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
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?