The week-long Apple WWDC 2021 began on June 7. Apart from the iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, tvOS 15 and watchOS 8 announcements, Apple introduced a plethora of new features coming to their apps.
Throughout the week, small independent conferences were held to further discuss the new features and products announced on Day 1 of WWDC.
FaceTime gets a major upgrade
FaceTime, Apple's dedicated video calling platform, has been good at its work since its inception, and now with its upgrade alongside iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey, it has left its competition in the dust.
New FaceTime upgrade includes features like FaceTime Links, Audio Isolation, Wide Spectrum audio pick up, Grid View, Portrait Mode, and everyone's favourite Spatial Audio.
With the new upgrade in Spatial Audio, users will be able to enjoy this rich audio quality on FaceTime calls with family and friends. Using Audio Isolation, FaceTime calls will be clearer than your average WhatsApp or Messenger calls as the technology can isolate voices from background noises efficiently. But if you want the other person to soak in the ambient noise, you can do it by turning Wide Spectrum Audio on.
To make the video calling experience even better, Apple camera's portrait mode is brought to video calls. For group calls, a new grid view is introduced in the latest upgrade.
To share Facetime calling anywhere, even from a non-Apple device, iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and Monterey upgrades are coming with Facetime Links. Sharing Facetime Links will allow people to join the call from a browser or any smartphone, even Androids.
macOS Monterey bringing continuity, universal control, and AirPlay
With this new macOS, Apple is bringing continuity and universal control across Apple ecosystem devices, unlike anything we have in Windows, Android, or Linux-based systems.
Now, users will be able to control iMac, MacBook, and iPad using one keyboard and mouse-trackpad set. Interestingly, if a user copies something in his MacBook, he will be able to drag the copied text or files from his MacBook to iPad or iMac, just by pushing the cursor to the edge of the MacBook and swinging it further to his other Apple ecosystem devices.
The files or text will jump to the other device, including the cursor and keyboard access.
This will work from and to MacBooks, iMacs, and iPads. So, no matter where you leave your project, you can pick it up on any Apple device.
Along with this continuity and universal control, Apple is also bringing AirPlay in Macs and introducing new shortcuts, making the whole ecosystem of products more connected.
Mail Privacy Protection, Privacy reports for third-party apps, and email tracking
Among the newly announced features dedicated to protecting people's privacy, Mail Privacy Protection might be the most notorious one as it blocks hidden trackers that inform sender when the email has been opened and from where, making email tracking services like SalesHandy obsolete.
Using this privacy protection, users can block third parties and, in some instances, even Apple from knowing the IP and location. Also, new Privacy reports are coming for each app in the upcoming update where users can see which app are taking over camera, contact, microphone and other sensitive access and turn them off if needed.
The same IP leak blocking is going to be introduced in Safari's newest update too, protecting users from malvertising websites.
Siri's on-device Recognition will make commands and their execution faster and safer
To make Siri's execution faster and to keep as much data on the device itself, Apple gives Siri on-device speech recognition capability.
Since the speech model will be baked into Apple devices, users will be able to command Siri to do menial tasks like changing phone theme from light to dark, launching photos app, setting a quick alarm, etc., without needing an active internet connection.
Apple can now do what Google has been doing for years
Image to text conversion is not new. Android users, using Google Lens, have been doing this for years. Finally, Apple decided to jump into it. They are calling it Live Text.
Walking Steadiness Metric
Apple Watch and iPhone combined gives users several health metrics like ECG, heart rate, blood oxygen level, jogging or running records, etc. Now with the new update, Apple is bringing a new metric called Walking Steadiness into Apple Health which will give new insights on user's mobility.
Redesigned widgets for iPadOS 15
iPadOS is getting a big overhaul with the introduction of larger and somewhat customisable widgets that were pretty static in last year's iPadOS 14. Apple is also bringing more variation in iPad widgets with third-party integration.