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As it happened: Apple announces its music service and updates to iOS 9

It was a busy two hours, let’s say that much.

Hello and welcome to our liveblog of Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference. There will likely be a number of new features announced today including its much talked about music-streaming service from 6pm to 8pm.

If you want to get in touch, send an email to, tweet @TheJournalTech, or leave a comment.

Hi there, and welcome to our liveblog of Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) which begins at 6pm (Irish time) until 8pm. There is a livestream available but only through Apple products like Apple TV, Mac or iPhone/iPad.

If you’re using a PC or Android, then you’re out of luck although there’s likely someone mad enough to stream it through Periscope or Meerkat (There’s always one) and you have this livestream too to work with so it’s not all bad.

So what does Apple plan to show us over the next two hours? Quite a few things actually.

Updates to iOS and Mac OSX: Starting with the most obvious update, iOS 9 will aim to make up for the problems that plagued iOS 8 during its run. One of the more tantalising rumours to emerge is ‘Proactive’, Apple’s answer to Google Now. It will offer contextualised information based on your calendar, emails, and other apps to aid you throughout the day.

What the successor to Mac OSX Yosemite will bring is a little harder to predict, but ultimately, both iOS and OS X updates will involve updating many existing features, and further integration with each other (and maybe Apple Watch).

HomeKit: Apple’s plans for the Internet of Things (IoT) sees you controlling all your household appliances through your iPhone. It already has a number of partners having announced it last year, but this will give it a chance to lay down its vision for the sector.

Apple Watch: This is the first developer conference for Apple’s smartwatch so it’s likely a new suite of developer tools will be revealed for app development. Apps are what made the iPhone (and smartphones in general) so popular and the more exclusive and creative apps it has, the better chance it has of convincing people to buy one.

Swift, Apple’s new programming language, will also play a role here as will Apple Pay, which could be announced to arrive in the UK and Canada.

Its music-streaming service: This has been talked about for so long it’s practically an evitability. The launch of the service is one thing – it will likely be subscription-based only and will include a live online radio station featuring prominent DJs like Zane Lowe – but whether it will have anything else to separate it from Spotify and other competitors is another story.

Since this is a developer conference, integration with fitness apps could be announced but with Spotify already announcing video, podcasts and music tailored to your workout, it will need to be good if people are going to pay for it.

Different faces: Apple’s keynotes are usually criticised for only featuring white men, the only woman they had on stage in recent years was model Christy Turlington Burns at March’s event.

This one may be a little different. When Apple CEO Tim Cook’s was asked about the lack of women at keynotes by Mashable, he said “Look tomorrow. Look tomorrow and let me know what you think… I totally agree with you. You’ll see a change tomorrow.”

After that, it’s anyone’s guess. Apple TV is unlikely to be announced while its work on its car is an outside possibility since Apple doesn’t really reveal products until they’re ready for release.

For now, it’s just people seated, taking photos and waiting for things to kick off while Uptown Funk plays (exciting update, I know). It’ll be starting any moment now.

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And it’s begins. We’re kicking off with a comedy video with Bill Hader which includes drones, Tim Cook lookalikes and a Goat Simulator shoutout.

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After a rap from Abed from Community rapping about being a developer (is it bad I can’t remember the actor’s name?) and a good Apple reboot gag, Tim Cook is now on stage.

“Good morning. Thanks for joining us and welcome to San Francisco. Although we don’t have any trapeze acts, we do have a lot to talk about this morning.”

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After going through what’s happening over the day (WWDC is a two-day event if you weren’t aware), we’re talking about baseball involving the Cleveland Indians holding a home run ball hostage for Apple stuff as a lighthearted way of starting the keynote.

“We’ve a jam-packed morning for you” says Cook. Starting off with OS X, iOS and watchOS for Apple Watch to help create apps that “will change the world.”

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And first up is Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering who arrives to cheers. He starts off talking about OS X and Yosemite.

The graph he showed made a quick joke at Windows 8.1′s expense (7% adoption rate compared to 55% for Yosemite).

