Takeaways from WWDC June 2015

Apple is getting serious about search and deep linking

On OS X El Capitan, Spotlight is gaining more Google-like functionality, delivering information such as sports scores, weather, and unit conversions directly in the Spotlight pane.

On the iOS side, there is the same, but in addition, there will be an API that developers can use to “deep link” into their applications from iOS search. For example, if you’re searching for how to bake a meat pie, a recipe app can surface the relevant recipe and tapping the result would take you directly into the right page in the app.

On-device search with APIs and deep linking. Don’t go to google, don’t go to the web.

Benedict Evans, @BenedictEvans

This deep linking from the OS-level search may further promote deep linking across mobile apps, an idea that will remove the barriers between apps and make them work better in tandem. Realize, though, that this gives Apple an unprecedented amount of power over how we find information, a role we’ve long entrusted to Google.

It will be interesting to see what players like Quixey do.

Privacy is a competitive advantage

Apple’s WWDC along with Tim Cook’s speech a few days earlier seem to be positioning the company as a premium option that focuses on you, the paying customer.

The whole pitch of iOS is “It’s Android but we don’t do shady stuff with your data”

David Pierce, @piercedavid

For example, in iOS 9, events from your email will automatically be added to your calendar, and your calendar will automatically alert you when you need to leave and then give you directions through Maps. Google has long done this, but Apple alleges that it will do all of this locally on your phone rather than on a remote server.

Swift is going open source

This announcement garnered the loudest cheer during the keynote.

Making Swift open source will likely solidify its position among programming languages. Swift being open source will allow it to see more uses than just iOS and OS X development.

Supporting Linux is a surprise, but I think it’s a great move on their part.
Think: How many iOS apps are frontends to a server API? And how many of those APIs are running on Linux servers? Swift on Linux means ~all the code for a client-server iOS app can be written in the same language.


watchOS makes the Watch semi-standalone

Previously with 3rd-party apps, Apple Watch only ran the UI while the main app logic was on the phone, connected via Bluetooth. With watchOS 2, Apple is giving developers the ability to build an app that runs fully on the Watch. It was only briefly mentioned, but this allows apps on the Watch to work without a phone, connecting to the internet via WiFi. It still boggles my mind why Apple chose to launch with the prior model and then switch to this.

Apple Music is trying to change the music industry, more thoroughly this time

Apple spent a huge amount of time on Apple Music as its ‘One more thing…’ announcement. Apple Music combines the individual song streaming model pioneered by Spotify with a high-profile DJ-based 24/7 streaming radio called Beats1 and community/social features between artists and fans. Time will tell how well this works, but the music industry is in a lot of hurt, and this splashy new centralized model may be a business model that works.

Apple’s vision would fundamentally change how the music business is structured.

The music publishing business has never been necessary in the digital age. With Apple Music, independent artists will have as much power as major label artists in selling their music through the platform (selling as in making royalty from the streaming subscription, assumably). Beats1 will replace waning terrestrial radio as the promotional engine, focusing on a hype and personality-driven approach to tastemake. The community features (which also allow artists to cross-post to Facebook and Twitter etc.) will solidify Apple Music as the middleman between music artists and consumers.

All of this replaces the music label business and centralizes a lot of power to Apple, and if Apple pulls it off this can become a huge business unit for them.

Apple Music is the platform, songs are the apps, musicians (indie & professional alike) are the developers.

Megan Quinn, @msquinn

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