One of the biggest announcements from WWDC 2016 wasn’t actually announced on stage: removable default apps.
Apple failed to mention during its main keynote that it plans to unbundle apps from iOS 10. For the first time, iPhone and iPad owners will be able to delete some of Apple’s own apps – like Maps, Calculator, Music, Videos – from their homescreen. They’ll also be able to re-download them. We know this because those apps have landed in the App Store with descriptions and screenshots and everything.
Also, developers who’ve already downloaded today’s developer beta have confirmed the news. That said, it appears as though apps like Messages, Photos, and Camera cannot be deleted. We’re assuming they’re too tied into the iOS system to be removed. Apple has published this help page with more information on removing built-in apps, warning you may see some issues if you remove its default apps.
User data will also be wiped with any deleted app, Apple explained. You’ll lose any integrations with other features and services too. So, if you delete the Music app, you will not have access to Apple’s music services via CarPlay. Below is the entire list of default apps that can be removed. You’ll notice that Game Center is not on the list – so alas, you’ve still got to tuck that annoying one away.
Android users will be quick to point out that Google already did this sort of thing with Google Play Services in order to speed up how it delivers new features to software. Also, iPhone and iPhone users still need to wait on setting new default apps for things like email, etc. That capability is not yet available and may never be. Keep in mind iOS 10 is still new, so such functionality could arrive one day.
Apple is expected to officially release iOS 10 with this new feature in autumn, alongside its latest iPhones.
Confirmed: stock apps are removable!!! pic.twitter.com/hk7Jk98Rli
— Matt Ellison (@iWindowsTech) June 13, 2016
Apple has kicked off its Worldwide Developer Conference with some news about the next major operating system update for its Apple Watch.
The update, called WatchOS 3, will be available later this year, but to get you excited for what’s coming, Apple has announced some standout upgrades, including a new feature that lets you write on the screen, a stress-relieving app that helps you with breathing, and an improved navigation experiences, thanks to the introduction of a Dock button and Control Center. Keep reading to learn more about this update.
WatchOS 3: New features
Apple has brought speed improvements to its wearable. It focused on optimisations in app-launch time, meaning your apps should now respond instantly, and your information should be updated the minute you go look so you’re not waiting. Apple said it’s going to accomplish this by keeping your favourite apps in memory and reporting background updates and data, and then it’ll refresh that information, all of which will apparently lead to an instant launch for any app. Apple demoed launching the Onefootball app from a WatchOS 2-powered app, and the actual launch seemed to take a few seconds, but then Apple demoed the same app-launch with a WatchOS 3-powered watch, and the result was 7x faster.
Message replies are a lot faster now, too, as WatchOS 3 will offer responses without requiring you to tap a button. You will see reply options right in an app, which include a new Scribble feature. This will let you write on-screen, so you can spell out words that are not picked up by dictation. Scribble works in both English and Chinese.
Dock button and Control Center
Apple has rebranded the Apple Watch’s side button to Dock button. If you press this button, you will now be brought to an area where you can arrange your favourite apps. The Dock area also allows you to multi-task on Apple Watch, because it lets you easily switch between apps. All apps in the Dock are live, so you can get your info without actually having to open the app. To complement all this, Apple has introduced a Control Center. You can activate it by swiping up – just like you do on the iPhone.
Apple can’t update its wearable without launching new watch faces. It’s therefore rolling out a new Activity watch face, which you’d glance at to see your progress and how your movement is being tracked throughout the day. Activity sharing will also now show your friends and family’s exercise progress to help motivate you. If you want to see more details, tap on any name to get a better look at their activity rings, workouts, step counts, etc. Once you’re done creeping their stats, you’ll be able to send them voice messages within the app using quick replies. You can even launch your own workouts directly from the Activity ring watch face. During a demo, Apple showed how you can swipe between all watch faces too. That’s right. Edge-to-edge swiping will now change faces. And you can get more complications for watch faces, opening up customisation possibilities.
Apple quickly revealed new Apple Watch apps are coming. Two of the apps were already available to iPhone and Mac users: Reminders and Find My Friends. The first app lets you set alarms and notifications for remembering different things, while the latter app lets you locate friends nearby. Apple said Find My Friends takes advantage of background updates to make sure you always have the latest locations for my friends and family.
Apple also demoed a third app called Breathe. It’s designed to guide you through simple, deep breathing sessions. It’ll help you to deal with stress, apparently. You can launch the app from your watch face, your dock, or you can set reminders via Stand reminders. You can also change the amount of time you want to do your session (from 1-5 minutes). You’ll be guided by visuals that make it easy to follow along, and you’ll get gentle taps from haptic feedback.
