WWDC2022 – iOS 16, M2 Chips & Macbook Upgrades

“Dub Dub Dee Cee” is upon us once again. Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) is back in 2022 hosted from Apple Park with in person attendees for the first time in 2 years.

The prestigious event started with us viewing the magnificicent Apple Park in the dark which is a stark difference from the bright daytime shots that we have experienced so far. This was designed as such to tie in with the dark invite that was sent out in the past weeks.

Tim Cook starts off the event by talking about the progress Apple has made in the developer sector, especially for developers in cultural and ethnic minorities. Cook stated they have opened a brand new developer academy opposite Apple Park which joins the 15+ academys they have worldwide, one of which is in Saudi Arabia and exclusively for women which is likely down to the cultural beliefs there. Other stats about the diversity of developers and Apple’s progress in creating a more diverse developer set are also mentioned.

By this point it becomes apparent that even though Apple has invited members of the press and developers amongst others, the event is not held in a closed auditorium with seating and Apple is sticking with its more campus wide approach with its fancy camera movements across them with the in person participants being sat outside viewing the event on a large screen.

The stage gets passed over to Craig in the spherical room that Apple uses for showcasing its newest products to visitors of Apple Park but the room is empty for this video. He then very smoothly is lowered down with the entire floor becoming part of a lift to take them to the basement area with the display behind him.

iOS 16:

Craig introduces iOS 16 to the stage to nobody’s surprise. The first major change for the mobile operating system is the lock screen. Apple has finally made it possible for you to customise the look of the lock screen with a range of different fonts and colours along with the inclusion of various widgets. You can even set the depth of the time and sate so it fits seamlessly alongside your images to make the whole lock screen look a lot more personal.

The lockscreen is now much more like the one seen on watchOS where you can push inwards and swap between different lockscreen views with ease. This also fits into their new focus modes where you can have only specific application notifications coming through during that mode. So you could set it up to have a work only mode where you only get notifications for work related applications during work hours.

These focus filters also allow you to sort between your Safari tabs, text and iMessages within the Messages app and email accounts in the Mail app based on your current focus mode.

This is all powered by the new WidgetKit for developers which contains a Live Activities API to create interactive widgets which allow you to see the status of ongoing sports games, your current workout stats, and the status of your uber ride alongside active music playback controls.

Messages also get new smarts with the ability to undo sent message after you have sent it. Albeit a notification does show up in the chat so you can’t be sneaky. You can also edit messages after you have sent them so if you make a typo you can go back in and correct it although this also shows an edit notification. You can also now mark a whole message chat as unread if you accidentally open it and then need a reminder to go back and respond.

SharePlay which was exclusively within FaceTime now comes to Messages too. It is also more prominently placed within the FaceTime app and there is a dedicated section on the App Store which shows applications that are compatible with SharePlay.

Dictation is used 18 billion times per month by Apple users and the neural engine carries out a significant portion of this processing on device wherever possible. This is now being enhanced to allow you to switch between dictation and entering text via the keyboard with ease. The keyboard is no longer hidden behind the audio graph and instead, it shows a smaller animation to let you manually enter text with ease. Punctuation is now automatically added for longer dictation settings and you can add emojis amid your messages for more natural conversation.

Live Text now works in videos so if you are watching a tutorial on coding, you can copy the text from within the video which emits the need to type it all out manually. You can also convert currency using the live text feature which is likely backed by some Siri smarts. Lastly, there is now a live camera view mode in the translate app which is something Google Translate has had for years now.

Visual Lookup is a new feature which allows you to mask out elements of images such as the main subject and extract them and use them as stickers (like Snapchat allows you to do). So creating a meme of your friend pulling a funny face can now be done without the need for any additional apps.

Apple Wallet now offers in-app age verification for apps. So if you are in a location where your ID can be stored digitally (such as a few states in America including Arizona and Maryland) then you can use these to verify your age when paying via Apple pay and you can choose only to provide minimal information such as the fact that you are of the legal drinking age if you are ordering alcohol.

Keys can now be shared via tools such as mail, messages and WhatsApp so if you need to give the pass to a family member to let them in through your Apple Pass (NFC) compatible front door lock then you could send them a message with it. Although they didn’t mention anything about being able to revoke these afterwards so you would have to be careful about who you share them with.

This is all based on a standardised platform called IETF so even if your device is from another manufacturer then it still should be compatible.

Apple Pay’s ‘Tap to Pay on iPhone’ went live this month across the US with Square being the first partner for this so its entirely possible that within the coming months and years you could be paying on an iPhone in places like festivals and independent shops with more traditional retailers unlikely to implement this due to their card processing agreements. You don’t need to pay with an iPhone to get this to work, it will work with any device that offers NFC payments such as an Android smartphone or even your contactless enabled bank card.

Apple Pay Later is a brand new feature which follows in the footsteps of Klarna and more recently PayPal and even banks like Monzo where you can split the payment of any item paid with Apple Pay over 4 payments which are spread over 6 weeks without any fees. Although it wasn’t clear if this was just digital payments or if you could do this for in person payments made via Apple Pay.

