During the virtual keynote of WWDC, Apple shared the first details about iOS 15, the next major version of iOS that is going to be released later this year. There are four pillars with this year’s release: staying connected, focusing without distraction, using intelligence and exploring the world.
“For many of us, our iPhones have become indispensable,” SVP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi said. “Our new release is iOS 15. It’s packed with features that make the iOS experience adapt to and complement the way you use iPhone, whether it’s staying connected with those who matter to you most, finding the space to focus without distraction, using intelligence to discover the information you need, or exploring the world around you.”
In addition to allowing users to schedule and plan FaceTime calls, the FaceTime links feature will also allow users to join a FaceTime call from a non-Apple device. That includes Android smartphones, computers, or any device that can access a web browser.
Here’s a funny one: iOS 15 lets you place multiple copies of the same app on Springboard. This means you can have the same app duplicated across your home screens, as many times as you want.
The reason Apple now lets you arrange multiple copies of the same app is because of iOS 15’s new Focus features.
Apple announced more features for Safari during its WWDC keynote. Among them is that it's bringing web extensions to Safari on iPad and iPhone. It'll be easier to manage your tabs and windows thanks to a redesigned tab bar and tab groups.
Now, when a user starts to move the text cursor, a bubble appears above their finger magnifying what is shown below. This makes it really easy to see where the text cursor is being placed, and where text will be inserted.
Apple says that with iOS 15 and other software updates coming this fall, it will give people temporary iCloud storage to help transfer data to new devices. The storage will be available for up to 3 weeks, making it easier to transfer data from iCloud to a new device.
The new UI in many ways resembles the redesigned new-generation Siri Remote, and now includes Back, Mute, Power, and channel buttons, while the iPhone's physical Side/Power button becomes the =Siri button.
In iPadOS 15, multitasking will receive a significant update. And the iPad has finally gained those iOS 14 features, with some iPad-specific tweaks. Also, the Notes app got some new features.
The latest version of the operating system allows these apps to run in landscape mode, so you can easily use them without having to rotate the iPad to portrait orientation. This was a problem for iPad users with a Smart Keyboard or Magic Keyboard since you cannot use these accessories with the iPad in a vertical position.
As for new features, macOS Monterey includes a new tool called "Universal Control," which allows users to share control of Mac and iPad devices with a single mouse and keyboard. Apple SVP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi demonstrated the ability to set an iPad near a Mac, move the cursor of the latter toward the former, and have the iPad automatically recognize it. This makes it possible to directly drag and drop files between the devices, for instance. Apple demonstrated this feature working across an iMac, MacBook, and iPad in concert.
MacOS Monterey will also make it possible to AirPlay video, audio, documents, and other items from an iPad or iPhone directly to a Mac. Safari will also receive something of a makeover with the update, bringing a visually cleaner toolbar and grouped tabs that now appear next to the URL field.
“The Mac has a long history of automation with command line, shell scripts, Apple scripts and Automator. And on iOS, we've made automation even easier with Shortcuts,” SVP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi said. “And this year we're bringing Shortcuts to the Mac.”
Apple’s watchOS 8, unveiled during the virtual Worldwide Developers Conference, features a grab bag of improvements in health, communication, photos, home automation, and more. Though perhaps overshadowed by other WWDC announcements, these collectively do much to move the Apple Watch forward.
Alongside iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and more today, Apple has announced tvOS 15 with new features and improvements, including SharePlay, a new “Shared with You” section on the TV app, and more.
Apple says the “Conversation Boost” feature will help people who have difficulties hearing other people’s voices when they’re talking. It will try to isolate the voice of the person in front of you, with sliders that let the user control how much ambient noise is let in.
The Health app uses a new metric called Walking Steadiness to give users a risk of falling assessment before a fall actually happens. Apple is also adding a better way of understanding lab results in the Health app.
With permission, someone can share access to their overall heart rate and movement data. They’ll also be able to share access to alerts like a high heart rate or change in mobility. The person they’re sharing the data with can message them directly about any changes.
The apps that use this API will be able to set restrictions like locking accounts in place, preventing password changes, filtering web traffic, and limiting access to applications. These sorts of changes are already available through Apple’s Screen Time system, but developers can now build their own experiences where these features are offered under their own branding and where they can then expand on the functionality provided by Apple’s system.
