The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference for the year has kicked off at Apple Park in California, and, as usual, the first day revealed the major headlines and launches. Though the company’s long-rumoured Vision Pro headset got the heads turning, we also saw a series of updates to the existing lines of both hardware and software.
The new iteration for iOS is out for developers in the beta stage and will be out in public beta version next month. This upgraded iOS brings a new standby screen to your iPhone, a bit like always-on display that we have seen before. In the mode, you get time, date, weather and charging status in the dock.
There’s a new transcription feature added to Messages, plus a check-in feature where you can enable automatic messages to a contact when you reach a certain destination and the OS would automatically notify them if you’re stuck somewhere or haven’t reached your destination in your usual time. You can now switch to Siri by saying just “Siri” instead of “Hey Siri” and it can also understand back-to-back commands with this update. With updated FaceTime, users can leave video voice mail for their contacts, and you can also view live transcriptions of these voice mail messages that somebody has left for you.
A new app called Journal gives suggestions for moments you may want to enter from your photos and videos, and can set reminders to start writing. Another feature called NameDrop has been added, which allows you to share your contact with another iPhone user by bringing your devices together (based on AirDrop).
Other little updates include improved dictation using AI, turn photos into stickers for Messages, improved keyboard suggestions that’s according to your writing style.
It’s worth noting that this update isn’t coming to the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X, as their support for major OS updates has ended.
The iPadOS didn’t get as much stage time and attention during the keynote as iOS did, but we did see a few updates here, too. iPadOS 17 brings interactive widgets to your homescreen, so you don’t have to open an app and can do it directly from the homescreen using the widget.
Lock screen has also been made a bit more personalised in line with how it’s been for iOS. And the Health app has also been brought to the iPad with this update, which seemed like a weird miss so far.
Oh, and you can now set multiple timers, which somehow was still missing from the default app for this long.
The new version of macOS is called macOS Sonoma, and the biggest changes include widgets added to the desktop, a more interactive screen sharing in apps such as Zoom, and an enhanced private browsing experience on Safari.
In Safari, you can now also pin Web apps for your preferred websites plus make profiles for different sessions. There’s also a new game mode, which reportedly brings improvements to the CPU and GPU usage along with lower latency when using AirPods with your Mac.
The widgets theme continues here, with the new watchOS 10 getting them coming to your Apple Watch, allowing you to check information quickly and control it using the Digital Crown button.
Another feature being added is calculating how much daylight time you have spent outside in the sun. For cyclists, there’s now a new live activity mode and you can check your cycling speed and connect sensors and power meters to the Watch over Bluetooth to give you other metrics about your workouts.
There’s a new 15.3-inch MacBook Air in town that touts the thinness (11.5mm) and performance it brings to the table. It starts at Rs 1,34,900 available next week for buyers in India.
The company claims it has 18 hours of battery backup powered by their own M2 chip. It features a 15.3inch LED IPS display (up from 13-inch), a 1080p webcam as well as six speakers supporting Dolby Atmos along with spatial audio.
Mac Pro and Mac Studio:
The studio line up has also received Apple’s own M2 chip, which sees the M2 Max and the new M2 Ultra chips for the latest Mac Studio. It comes in a similar look and feel; while the Mac Pro starts at $1,999, the Studio has been priced at $6,999 for the US, aimed at pro users who might be editing 8K resolution videos or other such heavy tasks. The M2 Ultra can run six Displays XDRs, improved 3D octane performance along with lower video processing time taken.