Apple’s annual World Wide Developers Conference (affectionately known as WWDC) kicked off a jam-packed keynote that unveiled iOS 16, watchOS 9, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura. Oh, and the new MacBook Air.
So ahead, we’re breaking down all the significant features and what it means for you. You can also use the breakout to quickly jump to the section that piques your interest.
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iOS 16 is officially real, and it’s the first time Apple is giving users some customizations over the lock screen. Like Complications on Watch Faces on the Apple Watch, you’ll be able to stylize and customize the various elements of the lock screen. You can change the color and typeface for the clock or date, but even neater is the ability to use Widgets on the lock screen.
For instance, you can add Calendar and Weather directly to the screen. It’s pretty neat, and we’re eager to go hands-on with it. Notifications will now roll in at the bottom, and playback control for Music will also live at the bottom. Apple will also roll out an API to allow developers to create Widgets for the lock screen.
This new lock screen will level up the iPhone experience, and as iOS 15 did for home screens, iOS 16 will finally let you personalize how your iPhone looks and feels.
Focus Mode Updates
And this redesigned and more capable lock screen is tied in with Focus mode — essentially custom do not disturb modes — onto your home screen. So the “Work” focus will only let specific notifications, though, but can also mix up the lock screen.
Unsend, Edit, and Mark as Read Arrive in Messages
Messages is also seeing a significant update with iOS 16. First, you will now be able to edit messages and can even undo sending them. And Apple will finally let you mark entire threads or convos as read. So for someone like me, I won’t have 64 in a red dot above my Messages app anymore.
SharePlay is also arriving in the Messages app. You can send a link to the group watch Encanto in Disney+ to a group and keep it in sync. Similarly, there will now be a gallery to see which apps support SharePlay within your call with FaceTime. It should make the feature a bit more accessible to all users.
The most remarkable addition might be the new on-device dictation experience — namely, it keeps the open keyboard while at the same time giving you access to dictating right along. When using dictation, it will automatically add in punctuation, and you can ask for an Emoji.
Wallet and Apple Pay
Did you know that an iPhone can be used as a contactless payment terminal? It’s a big win for small businesses since they can accept payments. And at WWDC, ApplePay Later was announced and will let you split the purchase cost over four separate payments — no interest or actual fees. It also works everywhere Apple Pay works, and this should be some significant competition for Affirm or After Pay.
And “Apple Pay Order Tracking” will add in delivery dates and an easy way to track them right inside the Wallet app.
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After a pretty significant rollout of a redesigned map to various locations, Apple is bringing it to more places like New Zealand and France. And with iOS 16, Apple Maps is finally getting multi-stop routing — either by inputting it in the Maps app or by using Siri. Transit is getting an update with the addition of total ride cost in the app and the addition of transit cards being supported in the Wallet app.
You can currently watch Live Games and see scores on your iPhone, but those will now live on the lock screen. That way, you can see the scores right on the lock screen.
Inside Apple News, you’ll now be able to subscribe to your favorite teams to read pieces, see the latest standings, and even see highlights from the game.
Family Sharing has been a simple way to rollout parental controls across the Apple ecosystem — iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch, and Mac included — but now Apple is focusing on managing those accounts. QuickStart is being upgraded to be a simple tool for setting up a device for a kid, as it will carry over your parental controls and custom settings.
With iOS 16, Apple is rolling out iCloud Shared Photo Library — essentially an extensive library that’s shared with five people, and everyone can add photos in. It can pull in all your photos, photos with certain people in them, or from a specific date.
Apple is even adding an option to the Camera app on your iPhone. This way, it will automatically share the photo. The Photos app will still suggest adding photos to the library, and it will even use location services to know when to share photos. And Photos will sync across iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and Mac.
You’ve likely seen the “Home” app on your iPhone, iPad or even Mac. It’s Apple’s main solution for controlling your smart home and where all those gadgets live in HomeKit. To help bolster the smart home, Apple is a part of the new “Matter” standard, which will launch this Fall — Amazon and Google are both in this as well. And the real addition is that by being a part of the Matter standard, more devices will work within the Home.
And Apple redesigned the Home app with iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS. It’s now a vertical scrolling experience that lets you dive through various rooms, but also by device types (light, cameras, security). It looks pretty sleek and I especially like the ability to see four cameras at once within a multi-view panel. And with Widgets on the lock screen, you can see quick details on your home without even unlocking it.
