Another annual edition of WWDC has kicked off, showing the very best additions to Apple’s software stable and even some hardware announcements too. So what’s new?
Often the software of a device is as least as important as the quality of the hardware, which is why there’s such attention paid to Apple’s annual WWDC event, which concentrates on updated operating systems for the manufacturer’s key product lines.
Fortunately this time around there was new hardware on show too, and so in this article we’ve collected all the big announcements from the first day of the show.
Top of the billing was iOS 16, the new operating system for iPhones.
The key change was to the lockscreen, which will now be far more customisable than before, including featuring interactive and auto-updating widgets, which look both helpful and visually appealing.
Beyond that, there are also ease-of-use tweaks that have been made to a variety of core apps. You can now retract or edit texts that you send on Apple Messages; select and manipulate subtitled text from videos with Live Translate; pick out individual objects from photos and send them via Visual Look Up, and share your photos with your family far more easily with iCloud Shared Photo Library.
macOS 13 Ventura
Changes were also made to the Mac operating system, with the new macOS Ventura software update that’s coming later this year.
Stage Manager will allow you to take care of the windows that you’re using far more easily, by grouping inactive windows on the left hand side, ready for you to dive back in, and letting you categorise groups of app windows together if they’re relevant to doing the same task.
Continuity Camera is another great addition that will allow you to use your iPhone as a webcam for your Mac with what looks like seamless ease. Along with some updates to Mail, Safari, and gaming, you’ll also be able to use Passkeys to verify your identity across platforms rather than remembering individual passwords.
Collaboration is a significant theme for the new iPad software, so you’ll be able to have multiple people working on a combined whiteboard in Freeform, plus you can work on Pages documents together over live FaceTime calls.
There are updates to the Messages app, similar to those in iOS 16, while there will finally (finally) be a native Weather app for the iPad included with iPadOS 16. Another overall theme is just making the iPad experience feel a little bit more like that of a laptop, so apps like Files have been expanded with more viewing options, while Stage Manager joins the iPad as well.
With watchOS 9, your Apple Watch will be able to show your heart rate zones during a workout, so that you can judge the intensity of your exercise more accurately. In tandem with this, custom workouts will be introduced so that you can set specific goals for distance and performances, while you’ll be able to race against a virtual version of yourself on regular running routes for extra motivation.
The new Medications app can remind you when to take your scheduled pills, and the AFIB History tool can keep track of your atrial fibrillations in case of irregular heartbeats. Sleep stages have been added to the Apple Watch’s native sleep tracking and, as expected, a boatload of new watch faces options will also be included in the update.
On to the hardware, and the first big announcement was that of the M2 chip. Apple claims that you’ll get 18% better performance with this 5nm processor over the already-impressive M1. It rocks a 10-core GPU, and Apple claims that this packs 35% more graphics power than the M1 as well, so this should be a seriously impressive bit of silicon to see in action.
MacBook Air M2
Of course, there’s no use unveiling a chip if you’ve got nothing to use it.
That’s where the MacBook Air M2 comes in to play, launching in July this year for a starting price of $1199/£1249. There’s been a major redesign with this generation, as now it is only 11.3mm thick (compared to its 16.1mm predecessor), and it weighs just 1.2kg so it should be very easy to take around with you. It’s also got MagSafe charging ports and an upgraded 1080p webcam.