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Apple Watch, Mac, Apple TV and HomePod all got better today – here’s what’s new

After last week’s hardware launches, it’s time for Apple to update its software. As well as the iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4 updates, your Mac, Apple Watch, HomePod and Apple TV are also being improved today.

Apple has launched watchOS 8.5 for Apple Watch, macOS Monterrey 12.3, tvOS 15.4 and HomePod 15.4 on Monday March 14, with plenty of improvements and new features across the board.

Here’s a round-up of what Apple is serving up for each of its major platforms on Monday.

macOS 12.3

The major new feature for macOS 12.3 is Universal Control, which was originally announced way back in the summer of 2021 at WWDC. Now we can find out whether it was worth the wait. You can use Universal Control to pair a Mac and iPad tablet with a single mouse and keyboard/trackpad. The cursor can travel seamlessly between both devices, allowing content to be dragged or dropped between devices. The feature also requires you to install iPadOS 15.4 on a compatible iPad.

The latest update to Monterrey includes 36 new emoji, a new gender neutral Siri voice in American English and dynamic head tracking for Spatial Audio in Apple Music when using AirPods. You can download macOS 12.3 for compatible Macs by heading to System Preferences > Software Update.

watchOS 8.5

watchOS 8.5 is one of the milder updates of the day. It introduces the new emoji referenced above and the new Siri voice for American users. It’s also possible to authorise Apple TV purchases and subs with an Apple Watch, while there’s also a new COVID-19 vaccination card section in Apple Wallet for users in the EU.

tvOS 15.4

The main update for Apple TV users is the ability to support Captive Wi-Fi networks, such as in hotels. Users will now be able to leverage their iPhone and iPad to connect to these networks that may ask for additional details before accessing the internet. It’s a good upgrade for people who want to take their Apple TV with them when they travel.

“Captive Wi-Fi network support on tvOS allows you to use your iPhone or iPad to connect your Apple TV to networks that need additional sign-in steps, like at hotels or dorms,” Apple says in the release notes.

Apple is also adding the option to see the “Up Next” queue from within the “Now Playing” when you swipe up from the video playback screen.

HomePod 15.4

The update for Apple’s HomePod speakers, also out today, also contains the update to assist with Captive Wi-Fi networks present within tvOS 15.4 (above) and the new non-binary American English Siri voice.

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