The 2021 edition of WWDC, Apple’s annual week-long developer conference, has begun.
The presentation kicked off with a keynote talk that doubled as a product announcement extravaganza, showcasing new software capabilities and upcoming updates to Apple’s several services.
Today’s announcements come just over a month after Apple unveiled its newest batch of new gear at an event.
We have compiled all the highlights of the event for you in the following article.
Keep reading to find out what’s coming and what we can expect from the Silicon-Valley based tech mogul.
As expected, iOS was the star of the show at WWDC. Every fall, Apple updates the software that runs the iPhone, and today it unveiled the top-level features that will be included in iOS 15.
Facetime is getting major upgrades that will make the interface look similar to Zoom. For group calls, there’s a new grid display that highlights the individual speaking, as well as new spatial audio and voice isolation capabilities that make remote conversations seem clearer and more realistic.
FaceTime will also get a SharePlay feature, which syncs streaming material inside FaceTime and lets users view movies or listen to music while chatting.
Naturally, this simultaneous viewing and listening feature works wonderfully with Apple TV+ and Apple Music material.
Apple will also release a set of programming tools that will allow rival streaming services’ developers to integrate SharePlay into their apps.
Finally, folks using Android phones and Windows PCs can participate in FaceTime calls. Apple users can send a FaceTime link to a non-Apple device that can be accessed in a web browser.
Whereas, new features in the Photos app will employ computer vision technology to recognize and read text within photographs, as well as aid with picture searches.
Apple didn’t unveil a new pair of AirPods, but it did give users even more reasons to upgrade to the more expensive AirPods Pro or AirPods Max.
Shortly, software updates will significantly improve both sets of Apple’s noise-canceling headphones. The fact that they can now be used as low-powered hearing aids is perhaps the most interesting aspect.
People with minor hearing loss will soon be able to employ a “conversation boost” mode, which combines audio processing with the earbuds’ and headphones’ beamforming mics.
People will be able to hear conversations more clearly and tune out ambient noise if the functionality is turned on.
Siri will be able to announce a broader selection of time-sensitive notifications, and you’ll be able to choose which apps to activate in a future settings menu.
Furthermore, both pairs of premium headphones benefit from Apple’s system-wide improvements to the find-my network, which include a new proximity view that alerts you when you’re getting close, as well as an exciting option that sends you a notification if your iPhone detects that you’ve left your headphones behind.
Both headphones feature Dolby Atmos spatial audio, and Apple has now announced that Atmos-mixed music is now accessible on Apple Music.
iPadOS will gain a multitasking menu at the top of the screen with the next version.
With one or two touches on the little pop-up menu, you may make apps fullscreen, create a split view with multiple apps, or move windows to the side of the screen to access the home screen.
In the split view, switching between apps is now as simple as a couple of swipes.
These actions will also work with keyboard shortcuts, which is great news for knowledge workers who want to use their iPad as a laptop substitute.
Additionally, the Notes app becomes more collaborative by allowing you to observe recent modifications and tag peers in a shared document.
Widgets have been updated in iPadOS, with new larger widgets and additional actions to make organizing and managing widgets on the home screen easier.
On the iPad, the Translate app has been updated to include real-time spoken language translations as well as the ability to translate text across all of your apps, web pages, Messages, and everything else on the system. You can even use Apple Pencil and Translate to improve handwriting.
The animation in the Breathe app has been improved. A new Reflect function provides you with feel-good prompts such as being appreciative for something you enjoy or remembering something that makes you happy.
The sleep-tracking technology that was first introduced to watchOS last year now includes new ways to monitor various sleep goals, such as your breathing rate.
Keeping with the meditative theme, Apple’s Fitness+ program now features a tai chi workout to help relieve stress, as well as artist spotlight workouts from artists like Keith Urban, which are sure to boost user numbers. As a bonus, Jeanette Jenkins, a new celebrity trainer, has joined the Fitness+ training team.
On the Watch, the Photos app is getting a major overhaul. The new photo watch faces, which allow you to display photos of your loved ones on your Apple Watch, are sure to be a success.
You can now surf through your memories, look at the highlights, and share them with your friends and family without ever having to take your phone out of your pocket.
Apple is aiming for device synergy with the next version of the desktop OS, which will be released this fall. Apps will be easier to sync across all of your Apple devices, including Macs, iPads, and iPhones.
Using Apple’s new Universal Control function, customers can place an iPad next to a Mac and use it as an instant second monitor.
The trackpad and keyboard on the Mac will also work on both devices, with the pointer bouncing between screens when the focus shifts from one to the other.
Apple has made improvements to Safari on the desktop, making it feel more like Chrome or Vivaldi.
Tabs are now smaller and more compact, and Safari users may group tabs in the sidebar, making it easier to keep track of your 250 open browser tabs.
The color of the tabs also changes to match the visual layout of the web page you’re on.
Enhancements to Privacy Settings
Apple has announced the addition of a few additional security features to its various products.
One major feature that will be added to Mail is the ability to prevent tracking iPhone sharing pixels in emails that can reveal your email activity.
Your IP address is likewise hidden from email senders using the same technology. Apple users who pay for the new premium version of iCloud, known as iCloud+, will have access to similar privacy restrictions.
Safari now has a new surfing mode that lets iCloud+ subscribers hide their location and destination in the browser. Apple achieves this by sending encrypted web traffic over two different internet relays.
Another new feature is the App Privacy Report, which is similar to what Safari already does for websites.
Siri, on the other hand, gains some on-device speech recognition smarts, allowing the virtual assistant to hear and perform most basic activities (setting alarms, going to Dark Mode) without having to send your voice recordings to the cloud for processing.
Moreover, you can now store more sensitive cards like government-issued IDs and keycards for your office building in the Wallet app
Third-party gadgets will now be able to use HomeKit with Apple’s voice assistant Siri.
Up until recently, you could only talk to Siri on Apple products.
Other hardware producers, such as smart speaker manufacturers or makers of innovative smart home locks and cameras, can now fully install the voice assistant on their products thanks to this latest software update.
There was a lot unpacked at the WWDC 2021 event this year. Some exciting updates and changes are coming. For now, we can just wait and see what other surprises are in store this year.
About the Author
Zainab is a content creator & a passionate blogger. She is a professional tech blogger & an avid reader by soul. She loves to explore topics related to news/technology, particularly data transfer. In her free time, she enjoys penning down her thoughts with a cup of coffee.