All of these payments will be visible within the Wallet app and no additional setup would be required on the merchant’s side. It also wasn’t clear who puts up the money for this, whether Apple would pay the merchant in full and take the payments from you or whether the merchant agrees to split the payment and receive them in instalments.

You can now also track orders and their status within the Wallet app for supported sites and Shopify powered sites will be the first to support this when it launches later this year.

Apple Maps has had a significant amount of investment in recent years with 10 countries benefiting from the new enhanced maps. 11 other countries will also get this later this year. Another feature is the multi stop routing which wasn’t possible until now, so now you can map out a multiple stop journey either on your iPhone or even on your Mac and send this over. Siri can also add additional locations when using CarPlay.

Transit cards can now also be synchronised so Apple Maps can if you have a low balance then you’ll be informed and you can top up before making the journey.

Apple News now allows you to follow your favourite teams and leagues in a section called MySports within the app. This is currently supported in 4 countries. If you are an Apple News+ subscriber then you can also get more localised coverage for your local area.

Family Sharing now allows you to manage child accounts with ease and if you are setting up a new device then you can use your iPhone to set up the device for your child with the same nearby setup feature you would use to set up your own. A new Family Checklist tool will allow you to manage your family with ease so as they grow up you can reduce their restrictions.

iCloud Shared Photo Library allows you to share photos featuring certain faces with your family. If you only want to share photos with all the members of the family then you can set it up as such or if you only want to share photos of you and your partner then you can set that up too. You can even send photos directly to the shared photo library by changing the option from personal photos to the shared library right from within the camera app. All members of the family have equal permissions for editing photos which can be seen as positive and negative.

Safety Check is another brand new feature which removes any shared locations and resets privacy permissions so that if you are a victim of domestic abuse and are escaping then your abuser is less likely to be able to track you. The tool also logs you out of all other iCloud devices apart from the one you have and allows you to reset your password too.

Apple has worked alongside other companies to develop the Matter universal smart home platform and its foundations are deeply rooted within HomeKit due to its privacy first approach. There are about 130 products in the pipeline at the moment which are using the Matter platform.

The Apple Home app itself is more efficient and reliable. You can navigate and organise your smart home with more ease. You can also filter your smart home by room and by default you can see your favourite 4 cameras at a glance. A new lock screen widget has also been created to sit on the new lock screen.

Apple CarPlay is now available in 98% of the cars in the US with 79% of US buyers only considering cars which have CarPlay support. The next generation of CarPlay transitions away from the single screen dash view to a brand new whole car experience. You can now have CarPlay powering your instrument cluster behind your steering wheel alongside all in car temperature and other car functions to create a unified experience. This is completely flexible and can adapt based on the screens in the car but at the end of the day will look fairly unified across manufacturers. This will be launched late next year so it’ll be a while off before you can get this in your next car.

watchOS 9

The Apple Watch will now offer lunar watch faces which hold a lot of significance in Chinese, Islamic and Hebrew cultures. Other watch faces include one with jumping characters and another with a metropolitan stretching font.

  • Siri now has a new UI which has new message notifications and your recent apps are now shown on the watch screen face.
  • Podcasts now feature a more to discover section to explore podcasts especially if you have a cellular enabled Apple Watch
  • The ability to answer and end VOIP calls such as Webex
  • 3 new running form metrics within the Workout app with more data available in the modes.
  • Sleep stages – see what stage of sleep you are at and see any times you may have woken up
  • You can now submit Heart & Movement study data via the Research app
  • Atrial fibrillation is now shown live on the watch and you can also see your atrial fibrillation history on your iPhone to track what may trigger it. This is however still pending FDA clearance

Medication can now be tracked on the Medication app on your Apple Watch and iPhone. You can set up notifications to remind you when to take your medication so you don’t forget. You can also use the camera on your iPhone to import the name of your medication rather than typing it out manually. The app will also show drug-drug interactions and potential side effects to limit any negative impacts to your health and Apple has partnered with a health specialist to offer this. You can also share your health data with loved ones.

Macs & Apple Silicon :

The transition to Apple Silicon is going great with almost all of the product lines having transitioned over and overall the Mac business has never been stronger.

M2

This is a brand new 2nd generation 5nm production process with 20 billion transistors and unified memory bandwidth.

MacBook Air

MacBook Air is the first Mac to get an M2 chip as it is a worldwide best seller. It now features the MagSafe 3 introduced to us back on the 14” and 16” MacBook Pros last year alongside 2 Thunderbolt 4 / USB C (4.0) ports on the left-hand side and a single headphone jack with support for high impedance headphones on the right-hand side.

The MacBook Air loses its iconic wedge shape and adopts a slimmer MacBook Pro design at only 11.3mm. The Air also does end up losing 20% of its overall volume by doing so creating a smaller form factor with a 2.7lbs weight. The Air also features a new liquid retina display with a 13.6” display with a notch like the more premium Pro devices which is 500 nits in brightness and so 25% brighter than the M1 variant.

