Upcoming Updates | WWDC 2021 Playlist

Today was the start of Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference or WWDC. During this event, Apple announces future software updates that are usually released in the fall in order to give developers time to create apps and take advantage of the new features. Here are some things to look forward to when these updates drop later this year.

iOS 15

New Features:

  • Messages:
    • Stacks photos into groups
    • Find things people shared with you in that app. Example: If someone sends you a link to an Apple Music album, you will be shown that album in the Shared with you section of Apple Music
    • Pinning messages in a thread
  • FaceTime
    • SharePlay: Share media with others you’re on a FaceTime call with.
      • Screen Share
      • Watch together
      • listen together
    • Join FaceTime calls through a browser
    • Grid layout during group calls
    • Schedule FaceTime calls and generate share links
    • Spatial audio calls
    • Noise reduction
  • Photos & Camera
    • Live Text: Text recognition in Photos and camera
    • Visual Lookup gives you detailed information on objects in your photos
    • Use Apple Music for photo slideshow
  • Notifications & Focus
    • New design.
    • Notification Summary: Group of notifications given to you at a certain time.
    • People are warned you have Do Not Disturb on.
    • Use Focus to change the type of notifications you get. Focus on only work notifications, personal notifications, or fitness, and have a custom home screen for each focus. Can be automatically enabled based on the current state. Sets focus across all of your devices.
  • Spotlight
    • Photo search built into the spotlight
    • Rich results for contacts: gives a collection of information on a person including contact, links they shared with you, Find My location, and more.
    • Rich Results are extended to actors, singers, tv shows, and movies.
  • Wallet
    • More keys built into the wallet app
    • Add government-issued ID to the Wallet app.
  • Weather
    • Completely redesigned with more information.
  • Apple Maps
    • Global brought back
    • Enhanced 3D maps
    • Night mode
    • More road details
    • Better transit directions

My Thoughts on iOS 15:

I like the new additions to FaceTime, however, I think they may be a bit late. I’m also worried about the complexity of the new features. Could FaceTime be trying to do too much? But, personally, I know I will be using the screen sharing feature for IT support.

The Focus presets under Do Not Disturb are pretty appealing. It will be nice to customize the type of notification I get depending on where I am and what I’m working on. But, I have notifications turned off for almost everything so this isn’t really a problem for me.

In the Weather app, it’s nice to see that they are finally integrating features from Dark Sky, a weather app they purchased a couple of years ago, in the stock weather app.

My last couple of thoughts come from the latest update of Safari. I’m not sure how I feel about this simplified way of handling Tabs. I like that the address/tab bar is closer to the bottom of the screen and easier to access. However, I fear the Safari gestures may interfere with the Home bar at the bottom. I guess only time will tell.

All the other updates are cool. I like that photos sent in messages are combined into an album. I’m also intrigued with the state-issued IDs in the Wallet app. I’m curious to see how that plays out.

Supported Devices: iPhone 6s (2015) and newer (I you can run iOS 14, you can run iOS 15)

Learn More from the iOS 15 Preview

iOS 15 Press Release

AirPods

New Features:

  • Conversation Boost: Turns AirPods into hearing aid
  • Announce notifications
  • AirPods will use the Find My network like the AirTags
  • Get a notification when you forget your headphones
  • Spatial audio from Mac and AppleTV

My Thoughts on AirPods’s Updates:

Most of these updates to the AirPods software seem to bring it up to speed with the AirTags, in terms of adding features that help you track your headphones easier. But, I also want to see how using a pair of AirPods could help someone who is hard of hearing.

iPadOS 15

New Features:

  • Mix widgets and Apps on the home screen
  • App library like on iOS
  • Multitasking menu makes split-screen easier
  • New multitasking gestures
  • New keyboard shortcuts
  • Notes
    • Mentions and Activity feed for shared note
    • Add tags to notes
    • QuickNote: Swipe up from the corner of the screen to open a new note then type or draw
  • Translate app for iPad
  • Translate any text anywhere
  • Use Swift Playgrounds to program an app from sctratch

My Thought on iPadOS:

This was disappointing. I was hoping for so much more. They put a desktop chip into an iPad but didn’t add any powerful features or apps.

Most importantly, Apple’s multitasking solution on the iPad is still trash. They give you windows but force you to use their confusing menus and gestures instead of letting us freely control the windows.

