A wealth of en­hanced apps

It looks like El Cap­i­tan will make many of the apps bun­dled with it more ca­pa­ble and en­joy­able to use than be­fore

Mac Format - - WWDC 2015 -

Sev­eral of OS X’s built-in apps gain dra­matic new ca­pa­bil­i­ties in El Cap­i­tan. In some cases, these might en­cour­age you to stick with the soft­ware pro­vided by Ap­ple, rather than pay for some­thing else. A good ex­am­ple of that is Notes, which evolves from stor­ing text to be­ing more like a pro­ject binder for any in­for­ma­tion you need to gather in one place. You’ll be able to cre­ate notes, and add to ex­ist­ing ones, from the Share menu in many other apps. That strikes us as in­cred­i­bly use­ful for col­lat­ing links to web pages, photos and down­loaded doc­u­ments as you re­search a sub­ject. You might oth­er­wise do that with a com­bi­na­tion of Fin­der and iCloud Drive, but there’s no guar­an­tee you would be able to open those items on your iOS de­vice. Notes in iOS 9 also sup­ports these fea­tures, so you know you’ll be able to read things on any of your Ap­ple de­vices.

It’s also pos­si­ble to add a check­list as part of a note, com­plete with the abil­ity to mark things as done, just like you would in the Re­minders app. The app’s At­tach­ments Browser shows you all the things you’ve added to notes, grouped into tabs for photos and video, sketches (which you can draw on an iOS de­vice’s screen), map lo­ca­tions, au­dio, and doc­u­ments.

Mail gains more than just full-screen mode tweaks. It’s more proac­tive about let­ting you know when it can cre­ate an event from in­for­ma­tion in a mes­sage, and when new con­tact de­tails for a mes­sage’s sender are de­tected. You can act upon these things from the top of a mes­sage, rather than hav­ing to hunt for the de­tails in its body.

The Photos app, which re­placed iPhoto for any­one us­ing OS X 10.10.3, gets a cre­ative boost with the ad­di­tion of some­thing we lamented in our tu­to­rial in MF287: the lim­ited num­ber of built-in tools and ef­fects. De­vel­op­ers will be able to add new tools, and you’ll be able to ap­ply more than one to a sin­gle photo.

Photos cur­rently lacks the abil­ity to at­tach lo­ca­tion data to a photo. Right now you have to do it with an ex­ter­nal tool be­fore im­port­ing your pic­tures. How­ever, that won’t be nec­es­sary come the au­tumn be­cause the up­dated app will en­able you to at­tach a lo­ca­tion to an in­di­vid­ual photo or an en­tire mo­ment. You’ll also be able to sort the con­tents of al­bums, in­clud­ing by date and ti­tle, and Ap­ple says it has re­vised the work­flow for the Faces view, which quickly finds pic­tures of a spe­cific per­son.

Ap­ple claims per­for­mance tweaks will launch apps up to 1.4 times faster, that you’ll see up to a twofold im­prove­ment in snap­pi­ness when switch­ing apps, and that Preview will open your PDFs up to four times faster. You’ll find out how these fig­ures trans­late to your Mac later this year.

Mail is proac­tive about let­ting you know when it can cre­ate an event from a mes­sage

It was this year’s ‘One more thing…’ but Ap­ple’s am­bi­tions to join the world of mu­sic stream­ing were al­ready set in mo­tion when it bought Beats in 2014. But since then, Beats Mu­sic has just been sit­ting around do­ing not a lot, whilst Spo­tify, Tidal, Google and oth­ers con­tin­ued to dom­i­nate the mar­ket. Un­til WWDC 2015, that is, when Ap­ple fi­nally un­veiled the multi-plat­form Ap­ple Mu­sic. Ap­ple said that its new ser­vice is a kind of hy­brid of­fer­ing, com­bin­ing the best of iTunes, stream­ing mu­sic, in­ter­net ra­dio, and so­cial media. The app is com­prised of three key parts: My Mu­sic, Con­nect, and Ra­dio. Here’s ev­ery­thing you need to know about Ap­ple Mu­sic, which launches in more than 100 coun­tries on 30 June, just three weeks af­ter its un­veil­ing.

The brand-new Mu­sic app

Ap­ple Mu­sic is in­te­grated with the Mu­sic app on iOS. Tap My Mu­sic and you can ac­cess your tunes and playlists as nor­mal, yet the app now serves up rec­om­men­da­tions too. This looks to be where the bulk of Ap­ple Mu­sic stream­ing will take place, as you’ll have on-de­mand ac­cess to the mil­lions of songs al­ready of­fered by iTunes. Ap­ple made it clear that Siri has a big part to play in how we’ll use the ser­vice, and it hopes the clever in­te­gra­tion will pro­vide a more seam­less ser­vice than its ri­vals. There’s also a new way to get rec­om­men­da­tions by tap­ping the For You icon. Here you get a strange bub­ble cloud of artist rec­om­men­da­tions, and you can choose a few you like in or­der to start train­ing the app to your tastes. It learns from that and your ex­ist­ing col­lec­tion in or­der to dish up new things to lis­ten to.

The other parts

Ap­ple promised that Ap­ple Mu­sic’s ra­dio fea­ture will be dif­fer­ent to the playlist for­mat typ­i­cally of­fered by in­ter­net ra­dio sta­tions. It will be a proper 24/7 ser­vice, and at launch there’ll be one sta­tion, Beats 1, fronted by ex-BBC DJ Zane Lowe, with bases in Lon­don, New York and Los An­ge­les, broad­cast­ing to more than 100 coun­tries. Ap­ple says Beats 1 will fo­cus on great mu­sic and new artists, rather than any spe­cific genre.

Con­nect is the so­cial as­pect of Ap­ple Mu­sic, let­ting artists and their fans com­mu­ni­cate with one another. There will be built-in fea­tures for shar­ing songs, demos, remixes, sound­bites, or what­ever ran­dom mus­ing might pop into your head. Ping in iTunes 10 at­tempted to be more in tune with fans, but it never re­ally took off. This is Ap­ple do­ing SoundCloud-like tools prop­erly.

When’s it out?

It’s com­ing to iOS, Mac and Win­dows on 30 June. Later in the year, it’ll also be ar­riv­ing on An­droid and Ap­ple TV. UK-spe­cific pric­ing hasn’t yet been re­vealed. In the US, Ap­ple Mu­sic will cost $10 per month with a free three-month trial.

Con­nect is the so­cial as­pect of Ap­ple Mu­sic, let­ting artists com­mu­ni­cate with their fans

You can drag links, im­ages and even doc­u­ments into the up­graded Notes app, and many other apps make it even eas­ier to add to new or ex­ist­ing notes us­ing a short­cut in their Share menu.

Ap­ple Mu­sic aims to be a more fea­ture-rich stream­ing ser­vice than its com­peti­tors. Backed by the con­tent and power of iTunes it’s surely a win­ner?

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