Apple bringing Siri to your Mac, opening up Messages

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SAN FRANCISCO — Apple is shaking up its software.

On Monday, the company is announcing a number of new upgrades to its various operating systems.

But CEO Tim Cook started the event in San Francisco with a moment of silence for the victims of Sunday’s mass shooting in Orlando, Florida. Cook called it a “senseless, unconscionable act of terrorism and hate aimed at dividing and destroying.”

“The Apple community is made up from people around the world,” said Cook. “We celebrate our diversity, we know that it makes us stronger and moves everyone forward.”

Siri comes to the Mac

After five years, Apple is finally bringing its voice assistant Siri to the Mac. It’s the same Siri from iOS, but can also do fun things like find files. To trigger Siri on a Mac, you click on the new Siri icon in the dock.

After 15 years as OS X, Apple’s Mac operating system is getting a new name. In the future, it will only answer to macOS, or its latest California-inspired codename, Sierra. The format makes it more consistent with other Apple OSes.

Apple is adding some continuity between its products. You can unlock a Mac just by wearing your Apple watch, skipping a password. If you copy a funny quote on your Mac and want to share it on Snapchat, a new universal clipboard lets you copy and paste between devices. iCloud helps sync files between the devices.

The new OS will be available as a public beta in July, and come to all compatible devices in the Fall.

Siri is opening up

The OS getting the most changes is iOS. Apple is overhauling its mobile operating system for iPhones and iPads. iOS 10 will be available as a beta in July and come to regular people’s iPhones and iPads in the Fall.

Apple is finally opening up Siri to developers, a necessary move to keep up with a growing crop of smart assistant competitors. You can send a WeChat message, order a car on Uber, Lyft or Didi, search for photos on Shutterfly or Pinterest, ask it to map a run on Runkeeper, pay with third-party payments app, start a VoIP phone call using Skype and Vonage.

Messages gets Snapchat-ified

Apple is opening up its Messages app to developers. Messaging apps are a popular place for tech companies right now, with tools like Skype and Facebook Messenger focused on adding features, apps and bots.

Inside Messages, there’s an app drawer where you can see all the new apps. There are apps for things like stickers, sending money, ordering food, and dropping in odd animated gifs. If you’re trying to order lunch from DoorDash, you can collaborate with co-workers and even pay directly in Messages.

Apple is adding a bunch of its own snapchatty features to Messages. Emojis will appear three-times larger, and when you tap the Emoji button it will automatically highlight words that can be replaced with emoji. Invisible Ink lets you built suspense with images that are only revealed after you tap. Doodle on photos or videos, add splashy animated backgrounds like confetti or fireworks, and make your text grow or shrink with little animations depending on your mood.

As presenter Craig Federici said, “Children of tomorrow will have no understanding of the English language.”

Apple Photos wants to be more like Google Photos

Apple’s Photos app is playing catch-up with Google Photos. It is adding face detection, so you can tap on your sister’s face and see all photos of her. It will detect places and objects (Paris, the ocean) so you can search your entire library.

Instead of just looking at photos chronologically, you can see images based on life events. Apple will sort them together into Memories automatically. An auto-editing feature can take all the videos from one memory and slap them together into an edited piece.

The biggest difference between the two apps might be where they’re doing all that work. Google Photos is based in the cloud, but Apple says its deep learning and AI processing all takes place locally on the device for more security.

Apple Watch works with a new mouse (not that kind)

Apple started off with a preview of the next version of its Apple Watch operating system, watchOS 3. Most importantly, there is finally a Minnie Mouse watch face, joining Mickey who has been there since launch.

It’s also now easier to swipe between faces, for people who don’t want to be judged at work for their love of retro Disney characters.

General improvements include faster response time for apps and a new dock where you can find them all in one place. Swipe up on the watch face to bring up Control Center, similar to iOS. A new tool called Scribble lets you write out messages with your finger on the screen, and it automatically turns it into text.



WatchOS 3 will have a new SOS feature that calls 911 when you press and hold the side button. The new Breathe app will guide you through deep breathing sessions to deal with stress. If you would prefer to not stare at a tiny screen while meditating, you can close your eyes and the watch will use vibrations to guide you.

Other tweaks include a new fitness tracking features for users in wheelchairs, like a Time to Roll reminder. If competition helps motivate you, it’s now possible to share fitness activity and words of encouragement with friends.

Apple TV makes logging in less miserable

The most useful new feature coming to the next version of tvOS, the Apple TV operating system, is single sign-on. Now you don’t have to waste time logging onto each of your network apps. Just enter your cable login and password once.

A new partnership with Dish TV brings Sling integration to the Apple TV, for anyone interested in watching live content. There is deeper Siri integration in the TV and the companion remote app. You can now Ask Siri to search YouTube for the latest unboxing or kitten videos.

The free upgrade will be available in the Fall. Apple says there are currently 6,000 apps for the Apple TV, 1,300 dedicated to video.

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