Apple Pay can now be used in WatchOS apps.
Apple Watch finally offers emergency features. You can call 911 using your iPhone signal (or directly via Wi-Fi). It’ll work internationally as well. Once the call has gone through, all your emergency contacts will be notified. Your watch can send your location and MedicalID data too. To access this SOS feature, press and hold the side button, and it will count down to let you know it’s ready to call 911.
Support for wheelchair users
Apple has added support for wheelchair users to WatchOS 3. This support replaces stand time with roll time, and it brings wheelchair-optimised activity rings and workouts and apps.
WatchOS 3: Release date
Apple said WatchOS 3 is coming this autumn (probably alongside the Apple Watch 2 and iPhone 7).
Shortly after the launch of the iPad Pro, some early adopters began complaining about an issue that caused the 12.9-inch tablet to become unresponsive after charging, requiring a hard restart to restore functionality.
Apple acknowledged the problem in a support document on its website, stating that it was “investigating” the issue, and has now updated that support document to reflect that “iOS 9.2 or later” should prevent the issue from occurring again.
The issue affected both 32GB and 128GB iPad Pros on iOS 9.1, including Wi-Fi and LTE models, and some users speculated that restoring from an iCloud backup during setup may have contributed to the freezing issues.
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Apple has updated its Apple Pay participating issuers list with 40 additional banks, credit unions and financial institutions supporting the contactless payment service in the United States. Apple Pay now has nearly 800 participating issuers nationwide, and several more plan to support the NFC-based mobile payment service in the future.
The newly added Apple Pay participating issuers are reflected below, although it’s worth noting that some banks, credit unions and financial institutions listed may have already had support for the contactless payments service and are only now being reflected on Apple’s website.
The full list of new Apple Pay participating issuers:
- American Heritage Federal Credit Union
- Associated Credit Union
- Bangor Savings Bank
- Bank of Bourbonnais
- Bank of Clovis
- Bank of the Pacific
- Baton Rouge Telco Federal Credit Union
- Cardinal Bank
- Corning Credit Union
- First Financial Credit Union (IL)
- First National Bank of Trenton
- First Nations Bank
- First Republic Bank
- Flint Area School Employees Credit Union
- Glass City Federal Credit Union
- Guaranty Bank and Trust Company
- Hawthorn Bank
- Hills Bank and Trust Company
- Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union
- Leader Bank, N.A.
- Michigan Tech Employees Federal Credit Union
- Midcoast Federal Credit Union
- Oatworth Capital Bank
- Ohio Valley Bank
- Partnership Financial Credit Union
- Penn Liberty Bank
- Police and Fire Federal Credit Union
- Prime Merdian Bank
- Reading Cooperative Bank
- Republic Bank
- Section 705 Federal Credit Union
- Secured Advantage Federal Credit Union
- Southern Bank
- Southwest Missouri Bank
- West Plains Bank and Trust Company
- WesTex Federal Credit Union
- Wilmington Savings Fund Society
- WSFS Bank
Apple is committed to an international expansion of Apple Pay, having launched the mobile payments service in Australia and Canada last month in partnership with American Express. Apple Pay is also coming to Hong Kong, Singapore and Spain in 2016, and is rumored to launch in China by February 2016.
On the merchant side, Cinnabon, Chili’s, Domino’s, KFC and Starbucks will support Apple Pay in the U.S. starting in 2016.
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Apple has launched (via AppleInsider) a brand new outdoor ad campaign for the Apple TV a week after debuting its first TV commercials for the new set-top box. The new ads feature a variation of the SMPTE color bars, a television test pattern, as a backdrop to the simple Apple TV logo.
Image via SMPTE Connect
The color bars are also featured in the TV ads, dispersing in different ways as the ad showcases its apps or games. Thus far, the billboards have been spotted in Los Angeles, Boston, New York, San Francisco, Beverly Hills and Hollywood.
The ads appear to have gone up in the last 24 hours, with Instagram user Courtney Cerruti noting that she saw workers tugging the image into place and that they went up “in unison.” Additionally, every current picture of the new billboards have appeared within the last 11 hours or so. The ads also come in different formats, with some ads in a vertical orientation on buildings and others in a more traditional horizontal format.
