This year, Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC 2021) keynote was almost two hours long. Most of the features highlighted during the event are said to be available in the fall (September to November) this year.
Our summary focuses on features that are useful or relevant to consumers in Malaysia. It is divided into 6 sections: iOS 15 for iPhones, PadOS15 for iPads, macOS Monterey for Macs, WatchOS 8 for Apple Watch, features shared Across Devices, Health, and Privacy.
Memories in Photos gets a new look, an interactive interface, and integration with Apple Music, which uses on-device intelligence to personalise song suggestions that bring memories to life.
The new tab bar floats at the bottom of the screen, so users can easily swipe between tabs.
Safari also gets a customisable start page and web extensions on iOS.
Weather and Notes Apps
Weather gets more graphical and animated flair and notifications highlight when rain or snow starts and stops.
Notes add user-created tags that make it easy to quickly categorise notes, and mentions allow members of shared notes to notify one another of important updates.
An all-new Activity view shows the recent history of a shared note.
With iOS 15, users can choose to securely give a loved one visibility into their health and wellness data, as they follow important alerts and changes over time.
In the Health app, a new Sharing tab lets users privately share their data with a trusted partner or caregiver.
Walking Steadiness on iPhone is an industry first, providing insight into fall risk by capturing important mobility data as users walk with their iPhone.
The feature offers the added ability to capture everyday movements and surface classifications within the Health app as OK, Low, or Very Low, allowing users to proactively take action to help reduce their risk of falling.
Walking Steadiness uses custom algorithms to assess balance, stability, and coordination through built-in motion sensors on iPhone.
It also helps users meet their stability goals. Users can choose to receive a notification when their score is Low or Very Low, and be directed to curated visual exercises that are based on clinically validated methods to increase strength and balance.
Multitasking and Keyboard Shortcuts
A new multitasking menu lets users go into Split View or Slide Over with just a tap.
Users now have quick access to the Home Screen when using Split View.
Using the new shelf, they can also multitask with apps that have multiple windows like Safari and Pages, as well as quickly preview emails.
Users can quickly set up and switch between Split View and Slide Over with new shortcuts for multitasking right from the keyboard.
Widgets and the App Library
Users can now place widgets among apps on Home Screen pages. There is also a larger widget for larger display.
iPadOS 15 also brings all-new widgets for App Store, Find My, Game Center, Mail, and Contacts.
Also coming to the iPad is the App Library, allowing users to access all their apps right from the Dock.
New tab design that lets users see more of the page. A new tab bar takes on the colour of the webpage and combines tabs, the toolbar, and the search field into a single, compact design.
Safari on iPad also now supports web extensions, available from the App Store.
The Translate app comes to the iPad with new features. When using the Translate app, Auto Translate detects when someone is speaking, and in which language.
For even more personal conversations, the face-to-face view allows two people to sit across from each other with an iPad between them and see translations of the conversation from their side.
Text can now be translated anywhere on iPad by selecting it and tapping Translate, and handwritten text can also be translated.
In combination with Live Text, users can even translate text in photos.
Getting More Done
Shortcuts arrive on the Mac. It works just like it does on the iPhone and iPad.
Power users looking to take things further can use the Shortcuts Editor on Mac to customise shortcuts to match their workflows.
Shortcuts are integrated throughout macOS, including the menu bar, Finder, Spotlight, and even hands-free with Siri. Users can easily import existing Automator workflows into Shortcuts and be up and running right away.
Shared with You makes it easy to locate and enjoy all the great content that’s shared through Messages, including photos, videos, articles, and more, right from a Shared with You tab within Photos, Safari, Apple Podcasts, Apple News, and the Apple TV app.
Work Across Apple Devices
With AirPlay to Mac, users can play, present, and share just about anything from their iPhone or iPad to their Mac.
The Mac’s high-fidelity sound system can also be used as an AirPlay speaker, or use their Mac as a secondary speaker for multi-room audio.
The redesigned Home app in watchOS 8 has access to accessories and scenes, and the ability to control accessories by room.
Users with a HomeKit-enabled camera can view who is at the door directly on their wrist.
Apple Watch users can also tap Intercom to quickly broadcast a message throughout the home or to individual rooms via HomePod, HomePod mini, or other personal devices.
watchOS 8 introduces two new popular workout types: Tai Chi and Pilates. These new workout types are supported by custom-built heart rate and motion algorithms.
In watchOS 8, the Breathe app becomes the Mindfulness app, featuring an enhanced Breathe experience, plus a new session type, Reflect.
Reflect offers a mindful intention to focus on for as little as one minute. Each Reflect session welcomes the user with a unique, thoughtful notion to consider that invites a positive frame of mind.
Both the Breathe and Reflect experiences also offer tips to help users get more from each session and feature new animations.
Sleeping Respiratory Rate
watchOS 8 now tracks sleeping respiratory rate, which is the number of breaths per minute.
To do this, Apple Watch uses the built-in accelerometer to measure respiratory rate while sleeping, and this information can be viewed, along with trends over time, in the Health app on iPhone.
Portraits Watch Face and Photos
The new Portraits watch face brings to life portrait photos shot on iPhone with multilayered effect, recognising faces in photos, and cropping in to highlight the subject.
The Photos app is also 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.
Messages and Contacts
Users can combine the use of Scribble, dictation, and emoji all within the same message, and for dictated messages, they have the option to edit the presented text.
