Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, or WWDC, will run from June 7th through the 11th this year, with the main keynote set for June 7th, at 1PM ET / 10AM PT. Like last year, the event will be virtual, so it’s probably safe to expect another immaculately produced keynote video.
Apple is likely to announce updates to iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. It’ll be interesting to see what Apple does with the iPad and Mac especially; the iPad Pro is now powered by the same M1 chips as Apple’s best laptops, but its OS arguably holds it back. We’re also still waiting on the pro-focused MacBooks and iMacs. While the current versions are fast, they lack the ports and RAM capacity that professionals are looking for, so we’ll be on the lookout for the rumored MacBook Pro refresh.
We’ll be covering everything that happens on the day, and any news that comes out after, which you can catch up on here.
Jun 15, 2021
Apple’s latest iPad Pro is its most powerful tablet yet. And going into WWDC 2021, many viewers (myself included) had long wishlists of features we were hoping we might finally get to see — multiuser support, a more advanced Files app, native support for Final Cut and Photoshop, better compatibility with external displays.Read Article >
We didn’t get many of those dream features, but we did get something of a surprise: Apple announced Swift Playgrounds 4, the newest version of its Swift Playgrounds sandbox, a program Apple SVP Craig Federighi claimed will bring “a whole new dimension of productivity to iPad.” It was a quick announcement that was easy to miss in the flurry of new tools that crossed the stage. But developers say it will drastically lower the barrier to entry for new iOS developers — and may gesture at more exciting iPad features to come.
Jun 11, 2021
Apple’s iOS 15 preview earlier this week gave us a look at an important new feature coming to your iPhone’s notifications: help. A few new tools may act as a life preserver for those of us up to our eyeballs in a sea of notifications every day, regulating which apps and people are allowed to bug us, and when. But on the flip side, app developers get some additional tools for getting your attention, too, and could very well start sending you even more notifications — albeit in a less disruptive way.Read Article >
First, the good news: the new notification features in iOS 15 look genuinely good and useful. There’s a new feature called Focus that allows you to choose which people and apps you’d like to see notifications from at a given time. It’s like Do Not Disturb but with much more customization than simply turning off every possible disruption. You can set up modes for work, sleep, personal time, and other scenarios like workouts.
Jun 10, 2021
Apple’s new health features will be available for anyone with an iPhone. But two of the tools announced at WWDC 2021, walking steadiness and the ability to share health data with family members, could be particularly useful for older adults.Read Article >
People who work with older adults are excited that a company like Apple is interested in tech that could be used for this group. Experts have spent years frustrated that companies don’t design products to meet the needs of that demographic. There have been a few attempts to introduce new tools, but none got much traction, says Richard Schulz, a social psychologist studying aging at the University of Pittsburgh.
Jun 10, 2021
Apple had its WWDC keynote on Monday, where it showed off the big new features coming to its platforms, but it didn’t have time to show off everything coming to the new versions of iOS, iPadOS, and macOS. So we’ve combed through the preview pages, Twitter, and a good chunk of the internet to see what interesting features got left out of the presentation.Read Article >
The big features in iOS and iPadOS were the updates to notifications, FaceTime, and multitasking, but it appears Apple may have been really focusing on the platforms themselves, too. There are a ton of quality-of-life improvements including:
Jun 10, 2021
Apple has spent considerable time championing itself as a protector of user privacy. Its CEO Tim Cook has repeatedly stated that privacy is “a fundamental human right,” the company has based multiple ad campaigns around its privacy promises, and it’s had high profile battles with authorities to keep its users’ devices private and secure.Read Article >
The pitch is simple: our products protect your privacy. But this promise has shifted very subtly in the wake of this week’s iCloud Plus announcement, which for the first time bundled new security protections into a paid subscription service. The pitch is still “our products keep you safe,” but now one of those “products” is a monthly subscription that doesn’t come with the device in your box — even if those devices are getting more built-in protections as well.
Jun 9, 2021
Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote came and went this year without a new MacBook Pro — but it looks like that wasn’t the original intent! Intriguingly, Apple quietly included the phrases “M1X MacBook Pro” and “M1X” as tags on its YouTube video of the live keynote, as spotted by Max Balzer (via 9to5Mac).Read Article >
Not only does that sound like tacit confirmation of at least one new Arm-powered MacBook Pro, it also corroborates the rumors that it’ll include a new M1 chip, and that Apple will likely market it as an enhanced “X” variant, like it used to do with its high-end iPads, rather than going straight to M2. (Or, as some are pointing out, it could mean that someone on the social media team decided to try for an SEO boost and made it up.)
Jun 9, 2021
People with smartphones and wearable devices regularly show up to the doctor’s office with readouts from apps detailing everything from their heart rate to sleep patterns. Now, with the new iOS 15 update this fall, some iPhone users will be able to send data directly from their Health app to their doctors’ electronic medical records systems.Read Article >
That type of integration could make it easier for patients to share information with their doctors, said Libo Wang, a cardiology fellow at the University of Utah School of Medicine who studies wearables. “The current workflow is mildly laborious, and requires the patient to email the pdf, and a clinician manually uploading that file to create a permanent record in the official electronic medical record,” he said in an email to The Verge.