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After jokes about how they came up with the name, the new name for OS X is El Capitan.

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Flying through the features, and one thing about Federighi’s presentations is he keeps them running with jokes, the two main focuses are experience and performance. You can pin sites in Safari by dragging tabs to the left, and muting tabs can be done by clicking a speaker icon in the address bar.

For Spotlight, there are natural language searches. “mail I ignored from Phil” is the example given and results are shown in email.

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The other thing is window management, Mission Control is smoother, faster and more manageable according to Federighi, you can auto-arrange windows by dragging them to the side of the window while other windows are displayed on the other side, allowing you to click one.

“Again, innovation,” jokes Federighi. “It’s a great way to work split-screen.” He also goes through moving windows to different desktops which is handy (and something Windows 10 is bringing has if I remember correctly).

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“Now I want to turn to performance.” Federighi goes through the different ways iOS has become faster and how Metal, which launched last year, helped. Now Metal is available on Mac which improves rendering and graphics.

Adobe was able to deliver an 8x improvement with rendering in AfterEffects, says Federighi. Now Epic Games (Gears of War series, Unreal Tournament) is on stage to show off a demo of Metal for gaming.

In the demo of Fortnite, 64 different layers of rendering are on display and all the effects we’re seeing are done in real-time. The game is an end of the world sandbox-style game where the protagonist is fighting monsters/zombie with a guitar and has tower-defence type gameplay. The beta arrives this fall.

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El Capitan is available to developers today in beta, public beta in July while the full version will arrive in Autumn. Now we’re onto iOS.

iOS 8 was a huge release says Federighi while the graph makes a joke at Android’s expense this time. “There’s more we wanted to do. Adding intelligence throughout the user experience in a way that enhances how you use your device without compromising your privacy.” Federighi starts with intelligence and Siri, which serves 1 billion requests a week.

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Siri gets a new UI, and an improved interface, and is great at taking reminders which is location sensitive now. But the big announce is Proactive. Federighi says that the phone learns what you do. If you like listening to music or audiobooks at certain times, the next time you plug in your headphones, Siri will start playing them.

It will give you reminders to leave based on traffic, like Google Now, and can suggest caller ID based on your email for unknown numbers. On top of that is suggested apps and a API for search, which allows users to find content behind the app they have. This is similar to what Google has on Android.

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Auto-adding is added to calendars so if you get an invite, it will be added automatically.

Also, Spotlight will show off search results directly from apps, allowing you to browse through different results in the same apps. Photos now have a scrubbing bar at the bottom allowing you to browse through photos quickly.

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Federighi stresses that all of this happens on device instead of sharing data with Apple. All info is anonymous and on your device, If it’s on your device, you’re in control is the basic message. No prizes for guessing who that is aimed at.

Now Jennifer Bailey is on stage talking about Apple Pay.

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For now, there are some updates to Apple Pay involving the US including new retailers and services like Pinterest that now allow it.

The big announcement is Apple Pay is coming to the UK next month. Launching with eight banks first, with more arriving this autumn. 250,000 merchant locations in the UK will support it including the London transportation system.

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Passbook is dead. Long live Wallet. One place for all your cards she says before finishing her segment. Now Federighi is back on stage and talking about Apple Notes.

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Notes gets a few new improvements like checklists, images, adding links to notes, and sketching. And that concludes our quick update of Notes where we move onto Apple Maps.

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5 billion user requests per week, says Federighim announcing Transit for drivers, emphasising the different transit lines in the US, train, subway, bus or ferry, including directions.

“We took special care to get the details right” It surveyed the entrances and exits of each station uses the distance data to find you the quickest ways in and out. It’s only US and China mind.


“The apps we’ve chosen to build into iOS are there because they’re fundamental”  Federighi says this likely ignoring how most people probably throw half of them into a folder and never touch them again.

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Next new app is News “beautiful content from the world’s greatest sources personalised to you.” It’s relatively similar to what Facebook is trying with Instant Articles except reformat articles.

