The 9 most useful announcements Apple made Monday

Posted at 4:42 PM, Jun 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-08 16:42:53-04

Apple’s corporate presentations have become global events that rival the excitement generated by the company’s actual product launches.

Monday’s keynote presentation at the kick-off of Apple’s 26th annual Worldwide Developers Conference featured celebrity guests and company executives touting the latest updates to current products as well as previews of forthcoming innovations.

But how much of the presentation was just self-serving corporate lip service? Below are the nine most useful announcements made during Monday’s two-hour speech.

Apple Music will launch June 30, for a price

Apple CEO Tim Cook called it “the next chapter in music.” Apple Music will be the company’s answer to on-demand streaming music services like Spotify and Rdio. The service launches later this month and gives users the ability to instantly stream the millions of songs available from iTunes.

The Apple Music app — which will be available on iPhone, iPad and Android — will also recommend music for each accounted user, based on listening habits and generated by a team of music experts. The app also includes access to a 24/7 online radio station called Beats1, broadcast globally from DJs in New York, Los Angeles and London.

Apple Music will cost $9.99 per month but the company is offering it free for the first three months. Families can purchase the app for $14.99 per month, giving access to up to six unique users.

A customizable news app is coming to iPhone, iPad

Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of product management, showed excitement while introducing the upcoming News app. She said the app will feature news from outlets around the world, including broad and local sources, and will morph to fit the user’s interests.

“The more I read, the better it gets at knowing what I’m interested in,” Prescott said during the Monday presentation. She said the app will cover more than 1 million news topics.

Updates are coming to commonly used apps Notes and Maps

When Apple’s iOS 9 comes to iPhone and iPad, two of the most popular apps will be getting facelifts. The Notes app will provide users the ability to easily make interactive checklists, as well as the capability to format notes with various text styles. The much-derided Maps app will soon allow users to easily find nearby locations by type, like restaurants or shops.

iPhone’s next software update offers power saving mode

Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, was clearly excited about new updates coming with iOS 9. Among the new features will be a power saving mode that will allow for an “extra three hours” of battery life with one-touch activation, according to Federighi.

iPhone iOS 9 will make Siri more like Google Now

Federighi also mentioned that with iPhone’s next software update, Siri will be “more proactive.” He said the digital assistant will be able to curb those dreaded calls from unknown numbers by scanning the user’s email messages when a call is incoming, displaying a possible contact, based on phone numbers included in previous email conversations.

Apple Watch updates are coming soon

The Watch only launched months ago but Apple already has some significant software updates coming to the device. According to announcements made at the WWDC keynote, the next update will allow the Watch to be used as a bedside alarm clock when it’s lying on its side and plugged in.

Other Watch updates include the ability to reply to emails and make FaceTime audio calls.

OS X El Capitan is coming this fall

Federighi began his part of the presentation touting Apple’s OS X Yosemite’s adoption rate among Mac users before previewing the forthcoming update, called “El Capitan.” The new upgrade includes functional improvements to Safari and Spotlight, as well as a function that will allow users to more easily find the cursor when it’s lost on screen. Federighi said the new upgrade will be focused on improved “experience and performance.”

A public beta will launch in July with the free upgrade being made available this fall.

iPad’s next software update will make multitasking, typing easier

When iOS 9 launches for iPad, users will be able to work on two fully-functional apps at the same time on one split screen. A picture-in-picture video function will allow users to adjust the size of a video player, as well as freely position it anywhere on the screen, while working in other apps.

The new software update will also add shortcuts for cutting, pasting and formatting text to the iPad’s touchscreen keyboard.

Apple Pay will soon feature loyalty cards

The Apple Pay app will surpass 1 million locations serviced, according to Jennifer Bailey’s presentation during the WWDC on Monday. Apple’s vice president of Internet services reported the number while also mentioning that the app will soon include integration of customer loyalty cards from retailers like Walgreens, Panera Bread and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Bailey said the longstanding Passbook app will soon be renamed “Wallet,” and will become “one place for all your credit, debit and loyalty cards.”

Clint Davis is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @MrClintDavis.