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F.lux, a popular app for the Mac that allows users to adjust the color of their screen based on the time of day, yesterday expanded to iOS with a beta app, but as of today, the app is no longer available.
Because iOS does not have the necessary documented APIs to allow f.lux to function, f.lux was skirting the App Store with private APIs and asking users to install its iOS app through Xcode, using a technique called side-loading. Apple has now informed f.lux that asking people to side-load apps onto their iOS devices violates the Developer Program Agreement, so f.lux can no longer be installed on iOS devices using Xcode.
Apple has contacted us to say that the f.lux for iOS download (previously available on this page) is in violation of the Developer Program Agreement, so this method of install is no longer available.
We understood that the new Xcode signing was designed to allow such use, but Apple has indicated that this should not continue.
For those unfamiliar with f.lux, it’s an app that adjusts the blue light of a screen based on the time of day to avoid interfering with the body’s circadian rhythm. During the day, f.lux mimics natural daylight, but at as the sun sets, it cuts down on the amount of blue light and makes the screen more yellow, which is said to encourage better sleep.
F.lux is a popular Mac app that’s been downloaded 15 million times, but with side-loading no longer available, f.lux for iOS is non-existant. F.lux’s developers are urging customers who want f.lux for iOS to send feedback to Apple, as the company would need new documented APIs to introduce the app through official channels.
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Apple can’t win every patent lawsuit it’s involved with. Here’s a good case in point: the tech giant has been found liable of using a 1998 patent owned by the University of Wisconsin without the proper permission. To be precise, that technology was designed to improve chip efficiency as you can see in this USPTO filing, and it was used in iPhones and iPads. The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) filed a case against Intel back in 2008 for using the same patent, but it was immediately settled out of court. It launched the lawsuit against Cupertino in January last year.
The court is slated to try the the case again to determine how much Apple should pay the University. According to Reuters, the judge presiding over the case believes it could be as much as $862.4 million in damages — huge, but even the full amount won’t make a dent in Apple’s finances. Cupertino’s and WARF’s legal battle is far from over yet, though. The company has to face another case WARF filed just last month, this time accusing it of using the technology to boost the efficiency of the iPhone 6s’, 6s Plus’ and the iPad Pro’s A9 and A9X chips.
In a sign that Apple Pay is gaining traction with even more retailers, VP of Apple Pay Jennifer Bailey has just announced on stage at Code/Mobile a plan to roll out Apple Pay in Starbucks, KFC and Chili’s locations across the country. You can expect to see Apple Pay in a few pilot Starbucks outlets later this year, with a larger roll out in 2016. Apple Pay in KFC should start early next year, while Chili’s is expected to implement a unique pay-at-the-table mobile payment solution.
Bailey also talked about a broader effort to add loyalty programs to Apple Pay. Walgreens loyalty program should be added to Apple Pay soon, and there are plans in place to support programs from Kohl’s, Coca Cola, Whole Foods, Panera Bread and much more as well. One of the issues of adding loyalty programs like these is that it often requires an upgrade to the point-of-sale terminal so the process will likely take some time. There are also plans in place to support even more department store cards, which are often used as loyalty cards as well. “You’ll see many more large merchants adopt Apple Pay because of our ability to support store cards,” she said.
There are other avenues for Apple Pay beyond just the retailer too. In-flight mobile payment could be a growth area in the future, as she mentions that you can already use Apple Pay in JetBlue flights and Delta has just incorporated Apple Pay in its app today. They’re also looking at incorporating Apple Pay in gas stations.
“We see an acceleration in adoption in merchant acceptance,” she said, adding that the company is continuously working on more partnerships.
By Jared Newman
This article originally appeared on Fast Company and is reprinted with permission.
Yet in day-to-day use, many of WatchOS 2’s improvements can be easy to miss. You might have no desire to use the Apple Watch as a beside clock, and may never frequent the retailers whose rewards cards now work with Apple Pay. Siri’s new voice controls are useful in only a handful of situations, and an expanded contact list doesn’t matter much if you’re not initiating many calls from the Watch in the first place. Public transit information is nice, but only if you’re in one of the select cities where that data is available. As a way to tell time and view notifications, the Apple Watch is largely the same as it ever was.
But that doesn’t mean WatchOS 2 is unimportant. It’s just that the biggest changes are happening behind the scenes, as app makers rework their software to take advantage of new capabilities. WatchOS 2 is a significant update, but one whose effects won’t truly be felt for some time.
