This story is part ofCNET’s full coverage of and about the annual Apple Developer Conference.
What is happening
Apple’s annual Developers Conference, WWDC, is where the company showcases the next versions of its operating systems and sometimes notable new hardware to run.
why does it matter
Knowing what’s coming for popular Apple product lines is essential when deciding whether to buy now or wait for the next model.
As usual, Apple’s WWDC 2022 was packed with something for everyone, from the latest version of Apple’s flagship iPhone operating system, iOS 16, and the latest chip, the M2, to the latest hardware that puts everything in (or on) your hands — in this case, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 13. New high-level features include security screening, which is intended to help people at risk of domestic violence.
Want a detailed summary of each individual game? Check out our archived live blog. Read on for highlights and links to all of our stories.
The latest version of the iPhone operating system is focused on customization. This includes an updated lock screen with selectable fonts and colors, Apple Watch-style widgets and rotating images. Notifications will also play from the bottom of the screen to prevent them from obscuring your photo, and live activities like playing music can be expanded to fill the lock screen.
Messages will allow editing, undo submissions and mark messages as unread. SharePlay is improved to make it easier to share within FaceTime and Messages. Dictation blends with text and touch on the go so you can use any input type at any time. Likewise, Live Text (Apple’s answer to Google Lens) expands to video, letting you pause on any frame and interact or grab a text from the video.
Apple says it will be able to intelligently extract images from the background and automatically paste them into apps like Messages.
Changes to Wallet include more partners for wireless keys, such as car manufacturers, Click to Pay on iPhone for contactless payments and Apple Pay Later, which splits the cost of the purchase into four payments.
You’ll also see cycling, high-resolution “look around” images, expanded detail of landmarks, and particularly detailed coverage of specific cities. Passing card balances will also appear.
Apple News gets extensive sports coverage in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. TV Plus gets Family Sharing for up to five members, with parental controls for apps, movies, books, and music. Photos also improves sharing — new shared libraries via iCloud let you collaborate — and provides rules and automatic sharing based on proximity.
On the privacy front, iOS 16 introduces a new feature called Security Checkup, which can help you quickly revoke the access of someone who threatens you, sign out of iCloud on all devices, and limit messages to one device at hand.
CarPlay has been redesigned to unify car and iPhone screens, including operating the entire instrument cluster.
The Fitness app on iPhone comes from Watch, too.
If you’re using Apple’s Spatial Audio, you’ll be able to use the depth camera to customize it.
MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 13
For the first time in ages, Apple has redesigned the Air, and it has the M2 chip in mind. It’s still a standard aluminum body, but it’s now uniformly slim at 11mm thick and weighs 2.7 pounds. Plus new colors! MagSafe returns, leaving two Thunderbolt ports available, and retaining an audio jack. I finally got an upgrade to a 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display, with 500 nits max brightness and a P3 range. A 1080p webcam puts it on par with its siblings, along with a quad-speaker system (with spatial audio support) and a three-microphone array.
With the M2’s improved GPU and focus on performance per watt, Apple says the Air delivers the same battery life and better performance. Finally supports fast charging, and the new adapter has a second USB-C port.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro also gets an M2 chip, with better performance thanks to the active cooling system. It hasn’t been redesigned, though.
MacBook Air starts at $1,199 (£1249, AU$1,899). MacBook Pro starts at $1,299 (£1349, AU$1999). Both begin shipping next month, and both offer a $100 discount for students and educators.
Apple is keeping the M1 MacBook Air as well, offering a PC for under $1,000 ($999, £999, AU$1,499), again at a $100 educational discount.
Window management improves with grouping in Stage Manager, which also includes drag-and-drop multitasking. Spotlight’s best search includes sports and web image search, full window search results and more detailed information about music and movies. (On iOS, Spotlight goes to the home screen.)
Search within Mail adds instant suggestions and synonyms, also on mobile. It naturally receives the same updates as iOS for Messages. Safari’s shared tab groups mean you can send your latest shopping picks to friends and family. Say Goodbye to Passwords and Passkey – Touch ID and Face ID come to Safari to sign in to sites. Also on iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV, of course.
Improvements to its Metal GPU include upgrading MetalFX for faster game rendering and adding an API to load game assets faster. Resident Evil Village and No Man’s Sky ported to the Mac for the first time; Resident Evil Village is coming later this year.
Handoff comes to FaceTime so you can go from device to device, and Continuity Camera finally lets you use your iPhone’s camera as your webcam. It will support split view for straight forward and desktop viewing.
New watch faces are on the way, including more diverse calendars, the ability to pin apps to the top of the dock, new banner notifications and podcast support for kids with parental controls.
For exercise, WatchOS 9 gets a lot of detail about your running metrics — for example, tracking how you move up or down to track your form. The new multi-sport workout can switch between swimming, cycling and running for proper exercise and tracking data.
Sleep Stages uses the accelerometer and heart rate sensor to track your sleep states and timing. The watch will be able to track a history of atrial fibrillation, once it receives clearance from the Food and Drug Administration. Medication tracking in the Health app gets a little more accurate and allows you to schedule reminders, so it looks like a typical full-featured medication app.
The iPad is getting the same iOS 16 updates plus a new Weather app. Collaboration within the operating system allows editing of shared documents and tab groups, which can be launched from FaceTime, with update notifications via messages.
We’ve also got a sneak peek at Freeform, a virtual shared whiteboard with drawing tools for group meetings, coming later this year. It supports embedding documents, videos, and images, and will be included with all platforms.
Like Ventura, iPadOS is getting a new Metal API update for games, as well as downloading it in the background. Game Center is adding Rivers of Activity, and SharePlay (which comes out later this year, as well as iOS and iPadOS) will allow multiplayer play.
There are a host of tweaks to the interface and capabilities to give iPadOS a desktop-like powerhouse. It also adds a reference color (Reference Mode) for consistent color matching across devices (personal yay!).
On iPads running M1, you will be able to increase the pixel density of the display to fit more on the screen and use virtual memory. And iPadOS, like Ventura, gets Stage Manager, for a much better multi-window task-switching experience. When connected to an external monitor, it makes better use of the second screen via Stage Manager and makes using the Touch and Apple Pencil with your Mac more seamless.