Apple’s WWDC 2022 Highlights
New Year, New Products
Apple kicked off its annual Worldwide Developers Conference last Monday, showcasing what they’ve been working on over the last year. For the first time since the Coronavirus pandemic began, Apple invited hundreds of people to attend this year’s conference in-person. The event held at Apple Park invited professional developers, students, and the media to see Apple’s keynote, Platform State of the Union, and a sneak peek at the all-new Apple Development Center. The highlights from this year’s keynote include a look at the new iOS 16, watchOS 9, and Mac OS Ventura operating systems, as well as the newly redesigned MacBook Air powered by next-generation M2 chipsets.
The new iOS shown off during Apple’s keynote promises a totally revamped lock screen with personalized customization features. You can create patterned lock screens based on your favorite emoji, and users will now be able to edit the font, color, and placement of objects on the lock screen. There are also widgets which provide useful at-a-glance information such as the time, weather, battery levels, calendar events, Apple Watch activity rings, and more.
You can also set your phone into different ‘Focus modes’ such as Work Focus or Personal Focus. Setting your phone to one of these focus modes will transform how your phone looks and functions by syncing your lock screen to your current Focus mode. The Work Focus mode will set your lock screen to a more data-rich set of widgets, while the Personal Focus mode would contain widgets more suited to your personal life, such as ones centered around photography or music. If you don’t care to set each individual widget for each Focus mode, there are even premade home and lock screens with apps and widgets relevant to the current Focus.
Messages are also getting some sorely needed and major quality of life updates with the new iOS. You will now be able to undo or edit any text messages you have sent within the last 15 minutes. Users can mark text messages as unread when they don’t have time to respond but want to reply later. SharePlay is also getting an update which allows users to share synchronized activities movies, music, games, workouts, and more directly with friends while chatting in messages.
Apple didn’t stop there, as there are tons of other quality of life features being introduced with iOS 16 including updates to Mail, Safari, Passkeys, Live Text, Siri, dictation, maps, Apple Pay and Wallet, the Home screen, health and fitness apps, family sharing, CarPlay, privacy and security, accessibility, and more. You can read the full list of updates on Apple’s iOS 16 features preview page.
WatchOS 9 is the new update to Apple’s prominent smartwatch platform. It features four new watch faces including Lunar, Playtime, Metropolitan, and Astronomy. Much like iOS 16, users can also synchronize their watch faces to their current Focus Mode. However, Apple’s focus with the WatchOS platform continues to center around health. WatchOS 9 will bring extensive updates to nearly all fitness and health-related features including Sleep Insights, ECG monitoring, and a new Medications feature designed to help users keep track of their daily medication regimens.
For athletes and other physically active users, the Workout app will receive an update that brings custom workouts, a multisport workout feature, and improved activity metrics centered around optimizing your physical fitness routines.
“Users around the world love Apple Watch for helping them stay connected to those they love, be more active throughout the day, and better manage their health,” claimed Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. “This fall, WatchOS 9 takes the Apple Watch experience to the next level with scientifically validated insights across fitness, sleep, and heart health, while providing users more creative ways to make their Apple Watch their own.”
During the keynote, Apple unveiled the new MacOS Ventura operating system. Ventura will come packed full of many of the updates coming to iOS 16 including Safari, Messages, Mail, Photos, Passkeys and more. Spotlight is also getting a series of improvements including enhanced image search, quick actions, and an all-new search design.
Enhanced image search will allow users to find images in Photos, Messages, the Finder, and the internet directly from Spotlight. You can even use Live Text to search for an image based on the text inside it. Quick actions allow you to set alarms, switch focuses, search for songs with Shazam, execute shortcuts, and more. The revamped search design presents any information you need for contacts, albums, musicians, TV shows, movies, actors, sports, and businesses all in one place. With Quick Look users can easily scroll through previews of all your files simply by pressing the spacebar.
Throughout the presentation Apple also touted the new Stage Manager feature coming to all Macs with the Ventura update. With the press of a button, Stage Manager will automatically organize all running apps and windows into a single collapsible panel so users can stay organized and on track while quickly and seamlessly moving between tasks. Stage Manager will allow users to create their ideal workspace by grouping together apps for specific tasks for projects. Groups can be arranged, moved, resized, and overlapped to create the perfect workspace.
MacBook Air with M2 Processor
The MacBook Air is Apple’s most popular laptop, and the new model showcased during their keynote highlighted a number of performance and design updates. The MacBook Pro was also briefly featured, but it’s only getting a simple processor upgrade. One of the most significant improvements for the Air is the inclusion of the new M2 chipset which harnesses Apple’s next-gen architecture. Despite utilizing the same amount of power of previous chips, the M2 will see upwards of 18% increased performance over older models.
Beyond the newest MacBook Air models’ improved performance, there are a number of changes to the laptop’s hardware. It features a strikingly thin design, four new color choices (including the popular “Midnight” and “Starlight” color schemes), a larger 13.6 inch display with a notch, and a much-needed 1080p front-facing webcam. The bezels have been significantly thinned out in comparison to older models despite hiding the beefed up camera. It’s the thinnest, lightest model of MacBook Air to date with a battery life lasting up to 18 hours.
Kassidy Jezierski is the Operations Lead at Lithios. She works to clearly communicate the capabilities and optimal engagement opportunities between Lithios and its clients. In her free time, she enjoys finger-painting pictures of lambs and docile sheep.