New Watch Faces
As Apple typically does with watchOS, watchOS 9 brings four new watch faces: A redesigned astronomy, a new Lunar Calendar, PlayTime which is designed by Joy Fulton, and Metropolitan uses a new font that will stretch as the time changes throughout the day.
Like iOS, watchOS 9 will deliver a new Siri splash screen — the glowing orb on the bottom — and notifications are getting a sleek new update. All of this focused on Connectivity.
In terms of activity, the Workouts app is getting a big update. With Running, you’ll get new metrics, including Vertical Oscillation, Stride Length, and Ground Contact Time. And for each of these, the Apple Watch uses many sensors and hefty amounts of training. And to see this new date, you can customize the workout app and scroll with the Digital Crown. You can even set alerts for hitting a specific pace or heart rate zones. These will come through audibly or on-screen. Hiking HIIT and Functional Strength Training will support this, plus there will be a multi-workout mode.
The Fitness app is also arriving to all iPhone users and will use the motion sensors in your phone to track some level of movement. Essentially, you’ll be able to track movements with just your iPhone.
And further on the topic of health is an update to the Sleep app with Sleep Stages. Essentially unpacking how the Apple Watch tracks your sleep to let you know which stage you are in — and how long you stay in it. Some of this lives on your wrist and live in the Health app on your iPhone and iPad.
The Apple Watch will now feature a dedicated app for Medications to track your medicine, vitamins, and supplements from wherever. You’ll be able to log frequent and more readily used medicine. A vital feature of this will be reminders to take the respective pills. And the Medications app will let you scan the label of your medicine to place it right in. It is even intelligent to flag if multiple medications will interact poorly with one.
Like iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, all of the new iOS 16 features will be arriving on the iPad with iPadOS 16. But the most significant change is the arrival of true multitasking in the form of “CenterStage,” exclusive to iPads with the M1 Chip inside (iPad Air or iPad Pro). Essentially, the ability to layer windows of an app on top of each other and fully customize it all. It’s akin to full multi window support, and we’re excited to unpack it further. Those iPads will also get full external display support.
There are also new features focused around Collaboration. Freeform is a new app that combines a FaceTime call with a digital whiteboard. Everyone can work on it simultaneously as well, even with a live cursor view. It’s like the whiteboard of the future.
Continuing the collaboration theme is a new function baked into sharing documents. You’ll be able to share something like a Pages document or a PowerPoint to a group and instantly share the document with them. This aims to make it easier to share content with folks and work on it together.
The next version of macOS is macOS Ventura, and it starts with a new feature for managing windows called Stage Manager. You can pull the main app you’re using right into CenterStage and keep the other apps easily accessible on the side. If the application has multiple windows, you can cycle through the different instances. You can also group apps together to pair two applications together. Like me writing this story could be Safari and Chrome together. You can even pull files from your desktop and drag them into an application in CenterStage.
Within the Mail app, you’ll now be able to recall a message with undo, schedule one, or even get a reminder to come back to the message. Search is also getting an update by pulling from possible contacts or recent messages when you key in a single letter. It should make it a lot more functional.
And Apple also unveiled PassKeys, which Apple hopes will replace passwords by using secure keys and Touch ID or Face ID to authenticate you in. The device securely creates an authentication code on the backend that will let you in.
The gel that holds the Apple ecosystem together is Continuity — it lets you copy and paste from an iPhone to a Mac or a Mac to an iPhone. And now, FaceTime will support handoff, so you can quickly push a call to another device.
Even neater is the Continuity Camera, which lets you use the iPhone as your webcam. The Mac will automatically detect the iPhone wirelessly and pull the live feed. CenterStage is also supported here, which automatically keeps you in the frame. Studio Light is a new filter to dim the background and lighten up your face.
The Apple M2 Chip
Apple only unveiled it’s first set of in-house chips for the Mac in November of 2020, but the tech giant chose WWDC 2022 as the venue for unveiling the second-generation of M1.
The M2 Chip still consists of an 8-Core CPU, secure enclave and a neural engine. But rather than stopping at an 8-Core GPU, the M2 supports up to a 10-Core GPU. It’s still focusing in on efficiency, and in fact can provide up to 18% better performance over the M1.
And the first devices with the M2 chip are here. Launching next month is the redesigned MacBook Air with the M2 chip, a larger 13.6-inch display, and a more modern design. You can see our first look with it here.
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