This week, Apple kicked off their annual developer conference, WWDC, with a splashy keynote that was streamed live to anyone that wanted to watch (you can watch it here if you missed it). Typically, this is when Apple announces their plans for new operating system updates across all their products and drops some new hardware.
This year though, it was all software with no new MacBook Pros or even the rumoured Series 7 Apple Watch to be found.
All of these updates will be coming later this year to your Apple device but developers are able to install beta versions this week with a public beta coming in July for most platforms.
You can watch our recap video right here and read below to see our first thoughts about what was announced:
Apple really overhauled their video calling app, FaceTime adding a slew of new features. Probably the biggest news is that for the first time, people on Android and Windows can now be invited to join (via their browser) a FaceTime call.
SharePlay is a new way to watch and listen to the same content with your friends and family from inside a FaceTime call. This also works with Apple Music as well. Apple has made an API that allows 3rd parties to integrate the sharing function so that you can watch shows on Disney+, Twitch and even TikToks inside your video call. There is also a picture in picture function that allows you to keep watching and drop down to a Safari window and order pizza without missing anything.
They’ve expanded how the Do Not Disturb function operates, allowing you to create home/work/custom statuses that let you hide notifications and even apps to remove the temptation while you’re trying to focus on something and don’t want to be interrupted. You can also schedule these statuses – during the day you would be in work mode (for example) and then at 5:00pm, it would hide your work apps and enable your personal profile. If people try contact you while these modes are engaged, you can choose to notify them that you’re busy or let certain contacts push a message through. This should really help with work/life balances where it’s too easy to stay on the clock instead of clocking out for the day.
This is an amazing new feature that is effectively live OCR (optical character recognition) for your photos. If you had a photo of a sign, for example, that has a name and phone number on it, you can highlight that text and copy it anywhere else on your device. Likewise, the software will detect that there is phone number IN THE PHOTO and you can click on it to make that call. This also works with multiple languages in real time. In addition to photos, this also works with screenshots and even photos in your web browser.
Like Live Text, your photos become content aware. If you have a photo of a dog, you can click on the dog and you’re able to look up the breed of the dog thanks to artificial intelligence and machine learning.
The Apple Wallet has been indispensable for adding your various payment methods and being able to tap to pay anywhere that accepts tap. In addition to adding virtual car keys (coming later this year to BMW vehicles), you’ll soon be able to add your work badge and even identity cards (coming to some US States this year with others TBA). Hyatt Hotels will be the first to send you a virtual hotel room key even before you check in.
A number of updates to the AirPods software is coming but one in particular stood out – Conversation Boost essentially turns your AirPods into a hearing aid in that it focuses the audio on whomever you’re speaking to and drops down the ambient noise in the room.
A lot of the above will be coming to iPads later this year but Apple really fine tuned the multitasking feature in iPadOS. Putting a button at the top that allows you to easily enable split view. You can easily have two apps, side by side and drag them around to your liking. A new “Shelf” view shows you all your open windows/apps at the bottom making it a breeze to drag one up to take over a split window. Reading emails in a split view allows you to have the email app open while doing something else and if you tap on an email, it pops up above the split view, giving you the ability to read the full email and you can drop back to split view by changing focus.
Apple has been one of the strongest proponents to user privacy and they’ve added a ton of new features that are system wide.
Sure to stymie most marketeers and spammers alike, this feature in Mail will hide your IP address, location and even hide the fact you opened the mail by blocking all the tracking objects typically embedded in those emails.
Safari will also hide your IP address from website to prevent them from creating a location specific profile for you.
This report will show you how apps treat your privacy and will let you know which ones have or want access to your camera, location, microphone and other tracking methods.
The virtual assistant will now do on device speech recognition. This means your audio requests never leave your device and in many cases, will work even without a network connection – depending on what you’re asking.
A slew of updates to iCloud including expanded account recovery options where you can assign a family member or friend to be your designated recovery option which can issue you a code to get back into your account should you get locked out.
You can also add a designated person to handle your account affairs if you were to pass on instead of those accounts being locked away for ever if your family didn’t have your passwords.
Private Relay is part of iCloud+ (no additional charge) which lets you securely browse the web with your encrypted traffic being hidden behind two separate internet relays which makes it practically impossible to track you down to your location.
One of the biggest features shown of the next version of MacOS is called Universal Control. This lets you move seamlessly between your iPhone, iPad and laptop/desktop Mac with one keyboard and mouse/trackpad. You’re able to drag and drop files between them as if they were one unified device. The demo they showed had a graphic that was designed on an iPad being grabbed from the Procreate screen and dragged across an iPhone screen and then dropped into the timeline on a Final Cut video being edited. This is way more than what Sidecar previously offered and apparently doesn’t require any settings or configuration as long as your devices are all up to date and on the same network.
As you can see, there was a ton of announcements and we’ve just scratched the surface of what was covered in the two hour presentation. Expect a lot more things to be revealed during the rest of the week at WWDC and we’ll keep you posted on anything of interest we come across.
This weekend, on both of our radio shows (also in podcast format wherever you get your podcasts will be released shortly after the shows air) we’ll have a deeper discussion on some of these updates and the bigger implications some of them will have later this year.