“I think the analogy with security is apt,” Federighi says of the feline-and-rodent comparison. “The incentives for ‘innovation’ in the exploitation world are high, and so there is a lot of advancement in the art of tracking; a lot of advancement in the arts of security exploits. And so, in both areas, we think there’s going to continue to be a cat and mouse game. We think we bring a lot of tools to that fight, and we can largely stay ahead of it and protect our customers. But it’s something we recognize as a battle we will be fighting for years to come.”
Apple is amping up iCloud with a new set of features called iCloud Plus. The cloud storage service will now come with access to a VPN, burner email addresses, and unlimited storage for HomeKit-enabled home security cameras.
The VPN, called Private Relay, will route your internet traffic through two relays in order to mask who’s browsing and where that data is coming from.
Apple said it also will not offer "private relay" in Belarus, Colombia, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkmenistan, Uganda and the Philippines.
Apple is adding a digital legacy service for user accounts, allowing you to assign an administrator who can access your data in the event you die.
Apple’s digital assistant Siri will now process audio on-device by default, meaning you can use the feature without an internet connection. Apple says the upgrade will also make Siri more responsive.
Processing audio on-device will also make using Siri more private, says Apple.
With its focus on privacy, Apple is leaning on one of its core strengths. Increasingly, data is being processed on local devices, like a computer or phone, instead of being sent back to big servers to analyze. This is both more private, because the data doesn't live on a server, and potentially faster from an engineering standpoint.
Because Apple designs both the iPhone and processors that offer heavy-duty processing power at low energy usage, it's best poised to offer an alternative vision to Android developer Google which has essentially built its business around internet services.
Apple says that you can set up verification codes under Passwords in the Settings app, and once set up, verification codes will autofill when you sign into a site, which will make using two-factor authentication on an iPhone or iPad much more streamlined.
Users will have the choice to stay on iOS 14 and receive important security updates, or upgrade to iOS 15 to take advantage of all the new features.
Apple has announced that Siri is coming to third-party devices for the first time. This means you’ll be able to make voice requests to things like smart-home devices from other brands.
Apple said "thousands" of songs will use the feature at launch, and name-checked Ariana Grande, Maroon 5, and The Weeknd as musical acts offering tracks with Dolby Atmos support.
While Apple’s keynote focuses largely on the company’s consumer audience, the Platforms State of the Union is where things start to get technical, really targeting the core WWDC audience: developers on Apple’s platform.
Apple made a ton of big announcements at WWDC this year, and the State of the Union delved into just a few big categories of those. But in doing so, it gives a look at what Apple’s emphasizing for developers over the next few months leading up to the official release of its next major operating systems.
Apple says that “Hookup apps” containing pornographic content or that facilitate prostitution will be rejected by the company. For apps that let users report criminal activities, Apple will only approve them if there is a local law enforcement institution behind it.
For the first time, you can code, iterate and build apps on the iPad itself. Using Swift Playgrounds on iPadOS 15, customers will be able to create iPhone and iPad apps from scratch and then deploy them to the App Store.
Apple today announced its own continuous integration system called ‘Xcode Cloud’. Xcode Cloud allows developers to commit code which is then built on Apple’s servers. Test suites can then be performed in parallel whilst the local developer continues to do other things.
The WWDC 2021 Keynote on Monday showed that Apple, after years of work, is moving its platforms forward in lockstep. Nearly every feature Apple announced was followed by the statement that it was available on iPhone, iPad, and Mac alike. Yes, each operating system is still different—iPadOS continues to show signs of being positioned right between the Mac and the iPhone, similar to both but not quite either—but the most important stuff rolls out to all of the devices at once.
I was all excited about AirPlay to Mac until I read the fine print and discovered that my Mac is not supported.
There are other stuff that I am excited of. Focus sounds like a great addition to iPhone, iPad, and Mac: It can be powerful, yet it seems like it is relatively simple to set up. I think I have to try out the new multitasking stuff in iPadOS before I can say whether I like it, but the part I'm excited about is the relatively minimal use of difficult-to-execute gestures.
One thing I worry: the new match-color-of-website Safari feature.
Update: HomePod mini is still not available in Singapore.
Thanks for reading.