The WWDC 2021 (World Wide Developer Conference) unfortunately did not bring us a new MacBook Pro with a super-fast M2 or M1X chip. Nevertheless, in addition to iOS 15 (the highlights can be found here) , Apple has also presented numerous software innovations for iPad, Mac and Apple Watch. The Safari browser will also look very different soon – but this should also have its advantages. Here are the best news from the presentation.
The new features will only be introduced with iOS 15, macOS 12 (Monterey), and iPadOS 15. The updates should roll out around autumn 2021. At least the mobile operating systems should receive the major updates in line with the iPhone keynote, which is expected to take place in September.
iPadOS: Apple tablets get Quick Notes
For the iPad, Apple has unveiled a new feature at WWDC 2021: With the “Quick Notes” you can quickly take notes with your Apple Pencil without leaving the app. All you need is a gesture and you can immortalize your thoughts on the display. However, the feature can also be used to anchor various apps. This enables you to jump directly to a certain point on a website with a click or tap of your finger. For example, important steps in a complex cooking recipe or relevant passages for housework.
The feature is planned for iPadOS, macOS, and iOS. For iOS, however, the feature should appear later than on the other platforms.
Universal Control: Drag and Drop between iPad and Mac
“Universal Control” is probably a very cool and probably practical feature. The function is intended to bridge the gap between Mac and iPad: With just one pair of mouse and keyboard, you can control several devices running macOS or iPadOS. According to the WWDC presentation, the devices just have to be nearby. If you then move the mouse over the edge of the screen in the direction of the iPad, MacBook or Mac, the mouse pointer appears automatically here.
As soon as the mouse can be seen on the other device, you can apparently also use the keyboard here. “Universal Control” makes data transfer particularly easy. You can therefore simply drag and drop documents and other files over the devices and copy them quickly.
Apple is making something possible that still does not work properly between Windows and Chromecast: In the future, you can also play content on your Mac via AirPlay. This is useful if you are traveling and want to enjoy a series on your MacBook. In the future, you won’t have to move to the laptop if you want to skip the intro, for example. You can easily control the whole thing with your iPhone.
One of the new features of the Apple Watch is a “Reflect” mode, which is supposed to relax your thoughts. The whole thing should complement the already existing breathing exercises and ensure that the stress of everyday life reaches you a little less.
In addition, Apple has revised the message options. Exciting: In the future, you can apparently send photos to your friends directly via the watch. In addition, there is a new portrait watch face, which you can use to better integrate photos of people as a background.
Safari in a new look
Apple has redesigned the Safari browser for Macs. The tabs now move up one level directly next to the address line. This saves space so that more image area remains for the presentation of the website. At least until you use the new tab groups. This is a (wide) menu that you can open on the left side of the browser. Here you will have the option of sorting tabs into groups in the future.
Since it is now getting a bit narrower in the top line, some buttons of the browser move to a three-point menu next to the address line. It remains to be seen whether this is a bit cumbersome in some cases.
Safari also gets the features with a new look on iOS (and probably also iPadOS). Here, however, the address line moves to the bottom of the screen. Actually a good move: This should be easier to reach with one hand than at the top of the screen. You can read more about this in our overview of the biggest innovations in iOS 15.
Apple Health: how’s grandma doing?
One of the new features of Apple Health is the ability to keep an eye on the health of family members. Of course, as long as they have an iPhone and (even better) an Apple Watch. Obviously, the whole thing can then be configured in such a way that, for example, you receive a message on your iOS smartphone if your grandmother’s heart rate suddenly increases.
But you will also see other vital data of the person who shares their health entries with you, about sleep tracking. Of course, what you will receive can be set in advance.
HomePod Mini as a sound system for Apple TV
Anyone who owns an Apple TV but uses a TV with only moderate sound should be happy soon: After the update planned for autumn 2021, you can connect the box to two HomePod minis and use the smart speakers as speakers. Apple explicitly only mentioned the mini version of the HomePods here. Whoever owns the older and larger model may not be able to use the feature.
But if you want to try the whole thing with an even better sound, you should soon have another opportunity: Apple wants to open up and is also bringing Siri to third-party devices. So maybe the first HomePod alternatives will be announced soon.