Apple (AAPL) announced a host of new features coming to the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac during its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on Monday.
The event, held live in Cupertino for the first time since the pandemic, included a look at iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 complete with the ability to, mercifully, retract text messages after sending them; health improvements to the Apple Watch; and a new MacBook Air powered by Apple’s latest M2 chip.
Of course, there was one notable omission from the show: Apple’s long-rumored augmented reality/ virtual reality headset. While not on display at WWDC, Apple could still debut the headset sometime later this year, or in early 2023.
That said, the products that Apple did announce were certainly impressive given the massive scope of their capabilities.
iOS 16 will make your iPhone more personal
Apple’s iOS 16 brings the biggest update in years to the software that powers your iPhone. The biggest news comes via the Messages app, which now lets you retract messages you’ve sent or edit them when you realize you missed a typo.
Let’s face it, we’ve all fired off texts without thinking and immediately regretted doing so. Thankfully, Apple is finally giving us the ability to pull those texts back, and preventing a lot of unnecessary arguments in iOS 16. Better still, in my opinion, is the ability to edit texts. I never proofread my messages. So being able to edit my texts after sending them is going to make it a lot harder for my friends to make fun of me for misspelling even the most basic words.
Outside of that godsend of a feature, iOS 16 will give users the option to customize their lock screens. The current lock screen normally just gives you your latest notifications, time and the option to quickly access your flashlight or camera. But with iOS 16, you’ll be able to completely customize the font and font color for the clock, add widgets for things like the weather, your fitness goals, or sports scores, and more.
Basically, you’ll be able to get more information from your phone without having to actually unlock it.
Notifications now appear at the bottom of the screen and are grouped based on the app they come from. What’s more, certain apps will be able to provide you with live updates from the lock screen including Uber, which will give you updates on the status of your ride.
Apple’s Wallet app, meanwhile, is getting a new feature called Apple Pay Later, which, you guessed it, is a buy now pay later option. You’ll be able to make purchases via Apple Pay, making four equal payments over six weeks. Apple says the option won’t charge any fees or interest.
iOS 16 also comes with a new Safety Check app that lets you quickly revoke somebody’s access to your location or other app privacy permissions. Apple says the feature is designed to help victims of domestic abuse. Safety Check will also let users revoke messaging capabilities on their other devices and limit it to the one they have in their hand.
Finally, Apple’s CarPlay is getting a complete makeover with the ability to take over your car’s display and cluster, allowing you to fully customize the look and feel of your car’s interface. The option will be available through a handful of automakers in 2023.
iOS 16 is expected to release in September alongside new iPhones, but new iOS versions often don’t launch with every feature announced at WWDC, with some features getting delayed and launching in smaller updates over the course of the next year.
The iPad is getting more multitasking
On the iPad side of things, Apple has announced a wide swath of improvements for iPadOS 16. In addition to the features found in iOS 16, iPadOS 16 introduces a new multitasking option called Stage Manager that lets you run two resizable app windows on your iPad on top of each other like you would on your laptop.
Beyond those two apps, you can run four additional apps on the left side of the screen that you can then quickly switch to the main window and vice versa. When connected to an external display, Stage Manager, which is available for iPad Pros, allows you to run additional apps on your secondary screen, turning the iPad into a far more versatile production device.
On the collaboration side of things, Apple introduced its new Freeform app. The software, which is coming to iPadOS 16 later this year, will let you make live changes to a project working through it with colleagues. Beyond Freeform, Apple says it is adding collaboration options to its other productivity apps letting you set up individual group messages for each project and receive updates when anyone makes changes in apps like Keynote, Numbers, Pages, and Notes.
WatchOS 9 brings improved sleep and medication tracking
WatchOS 9 is also getting a number of key updates when it launches later this year. The most important changes are a new app that lets you track your medication, allowing you to receive notifications when its time to, say, take a pill, as well as receive drug interaction warnings for your various medications.
Sleep tracking will let you better understand your sleep patterns, including providing you with information about when you’re in REM, core, and deep sleep, giving you the ability to know exactly why you woke up so cranky this morning.
For the more fitness minded, watchOS 9 includes the ability to compare your prior workouts to your current one, so you can determine whether your runs are getting better or worse. I’m sure mine will prove that my runs are, in fact, getting worse.
Then there’s the software’s improved atrial fibrillation tracking, which can tell you how long your heart is in AFib. Apple’s says the feature is FDA cleared, but makes sure to note that it is meant for users who have already been diagnosed with AFib.
Apple’s next-generation silicon and a new MacBook Air
In addition to new software, Apple took the wraps off of some new hardware at WWDC. The company let fly with its new M2 chipthe follow up to its in-house M1 chip, as well as a completely redesigned MacBook Air.
The M2 chip, according to Apple, provides nearly twice the performance of an Intel Core i7-1255U running in a Samsung laptop, while using the same amount of power. What’s more, the M2 pumps out the same performance as the Intel chip while using 1/4 of the power.
The redesigned MacBook Air, which along with the 13-inch MacBook Pro, is one of the fist laptops to get the M2 chip. The new Air features a 13.6-inch display pushed nearly all the way to the edges of the laptop’s panel. Apple has also reintroduced the MagSafe power connector, so if you kick the power cable, your laptop won’t go flying off of your table with it.
The Air starts at $1,199, while the M2-powered Pro starts at $1,299.
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