Apple’s World Wide Developer’s Conference is primarily for its developers, the people who create applications for its devices. That’s why the company spent a lot of time during its keynote today talking about all of the application programming interfaces (APIs) that its 34 million registered Apple developers can use as part of its upcoming software features. Apple also showed off its new Developer Center building on its campus in Cupertino, California.
But Apple also talked about a lot of consumer-facing software and services. The new iPhone operating system iOS 16 will receive improvements in terms of customization and messages. The Apple Watch has also received some major improvements that should make the wearable device even more helpful in the healthcare field. Of course, another notable announcement was the new MacBook Air laptop, which comes in fresh new Starlight and Midnight colors.
The new operating systems for your Apple devices won’t officially ship until the fall, but there’s still a lot to learn from what Apple is sharing today. Let’s analyze the most important information mentioned. Here are the top five takeaways from this year’s WWDC.
The M2 processor is here
The new MacBook Air is hard to miss with its brand new design and additional colors Starlight and Midnight. The computer that so many people rely on not only gets a new exterior design with MagSafe charging and a 1080P HD camera, it also gets new guts on the inside. The true story of this new MacBook Air is its M2 processor.
Apple’s M1 processor formed the basis of its devices for almost two years. Now let’s take a look at what the company has in store for the next phase of its in-house silicon chips. The M2 allows for more RAM (up to 24GB unified storage) and faster throughput, but also helps with more efficient battery usage (18 hours of video playback).
The M2 processor is 18 percent faster than the M1 for CPU-intensive tasks and 35 percent faster for GPU (graphics processing unit) tasks. The new MacBook Air will be available in July starting at $1,199. A new entry-level MacBook Pro will also get the M2 processor, starting at $1,299 when it goes on sale later.
Speaking of Mac, macOS 13 (Ventura) also gets some improvements. Stage Manager comes to Mac to deal with open windows. The software feature acts as a sidebar to switch between different active apps.
The iPad is now (more) a computer
Speaking of Stage Manager, this is one of the big improvements for the iPad. Its ability to resize app windows and use an external monitor helps power users use the iPad Pro even more like a laptop or desktop computer. Until now, the iPad has been limited by its operating system to handle all the computing tasks that people wanted it to do. Stage manager with multitasking improvements will go a long way in allowing users to use the device for simple or advanced tasks.
There are even more innovative features coming to iPad in the form of collaboration, working on documents at the same time, and in-app toolbar customizations. Will more people start using an iPad as their main or only computer? It’s difficult to say. But with this latest software update, that possibility is at least easier to imagine than it has been in the past.
iOS 16 gets personal
The heart of the iPhone is its operating system, and as such, anything updated is a big deal. This year, iOS 16 gets some notable improvements in the form of personalization and sharing. The iPhone lock screen gets widgets, editable fonts and colors, and the ability to automatically change lock screen images throughout the day.
Apple is often criticized for its lack of user-controllable features, but with its new lock screen, it offers more personalization than ever. The widgets appearing on the lock screen could even be a hint of what’s coming in a new iPhone later this year – in the form of an always-on phone display, like the Apple Watch currently does.
The Messages app in iOS 16 gets the ability to edit and retract sent messages, as well as mark read messages as unread. These small tweaks should offer big improvements in the way people communicate with each other.
If you’ve set up a family iCloud account, the new shared iCloud Photo Library is going to be a big deal. It allows you to exchange pictures with predefined people as soon as you take the photos and more.
Apple Watch runs faster to health
Throughout the WWDC presentation, it was clear that health in all forms is a key area of focus for Apple – particularly with the Apple Watch.
One of the ways health is approached is through the existing ECG app. It will no longer just detect atrial fibrillation, but will soon also measure the length of time a person with atrial fibrillation spends using AFib History. The feature will also be visible in the Apple Health app on iPhone, making it easier for people to share the data with a doctor if needed.
The medication app is a new way to track prescription medication and vitamin plans. No more need to set timers or reminders to take pills. Medication can be viewed and tracked using Apple Watch Complications as medication is taken from your wrist. This new app goes beyond schedules, however, and medications allow you to view drug interactions and if you’ve added multiple medications that might conflict with each other in some way.
With new running metrics for watchOS 9, runners also have access to advanced training features like stride length, ground contact time, and vertical oscillation. You can also set new alerts to let you know if you’re training at the pace and running style you intend.
Home and car are important
Mixed in with all the announcements was mention of HomeKit and CarPlay. Apple spoke about its involvement in Matter, the upcoming smart home platform that will connect devices from most leading manufacturers. Apple’s commitment to Matter means many devices from Google, Amazon and others work seamlessly in your home. Apple will also update its Home app to make it easier to use with modern smart homes.
Somewhat surprisingly, Apple showed a small preview of a future version of CarPlay. This future version not only controls media playback and navigation, but also leverages all aspects of the car for dashboard customization buttons.
There have been rumors of Apple developing its own self-driving car, and this future interface really looks like it could be part of that project coming to life. Of course, don’t expect to see this advanced CarPlay before the end of 2023.