Apple packed a lot into the keynote for its annual developer conference. At the WWDC stage, the company’s executive touted the latest improvements coming to iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 in the fall, as well as upcoming improvements to macOS, watchOS, and more. Apple also announced new hardware at this year’s keynote: the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro powered by the new M2 processor. Here’s the biggest announcement coming out of WWDC 2022.
The next iteration of the iPhone operating system will include new intelligence, sharing, and connectivity features, as well as new ways to personalize your smartphone. Key among the latter is the fully designed screen lock, which lets you customize most of the items you’ll see before unlocking your iPhone. You will be able to click and customize any element of your lock screen, change the color and timeline, add widgets from the widget gallery and change the background with filters. If you’d rather have an image as your lock screen background, you’ll now be able to set Photo Swap as your wallpaper, which will cycle through multiple images throughout the day.
Also coming to the lock screen are Live Activities, which are tools that update in real time when events occur. They’ll better allow you to keep track of things like the sports that are going on right now, Uber rides, workouts and more. The new lock screen will better support different focus modes, allowing you to customize the alerts and notifications you receive on the lock screen when you’re in a certain focus mode. So, for example, you will be able to create a work lock screen which will accompany the work focus mode.
iOS 16 will also bring some highly-anticipated updates to Messages, such as editing messages, undo sending, and flagging as “unread”. You’ll be able to edit sent messages so you can get rid of any misspellings, undo messages you just sent and mark threads as unread, in case you want to go back to them with fresh eyes. Apple is also expanding the capabilities of SharePlay in Messages, allowing you to share things like videos and watch them with friends while sending messages back and forth.
iPhone users will also have access to a new feature dubbed Apple Pay Later in iOS 16. This splits purchases into four equal payments and spreads them out over several weeks, with no interest or fees applied. This should make it easier to pay for large purchases over time, and this will be accompanied by a new order tracking feature, which will allow you to monitor where shipments are before they actually reach your doorstep.
Apple has a number of Family Sharing updates planned for iOS 16, including easier ways for parents to manage their children’s accounts and devices. The new Quick Start setup process will allow parents to set up a new Apple device for their children more easily with all necessary parental controls and restrictions in place. A more general new feature coming to Family Sharing includes Photos – Within your family, you’ll be able to have a dedicated iCloud Shared Photo Library, a separate space where you can share specific photos you want everyone in your family to see. The Photos app gives you suggestions for sharing based on who’s in the photo and other factors, allowing you to more easily pick and choose the photos you want everyone to have access to.
There are a bunch of other updates coming to Wallet, HomeKit, CarPlay, and more, but the other new feature in iOS 16 that we wanted to touch on here is the security check. It’s a new privacy feature that lets you review and reset the access you’ve granted to others. If you ever need to remove someone’s access, you’ll be able to use Security Check to do things like stop sharing location via Find My and reset the permissions you previously granted to certain apps.
MacBook Air M2, MacBook Pro M2 13 inch
Apple revealed a new piece of hardware at today’s keynote: the new MacBook Air M2, which is uncharacteristic of WWDC. As the name suggests, the laptop runs on the company’s updated M2 chipset, which Apple promises will deliver up to 18 percent faster CPU performance and 35 percent faster GPU performance than the M1 chips. The new MacBook Air also has a completely new design — the wedge shape of the previous model has gone, replaced by a more square design that’s still very thin at 11.3mm thick and just 2.7 pounds.
The MacBook Air M1 will have a 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display, which is 25 percent brighter than the screen in the previous model, and supports 1 billion colors. It also has a 1080p webcam, a four-speaker audio system, a TouchID keyboard with a fully functional row, and a fanless interior. Unfortunately, there are still only two Thunderbolt ports on this device, but Apple recharged MagSafe with a dedicated power port, so at least you won’t connect one of the two Thunderbolt ports to a charging cable. As for battery life, Apple estimates up to 18 hours of video playback on the MacBook Air M2. The new laptop will be available next month, starting at $1,199.
The M2 chipset will also arrive in the 13-inch MacBook Pro soon, providing performance similar to one of the company’s most popular laptops. The MacBook Pro M2 will have an eight-core CPU and 10-core GPU, support for up to 24GB of RAM and up to 2TB of storage, plus up to 20 hours of battery life. The updated 13-inch MacBook Pro M2 will also be available next month and starts at $1,299.
The upcoming version of macOS, called Ventura, will bring a few new organization and collaboration features to Macs. Stage Manager offers a new way to organize application windows on your desktop, automatically placing the application you’re currently running front and center. Other active apps will be marked in a separate side dock where you can drag and drop files for sharing, copy/paste and more.
Mail will receive similar updates to Messages in iOS 16, such as unsending, scheduling sending, and reminders to come back to emails at a later time. Elsewhere in Safari, it will be easier to share multiple tabs with friends and family and collaborate with them in real time. For example, if you’re planning a camping trip with several people, you can share multiple tabs with camping gear, locations, information, and more with your group, see which tabs they’re actively searching for, and more.
New Handoff and Continuity features are coming to FaceTime on macOS, too. For the former, you’ll be able to seamlessly deliver a FaceTime call you started on your iPhone to your Mac, allowing you to use a larger screen when you need it. The new continuous camera feature offers a fun way to use your iPhone as a webcam. With magnetic mounts in development, you’ll be able to attach your iPhone to your Mac’s screen and use its camera array as your webcam for FaceTime, Zoom, Microsoft Team, and other video calls. Also, the process is completely wireless, so you don’t have to worry about using one of your computer’s ports for this like you would a standard external webcam.
Also of note are Apple’s new passkeys or numeric keys that are stored securely on your device. These unique passkeys, which are designed to replace passwords, are not stored in the cloud, which Apple claims makes them less vulnerable to phishing and theft attempts. Passkeys will integrate with TouchID and FaceID on Apple devices for biometric authentication, and can be synced with other Apple devices via iCloud Keychain.
Many of the new features that will come to iPadOS 16 are those we discussed from iOS 16 and macOS Venture. But iPads will also get things like new collaboration privileges, updated Game Center profiles and sharing capabilities, and their own version of Stage Manager in macOS. The latter is arguably the most interesting new feature as it pushes to help push the iPad into an alternative world to the desktop. Stage Manager on iPad will allow users to resize app windows for the first time and overlap app windows as well, making them more similar to browser windows and programs you use on the desktop. Add full support for external display and iPad inch closer to being a true laptop replacement device.
Apple Watches will gain a number of useful new workout features in watchOS 9. Most of these features are limited to the Workout app, where you’ll be able to track your heart rate zones during a workout and even set goals based on the heart rate zone you want to stay in. Runners will appreciate the new trackable metrics available in the workout app, including vertical oscillation, stride length, and ground contact time. When you track your running, you’ll be able to see more on your watch screen by using the Digital Crown to scroll through different screens with different data recorded on them. Apple will also add a Custom Workout feature to the app, which allows users to create workout routines with specific goals that they can return to on certain training days.
Sleep tracking on Apple Watch will also improve in watchOS 9 thanks to the addition of sleep stages. The watch will now be able to monitor when you’re in REM, basic and deep sleep, and record how much time you spend in each phase, as well as how much time you spend awake each night.
Finally in the health and fitness arena, Apple’s new Medicines app will make it easier for Watch users to keep track of which medications, vitamins and supplements they’re taking and how often. It has a reminder feature, which will use the audio and tactile alerts on the watch to perform a call test when you need to take one of our medications throughout the day.
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