Apple's Show and Tell: Five Takeaways

Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces the IOS 8 operating system Robert Galbraith/Reuters

At the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco today, Apple debuted its new iOS 8 and OS X 10.10 operating systems. For the most part, the updates were minor—no-touch Siri activation, translucent windows—but here are five of the most notable takeaways from the company’s presentation:

1: Mail Drop

Apple’s new Mail Drop will allow users to send large encrypted files—up to five gigs—securely through iCloud. Much like third-party applications such as Hightail, users can upload files to their iCloud and send e-mail recipients a download link. The service offers a workaround for users attempting to send large files to recipients whose e-mail clients impose file-size limits.

2: Markup

Users can now write directly on e-mails, photos and PDFs using their trackpad. One notable application for Markup, Apple Senior VP Craig Federighi points out, is that users will now be able to easily sign and return PDF forms without going through the laborious process of printing, signing and scanning them.

3: Health

The much-anticipated health care app first reported by 9to5Mac, Apple is developing Health, an application that will monitor blood pressure, weight, activity and other factors. “Developers have created a vast array of health care devices,” Federighi said to the crowd. “But up to now the info gathered by those applications lives in silos.” Health “provides a single place that applications can contribute to a composite profile of your activity and health.”

4: Apple’s Growth

Apple now has more than 9 million registered developers. That number is up more 50 percent from last year. According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, this is the largest growth in developers Apple has yet seen. The numbers aren’t so surprising, given the success of the iPhone, which, Cook said, has sold half a billion units. Further, over 130 million of those units sold in the last year were bought by former Android customers. At the conference, Cook continued to hammer Android, pointing out that 90 percent of iOS users are running the most recent operating system. Meanwhile, a third of Android users are running four-year-old operating systems. “That’s ancient history,” he joked.

5: Handoff

Apple’s new Handoff software will now allow users to pass e-mails, documents, text messages and even phone calls between iPhones, iPads and Macs. To demonstrate the new feature, Federighi used his Mac to phone Dr. Dre, the co-creator of the headphone and streaming music company Beats that was recently acquired by Apple. “I want to thank everyone for making such amazing apps,” Dre, now an Apple employee, said to the audience.