Users can simply enter a word or phrase and select from hundreds of trending GIFs.
watchOS 8 also brings the Contacts app to Apple Watch, providing a way for users to browse, add, and edit contacts, and share contacts directly from the app.
Tab Groups allow users to save tabs and access them across iPhone, iPad, or Mac.
With spatial audio on Mac and iPhone, voices in a FaceTime call sound as if they are coming from where the person is positioned on the screen, and new microphone modes separate the user’s voice from background noise.
Portrait mode is designed specifically for video calls, so users can blur their background and put themselves in focus.
While using Group FaceTime, a new grid view enables participants to see more faces at the same time.
Users can now share experiences with SharePlay while connecting with friends on FaceTime, including listening to songs together with Apple Music, watching a TV show or movie in sync, or sharing their screen to view apps together.
SharePlay works across iPhone, iPad, and Mac, and with shared playback controls, anyone in a SharePlay session can play, pause, or jump ahead.
Users can extend playback to Apple TV, so users can watch shows or movies on a big screen while connecting over FaceTime, and SharePlay will keep everyone’s playback in sync.
FaceTime calls also extend beyond Apple devices with the ability to create a link from iPhone, iPad, or Mac, and share it through Messages, Calendar, Mail, or third-party apps, so anyone can join a FaceTime call from their web browser on Android and Windows devices.
FaceTime calls on the web remain end-to-end encrypted, so privacy is not compromised.
Focus filters notifications based on what a user is doing. Users can create a custom Focus or select a suggested one based on their context.
Users can also create Home Screen pages with apps and widgets that apply to moments of focus to only display relevant apps and reduce temptation.
A new notification summary organises a collection of notifications that can be delivered any time the user chooses, such as in the morning and evening.
Users can temporarily mute apps or messaging as well.
Urgent messages will be delivered immediately and important notifications will float to the top.
It automatically applies to other Apple devices you own.
While in Focus, your status is automatically displayed to others in Message.
Live Text uses on-device intelligence to recognise text in a photo and allow users to take action. The Camera app can also quickly recognise and copy text in the moment.
With Visual Look Up, users can learn more about popular art and landmarks around the world, plants and flowers found in nature, breeds of pets, and even find books.
Spotlight now uses intelligence to search photos by location, people, scenes, or objects, and using Live Text, Spotlight can find text and handwriting in photos.
Spotlight also offers web image search and all-new rich results for actors, musicians, TV shows, and movies.
Enhanced results for contacts show recent conversations, shared photos, and even their location if shared through Find My.
This lets users work with a single mouse and keyboard to move between iPad and Mac for a seamless experience, with no setup required. Users can even drag and drop content back and forth between devices.
Quick Note and Tags
On Mac and Ipad, Notes goes systemwide with Quick Note. Users can bring up Quick Note anywhere.
Tags make it easy to categorise notes and find them quickly with an all-new Tag Browser and tag-based Smart Folders.
For users working with others in shared notes, mentions create a way to notify collaborators and link them back to the note, and a new Activity view shows recent updates in the note.
The Health app adds trend analysis for 20 types of data — ranging from resting heart rate to sleep to cardio fitness. Trends is a new way to intelligently and proactively highlight important changes and surfaces the information in a way that’s easy to understand.
Users can also keep tabs on goals.
For those looking to monitor insights across areas like insulin delivery, trend analysis applies to data from third-party devices connected to the Health app.
With optional notifications, Trends can highlight long-term changes in health, so a user can celebrate progress toward a goal, or discuss with a doctor or care team.
Protection from third parties
In the Mail app, Mail Privacy Protection stops senders from using invisible pixels to collect information about the user. It prevents senders from knowing when users open an email and masks their IP address so it can’t be linked to other online activity or used to determine their location.
This year, Intelligent Tracking Prevention is hiding the user’s IP address from trackers.
App Privacy Report
With App Privacy Report, users can see how often each app has used the permission they’ve previously granted to access their location, photos, camera, microphone, and contacts during the past seven days.
Users can check whether this makes sense to them, and take action by going to the app in Settings if it doesn’t.
Users can also find out with whom their data may be shared by seeing all the third-party domains an app is contacting.
On-device Siri processing
With on-device speech recognition, the audio of users’ requests is processed right on their iPhone or iPad by default.
For many requests, Siri processing is also moving on device, enabling requests to be processed without an internet connection, such as launching apps, setting timers and alarms, changing settings, or controlling music.
Enhanced Internet Privacy with iCloud+
iCloud+ comes with new premium features, including iCloud Private Relay, Hide My Email, and expanded HomeKit Secure Video support, at no additional cost.
Private Relay is a new internet privacy service that’s built right into iCloud.
When browsing with Safari, Private Relay ensures all traffic leaving a user’s device is encrypted.
All the user’s requests are then sent through two separate internet relays.
Hide My Email lets users share unique, random email addresses that forward to their personal inbox anytime they wish to keep their personal email address private.
Built directly into Safari, iCloud settings, and Mail, Hide My Email also enables users to create and delete as many addresses as needed at any time, helping give users control of who is able to contact them.
iCloud+ expands built-in support for HomeKit Secure Video, so users can connect more cameras than ever before in the Home app while giving them end-to-end encrypted storage for home security video footage that will not count against their storage capacity.
HomeKit Secure Video also ensures that activity detected by users’ security cameras is analysed and encrypted by their Apple devices at home before being securely stored in iCloud.