It comes in 4 colours, silver, space grey, midnight which is like a dark blue and starlight which is a champagne gold finish. The notebook also features a 1080p full HD camera which is 2x better than the last generation alongside an enhanced audio setup which has a three microphone array and 4 speakers with spatial audio support for Dolby Atmos content.  The Air also features a full-height function row with Touch ID on the power key.

Looking at the performance of the MacBook, it is up to 20% faster than the M1 MacBook Air and up to 5x faster than the 8th gen i5 variant from a few years ago. This design is still fanless so is completely silent and features an all-day battery life with up to 18 hours of video playback.

You also now get fast charging for the first time with a 50% charge in 30 minutes using a 67w power adapter using the braided Magsafe 3 to USB C cable.

MacBook Pro 13”

The second best selling laptop – the 13” MacBook Pro also gets this new M2 chip with performance upgrades also seen but apart from that there are no other significant changes.

macOS Ventura

macOS got its next generation with Ventura which introduces a range of additional features.

Stage Manager is a brand new tool which allows you to manage all of your open windows with ease. Apple already has Mission Controll which allows multi tasking with ease, however, they believe that it can still get cluttered especially with multiple instances of the same application (I am a sucker for that).

With Stage Manager your active application is in the centre with all of the others on the left-hand side in a cluster based on the application. You can cycle through the instances of the app by clicking on the cluster and if you want you can even pair applications just like you can with the iPad so if you tend to use safari and notes together, you can pair them together.

I do tend to use applications in full-screen mode so this doesn’t add many benefits to me, however, I do end up having a lot of things open in Preview on the desktop in a smaller view so this would help gtoup them out of the way.

Spotlight now offers the ability to peek at a result when you search for it rather than having to open it in Finder then peek at it. This has been a bugbear for me for a while and the inclusion is definitely appreciated.

Spotlight can also now be opened quicker on iOS devices as you can click the small dots at the bottom of your home screens and then search rather than swiping down.

Mail now also allows you to undo send on an email. This is a feature Google has had on the web for Gmail for a while but it’s a good one to have. You can also see reminders for potential tasks within emails too – this is something Outlook has had on its web client for a while. When searching with mail you now get a more powerful search where each letter will bring up search results alongside autocorrect within the searches and mail will even show synonyms for words you’ve searched to try and find that email you were looking for.

Safari now has Shared Tab Groups which means you can share tabs with family and friends and you can see which tab somebody is on.

Apple is also pushing for the removal of passwords within Safari with Passkeys which means a site doesn’t have to store a password at all for your account with them. Rather your biometrics such as FaceID and TouchID are your authentication method. Passkeys have been developed alongside other industry leaders such as Google and Microsoft as part of the Fido alliance so there will be a big push to move away from passwords entirely.

Metal 3 has MetalFX Upscaling which renders smaller, less compute-intensive frames and upscales them. There is a new fast resource loading API which has also been developed for developers to make games look even better but less resource-intensive.

Apples continuity feature has been super useful for me with the ability to copy and paste content between your devices and the hand off feature is part of this. You are now able to utilise your iPhone’s camera as a webcam in order to get incredible video quality when on calls. This is all wireless and your Mac will automatically pick up your iPhone within the app regardless of whether that is Zoom, Teams, Webex or Facetime.

You are also able to choose the studio light mode which will mimic the effects seen in portrait mode to enhance the level of light on your face similar to how a ring light would. There is also a pretty cool Desk Mode which uses the ultrawide camera to simultaneously film you and the desk without any distortion using some camera trickery. This will likely rely on the angles being quite specific but is a feature I am looking forward to testing when I can.

Belkin will be producing stands to allow you to attach this onto the screen of your MacBook later this year however it’s likely iMac and universal ones will also be created by Belkin or third parties pretty soon.

iPadOS 16:

The iPad finally gets the weather app after years of waiting.

Apple has also integrated enhanced collaboration tools where you can collaborate on Pages, Keynote, notes and Safari together with groups you have already created in the Messages apps so there is no need to manually create groups on all of the apps individually. The API will be aliable for developers to integrate this into their apps and it will be available on macOS and iOS too.

Freeform is a new digital whiteboarding tool which allows you to doodle or plan together with others on your Facetime call. You can easily jump between where your friends and family are on the page by clicking their icons. 

  • SharePlay now works for Game Centre for you to be able to have a shared gaming experience
  • The iPad is gaining more desktop-class apps and there are enhanced API’s to support this
  • The 12.9” iPad Pro supports reference mode which means you can have the same colour space across your Mac and iPad Pro so you can have multiple colour accurate workspaces
  • Virtual memory swapping is now possible with your storage being used as RAM
  • Support for Stage Manager is also coming

WWDC 2022 was jam-packed full of software and hardware but what was your favourite new feature? Are you going to purchase any of the new hardware announced? Let us know in the comments below.

Footnote: All images are from Apple’s WWDC 2022 Keynote which can be watch on their own website here

About Siddu Munjal

Reviewer & Partner Outreach for MobileTechTalk - Tech is a key part of my everyday life and I would probably be extremely lost without it.

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