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WWDC 2022 roundup

Posted in Apple

The opening keynote at Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) is one of my favourite events of the year and, as always, I’ve written a list of the things that got me most excited. I’ve even thrown in a few things that weren’t mentioned during the keynote, for good measure.

iCloud Shared Photo Library

This is something I’ve been wishing for for the longest time. iCloud Shared Photo Library allows you to share photos directly into someone else’s main photo library, based on criteria you configure, like:

  • If a certain person is in a photo
  • If a photo is taken at a certain location
  • If a photo is taken between a certain date range

I’ll be sharing photos that have either or both of our kids in them with my wife, but this will also come in really handy for family get-togethers.

Communication

Mail

Great to see some new features make it to Mail, an app I use all the time. I’ll be able to:

  • Undo a sent email within 10 seconds of hitting ‘Send’
  • Schedule an email to send at a set time
  • Get a reminder to come back to an email later

But most usefully, search will be getting a much-needed upgrade.

Messages

Messages is also getting some very useful features:

  • Mark as unread (I can’t tell you how many messages I’ve read when I’m in the middle of something, and forgotten to get back to because they’re no longer highlighted)
  • Edit sent messages within 15 minutes of sending
  • Deleting a sent message, again within 15 minutes of sending

I assume the latter two features are only going to be for blue messages, since there’s not much you can do about an SMS once it’s sent.

watchOS 9

Apple Watch is getting loads of health-related improvements.

Running

The most interesting upgrade to me is the running workout metrics, which I’ll use to optimise my running. I’ll be able to measure:

  • Vertical oscillation
  • Stride length
  • Ground contact time

I had no idea what those things were, but improving them will make me a better runner!

Sleep

The Sleep app is getting a huge upgrade too, and will be able to measure sleep cycles! I was very excited about Sleep but stopped using it as it didn’t properly monitor my core, deep, and REM sleep; now it will!

Post-diagnosis afib, and Medications

Something else that I’m glad they’ve added is support for post-diagnosis atrial fibrillation (afib) monitoring, which will be great for my mum. She’ll also benefit from the new Medications app, which tracks medications and will remind when it’s time to take them.

New lock screen

The headline feature on iOS is the configurable lock screen. It looks nice, will make my phone feel nice and fresh, and I like that you can configure lock screens depending on what Focus you’re in. I also like the widgets, which are like Complications on WatchOS. But am I excited about it all? Not particularly.

Stage Manager

I’m looking forward to learning more about Stage Manager. It didn’t feel all that useful on Mac, and there’s a lot of unused space around windows. Let’s see how it works in practice, and how it evolves over time.

I can imagine iPad power users will be very excited about Stage Manager though, since it allows multiple, resizeable windows for the first time.

Hardware

WWDC is about the software, but they usually throw in a hardware announcement or two, and this year was no exception.

Midnight MacBook Air

Yes, yes: M2. Very nice. But what grabbed me was the new colour options for the MacBook Air. I wasn’t surprised that new Airs were announced, though I had imagined they’d come in brighter colours. This was partly because of the colourful promotional image Apple were peddling:

Five shadowy Memoji characters viewed in profile, each of their faces lit with a different colour: red, yellow, green, blue, then pink.

My assumption had also been because Apple have been drawing a nice colour distinction between Pro and non-Pro devices these days:

  • The new iMac line-up is non-Pro, and they come in all sorts of funky colours
  • Non-Pro iPhones come in brighter, more interesting colours than the iPhones Pro

The Air is a non-Pro machine, but Apple went with some very subdued colours in Silver, Space Grey, Starlight, and Midnight. But at least we have colours!

And Midnight is beautiful! I’ve been waiting for a truly black (or as near as damn it) Mac for years. I reckon the M2 is powerful enough for the design and development work I do. I’m very tempted, as I’m in the market for a new MacBook. Maybe if I hold out longer they’ll introduce a black in the Pro range.

Continuity Camera

Not strictly new hardware, but Continuity Camera, where an iPhone can be used as a webcam, is very interesting. This is a great idea. I’m guessing 1080p was as high resolution as they could fit in those thin MacBook laptop lids, but it makes you wonder why the thicker iMac and Studio Display didn’t just get a truly iPhone-quality camera.

Miscellaneous

There were loads of other announcements that caught my attention, but none warrant much more than a bullet point:

  • Freeform, a white boarding app along the lines of Miro and Mural
  • The Weather app has finally arrived on iPad!
  • ‘Availability’ sounds like an interesting addition to Calendar
  • Screen time extension requests from the kids will come through Messages, rather than Settings, which makes more sense
  • System Preferences on macOS will be renamed System Settings, which is more in line with iOS; the design will also be refreshed to better match other apps
  • Dictation doesn’t hide the keyboard anymore, so you can dictate and type interchangeably and seamlessly
  • Voice Control spelling mode, where you can dictate letter by letter, which will make entering an email address with voice commands much easier – a big accessibility win!
  • Wi-Fi passwords will appear Passwords (Settings → Passwords), meaning they’ll be available for iOS users, and there’ll be no need to dig around in Keychain Access on macOS
  • Face ID will work when an iPhone is in landscape orientation

Unfortunately, still no speech to text in Voice Memos.

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