Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) could really use a boost. After a very rough start to the fiscal year – marked by a steep drop in sales, particularly in China – Apple needs to show users and investors alike that its focus is still keenly on innovation.
Amid the lull in between iPhone releases, Apple is hoping its annual Worldwide Developers Conference is just the place to bring back excitement to its product lineup.
This year’s Apple developers conference took place from June 13-17. Among the topics typically discussed are changes to Apple’s operating systems or developer platforms. This year, Apple announced a number of changes across devices. Here are the top three takeaways from the Apple developers conference.
iOS 10 and Siri for Mac
First, Apple took the veil off of its new operating system for the iPhone and iPad, dubbed iOS 10. The new operating system features updated applications, including changes to photos and messaging.
Apps being revamped include Maps, News and Music. Calendar, weather and other apps will now be seen just by swiping left from the lock screen. The idea here is to increase convenience and save time for users. And for users who don’t want the default apps that come with Apple devices, they will now be able to delete them.
In addition, iOS 10 will feature an interactive lock screen. Instead of having to press a button, then enter a passcode or press the finger print Touch ID, users will be able to see notifications just by picking up the phone.
Second, Siri will now be launched on Mac. This was a big deal, since previously Siri was not available across devices; it was only available on the iPhone. This wasn’t the only upgrade Mac users will see. Apple Pay is now on Mac as well.
Going forward, users will be able to use additional Siri functions, including voice mail transcription, searching through images and dictating messages. One example will be that users who do not want to listen to a voice mail will be able to read the message. Again, the goal is to save users time.
Also, the Apple developers conference launched news that Siri will be opened to developers – meaning users can now, through Siri, perform functions on other apps such as ordering an Uber.
Last but not least, the Apple developers conference took the lid off of several changes to Apple’s iMessage platform. The changes predominantly involve much broader interactivity. For example, users will be able to substitute words for emoji with a single push, and also send handwritten notes.
Going forward, users could expect even further enhancements to iMessage. Apple’s goal is to allow more complex functionality, such as performing financial transactions and other more interactive functions. This is a clear attempt to take some momentum away from other highly popular messaging platforms such as Snapchat and Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) Messenger.
iPhone 7 Release Is Key
Apple was wise to use this year’s Apple developers conference to unveil a host of changes to its operating system, Siri and iMessage. With the release of the iPhone 7 expected to come by the end of 2016, it is likely the new iteration of Apple’s flagship device will have meaningful improvements that will actually incentivize users to upgrade.
As previously mentioned, Apple has had a rough year. Apple stock is 26% off its 52-week high. Since it’s such a huge company, it needs to do something big to adequately move the needle. Fortunately for investors, the iPhone 7 stands to do just that.
The iPhone makes up more than half of Apple’s revenue, so these significant upgrades, along with upgrades to Apple’s other devices like the iPad, Mac and Apple Watch, could make 2017 a much better year for the company and its shareholders.
DISCLOSURE: Bob Ciura personally owns shares of Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL).
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