Now Apple VP Susan Prescott is on stage to talk about news showing off the personalisation features. It’s clean, lots of images, swiping through photos that are there but how many news sources will try to format articles to make it work for News is hard. FB Instant Articles haven’t been updated since it was announced three weeks ago and Apple will face the same problem.

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This is a cross between Flipboard and Facebook’s news feed, showing a collection of stories built in Apple’s news format. It looks rather nice, but again, getting media outlets to commit to this regularly will be a challenge.


Federighi says that News is designed from the ground up with privacy in mind, starting with the US, UK and Australia. Now we’re onto the iPad.

The iPad is “a transformational device for education, business and at home… and with iOS 9. First new feature is Quicktype, which adds shortcuts to the keyboard suggestion bar, copy, paste, put two fingers down on the keyboard and it becomes a trackpad to move the cursor around.

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But now I want to turn to the big one which is multitasking, says Federighi to cheers. Double tap on the home button brings up the new task switcher which you can move both at the same time, and switch between apps. You can view them 50/50 or 70/30.

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Now picture-in-picture is a thing. You know how YouTube’s app allows you to minimise a video and let it play in the corner? Same thing here but you can move it around while it plays. Its available on the iPad Air 1 & 2 and the iPad Mini 2 and 3

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iOS 9 now has a low power mode, a single switch that “pulls levers you didn’t even know existed” and gives you three extra hours of battery life.

Security now has two-factor authentication, and software update will reduce the amount of free space you need to update to iOS 9 (4.6GB to 1.8GB for those wondering). And that’s it for iOS 9.

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Now we’re talking about the development side of things. Quite a number of features being mentioned here quickly like ‘app thinning’ (makes downloads faster) and now we’re talking about HomeKit. “No matter where you are, you can control all of your HomeKit devices”

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Firing over to CarPlay which does away with the cords. You just need your phone and it works wirelessly.

Now onto Swift, Apple’s programming language which powers 15,000 apps, and it’s moved onto Swift 2.

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The big thing is it’s going to be open-source which gets the biggest cheer of the night. A developer beta for iOS 9 will arrive today, while the public beta will arrive in July. The official release will arrive in Autumn and supports devices as far back as the iPhone 4s and iPad 2.

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That’s it for Federighi and now Tim Cook is back on stage covering everything that has been mentioned already.

“It’s hard to believe the App Store was launched only seven years ago” says Cook before revealing that it passed the 100 billion app downloads. “The industry has never seen anything like this before,” says Cook saying it paid out $30 billion to developers.

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Right now, we’re watching a video about Apple developers and apps. Neil deGrasse Tyson just called “apps plus handheld devices… a watershed moment in civilisation.” Make of that what you will.

The average person had 119 apps according to the video. If you don’t, download more if you want to fit in with the rest of the world. Don’t worry, we’ll wait.

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Now we’re talking about the next version of watchOS, “the next opportunity to transform the world” says Cook. “For us this is a giant moment, this is how we felt when we launched the App Store… [something] that can change people’s lives.”

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Now Kevin Lynch, VP of Technology is on stage talking about some new features. New watch faces like photo face and 24-hour time-lapse images that correspond with your location (one for London) is one new feature.

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Another thing is complications which allows you to see app info on your watch face, and you have Time Travel which lets you scroll ahead in time and watch certain features update like calendar reminders, temperature and anything else on your watch face.

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Also, night stand which shows you the time when you’re charging the watch (similar to the Moto 360) and digital touch drawings allows you to draw sketches with multiple colours. Improvement to calls, FaceTime audio calls, new additions to fitness apps like achievement badges, Siri, Apple Pay and Maps are being mentioned quickly.

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Developers have more tools to play around with so they can now access Apple Watch’s microphone, speaker, short video, HealthKit, HomeKit, the accelerometer, the Taptic Engine (choose different range of vibrations and sounds to activate), and the digital crown.

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Now Lynch is showing off how to make a photos watch face and create a wallpaper through it. He’s also showing off complication which uses the digital crown to move forward in time and see how much charge you will have left, what you have coming up that time on your calendar, and temperature.

