As Apple promised, the WWDC 21 was held on June 7, the annual conference for developers of the company that for years has had a great interest as it is the focus of presentation of new versions of operating systems. Hence, a year after iOS 14, iOS 15 is official.
It is the operating system for mobile devices, and many features have been leaked, both for the system’s apps and its functions. Now they have finally given the details and we already know many of the main new features, as we also know about the new iPadOS 15, watchOS 8 and macOS Monterey.
FaceTime compatible with Android and Windows and with many more features
Apple’s video calling app has been one of the most important new features. Until iOS 14 it was a very simple app that, with the boom of teleworking, was falling short of the competition, but with iOS 15 it debuts the following new features:
- Spatial audio: the audio will be adjusted to emulate a “live” conversation as if the interlocutors occupied different places at a table or in a room.
- Refined sound: for better speech intelligibility and noise isolation.
- Grid video: a new view in group calls, highlighting better who is speaking at any given moment.
- Portrait mode: the background can be blurred.
- Call links: it will be possible to share links to connect to a call as until now any link or content could be shared (via the share menu). Also, the app becomes compatible with Android and Windows devices, so you can connect via browser (Chrome or Edge). Sending video requires, of course, support for H.264 encoding.
- SharePlay: to share music, video, etc. during the call, so that, for example, a series or a movie can be watched synchronously. FaceTime will finally support screen sharing, a basic feature in many video call apps that Apple’s app did not yet have. SharePlay also supports picture-in-picture mode (PiP), so that we can follow the call while we have some other app in the background while we call.
SharePlay is also compatible with Apple TV, so users will be able to watch series or movies on the big screen while connected with FaceTime. At the moment we know that the services. Disney+, ESPN+, HBO Max, Hulu, MasterClass, Paramount+, Pluto TV, TikTok, and Twitch will integrate SharePlay into their apps.
Spatial Audio will be available for iPhone and iPad models with the A12 Bionic chip or later and 2018 or newer Mac models, while the Portrait Mode feature in Facetime will support iPhone and iPad models with the A12 Bionic chip or later and Mac computers with the M1 chip.
Messages get more social
In the Apple Messages app, “Shared for you” has been released, a feature that allows users to share content more easily with their contacts and vice versa, so that when sharing a website or any link the user can interact directly with the person who sent it to them. It is also possible to add Apple Music playlists or have a specific collection in Photos by contacts or groups.
New design of notifications and Focus mode (Focus)
iOs has never been known for innovating in notifications, hence any novelty in this regard is also something remarkable. iOS 15 debuts a new grouping and design, so that they are sorted by priority, in an attempt to ensure that the less urgent ones do not distract from the important ones. In addition, the redesigned notifications incorporate photos of contacts and larger icons, so that they can be more easily identified.
And speaking of not disturbing, iOS 15 debuts the Concentration mode. This allows the user to choose a usage profile, such as personal, work, etc. so that they can design the home screen, choose which notifications arrive, and generally set different scenarios of use and interaction with the system.
Users can, for example, create pages on the home screen with the apps and widgets they need in a given situation, making it easier to focus (or be distracted). The system will automatically make suggestions for Concentration based on the users’ context.
When Concentration blocks incoming notifications for a user, other users will be able to see your status in Messages to know that you are unavailable. In addition, this mode can be shared between devices.
Text and object recognition
Apple is following in the footsteps of Google Lens with item recognition in photos and promises versatile and direct text recognition with Live Text. The text recognized in a photo can be edited like any normal text that we select and paste, and can even recognize phone numbers to call directly.
Live Text works with the camera, gallery photos, and even screenshots, and according to Apple said it will be available in seven languages at the moment, including Spanish. In addition to text, it recognizes objects, scenes, books, pets, and other items.
Spotlight sets its sights on Photos
The system’s search app has been completed in terms of functions and scope in the latest versions of iOS and with this latest one, the user will be able to search for photos from Spotlight. The system will recognize places, people, and even handwritten notes, being able to associate content with a contact (as Photos already does with facial recognition) and thus be able to organize photos more easily in albums or collections.
In addition, with Memories, it will be possible to add music from Apple Music to the “moments” or videos of photos that are created as memories, beyond the automatic music (or the own library of the “moments” that until now was available. Something similar to what Google Photos already allows.
In Wallet fit more things
The iOS app for storing credit cards, shipping cards, and other types of cards is now also the virtual pocket for digital keys. This includes car keys, hotel cards, and other entry systems such as theme parks, speaking for now of DisneyWorld and some others.
As happens so far with Wallet, the keys will be shared with the Apple Watch, so that both mobile and smartwatch will serve to enter a home, open the car, and even identification, since at least in the United States it will also serve to store documents such as driver’s license. For now, it will remain for some states of that country in autumn, so we will see if it reaches more countries and what documents it ends up supporting.
Weather changes its face
The Weather app is redesigned showing more compact and detailed information at the same time so that the user has the main warnings in the first place and the possibility of expanding information about them. The forecast for the week will continue to be displayed and each section will appear as widgets or tiles, all clearer and with more information, such as air quality.
As for the Maps app, some countries will finally receive new maps, such as Spain and Portugal. And in line with the extra information on climatology that we mentioned, Maps also adds a plus of data in the location that we consult in terms of temperature, rainfall, and other types of information such as elevation or details of what is there (monuments, etc.).
The details also come to the navigation mode, but in terms of lane information. The app will display complex intersections in three dimensions and lane indications, all of this also coming to CarPlay later this year.
Privacy is back on the agenda
Privacy and what happens to users’ private information, in terms of how it can be used by third parties, is a topical and very important issue. The latest news in iOS 14 revolved around it.
With this, Apple has talked about the App Privacy report, so that the user can have more knowledge about the handling of information in each app. It will be possible to know with whom the data has been shared during the last seven days and Safari will show the attempts of access to the information by third-party apps.
Apple’s Health app is already, in a way, a primer of statistics and data on steps, heart rate, menstruation, sleep, etc. and now it will also integrate Walking Steadiness so that the iPhone will be able to measure the cadence of steps, speed, stride, and other data to know the stability of the footprint and be able to give a measurement of the same.
The Health app also has a new tab that allows users to share their data with family members, caregivers, or medical teams.
iOS 15: compatible devices
Finally, more devices have entered than previously thought, leaving the list of devices that will be able to update to iOS 15:
- iPhone 12 Pro Max
- iPhone 12 Pro
- iPhone 12
- iPhone 12 Mini
- iPhone SE (2nd generation)
- iPhone SE (1st generation)
- iPhone 11 Pro Max
- iPhone 11 Pro
- iPhone 11
- iPhone XS Max
- iPhone XS
- iPhone XR
- iPhone X
- iPhone 8 Plus
- iPhone 8
- iPhone 7 Plus
- iPhone 7s
- iPhone 6s Plus
- iPhone 6s
- iPod Touch (7th generation)
iOS 15: release date
At the moment, Apple has not detailed information about the release date of iOS 15 or which devices will be finally compatible. By background, iOS 15 is expected to arrive in September, probably in the second half of the year the only thing they have said is that it will be generally available to the public in autumn.
Before that there will be betas for developers, so we will complete this information as availability and dates are known. The first one will be available for developers starting tomorrow and there will be a public beta in July.
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