On June 7th, Apple held their Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) via livestream on the Apple Website and Youtube. This is the second year in a row that the WWDC has been held virtually, but that didn’t make the announcements any less exciting. Developers, tech enthusiasts, and Apple device users were treated to a host of new iOS15 features, Apple accessory features, and more. The BIGteam joined in on the fun – check out our top takeaways from WWDC 2021 below.
New Facetime Features
More Realistic Calls: Apple is striving to make FaceTime calls “more real” with two new Microphone Settings, Wide Spectrum Mic and Isolated Voice Mic, so users can choose whether they want the person they’re calling to hear background noise, or just their voice. FaceTime will also incorporate Spatial Audio, so when the person you’re calling moves around in a room, sound comes from the direction they’re talking from.
Group FaceTime: To improve Group FaceTimes, Apple took some notes from Zoom. Users can now schedule FaceTime calls and send links to a scheduled call via email, text or calendar invite. These links will be compatible with non-Apple users as well, directing them to a browser window. Users can also switch to a Gridview when there are numerous people in the calls.
Apple’s new Shareplay feature is an attempt at helping users share the fun experiences they have on their Apple devices with friends and family. Users can listen to music together, watch movies and TV, and even share their screens when making a delivery order or browsing the internet. What makes Shareplay different from your average screenshare session is that other users can now interact with the same app you’re using on your device from their device. For example, if you’re listening to a song with your friend via Shareplay, your friend can pause and skip it as they choose. The same can be done with movies and TV shows. Apple is working with third-party apps to allow Shareplay capabilities for games and other streaming services.
Photo Sharing: Gone are the days of having your whole text conversation dominated by hundreds of photos from an event you just attended. In Messages, photos will now be shared in a “collage” or “stack” form, so that they take up less space and are easier to navigate.
Shared with You: iOS apps on your device will now showcase a “Shared With You” section that compiles relevant links, locations, photos, music, etc. you received in Messages. This way, when you log into Maps and are looking for the perfect cafe to work at, your coworker’s suggested spot will pop up as a reminder.
Notifications: Notifications will look a lot different in iOS15. Rather than an endless stream of pop-up emails and texts sitting at the top of your screen, you will now be able to schedule a “Notification Summary” that will use machine learning to package up all the most relevant notices in one place.
Do Not Disturb: Receiving a text from your loved one during the work day can sometimes cause panic or annoyance. Is someone sick and going to the hospital? Or is your mom wondering where you bought that sustainable toilet paper? Your contacts will now be able to see that your phone is on Do Not Disturb and choose whether their message is an emergency, or if it can be sent silently and seen when you’re available.
Focus: Apple understands that users are busy, and wants the notifications, apps and people you contact to be relevant (and not distracting). Users will now be able to create “Focus” categories that will consist of chosen apps, contacts, and notifications you’re wanting to receive at a given point in the day. Once you turn on a “Work Focus” for example, you’ll only see work emails, Slack messages and texts from coworkers.
Tend to misplace your wallet often? That may no longer be an issue. New Apple Wallet updates turn users’ phones into a transit card, credit card, ID and more. Apple is still working with different corporations to verify Apple wallet cards and keys as valid forms of identification.
Have trouble hearing a friend using AirPods when they’re on a busy train or doing their dishes? With Conversation Boost, voice audio will be further isolated for people using AirPods. Apple will also be announcing chosen notifications over AirPods too (this means email!).
Lost my AirPods
If you’ve lost your AirPods beyond Bluetooth range, you can now indicate on “Find My” that they’re lost, and Apple will send you their location despite distance.
Get ready to personalize your app display with the inclusion of Widgets on iPad OS15. With Widgets, users no longer have to scroll and search to find the app they need. Put key app content front and center for easy access.
With the new “Multitasking” feature, users no longer have to switch back and forth between app screens. Split your screen in half and utilize two different apps at once. This feature is sure to be a hit amongst note taking students and professionals.
Monterey: Mac’s new operating system has a whole host of new features to offer. Some of the most exciting include:
- Universal Control: Users can now operate multiple Mac and iPad devices with a single track pad. Drag images and files across multiple screens from one trackpad.
- Tabs: Customizable Tab Groups by task and category can make a sea of tabs much easier to navigate.
- SharePlay: Shareplay features mentioned above will be included in Monterey.
- Focus: Focus features will also be a part of Monterey’s OS.
A large part of WWDC this year focused on privacy. Some of Apple’s newest privacy features will present a challenge to email and app marketers, but guarantee anonymity and privacy to its device users. Mail Privacy Protection will now hide your IP address from email marketers and prevent them from seeing whether you’ve opened an email or not. The same features will extend to apps, blocking them from seeing your IP address, location or contacts. Users will also receive a new Privacy Report that will list third-party data collectors who are trying to get your information from certain apps. These features are a big leap in protection and transparency from Apple.
WWDC 2021 has given users plenty of new features to be excited about. Which feature was your favorite? What else do you hope to see rolled out? Let us know in the comments or by tweeting us at @BIGfishPR.