WWDC 2021 Highlights

This year, Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) took place from the 7th to the 11th of June. The event included some major software releases, including iOS 15, iPadOS 15, MacOS Monterey and WatchOS 8. 

Continue reading to find out more about what was announced.

What is WWDC?
WWDC is the annual Apple developer partner event - for the people who create the software, apps and experiences for all Apple platforms.

The conference lasts a week, but the first morning is perhaps the most exciting part. This is when the main event takes place - where Apple's new releases and updates are announced.

In the past, WWDC has seen various exciting hardware releases such as the 2017 iMac Pro. However, 2021's event was all about the software. 

iOS 15
iOS 15 is packed with new features that allow iPhone users to do more than ever before. Here are three of our favourites: 

Wallet
You can now add your driver’s license or state ID to Apple Wallet for use when travelling and, in the future, with retailers and venues. Your Apple Wallet will now even be able to unlock your home, garage, hotel room and even your workplace.

FaceTime
You'll now be able to stream movies and TV shows while on a FaceTime call with friends and family. The volume will also automatically adjust, so you can keep talking while you watch. You can also listen to albums together, or even share your screen with everyone in the call. Lastly, facetime links can now be shared with friends and family, even if they're using Windows or Android.

Maps
You can now explore cities with unprecedented detail for roads, neighborhoods, trees, buildings and more. You can see amazing 3D landmarks in both day and dark mode maps. Maps now also offers drivers incredible road details like turn lanes, crosswalks and bike lanes. Street-level perspectives help you approach complex interchanges, and a new dedicated driving map helps you see current incidents and traffic conditions at a glance. Not only has maps improved for drivers, but pedestrians can now use step-by-step directions that can be viewed in augmented reality.

Other features include interactive Photo Memories, Notifications Summary, Live Text, Focus and richer offline Siri support.

iOS 15 will be released in autumn 2021. If you want to find out more about this exciting update, take a look here.


iPadOS 15
This release allows for a more customizable home screen and flexible placement of widgets. You can now stick widgets anywhere you’d like, just like on iOS 14. Previously, iPad widgets could only be placed in the Today View sidebar. 

Apple is also bringing the App Library to iPadOS. Similar to the iPhone, you can now maintain a less-cluttered home screen by filing away rarely used apps to an automatically organized section of folders. The iPad's App Library is located in the dock.

Multitasking is also getting some much-needed refinement. New icons make it simpler to go into split-view mode, and Apple “shelf” feature will make it easier to jumble different tasks. It’s a significant change from current iPadOS multitasking and hopefully a major improvement to user experience.

Coming in autumn 2021, read about the update here.


MacOS Monterey
MacOS Monterey is the latest version of the world’s most advanced desktop operating system. It provides users with new ways to connect and work more smoothly across their Apple devices.

Universal Control is perhaps one of the biggest updates, allowing a single mouse, trackpad, and keyboard to be used across Macs and iPads. There's also a new AirPlay to Mac option for AirPlaying movies, games, photos and more from iPhone or iPad to Mac. The Mac can also be used as a speaker for multi room audio.

Safari has an updated tab bar that blends smoother into the background. Tab Groups allow you to group open tabs together, making it easier to swap between different tasks without losing your open tabs.

Monterey will be available in the autumn, find more details on the update here.


WatchOS 8
This update brings new mindfulness, access, connectivity, exercise and features to Apple Watch.

A reimagined Breathe app and new Tai Chi and Pilates workouts help users support their mental well-being and lead a fit and healthy life.

A new Portraits watch face and enhancements to Messages and Photos make staying connected to loved ones even easier. The Photos face is the most popular Apple Watch face, and watchOS 8 introduces new ways to view and engage with users favourite photos, right on their wrist. The Photos app has been redesigned, offering new ways to view and navigate collections. Memories and Featured Photos now sync to Apple Watch, and photos can be shared through Messages and Mail with the new Share Sheet.

Communicating on Apple Watch is now even easier with new tools in Messages. Users can combine the use of Scribble, dictation and emoji all within the same message, and for dictated messages, there's an option to edit the presented text. To easily add even more expression to a message, users can simply enter a word or phrase and select from hundreds of trending GIFs.

Coming in autumn 2021, read more about it here.


Watch the Event.
If you want more information on all the updates we have discussed in this article, you can watch the whole event here.

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