Apple’s text selection magnifying glass has reappeared in the iOS 15 beta, and Apple’s own site confirms its return by listing it as a feature. Bringing the feature back is a reversal from when Apple made the decision to dump it in iOS 13, which is a bit of a rare occurrence: Apple doesn’t usually go back after it’s done away with something (bringing back scissor switches in its keyboards after years of butterfly switches is a notable exception). The return of the little pop-up is welcome, though: I can only speak for myself, but since iOS 13’s release, I’ve constantly been struggling without the helpful little magnifier.Read Article >
The new version of the text magnifier seems to be a bit smaller than the old one (in case you’ve forgotten what it used to look like, you can see a great demonstration here), but it’s at least better than the nothing that appears in iOS 13 and 14.
Jun 8, 2021
The iPhone 6S will turn six years old this September, an eternity in phone years. If you’ve managed to hold onto one this long, then Apple has some good news for you — your phone will be eligible for the iOS 15 upgrade when it arrives for the public this fall. The iPhone 6S, 6S Plus, and first-generation iPhone SE, which all shipped with iOS 9, will be among the oldest devices to receive the OS update.Read Article >
Six years is an awfully long life span for a mobile device, and certainly puts the 6S in the running for the longest supported phone to date. The iPhone 5S was five years old when it got its last OS update with iOS 12 but wasn’t eligible for iOS 13. On the Android side, Samsung has made recent moves to improve its device longevity by offering four years of security support for some of its phones. But six years of OS updates and security support puts the 6S in an entirely different league.
Jun 8, 2021
Apple is extending support for spatial audio to macOS and tvOS. The feature will work with the company’s high-end AirPods Pro and AirPods Max, using the devices’ built-in accelerometers and gyroscopes to create a 3D audio effect that tracks the listener’s head movements.Read Article >
Apple initially announced spatial audio for the AirPods Pro last year and impressed us with the feature’s immersive quality. At this year’s WWDC, the company extended support for spatial audio to Apple Music and FaceTime calls.
Jun 8, 2021
Apple has a habit of, if not innovating outright, then at least presenting the most polished version of existing ideas. Its Universal Control, for instance, is basically a Logitech thing, done beautifully. One of its announcements at WWDC yesterday missed that mark but came achingly close to bringing back a defining feature of the dial-up days.Read Article >
The announcement in question is, of course, Focus, a new set of features meant to help iPhone users let people know when they are not to be bothered. “It turns out, it’s even easier to step away and focus if people know we’re busy,” Apple’s SVP of software engineering Craig Federighi said. “So we created an easy way to signal to others when you’re doing that.” Focus solves the problem of either:
Jun 8, 2021
Apple’s new Private Relay feature, which is designed to obscure users’ browsing data and protect their privacy, won’t be available in China, Reuters reports. The feature was announced during Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference as part of a new subscription bundle called iCloud Plus. Other countries where Private Relay won’t be available include: Belarus, Colombia, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkmenistan, Uganda, and the Philippines.Read Article >
The move is the latest concession Apple has made in order to offer its services in China, a market which Reuters notes accounts for almost 15 percent of its revenue. Chinese citizens’ access to the internet is heavily regulated, and there is restricted access to technologies like virtual private networks, or VPNs, which help citizens evade tracking and bypass censorship. It’s worth noting that Apple isn’t itself calling Private Relay a VPN, citing technicalities in how it operates, but the service protects users’ privacy in a similar way.
During the privacy segment of WWDC, Apple talked about moving Siri’s processing from the cloud onto your device, using the “Neural Engine” built into Apple silicon. While having the voice processing happen on your phone instead of one of Apple’s servers is obviously better for privacy, it can also help speed up performance and reliability, as Apple showed off in its demo.Read Article >
Now let’s see how fast it is when I try it.
At today’s Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple showed off its new version of macOS, and with it a feature called Universal Control, which lets you use your Mac’s mouse or trackpad to control the cursor on an iPad or another Mac’s screen, reaching into and across multiple devices. On paper it doesn’t sound that groundbreaking, but Craig Federighi did something really cool during the demo: he moved his cursor onto an iPad, then clicked on a photo and dragged it across two other computers to drop it into a Final Cut timeline.Read Article >
While Logitech’s Flow and programs like Synergy have similarly allowed users to easily jump between computers, it’s usually not this impressive in real life — some solutions require special hardware, some don’t support actually dragging and dropping, and some have complicated setups. Apple’s version seems seamless.
Jun 7, 2021
Apple has just updated its App Store Guidelines, the document that tells iPhone and iPad developers what kind of behavior the company will tolerate and where it’s likely to reject apps or crackdown after the fact — and as TechCrunch reports, many of today’s changes are aimed directly at scammers and fraudsters who prey on Apple users. But not all of them.Read Article >
I just put the entire thing through a diff checker to show you exactly what’s changed. Check out all the differences here for yourself, or read on for the highlights.
