your iPhone to unlock the phone. So you can unlock your phone as soon as it is in close range of the iPhone and no longer needed to enter the authentication information like a pin code.

Apple Pay

Appls on the Apple Watch now get access to Apple Pay, that is if it is supported in your locale. If it is developers can add Apple Pay features to their apps in order for you to use it in the apps of your liking.

New APIs

With watchOS3 the developer gets access to the Digital Crown, touch events, speaker audio, SpriteKit, SceneKit, Game Center, CloudKit to enable saving data over multiple devices and many other new options…

A final word

If you look at it, it really became a large article where at first sight one may have thought there wasn’t all that much changed for this operating system. Still too bad most features can only be used with the phone nearby, the iPhone to be exact – it isn’t multi-platform, but we are used to that with Apple by now.

 

 

Apple Worldwide Developer Conference 2016 Roundup – tvOS

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With these posts I’d like to summarize what was announced at the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference 2016. The WWDC 2016 conference can be divided into four sections, each section for one of its four operating systems. Where Microsoft took the path of consolidating all operating systems into one operating system, Apple currently has four operating systems for each of the dedicated device types. You can think of it what you want, but the fact is that Apple currently has the operating systems: iOS (iPhone, iPad), tvOS (Apple TV), watchOS (Apple Watch) and OS X renamed to macOS (Mac)

This is part one of probably four about the announcements at WWDC 2016 related to tvOS.

tvOS

tvOS is the operating system of Apple TV with integrated App Store and voice-based Siri searches. WWDC is positioned to be a developer conference, but I found that the conference is for a large part also about content and new UI capabilities. Of course it is up to the developer to integrate the capabilities but the WWDC show doesn’t show you how (at least in the keynotes, so you might think the keynotes are in fact end user presentations).
That said, Apple announced several new Apps to be arriving on tvOS: Sling, Fox Sports Go, Molotov TV and games such as Minecraft Story Mode and Sketch Party.

Single Sign On Authentication

At WWDC 2016 Apple announced Single Sign On for tvOS. With Single Sign On for tvOS you only need to enter your credentials once without the need to re-enter your credentials every time you access a pay-tv subscription item. So no longer you are required to repeatedly enter your name and secret password whenever you switch between ‘locked’ channels. This feature will also be available for iOS according to Apple at WWDC.

Games that require Controllers

Apple TV now also supports up to four game controllers.

Topic Based Siri Commands

Siri supposedly will now be able to do searches around topics like “Comedies from the 70’s” or “Movies about Soccer”. Also Siri can now help you to jump straight into your live channel with commands like “Watch CNN News” to go directly to channel CNN. Another thing is smart YouTube searches like “search YouTube for funny home videos”

Homekit Commands

Apple TV will also get support for Homekit. The API to control all your Homekit compatible devices independent from what manufacturer the device came.

New iPhone Remote App

This app will allow users to control their content but also to use Siri to control the Apple TV. It can also be used to play games on Apple TV or enter text using the iOS keyboard.

New tvOS APIs

Apple announced a couple of new tvOS APIs and also support for PhotoKit and Homekit. A new API is ReplayKit that enables recording of live broadcasts from your apps.

Other features

New features that arrive at iOS and macOS also will come to tvOS. Among those the new redesigned Apple Music with lyrics. You can now chant along with your fav music on Apple TV as well. Photos will get, just like iOS and macOS, the new feature called Memories that tries to bundle all the topic/location related pictures in one view. Remember that Microsoft already has a feature like that on their OneDrive online albums.

Microsoft to acquire Linkedin

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Microsoft announced they have bought LinkedIn for the measly amount of $26.2 billion. Here is the new text from Microsoft:

Microsoft Corporation and Linkedin Corporation announced Monday June 13th to have entered into a definitive agreement under which Microsoft will acquire LinkeIn for $196 per share in an all cash transaction valued at $26.2 billion, inclusive of LinkedIn’s net cash. LinkedIn will retain its distinct brand, culture and independence. Jeff Weiner will remain CEO of LinkedIn, reporting to Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. Reid Hoffman, chairman of the board, co-founder and controlling shareholder of LinkedIn, and Weiner both fully support this transaction. The transaction is expected to close this calendar year.

