All eyes – at least those of Apple aficionados and tech geeks – were on the Apple World Wide Developers Conference Monday. The annual showcase for Apple’s latest tech was held virtually amidst the backdrop of a pandemic that is easing the United States but wreaking havoc in many other parts of the world.
Within the span of a two-hour keynote address, Apple unveiledits next mobile operating system, iOS 15, a new version of its now separate operating system for the Apple’s iPad tablet, iPadOS 15, was previewed, significant improvements to the Apple Wallet app, updates to the operating system for the Apple Watch, now watchOS 8, and a new operating system for Macintosh computers, MacOS Monterey.
IOS15 has multiple new capabilities including improvements to iMessage and FaceTime.
For individuals suffering from Information Overload, Apple is introducing a focus setting in iMessage. Using this setting will turn notifications off and status for the new focus mode as well as the traditional do-not-disturb mode will be shared with users in a manner similar to an away message. Focus can also hide any apps that the user doesn’t want to be disturbed by when trying to maintain his focus.
FaceTime improvements include 3D audio, a portrait mode to blur backgrounds during calls, and a grid view to speak to multiple people at the same time. In iOS 15, Apple support letting users send links to schedule individual FaceTime calls. In addition, ShareTime will allow users to share music or their screens.
With iOS 15, FaceTime calls will also be supported on Windows and Android platforms via a browser, the first time Apple has let the feature escape its walled garden.
In iPadOS 15, Apple will give users new ways to arrange apps, add support for widgets on the home screen, and add the App Library feature already in iOS 14.
Apple also introduced WatchOS 8 for the Apple Watch, which gains several new features including giving users the ability to write text using a finger to send messages directly from the watch and support for photos taken in portrait mode to be used as the watch’s background. The Breathe app, which guides a user through a short breathing exercise, is being updated as well.
Apple is adding support for identity cards, corporate badges, and hotel and house keys to the Apple Wallet in iOS 15 including. The list of identity cards to be supported includes a user’s driver’s license, although this will not be supported by all U.S. states. The IDs will be encrypted and Apple is working with the Transportation Security Administration to enable security checkpoints at U.S. airports to be able to read drivers licenses.
Finally, macOS Monterey, named after the California town that has attracted artists and writers since the late nineteenth century. New features in Monterey include the ability for a user to use the same mouse and keyboard across both a Mac or an iPad, support for iPhones to beam their displays to a Mac using AirPlay, and a redesigned Safari browser with new features that include tab grouping and tab bookmarking.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)