Apple generates a lot of news, and it can be hard to keep up. If your mind was on other things this week, our roundup of Apple-related headlines will bring you up to date.
Everything you missed at WWDC 2021
This week, as Apple fans can scarcely have failed to notice, a little something called WWDC happened.
This means we know all about the new features coming to Apple's operating systems for Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Apple TV later this year. If you want the big picture, check out our roundup of Everything announced at WWDC 2021.
Across the board we can expect to see some great new innovations arriving this autumn, including:
- A new way to make iPhone notifications less annoying (Focus).
- Photos sent via Messages will show up in the Photos app.
- Your Apple device will be able to identify text in images and make it selectable and searchable.
- A brand new Globe view will appear in Maps.
- A new Quick Note feature will bring the simplicity of Notes to any supporting app.
- Your Safari Tabs will appear on all your devices, and you'll be able to group them by type.
- The ability to use one keyboard and mouse with a Mac and iPad, aka Universal Control.
- The ability to use AirPlay to stream from an iPad or iPhone to a Mac - and also to use that Mac as an AirPlay speaker.
FaceTime is getting a bunch of new features including a new Portrait mode to blur the background, Spatial Audio, and in the ultimate "and finally", FaceTime is coming to Android and Windows, although it's probably a little too late to the party. The new SharePlay feature will also make it easy to link up with your friends to watch the latest Disney+ show or listen to music together within FaceTime.
No doubt you'll be wanting to know if your Mac or iPhone will run the new operating systems, and whether you will be able to take advantage of all the new features mentioned above. We answer those questions in a series of in-depth articles:
- Will your Mac run Monterey? and Will it get all the Monterey features?
- Will your iPhone run iOS 15? and Will it get all the iOS 15 features?
- Will your Apple Watch run watchOS 8?
There are a few other new features coming that aren't as exciting, but are no less important.
For one, Apple will let you specify who can access your account if you die. Plus there are new security and privacy features coming to the iCloud online storage subscription service - to be known henceforth as iCloud+. And there are changes coming to the way we log on to our devices: read more in How Apple plans to retire passwords.
Should you update?
It'll be roughly three months before the general public get their hands on the new operating systems, but Macworld's tech-savvy readers will be well aware that you can install the iOS 15 beta and install the macOS Monterey beta long before we get to that point. But is that a good idea?
In general terms it's worth weighing up the pros and cons. The pros are that you get to try out the new software early (fun!) and boast to your friends about being an early adopter (very fun!). But the downside, particularly at this extremely early stage in the beta cycle, is that software will be buggy and could even make your device unusable - so don't install a beta on the iPhone or Mac you need to use every day.
But more specifically, do the changes in this year's OS updates merit a sense of urgency? Are iOS 15 and macOS Monterey worth your time?
To those who are about to install, we salute you.
And if you'd rather not risk the download, but fancy pretending to your friends that you've got Monterey or iOS 15 installed, why not download the iOS 15 and Monterey wallpapers now.
News in brief
Last week Apple outlined plans to send its employees back to the office after a lengthy period of working from home. But some of those employees are unhappy and have demanded more flexibility.
Apple is finally taking Siri offline!
Kris Wallburg complains that the iPad Pro is too good - so far ahead of the rest of the market that there is no innovation, and that's bad for all of us. He calls it the symptom of a broken tablet market.
Apple has made it easier for developers to appeal against App Store decisions. They now cite political or other forms of bias as the reason they have been treated unfairly.
Michael Simon reckons iPadOS 15 is an improvement overall, but calls it a step backward for pros.
Dark Sky, the popular weather app acquired by Apple in March 2020, was scheduled for shutdown at the end of this year. Apple has now said it will postpone the sad event until the end of 2022, which is good news not just for Dark Sky users, but for users of all the other apps - such as Carrot Weather - that rely on Dark Sky's API.
Wondering how Apple stopped leakers getting hold of its new operating systems ahead of WWDC this week, when iOS 14 leaked months before last year's event? Anders Lundberg explains how Apple kept its secrets.
Jason Snell wonders if FaceTime's fancy features are too late to matter.
This week's odd news: iOS 4 has been revived as a standalone app. I would happily travel back in time to 2010, but it wouldn't be for the skeuomorphic software design.
Bugs & problems
Apple's Podcast Subscriptions service, originally slated for a May release, will actually launch on 15 June. It appears to have been held back by technical problems.
The rumour mill
There was no new MacBook Pro at WWDC, despite all the rumours to the contrary. But was a MacBook Pro originally intended to launch at the show? Apple tagged the phrase "M1X MacBook Pro" on its YouTube video of the WWDC keynote presentation - but this may have just been an SEO exercise to attract those who were curious about the device.
The suggestion at this point is that the MacBook Pro has been postponed until the autumn.
Apple didn't mention the Mac Pro at WWDC either, but the beta of Xcode 13.1 includes a reference to an Ice Lake Xeon processor, which suggests a Mac Pro update is on the way.
And that's it for this week. See you next Saturday, and stay Appley!