Apple announced numerous new features for devices running different operating systems during its annual product rollout at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference, as well as three new versions of its MacBook, powered by the company’s M2 chip.
While some held out hope for Apple’s foray into the metaverse by announcing a headphones during the keynote presentation, the company focused on upgrading its existing applications and hardware for better performance and user experiences.
iOS 16 gets a big boost for iPhone users
Update lock screen
On the mobile side of things, Apple revealed its plans for iOS 16 for iPhones, including a new type of lock screen that can be dynamic and adaptable to the user’s individual needs. Through this lock screen, various filters can be applied to the chosen photos and everything can be adjusted from the gradient used in the image to the font of the screen. In addition, users can now apply widgets to their lock screen, allowing them to track a workout or sports score without having to unlock or scroll through an iPhone. This lock screen customization is very similar to what users can do on an Apple watch face, making the company’s ecosystem even more connected.
The messaging app for iOS 16 also showed a number of improvements, including the ability to edit or undo messages as needed, a long-awaited feature for messaging-enabled devices. Another important innovation was the improved dictation capabilities for users, with automatic punctuation being another key focus. SharePlay was also announced for messaging for watching shows or movies, listening to music, and using the Fitness+ app remotely with friends.
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Apple Wallet Updates
The Apple Wallet also received a number of new improvements, including digital driver’s licenses for certain states, the ability to share hotel keys with others, and the new Pay Later feature that allows users to split payments into installments.
An additional feature mentioned by Apple was a new tool called Safety Check, aimed at protecting the privacy and personal safety of users. The example Apple gave during the presentation was the security issues for users in abusive relationships and issues that sharing passwords and locations can cause. To remedy this, individuals can now disable these sharing settings along with messaging and FaceTime capabilities for their device.
iOS 16 is expected to come to iPhone in September 2022.
Apple unveils new hardware powered by M2 chip
In terms of hardware, Apple has announced two new MacBook devices powered by its new M2 processor. It was revealed that a new version of the MacBook Air is specifically designed to run on the M2 chip. The new MacBook Air is said to have 20% less volume than previous versions, measuring 11.3mm thick and weighing 2.7lb.
As for the Air’s display, the laptop will boast a billion colors at 500 nits and be 25% brighter than previous models. The new Air also comes with a 1080p FaceTime HD camera, which is double the resolution and better low-light performance than previous versions. The Air comes with MagSafe and two Thunderbolt ports on the left side of the body, with an audio jack on the right.
The M2 chip will also help power another MacBook, in the form of the 13-inch MacBook Pro. This version of the Pro includes the Touch Bar and over 20 hours of battery life for video playback and 24 GB of unified memory.
The MacBook Air starts at $1,199, while the MacBook Pro 13″ starts at $1,299, both will be available next month.
macOS Ventura is coming to Apple devices
For those investing in the new MacBook models or working on existing devices, macOS Ventura was announced with a number of new features. The Stage Manager feature allows users to focus on one task by moving unused apps to the side of the screen, eliminating distractions. An improved version of Spotlight gives consumers more control via the app. Users can now take actions through the Spotlight app, such as photos and LiveText.
An update to the Mail app improves search functionality, allowing users to instantly find a message with faster and more accurate results. Similar to iOS 16, Apple has added the “Undo Sent” feature so that users can undo sending a message if necessary. In addition, the ability to schedule when an email is sent and reminders to follow up on a received email will be made available through the app.
Safari will receive a number of updates as part of macOS Ventura, with the ability to share tab groups with other users if needed.
A new continuity camera allows users to wirelessly use an iPhone as a webcam on a Mac, with a stand that attaches the mobile device to a screen. The iPhone has the ability to pair on the Mac, according to the keynote presentation.
Ventura is expected to be available for Mac devices later this year.
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iPads are not left behind
Not to mention was the iPad, which is getting a lot of upgrades related to apps, such as an updated weather app, the ability to collaborate with others through the messaging app, and the new Freeform app. This collaboration functionality allows users to connect via FaceTime and collaborate on a shared digital whiteboard to multitask on projects. The whiteboard is shared in real time, allowing all members of the conversation to edit the space as needed, with the ability to add everything from sticky notes to full PDFs.
A number of desktop-quality features have been announced iPads as part of the event, with a major update to the files app expected to be on the way, and the Stage Manager feature expected to be available on iPads as well.
Apple Watch updates aimed at improving users’ health
As part of Apple’s WatchOS 9 update, user well-being was a clear priority. The workout app is refreshed through various metrics such as vertical oscillation, which measures how much a user moves up and down, along with workout experiences inspired by high-performing athletes. For those looking at more in-depth stats, items such as stride length and ground contact time can now be tracked through the Apple Watch†
Sleep is another important factor in a person’s health, and more comprehensive ways of tracking items such as sleep cycles and atrial fibrillation history will give users the ability to share this information as needed for a sleep study.
For those who regularly take medications, reminders can help users take prescriptions and what dosage to take. This information can be extended to other users so that family members can understand when a person’s medication has been taken.
WatchOS 9, like the iOS 16 rollout, is expected in the fall of this year.