The other thing is replying to emails through Siri, and using VW’s app to control your car, locking the car or controlling the temperature. Communication apps like WeChat are also covered allowing you to respond through voice or stickers and Vine allows you to glance at videos, handy since they’re only six seconds long.

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And Lynch wraps up the watchOS presentation and now Cook is back on stage, but he shows this. You know where this is going. It’s Apple Music time.

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Now we’re watching a video about different music formats. And it’s official.

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“Today we’re announcing Apple Music… [and] it will change the way you will experience Music forever.” Jimmy Iovine now takes the stage to talk more about it,

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[Steve Jobs and Eddy Cue] show me something simple and groundbreaking, a simple way to buy music: iTunes… these guys really do think different.”

“In 2015, the music industry is a fragmented mess, if you want to stream music, you go over here. If you want to stream video, you check this out.” Jimmy Iovine says before a video about Apple Music is played.

Alongside music-streaming, Apple Music comes with the first 24/7 worldwide radio station called Beats One, available in 100 countries. Zane Lowe is involved

“One place one complete thought around music” says Trent Reznor before the video ends.

Back to Iovine who says it’s a revolutionary music service where a few people laugh and throws Iovine off. He continues by talking about human curated playlists, the 24/7 global radio station broadcast from three cities, plays music not based on genre, drumbeats, but just plays great music.

“So we built the station and it’s a music lover’s dream. If you love music without restrictions, you’ll love Beats One.”

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The final part is connecting fans with artists, similar to Spotify where unsigned artists connect with fans. Now Eddy Cue is on stage to talk about the Music app where you can search and stream the millions of songs on iTunes.

“For You” recommends playlists and songs based on your taste. It’s not just algorithms says Cue but experts recommending music for you.

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“Now let’s talk about radio. The truth is internet radio isn’t really radio, it’s just songs” says Cue.  He bigs up Zane Lowe and a video plays where he’s starts talking about Apple telling him they want to put “the great music in front of the average.”

When you think about it, all radio stations are always on 24/7 but that’s for another time.

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Connect is effectively a mini-social media site for artists to chat to fans and vice versa. Now Drake is on stage to talk about it and gets a clap for mentioning he’s from Toronto.

“This comes at the perfect time for me. Given the success of my last mixtape on iTunes.” He will put out his new album on Connect.

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Some of the new features to Music include a ticker at the bottom, and some redesigns to the interface. After playing Aretha Franklin’s Respect and Fallout Boy (remember Fallout Boy?)

The most eye-catching feature so far is a bunch of floating bubbles that help you pick out the genres and artists that you like the most. It’s mainly refinement as opposed to any new features so it’s not massively interesting as of yet.

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There are also HD videos included in this, thousands in fact, but again, it’s really a case of a better design interface than anything else. Beats One is the only real difference for now and it’s hard to see what exactly is here that will make people ditch Spotify or any other music-streaming service.

One big thing from Apple Music: it’s going to be on Android. That makes it the first Apple-made app to appear on a non-iOS device.

We’re being shown integration with Siri, and well, Cue is just going through some small features like playing music from a particular year, chart positions, and films. In fairness, they’re small but nice features to have and is probably the best part of Apple Music so far.

And the big thing. It’s going to launch in 100 countries on June 30th,  will cost $9.99 a month (we’ll assume €9.99 for here), and $14.99 for families of up to six people. The first three months are free which is a nice sweetener.

Big thing as mentioned earlier, it’s arriving on Android and Windows so there’s that too.

And now a video of people dancing to Apple Music on the subway. For balance, there was one person crying in a different place, but it’s a bit weird all the same. Cook is back on stage to finish up, thanking the Apple team for working hard before announcing one last thing. “An incredible music performance by a music artist… a worldwide premiere.

It’s The Weeknd (that’s how you spell his name) performing. We’re not familiar with him, but the song is good and you could imagine it playing in the background of any Apple promo video you can think of.

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And The Weeknd finishes and that’s it for another year. We’ll be posting a roundup of everything that happened here so stay tuned and thanks for joining us.

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