Supported Devices: iPad Air 2 (2014) and newer

Learn more from the iPadOS Preview

iPad 15 Press Release

Privacy

New Features:

  • Mail Privacy Protection: Hides your personal information from a sender like your IP Address, location, and whether you have opened the email
  • Hide IP address from websites
  • App Privacy Report details when apps have taken advantage of their permissions over a week, and see who else the app is contacting
  • Voice recognition on the device instead of being sent to Apple’s servers.

My Thoughts:

I like to see that some Siri results can be given without an internet connection but instead can be answered completely on the device. Also, I’m curious to see how the App Privacy Report will shed light on what’s happening in the background of the apps we use.

Apple’s New Privacy Features Press Release

iCloud+

New Features:

  • A recovery contact lets someone you trust be your 2-factor authentication
  • Digital legacy passes down content to someone you trust after you die
  • iCloud+: Same prices as current iCloud storage
    • Private Relay encrypted your traffic and is sent between multiple servers (Basically a VPN)
    • Hide My Email creates a random email so you don’t give out your private email to sketchy websites
    • Unlimited HomeKit secure cameras

My Thoughts:

The Digital Legacy is something I’ve been thing about. Like what happens to your data saved on the cloud after you pass away. Well, Apple now has a solution, send it to someone you trust. You can also have someone you trust help recover your iCloud account if you can’t get into your account. I’m also happy to see that you can now have unlimited HomeKit secure cameras. Especially since that market is about to explode.

Health

New Features:

  • Walking Steadiness detects the possibility of falling
  • Share your medical data with your doctor or loved ones

New Health Features Press Release

macOS Monterey

New Features:

  • Continuity:
    • Universal Control: Use a single mouse and keyboard across multiple devices like a Mac, iPad, or iMac.
    • AirPlay to Mac to send your content to the screen of your Mac.
  • Shortcuts automation app comes to Mac and integrates into macOS
  • Decluttered Safari interface with a new Tab experience

My Thoughts:

Finally!! You can use your desktop Mac as an AirPlay-compatible display! This means you can send any video or audio to your Mac or use it as an external display. I’m also liking Universal Control. As someone who has an iPad and Mac, I’m curious if this new continuity feature is as seamless as it was portrayed in the keynote. But, I’m still unsure of the new Safari interface.

Device Support: A 2015 Mac or newer

Learn More from the macOS Monterey Preview

macOS Monterey Press Release

watchOS 8

  • New Breath app
  • Cheese reflections
  • Respiratory rate
  • New Fitness+ videos
  • Portrait watch face
  • New Photos app
  • Multiple Timers

My Thoughts:

The Apple Watch is the top-selling smartwatch, and now Apple is running out of ideas on what to do with it. Everything here is mostly small cosmetic updates. This leads me to the assumption that Apple may not be able to make any dermatic changes to the Apple Watch without dropping support for the Series 3 that they still sell.

Device Support: Apple Watch Series 3 (2017) and newer.

Learn More from the watchOS 8 Preview

watchOS 8 Press Release

home

  • Siri built into 3rd party devices
  • Unlock doors with smart key in the wallet app
  • Pair HomePod Minis to AppleTV 4K
  • HomePod available in more countries
  • Matter support with fall updates
  • New Home app on Apple Watch
  • Package detection and control accessories in camera view

My Thoughts:

I really don’t have much here. Mostly I’m interested in seeing the rollout of Matter. I also think it’s interesting they rolled the Apple TV into the Home section of the keynote. Could they be moving their focus across the home and combine some categories?

My Overall Thoughts:

This was a pretty boring keynote, and not at all what I hoped for. However, Craig did a good job trying to uplift the new features. Here are some things I thought were missing.

With the rise of Apple Silicon Macs, I was looking to see how they would standardize more of their ecosystem. But, it seems they were playing catch up to get all of their devices on the same page.

I also wanted to see an update to the Files app. It has so much potential, especially with the addition of Thunderbolt 3 in the latest iPad Pro. However, it’s still a handicapped version of its desktop counterpart, Finder.

Also, in regards to Files, why can’t you access your iPad or iPhone as an external drive from your Mac. Sure you can move files between individual apps, but not the Files app?

I also would have liked to see a way to organize your cards in the Wallet app, because I have a lot and they need some organizing.

Overall a pretty uneventful keynote.

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