Jun 7, 2021
Apple just wrapped up its WWDC 2021 keynote, and it was jam-packed with news and announcements, including our first looks at iOS 15, the new macOS Monterey, big improvements to FaceTime, and more.Read Article >
Our live blog has moment-by-moment commentary on what Apple announced from Nilay Patel and Dieter Bohn. But if you just want to know the big-ticket items from the show, we’ve got you covered right here.
Jun 7, 2021
Siri is finally coming to third-party devices. Apple announced at its WWDC keynote that HomeKit accessory makers will be able to integrate Siri voice control into their products starting later this year. The voice assistant will be routed through a HomePod if the devices are connected to your network.Read Article >
Apple hasn’t released a comprehensive list of devices and brands that will support Siri. The company demoed it on an Ecobee thermostat during its WWDC keynote presentation. It also announced support for Matter — a new interoperability standard that has big players like Amazon, Google, and Samsung on board — will come with iOS 15.
Apple has announced the next version of macOS at its WWDC keynote, after showing off iOS, iPadOS, and watchOS. It’s calling it Monterey, in keeping the California location-based theme it’s had since 2013.Read Article >
The company is promising even more interoperability with iOS, including the ability to share a keyboard and mouse between a Mac and an iPad. The feature is similar to the one found on Logitech keyboards and mice, letting you seamlessly move your cursor and files between a Mac and iPad.
Jun 7, 2021
Apple has just announced watchOS 8, the latest version of the company’s smartwatch platform for the Apple Watch. The new software succeeds last year’s watchOS 7 and is going to be first available for developers to test their apps with starting today, with a public beta coming in July. A final public release is expected later this fall.Read Article >
Apple is debuting a new Mindfulness app, an extension of the Breathe app that nags you to breathe throughout the day. It’s adding new animations and other features to help you relax.
Jun 7, 2021
Apple has always stressed user privacy as part of its core mission. At its WWDC 2021 event, it announced it would be adding a spate of powerful new functions to Mail and Safari, as well as giving users broader insight into what their installed apps are doing with their information.Read Article >
First, Apple’s Mail appears to have declared war on tracking pixels, which can be included in some emails to give third parties insight into if or when their messages were opened — though it didn’t provide much detail on how it will win said war. According to Apple’s manager of user privacy software Katie Skinner, Mail will also now hide user IP addresses by default. Safari, likewise, will hide IPs.
Jun 7, 2021
Apple is amping up iCloud with a new set of features called iCloud Plus. The cloud storage service will now come with access to a VPN, burner email addresses, and unlimited storage for HomeKit-enabled home security cameras.Read Article >
The VPN, called Private Relay, will route your internet traffic through two relays in order to mask who’s browsing and where that data is coming from. Apple is trying to distinguish the feature from traditional VPNs — and if you ask, Apple will tell you it’s not a VPN at all — in part because it sends data through that second hop. That second hop prevents any one party, including Apple, from seeing all of your browsing data, Apple says.
Jun 7, 2021
Apple’s digital assistant Siri will process audio on-device by default in iOS 15, meaning you will be able to use the feature without an active internet connection. Apple says the upgrade will also make Siri faster.Read Article >
Processing audio on-device will make using Siri more private, says Apple. This follows the company’s well-established preference for implementing machine learning features on-device, rather than sending data away to the cloud to be processed.
Apple has announced that AirPods will be getting some quality-of-life improvements with iOS 15, including the ability to boost the sound of people talking to you, better Find My support, and the ability to announce a wider range of notifications.Read Article >
Apple says the “Conversation Boost” feature for the AirPods Pro will help people who have difficulties hearing other people’s voices, especially in crowded conditions. The headphones will try to isolate the voice of the person in front of you, with sliders that let the user control how much ambient noise is let in.
Jun 7, 2021
Apple has announced a forthcoming update to its Wallet app that will allow you to use your iPhone as digital identification in select US airports. The company showed how you’ll be able to scan your driver’s license or state ID in participating US states, which will then be encrypted and stored in the iPhone’s secure enclave. The company says it’s working with the TSA to enable the iPhone to be used as identification at airport security checkpoints.Read Article >
As well as secure ID, Apple says it’s working to allow hotels to distribute room card keys via Apple Wallet, allowing you to collect a room key before you arrive at a hotel. Home keys and work keys were also announced as coming to the Wallet app. The new keys feature is also coming to Apple Watch, Apple says.
Jun 7, 2021
Weeks after introducing its most powerful iPad Pro devices ever, Apple is today announcing the latest version of iPadOS — and there’s a clear focus on making Apple’s tablets more capable productivity machines. At least if you find yourself using split-screen mode a lot, that is. Otherwise, there aren’t any radical changes for the platform.Read Article >
As rumored, iPadOS 15 will make the homescreen more customizable and allow for more flexible placement of widgets. You can now stick them anywhere you’d like, a capability that came to iOS 14 last year. But iPadOS 14 didn’t offer the same functionality, and widgets could only be placed in the Today View sidebar despite the tablet’s vast screen real estate.