The WWDC 2021 began on Monday June 7th with a series of short films for employees suggesting how to start the keynote. Apple also used the WWDC to show off new innovations and additions to its software.
This conference starts week-long workshops for app developers for the Apple company.
Apple apps will be able to interact with other Apple devices, other Apple apps, and the growing list of Apple services. Here are the highlights from today’s presentation.
iOS 15 Update
Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS 15, will show up on supported iPhones this fall. PHOTOGRAPH: APPLE
Apple’s new system includes notifications summaries, slinger notifications in focus mode, live text, all new detailed maps, portrait mode in FaceTime, and interactive memories.
While everyone is isolated from the outside world, use of FaceTime has increased by iPhone users.
Apple revealed that the next version of the video chat app is going to look a lot more Zoom-like. There’s a new grid view for group calls that highlights the person speaking, and some new spatial audio and voice isolation features to make remote conversations sound clearer and feel more natural.
FaceTime is also getting a feature called SharePlay, which syncs streaming content inside FaceTime and allows users to watch movies or listen to music together while they chat.
Apple will also be launching a set of programming tools to allow developers at other streaming services to build SharePlay into their apps. Finally, people with Android phones or Windows PCs can join your FaceTime calls now.
Apple users can share a FaceTime link that can be opened in the web browser on non-Apple devices.
Additionally, the photos app will be getting some updates, as well, including a live text function. This feature essentially allows users to recognize and read text within images and help with image searches.
SharePlay, and as you might have guessed, allows you to share movies, music, and your screen with anyone you’re FaceTiming with. Want to listen to a new album with your friend in sync at the same time? You can access iTunes from Apple Music.
Maybe you want to watch a movie with your long-distance partner while video-chatting? Easy. You can AirPlay the movie to your TV at the same time to watch it on the big screen.
Apple says any other developer with a content streaming app will be able to add support for the SharePlay feature, though services like Disney+, HBOMax, ESPN+, and TikTok will already be on board when iOS 15 arrives this fall.
Apple is continuing its quest to take over your wallet.
Last year, it let you add car keys, but in iOS 15, you can add additional keys.
Add a home key if you use a smart lock, an access card you may use to enter your office, or a hotel room key. Apple says Hyatt will roll this function out to 1,000 properties worldwide.
With just a quick tap on your Apple Watch you’ll be able to check in and get the details of your hotel room all without any contact with others.
How easy is that?
And iPadOS is getting a few new tricks of its own.
You can place widgets anywhere on a home screen, just as you can on your iPhone. There are larger widgets to make use of the more screen real space, and Apple has even brought the App Library over so you’re not left dealing with dozens of home pages. You can access the App Library from the iPad’s dock.
Quick Note & Multitasking
A new perk to the notes app is Quick Nnte; it turns a note into a system that pops up anywhere on the iPad.
You just swipe in from the corner and a post-It-sized notepad shows up that you can use to jot down notes instantly.
The Apple Watch is doing its best to help you chill out with some new meditative features.
The new Breathe app has a more absorbing animation. A new Reflect feature feeds you feel-good prompts, like being thankful for something you love or reminding yourself of something that gives you joy perhaps like food.
Fitness+ now also works with three new workouts for you: Tai Chi, pilates and it includes working out with a new celebrity trainer, Jeanette Jenkins.
The next version of macOS will be nicknamed Monterey.
With this next version of the desktop OS due this fall, Apple is aiming for device synergy. Apps will sync more easily between all your Apple devices: Mac, iPads, and iPhones.
With a new feature Apple calls Universal Control, users can set their iPad beside a Mac to double as an instant second monitor.
The Mac’s trackpad and keyboard will work across devices too, with the cursor jumping between screens as the focus changes from one device to the other.
Privacy Enhancements & Health App
One major update coming to Mail is the capacity to obstruct following pixels in messages that can uncover your email action.
A similar component also hides your IP address from email senders.
Protection controls will be accessible to Apple clients who buy into the new, exceptional form of iCloud, which is called iCloud+.
Apple is achieving this by directing encoded web traffic through two separate web transfers.
App Privacy Report, which is similar to what is currently offered for websites in Safari. It’s a dashboard that gives you an overview of how often your downloaded apps are accessing your location, contacts, camera, and microphone, as well as which third-party addresses each app is pinging.
Siri gets more secure with some on-device speech recognition smarts that lets the virtual assistant hear and execute most simple tasks (setting alarms, switching to Dark Mode) without needing to send your voice clips into the cloud for processing.
The new and improved health app system includes, now being able to share your data with a doctor and loved ones, trends in your health habits, lab results highlights for glucose levels, a sleep widget, and walking steadiness.
HomeKit & tvOS 15 updates
Lastly, the most significant HomeKit news to come out of this year’s WWDC is that support for Apple’s voice assistant Siri is coming to third-party devices.
Up until now, typically, you have only been able to talk to Siri on Apple devices.
This new software update means that other hardware makers, like smart speaker manufacturers or makers of smart home locks and cameras, can fully place the voice assistant on their devices.