FIRST LOOK: What happened at Apple’s WWDC 2016

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WWDC 2016 kicks off

Over the course of 2-plus hours in an auditorium in San Francisco, Apple showed off a host of new and refreshed software. Lots and lots of things changed, but here are the initial highlights.

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The next version of watchOS comes with a lot of new features – performance has been improved dramatically thanks to pre-loading and other technical tweaks, faces are more easily customized, and fitness tracking and sharing has been broadened dramatically. There’s even a way to send trash-talk (or, we suppose, encouragement) to your friends from within the fitness app. WatchOS 3 will be out this fall.

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Another neat new watch (and iPhone!) feature is Scribble, which lets you draw characters on the face of the phone to send text responses thanks to Apple’s advances in touchscreen technology. It even works in Chinese, per the on-stage demo.

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The news that Siri was going to be opened to outside developers has been floating around for a while, and Apple confirmed that from the stage. The company also showed off what some of those collaborations with third parties might look like, primarily in the form of more full integration with tvOS.

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The OS formerly known as X

OS X is now macOS, as had been widely predicted before the show. Its new version, Sierra, is coming out this fall, and will contain a universal clipboard that works across multiple devices, slick new tab and window arrangement options, and for the first time, Siri.

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iOS 10

Apple also previewed iOS 10, which will be officially released this fall. The broader themes of better integration between devices, platforms and third-party apps were on display again here, along with redesigns of Apple’s own software, including Maps, Music, Photos and News. Oh, and Siri’s embedded more deeply into the system.

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We’ve touched on tvOS before, but Apple devoted considerable presentation time to its living room software on Monday. One key new feature is a single-sign on system – no more signing into Comcast and FX and HBO and Showtime and so on. The channel lineup has been broadened from 80 to 1,300, and Siri’s more closely tied to its search functions.

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Swift Playgrounds

Finally, Apple rolled out an online classroom – dubbed Swift Playgrounds -- for teaching kids how to code using the company’s recently open-sourced Swift programming architecture. Colorfully presented lessons teach key concepts via this free iPad app, due out this fall.