We’ve all been eagerly anticipating the WWDC this year. Staying cooped at home has had us craving any good news, even if that’s updates on our favourite Apple devices. So, of course we’ve been waiting impatiently for WorldWide Developers Conference 2021 to see what Apple has in store!
There were rumours that a new MacBook Pro model would make an appearance, in a dazzling line up of colours, much like the iMacs and the iPads that have recently launched. Oh boy, wouldn’t we love to get our hands on a purple or mint green MacBook, but that probably isn’t going to happen anytime soon. Apple also released a preview of the software improvements coming to our iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Apple Watches. Let’s dive right into these upgrades, shall we? Here’s a summary of Apple’s WWDC 21 keynote.
Apple’s upcoming mobile operating system will be compatible with iPhone 6S and above, including the first generation of the SE model. We’re expecting several improvements in the upcoming iOS update, including updates for FaceTime, iMessage, and more.
FaceTime video calls will be compatible with Spatial Audio, Portrait mode to blur backgrounds, a new Grid view for group calls, and support links for Android and Windows devices via a web browser. To enhance the user experience for Apple’s video call platform, the Cupertino company has added a new feature called ShareTime. The said feature enables users to watch videos through their streaming services or listen to Apple Music while on a call. ShareTime also supports screen sharing.
Along with FaceTime, Apple’s inherent messaging service, iMessage also gets a redesigned interface. Photos shared via iMessage will be automatically categorised in a gallery along with a ‘Shared with You’ AI-enabled feature. ‘Shared with you’ sections will be available across Apple apps, including News, TV, Music, Podcast and Safari. The said feature will suggest relevant content across apps based on the links or recommendations sent to you by contacts in iMessage.
The biggest visual update to iOS 15 comes in the form of an improved Notification centre. The notifications have a brand new design for the home screen, including a Notification Summary tab for a cleaner look. The shiny new Focus Mode will help in managing various applications’ notifications. It will let users enable and shut different application’s notifications multiple times of the day that compliments a user’s Do Not Disturb settings.
As a part of iOS 15, iPhone’s native camera app gets a Live Text feature that can automatically identify texts in images and enables users to perform various tasks like copy text, call a phone number, get relevant information via search engines, and translate text.
Other key improvements come in the form of the AI-based creation of Memories in the Photo app that converts photographs into a single video and adds relevant Music via Apple’s streaming platform. Apple has also updated its Maps app to include 3D images of lanes and more city details. Additionally, with iOS 15, AirPods Pro gets a ‘conversation boost’ feature that focuses on a person’s voice for better hearing, especially for people with mild hearing issues.
Along with all the updates that come with iOS 15, Apple has added certain features to iPadOS to complement the iPad’s bigger screen. iOS’s automated categorisation of apps called App Library is coming to iPads, along with the option to place widgets on the home screen.
Redesigned larger widgets made specifically for the iPad are a part of key improvements. A new multitasking interface on an iPad makes using a split-screen easier and comfortable. The Quick Note feature allows users to take notes via the Apple Pencil gesture quickly, and also Notes will be able to suggest websites and apps according to the links saved in the app.
Along with new watch faces, the Apple Watch receives various improvements. Users can now write messages using their fingers and send them right from the watch. The already popular Breathe app gets a new Mindfulness nameplate that benefits health and focus. Users will be able to monitor their respiratory rate while sleeping, along with the addition of two new workout types: pilates and martial arts.
Named after the beach town in California, the upcoming macOS promises to take the power of the M1 enabled devices to the next level. A feature worth highlighting the most is Universal Control. It can use the MacBook or iMac’s trackpad, mouse, and keyboard on iPads running iPadOS 15. All you have to do is, keep your iPad next to your Mac and drag the cursor to the edge, and it’ll be available to use on the iPad. Users can also share files across devices via the same drag to the edge gesture.
Also, for the first time, iOS and iPadOS devices can share their screen with Macs, thanks to AirPlay. We Safari has been heavily updated to include a new visual interface and privacy improvements. Apple’s inherent web browser gets a tab grouping feature that can let users categorise various websites of relevance into a single folder. With the Monterey update, Apple has added Shortcuts to Macs.
iCloud + and Privacy updates
Apple has introduced various privacy features across all their devices and apps. Post the update to upcoming operating systems; the Mail app can block cross-platform tracking that hides a user’s IP address and location. The Californian company has also added an App Tracker section within Settings to check every application’s information in the past seven days.
Also, as a part of iCloud +, Apple is enabling a new feature called Private Relay. The said feature essentially routes web traffic through two separate servers. Basically, Private Relay works similar to a VPN.
The developer beta versions of all upcoming operating software will be available next month, and the company promises to release public beta versions soon after. An official public release of the next iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and watchOS will be released in late September or October.