Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, often shortened to WWDC, took place from Monday 6 – 10th June, with the keynote lasting for nearly 2 hours.
Many videos were released throughout the days following the conference, but in today’s blog, I’m going to outline everything that Apple announced, and give my thoughts on how accessible the next version of iOS is going to be.
The next instalment of iOS will include a redesigned, customisable Lock Screen, as well as improvements to the Messages, Maps and Home apps, new sharing and personalisation capabilities, and more.
The Lock Screen, Notifications, and Focus
The new, fully customisable Lock Screen allows users to edit numerous design elements, including type styles, colours, and whether or not you want to include emojis. As well as this, you’re also able to create multiple Lock Screens, which you can easily switch between by swiping.
The Notifications in the next version of iOS will roll up from the bottom of the screen, but they also come with another new feature. To make room for your new customised Lock Screen, Apple now allows its users to hide their notifications, allowing more space for further customisations.
Focus has been a big hit since it was released by Apple in 2021, and I’ve personally found it useful when working.
In iOS 16, Apple plans to enhance Focus even more, with users now able to tie specific Focus modes to your customised Lock Screens, as well as applying Focus filters to get less notifications from distracting apps, such as Messages, Twitter and Calendar.
New Features for Messages
The new version of Messages will now include the ability to edit or delete sent messages, as well as allowing users to mark a message as unread.
As well as this, you’ll also be able to send SharePlay sessions (put simply, links that let you watch / listen to the same content as friends in different locations), directly in the Messages app, which will be activated right away.
Dictation, Siri, and Live Text
The new dictation experience keeps the keyboard open when speaking, allowing those who use it to use a combination of speech and typing, while also automatically adding punctuation and emojis into your messages, which you can also use with Siri.
IOS 16 will also see Live Text expanding to video, allowing users to select the text in playing videos. And as well that, Live Text will also be making its way to the Apple Watch, so all the WatchOS users will have an extra way of calling numbers if they need to.
There’s also been improvements made in relation to Visual Lookup, with users now able to pull out subjects and to drag them elsewhere.
Apple Pay and Wallet
Numerous features have been added to the Apple Pay and Wallet app, starting with the ability for you to share virtual keys via message.
As well as this, Apple also announced their Apple Pay Later service, which allows users to pay for purchases in four instalments over six weeks, with zero interest and no fees.
And we’re also getting an Apple Pay Order Tracking feature, making it easier to track purchases from retailers.
Enhanced Changes to Apple Maps
More and more countries and cities have already been added into the Maps app in recent years, which has seen a 2D and 3D design being added, and even more are to be added in the coming months.
But adding to Apple’s support for multitasking, they’re now adding Multistop Routing, which will allow users to plan up to fifteen stops ahead of time. You can start your plans on Mac and continue it across other iOS devices, as well as having the option to add other stops using Siri.
The included Transit feature also allows Apple users to see the costs of a journey while you are planning, with Transit Cards being even heavily integrated into the Wallet app.
Sports fans will be in for a treat, because the Apple TV app can now display information about sport games via live activities.
Although Apple has made Family Sharing and kids accounts easy to manage in the past, they will be introducing a couple of new features.
The next version of iOS will include quicker ways to set age appropriate restrictions, from Quick Start, to Screen Time requests in messages, a Family Checklist feature and more.
The new Safety Check feature will be available in settings, and allows its users to quickly turn off the access that others have to your location and information, which will be a welcomed feature for many people.
The Home App has been completely redesigned in the next version of iOS, with a new main tab view to see your entire home in one place.
As well this, we’re also getting access to new dedicated categories such as Climate, security and more, and distinctions tiles which will make accessories more recognisable.
Apple also announced improvements for Spatial Audio with AirPods, QuickNote coming to the iPhone, new Mail features, Rapid Security Response, Spotlight in the dock, additional Memoji customisations, the Fitness App coming to iPhone without the need for an Apple Watch, MacOS Ventura, and more.
I’m not going to be able to cover all of these in this blog, but tell me if you’ll like me to do some posts about any of them in future, and I’ll see what I can do.
Along with all the features in iOS 16, Apple also announced the move from the Mac’s M1 Chip to the M2 Chip.
The M2 Chip features an 18% faster CPU, a 35% more powerful GPU, and a 40% Neural Engine compared to the M1 Chip.
Supporting up to 24GB of LPDDR5 Unified Memory, and featuring four performance and four efficiency cores, it also supports 100GB of unified memory bandwidth, which is up by 50% compared to the M1.
As well as all these features, the M2s come with 10-core GPU, with two more cores compared to the M1. The peak performance is 87% of what you get from a 12-core PC, and you’ll also get an improved media engine that supports 8K, a ProRes video engine to playback streams of 4K and 8K video, Apple’s newest security technology, and a new image signal processor that delivers better image noise reduction.
The models of M2 Macs that were announced was the new 13-inch MacBook Air and a 13-inch MacBook Pro. You’ll be able to Preorder them starting tomorrow.
So what are my final thoughts on what Apple Announced at WWDC, and is iOS 16 the most accessible yet, or do the developers at Apple need to try harder?
While I find the customisable Lock Screen an interesting new feature, Apple will have to make sure that moving the elements you want to add around is easy for everyone to do, even if they are disabled and can only use one finger.
Likewise, I feel that the new Dictation features were a good thought on paper, but it does raise questions over whether or not physically disabled people could use it as well. But I don’t really use dictation for everything I do anyway, so I can’t really comment any further.
But as far as all the other features go, I think the next version of iOS is going to be incredibly useful, although it would be useful if Apple could bring back the ability to talk to Siri via a voice command for those who can’t double click the side buttons on the iPhone and iPad, and the same should apply for paying for and downloading apps, as the older ‘Confirm Using Face ID or Passcode’ option was just a lot more accessible, compared to the ‘Confirm Using Assistive Touch’ feature.
Turning to the M2 MacBooks, however, I think the MacBook Air is going to be extremely popular for production, but I have to admit, I would have preferred seeing it released in a bigger model, like the rumoured 15-inch.
As far as built-in cameras go, I just don’t see how the MacBook Pro on offer comes anywhere close to the M2 MacBook Air, although I’d be interested to see what happens as more of them come out.
Still, at least it’s good that Apple has continued to keep the M1 MacBook Air on the market, as it might be a good option for students and anyone struggling under the current Economic Crises around the world.
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