SAN FRANCISCO — Minnie Mouse has broken through the Apple Watch “glass ceiling” and iPhone messages are getting a dose of Snapchat-like embellishments.
Those are just a couple of the highlights from Apple’s annual developer’s conference here, which also detailed a number of forthcoming software updates for the Apple Watch, Apple TV, Mac and iPhone.
Major updates include redesigns of Apple Music, News and Photos, and the word that Apple would be opening up Siri to developers and bringing the digital assistant to Macs. It’s also bringing Apple Pay to the web, meaning that retailer web sites will be able to add a “Pay With Apple Pay” button and customers will not have to enter credit or debit card information. The purchase will be authenticated with the Touch ID feature on an iPhone or an Apple Watch. Previously, Apple Pay was exclusively available for apps.
This will help make the mobile web more reflective of the seamless experience on mobile apps, said Time Inc. digital president Jen Wong. She said the company has affiliated experiences that link out and that it would be interesting to “close the loop” on intent generated through their content.
Immediately following the news, Demandware shared that it would offer Apple Pay to clients of its e-commerce platforms in Safari on the iPhone, iPad and Macs.
Apple News, which now has 60 million users, will get a fresh design and a new section called “subscriptions,” which lets users reach stories from their favorite publications.
This, Wong said, showed that Apple was in tune with the needs of publishers in that they are making a place for premium — i.e. paid — content on Apple News. She said Time continued to test which type of content performs the best on Apple News.
Apple Music is also getting a new look in an effort to be more intuitive and easy to navigate.
The Apple Watch, which added a new face with Minnie Mouse to match that of Mickey, will get the third version of its operating system, which includes faster load times for apps and improvements to how it feels to navigate the watch, including more support for developers in using Apple Pay in apps. These updates will be coming in the fall, and come at a time when consumers are still getting comfortable using the Watch’s various functions, including the shopping journey.
According to recent research from GPShopper, for example, customers said although they would be hesitant to make a purchase on Apple Watch, they would prefer to use it for loyalty programs and coupons while shopping.
The updated iPhone operating system, iOS10, will offer options to customize and enhance Messages, which is the most frequently used iOS app. New options (that will no doubt be welcome news for the Snapchat generation) include the ability to “emojify” messages, handwritten messages, “invisible ink” that appears only with the swipe of a hand and animations that take over the full screen.
Apple TV, which now has 1,300 video channels and 6,000 native apps, will come with improved search and a companion iPhone app that mimics and builds on the capabilities of the Apple TV remote.
While introducing the conference, Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook said there were more than two million apps on the App Store and that they had been downloaded 130 billion times and that $50 billion had been paid to developers.
He also introduced an iPad app that teaches programming and that was created with children in mind. “Our North Star,” he said, “is about improving people’s lives by creating great products that change the world.”