WWDC 2021

By: Nick Gambino

Apple kicked off the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) this week with announcements on new and improved software advances.

Perhaps the biggest reveal was iOS 15 which gets some major improvements. FaceTime was given some due attention as this last year proved we rely on video calls more than ever. The app’s audio got a face…errr…earlift (?) with spatial audio, Apple’s answer to immersive sound that goes beyond stereo.

SharePlay is an important addition to the FaceTime arsenal, especially if they’re looking to move further into business video calling. Though, it clearly reaches beyond merely business applications. SharePlay allows users to share visuals and media directly through FaceTime. So you can have watch parties or listening parties right on your Apple video call.

Live Text is a pretty cool addition to iOS 15. This essentially converts text in a photo into digital text that you can then use for whatever purpose you see fit. You can capture a phone number using this method and call it or copy and paste a funny sign at the coffee shop

A pretty significant upgrade to Wallet is arriving with iOS 15, one I never saw coming. You’ll be able to store your official ID or Driver’s License for use at the airport. Now, not every state is currently participating, but still, pretty cool. You’ll see hotel, home and work key support showing up soon as well.

Siri is finally making its way into third-party products which is pretty huge seeing as through Apple’s resident digital assistant has only ever appeared on their own devices. They demonstrated Siri working with an Ecobee thermostat at WWDC and announced “she’ll” also appear on Matter smart home products. I’m sure there are more partnerships in the works.

In addition to iOS 15, Apple also announced iPadOS 15 and watchOS 8. While neither has as many new and exciting features as iOS 15, they have a couple cool upgrades. The iPad now supports widgets on the home screen and easier and swifter multitasking control.

WatchOS 8 mainly adds a redesigned Home app that makes it a lot easier to navigate the small screen as well as new health features and upgrades to the Photos app and the accompanying Apple Watch face.

As is usual this was just the reveal. We should expect the launch of these various OSes sometime this fall