Earlier this week, at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) unveiled a variety of new features coming to its operating systems, OS X and iOS. While all of them should improve the user experience, four stand out at being the most significant.
1. Blending iOS and OS X
One of OS X’s best new features is known as Handoff, a tool that allows Macs to more easily interface with nearby iOS devices. Once OS X 10.10 is released, iPhone and iPad users will be able to seamlessly switch between devices, starting and finishing work on whichever device they choose. An email draft started on an iPad, for example, can be picked up and finished on a Mac.
iPhones will be able to tether to nearby Macs, allowing Mac owners to place and receive phone calls and text messages on their PCs instead of their handsets. Further, wireless data connections can be more easily shared between devices.
2. Apple focuses on gaming with Metal
iPads and iPhones will soon become much more intriguing gaming devices. Apple announced Metal on Monday, a new graphics API that allows game creators to take better advantage of Apple’s mobile chips, pushing the graphical capabilities of Apple’s devices to the next level.
With Metal, game creators will be able to design iOS games with graphics on par with today’s modern consoles. On Monday, Apple showed an iPad Air running Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare, a game originally designed for the Xbox One.
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3. iOS is a family affair
At the same time, Apple is encouraging families to stay within its operating system, choosing its devices in place of its competitors. A new feature coming to iOS will allow family members to share iTunes purchases across all of their accounts.
To take advantage of this feature, family members will need to use the same credit card, but to prevent unwanted purchases, Apple is now allowing parents to block or approve the iTunes purchases made by their children.
4. Apple takes on Dropbox
Lastly, Apple is about to significantly improve iCloud, its online storage solution. As it presently exists, iCloud operates wholly in the background — backing up photos and documents without a user’s input.
But Apple has unveiled iCloud Drive, a new feature that makes Apple’s iCloud function more like its popular competitors, including Dropbox and Box. Apple’s iCloud Drive functions like an online folder, allowing owners of Apple’s devices to upload and manage files in a more traditional way.
Coming this fall
Unfortunately, users will have to wait to take advantage of many of these features, likely until the fall. Nevertheless, when iOS 8 and OS X 10.10 do launch, Apple’s devices will see significant improvements.
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