Apple WWDC 2021(Part 2)
Updated: Jun 11
iPadOS, MacOS Monterey and other enhancements and updates
In the previous article we wrote (LINK HERE) that along with the newly announced updates and inclusions of iOS15, this year’s annual Apple WWD conferences brought us a host of introductions to upgrades and slight renovations to things such as the iPadOS, privacy across Apple products, the Health app and the Apple HomeKit. The somewhat minor changes to these apps and widgets can make a world of difference regarding multi-tasking and accessibility. One of the main things that have caught people eye in the announcements is the new MacOS Monterey update, smaller than its previous update Big Sur, but filled with components that will wholly contribute to a new mac experience.
AirPods are used by many in the country, and not just for music. Which is why they are also having some slight changes and improvements made such as conversation boost to enable people with hearing challenges to focus on the person you’re talking face-to-face with by cancelling out/minimalizing background noise. Siri is now able to read to you in your ear your time-sensitive and top prioritised notifications to you, also, if location is turned on, Siri can read your shopping list to you, forget pen and paper or fiddling with your phone screen whilst wandering around the supermarket! Another update is Find My, which makes it easy to find your AirPods Max or Pro, also with a smart feature that will give you an alert to notify if you’ve left your AirPods behind making it much easier to bring them around wherever you go and not worry about losing them.
Of course there wouldn’t be an update without having your iPad retouched a little, some new widgets will be available for your home screen such as Find My, Game Center, Parcels and Contacts, and the ability to make the widgets a larger icon size for the iPad screen. They have also included ways to multitask with apps and browsers, by introducing an easily accessible full screen, split view or side screen, with simple swipes of the finger, which can be configured to your liking in settings, you can move from one app to another or keep them open as you open another. Find it hard to translate quick and easy with the likes of google translate? Well now they are introducing systemwide text translations on the iPadOS and will have an app for translating real-life conversations in real-time. Also,an app called Swift Playgrounds will be working in conjunction with Apple and enable people to write build apps and submit them to the App Store, easy way to learn code and upload in one place. One other function that could prove quite useful is the notes app, where you’ll be able to mention someone with an “@” symbol and they will get a notification and highlight changes when made. Quick Notes however is available for use by simply swiping up from the bottom right corner of the screen, allowing you to easily create a note without even clicking on the app.
“Apple will continue to protect its customers amid innovation in the world of privacy exploitation and that Apple believes it can largely stay ahead of the curve to protect users.” -Craig Federighi
Privacy is always a concern when it comes to technology. One of the main security updates that will put a lot of users at ease is the Mail app will now automatically hide your IP address and location from those you don’t want to see it such as spam senders, and you can choose whether to allow tracking pixels or not. There will also be an “App Privacy Report” which users will be able to view in setting, and this will give a summary of how often apps access your photos, locations and anything else that could possibly cause concern. Speech recognition for Siri will now not be kept on Apple’s servers and will only happen on-device, meaning you’ll be able to get a response from Siri without an internet connection. Recovery and Legacy contacts allow you to choose people from your contact list who can help you get access to your iCloud account if you’ve been locked out or have forgotten the password, and you can also designate someone who will be able to request access to your iCloud data and sort out your accounts should you pass away.
Apple Health has been having small renovations here and there, and now there are a few more that will enable users to track their health and fitness more in depth. iPhones already to a great job assessing your walking habits, steps and such, but now it will be able to analyze your step timing, gait, and measure your walking steadiness, which can help to assess a person’s fall risk. This can be helpful with elder family members or people who have trouble with mobility, this is a great way to keep track of how it’s improving or deteriorating over time. A ‘Trends’ feature will be available to assess and highlight patterns or irregularities in you heart rate and step count etc. which can help make sure people are on the right track or to make changes to get onto one if they wish. They have also introduced a ‘Health Sharing’ option which allows health data to be securely shared with people you trust and care about, and is able to send health data that you’re able to choose with your Doctors, this can be vital in picking up on how your health changes over time and could even help diagnoses if they are able to see what your fitness and sleep patterns are.
Speaking of tracking health, the update to the Apple WatchOS will allow you to track your respiratory rate and can alert you if you are breathing differently when you are resting, sleeping or exercising, another thing that is important to keep an eye on. You will also be able to track new workouts such as Pilates and tai chi. Also, not quite so useful but a neat little touch, a new ‘Portraits’ watch face will allow you to use portrait mode pictures to allow a perfectly fitting and layered clock face, adding on to the previously popular photo watch face style.
Each year more of us are adding technology to our homes to make life a little bit easier, and the HomeKit improvements are definitely going to make life a breeze. As mentioned in the previous article, you are now able to use your phone or watch to unlock your front door, almost like an electronic key card and SharePlay will be available to use on Apple TVs, where you’ll be able to share what you’re viewing with someone else on their phone or Apple TV or iPad. The HomePod mini will take commands such as asking it to play something on your TV, and you can now use it as an external speaker for Apple 4K TV. HomePod minis will be available to lots of new countries with personalized voice recognition.
The macOS update, named Monterey is the next big release for their software, one of the most exciting and progressive parts of this is the universal control. This will allow users to control multiple macs and iPads using one mouse/keyboard and it will automatically recognise when a new compatible device is nearby, meaning you are able to have extended screens with desktops, laptops and iPads alike making working from home or in the office just that much easier. SharePlay which has been mentioned will also be available to mac users over any of their devices. Also, AirPlay, which you can use to connect whatever you are watching/viewing onto your Apple TV. Safari for macs is being given a user interface renovation, with the tab groups being available to keep things more organised on your web pages, and these will sync between iCloud devices, also tabs will be made smaller. It will also be introducing the Live Text on-device machine learning to detect text in photos and will be available to copy and paste elsewhere. Visual Lookup is the same sort of idea but will be able to provide details of what is in photos such as plants, landmarks, art, etc.
“For many customers, iPhone has become indispensable, and this year we’ve created even more ways it can enhance our daily lives,” - Craig Federighi.
This conference was packed with updates and renovations for most of its devices, and although no hardware was announced you can guarantee they’ll be working on something for Apple users to look forward to.
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