It is not sure what the reasoning behind the takeover is, other than that captain Satya Nadella from Microsoft said it will complement their businesses. We’ll see what the future will bring with this acquisition.

For the complete news flash to read goto:
http://news.microsoft.com/2016/06/13/microsoft-to-acquire-linkedin/#sm.000oq6vhph25eta11hp208qakzjta

Office Development at //Build/ 2016 – 2 – Graph Changes

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Microsoft Graph is a gateway to data and insights in Office365 allowing you to easily traverse over objects and relationships to access the information that is sitting in the Office365 services using web standards. Microsoft Graph is an open platform accessible through a secure data access mechanism.

Microsoft Graph API developer stack.

At Build, with regards to Microsoft Graph the following changes have been announced for General Availability:

  • Webhooks on Outlook Entities
  • Access to consumer services OneDrive and Outlook.com
  • OneDrive large file upload/download

The following, but not only this – there is more, went in preview:

  • Excel REST API
  • Administrative Units
  • Find Meeting Time API
  • Get/set out of office
  • Online meeting links
  • Updates to People API
  • Updates to trending APIs

Documentation on Microsoft Graph can be found at:

Microsoft Graph: The easiest way to call

Office Development at //Build/ 2016 – 1 – The numbers

As you may know I have been visiting Build 2016 the last couple of days, and I plan to get into some more detail of the announcements made at Build this year. A lot of the ‘smaller’ announcements did not make it into the keynotes so hopefully I can share some information with you that you didn’t already hear before. Even if you did it is nice to have a little recap of what goes on right now.

The numbers:

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  • 1.2B Office Users
  • 85% of Fortune 500 have at least one Microsoft Cloud Offering
  • 4T+ emails sent with O365 to-date
  • 50K+ new O365 small businesses per month
  • 340M downloads of Office mobile
  • 3B minutes of Skype calls daily
  • 1B+ meetings created per month
  • Microsoft Graph API calls 420% monthly growth

The numbers are impressive, but what is it to you? You are probably only one of these users and who cares? Well, the point is, as an Office Developer there is just a huge big open market to target. Build your tools properly and you have 1.2B potential customers of your tooling. The other thing is that more or less Office is the -standard- for most people or at least provides you with the output that everyone is able to read/use, even the ones using tools from competitors.

Happy wishes and some Office predictions for 2016

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Another year has gone, a new year started … this is 2016. Welcome!

My year, for the eleventh time already, started with receiving the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award again.

After nine years of receiving the award for Visual Studio Tools for the Office System (VSTO), one year of Office365 I now, after the award update, received the award in the award category “Office Servers and Services”. This is where all former Office365, Exchange, SharePoint, Skype for Business and Yammer are grouped today. As of October 2015 the MVP Award categories have changed, there are now less categories and in theory you can get the MVP Award in multiple categories.

So what will bring 2016 to you and me? Well nobody knows… so I don’t know either, but let’s see if we can make some educated guesses here.

2015 was the year Office Microsoft released some early updates on the Office 365 APIs. Starting with the outer ring of Office365 we got access to files, contacts and much more. Access to the documents itself (the structure of the document, in VBA the Object Model) was fairly limited.

In 2016 I expect to see much more APIs providing access to the Office document model. This will give you the functionality, but now cross-platform, like you used to see with VBA, COM-Addins and in VSTA/VSTO solutions.

Let’s see how the Office365 APIs progresses in the year of 2016. Join me in the process of learning the ‘modern’ ways of developing Office solutions on x-plat. Keep an eye on my blog …

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