I’ve spent about a week with WatchOS 2, and so far my experience hasn’t changed drastically from before the big software update. Most of my Watch usage involves managing emails, checking sports scores, controlling music playback, and fielding the occasional phone call or text message. WatchOS 2 does little to improve those experiences.
But in dabbling with the first WatchOS 2 apps, it seems the update is more about establishing the product to be far more useful in the future.
In Search Of Native Apps
The most noteworthy change in WatchOS 2 is support for native apps, which can run on the Apple Watch without being connected to a nearby iPhone over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
Already, this has opened the door to some offline utility apps, such as PCalc, a basic calculator, and Pomodoro Pro, a timer for managing productivity. But going native should also benefit apps that still rely on an iPhone for Internet connectivity; in theory, they should be faster and more reliable, since they’re not banking so heavily on the iPhone for processing power and core app logic.
The native WatchOS 2 apps that I have tried do seem slightly more reliable than their non-native counterparts. The weather app Dark Sky, for instance, loads just a little faster, and doesn’t revert to the loading screen as you move between various sections of the app.
So far, however, most Apple Watch apps are no different than they were in WatchOS 1. Several developers have told me that switching to a native app isn’t especially easy, because it requires rewriting much of their existing code to run on the Watch instead of the iPhone. And certain features, such as iCloud and GameCenter, are a lot trickier to implement now. In other words, it’ll be a while until native apps are the norm.
Making Watch Apps More Useful
Apple Watch apps aren’t just getting a speed boost in WatchOS 2. They’re also getting more powerful as Apple provides access to more of the Watch’s hardware capabilities.
A twist of the Digital Crown, for instance, can now control software knobs and menu boxes within third-party apps such as PCalc and The Weather Channel. Access to the accelerometer and heart rate monitor open the door to third-party fitness and sleep tracker apps. Haptic feedback allows for surprising new apps such as Tacet, a metronome that counts the beat by tapping on your wrist.
In time, these types of capabilities will help the Apple Watch become more than just a notification machine. By using the Digital Crown for selecting items, Apple can pack more information into the screen. And with wearable sensors and haptic feedback, they can accomplish things that just aren’t possible on your phone.
Even when you’re not actively using third-party apps, WatchOS 2 extends their usefulness by letting them appear as Complications on the main watch screen. DataMan Next, for instance, can show how much wireless data you’ve consumed, and WaterMinder can show how much more hydrated you ought to be. These apps can also use WatchOS 2’s Time Travel feature to show past and future information with a twist of the Digital Crown. An obvious example would be a weather app that lets you scroll through the next several hours of forecast data.
For now, if you want more Complications, you’ll need to seek out the handful of specific apps that offer them. (And sadly, none yet exists for sports scores or fantasy football.) But over time, it’s likely that app makers will treat Complications and Time Travel as a high-priority feature. After all, it’s an opportunity for their apps to be the first thing you see when you glance at the screen.
The current situation reminds me somewhat of Android home screen widgets in their early days, with too few Complications overall and too many of dubious value. But as app makers catch on, I suspect the inclusion of clever Complications will become a lot more commonplace.
Seeding The Future
Whereas WatchOS 1 was largely about the apps and services that Apple built in on its own, WatchOS 2 extends those capabilities to third-party apps. The difference is barely noticeable now, but over time there should be a cumulative impact as apps become faster and can do a lot more. (And one can imagine these effects will be more pronounced whenever the next version of the Apple Watch hardware arrives.)
That may explain why Apple calls this update “an even more personal experience.” The tagline no longer refers to just the watch faces and wrist bands you choose, but to a new wave of apps that you’ll come to rely on.
[Photo: courtesy of Apple]
More from Fast Company:
Apple’s long-running court battle over manipulating the pricing of e-books is getting even more dramatic. Next stop, the Supreme Court, Fortune reports. Back in June, Apple failed to get a Manhattan appeals court to overturn a 2014 ruling that would have it pay $450 million dollar settlement over the scandal. So Apple basically has no choice but to go to a higher authority if it wants to fight the case. A quick recap: The company was found guilty of fixing e-book pricing with publishers for the launch of iBooks on the original iPad, a move meant to raise prices from the low standard set by Amazon. Apple has argued that it didn’t do anything wrong, and indeed it maintains in a filing today that “dynamic, disruptive entry into new or stagnant markets — the lifeblood of American economic growth — often requires the very type of” behavior it exhibited. Apple obviously can afford to pay the settlement, but at this point the legal battle seems to be more about principles than anything else.
[Photo credit: John Baran/Alamy]
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