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WWDC 2021: Apple’s new iOS15, watch OS 8, spatial audio, and more

WWDC 2021: Apple’s new iOS15, watch OS 8, spatial audio, and more

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Text: Eunice Sng


Big news: iOS15 is here, along with a line-up of other breakthroughs. This year's Worldwide Developer's Conference (WWDC2021) — held online again due to the pandemic — unveiled an array of new features for the iPhone, Macbook, iPad and Apple Watch. The updates run the gamut, from improved audio quality on FaceTime to flexible messaging. Some could say, it's information overload. So to make things easier, we've flagged out the big-ticket items from the keynote below.

macOS Monterey: One mouse and keyboard for multiple screens

Enjoy a seamless experience across different devices. Leveraging on Universal Control offered by macOS Monterey, users can work with a single mouse and keyboard between Mac and iPad. Drag and drop content back and forth across two devices or more — great for sketching a drawing with Apple Pencil® on iPad and placing it into a Keynote® slide on the Mac.

WWDC 2021: Apple’s new iOS15, watch OS 8, spatial audio, and more (фото 1)

Available in September 2021

iOS15/ macOS Monterey: More natural FaceTime calls

WWDC 2021: Apple’s new iOS15, watch OS 8, spatial audio, and more (фото 2)

Using spatial audio, voices in a FaceTime call sound like they are coming from where the person is positioned on the screen. This recreates the effect that they are in the same room as you. The microphone has been upgraded too — it isolates your voice from background noises. And that's not all: with Portrait mode introduced on FaceTime video calls, users can blur their background and put the focus on themselves.

FaceTime calls don't just work for Apple devices. Now, you can create a link and share it anywhere, so your friends on Android and Windows can join a FaceTime call from their web browser. FaceTime calls on the web remain end-to-end encrypted, which means that your privacy is not compromised.

Available in September 2021

iOS15: Do everything together on SharePlay

WWDC 2021: Apple’s new iOS15, watch OS 8, spatial audio, and more (фото 3)

Particularly apt for these current times. This Zoom-like feature allows you to have watch parties, album-listening parties, and play games with friends over a video call. For instance, if you're on FaceTime and want to share a song with your loved ones on Apple Music, just hit play and voila — everyone can listen to it simultaneously. SharePlay currently also works for video content on Disney+, ESPN+, HBO Max, Hulu, MasterClass, Paramount+, Pluto TV, TikTok, Twitch, and more.

Available in Spetember 2021

iOS15: Transfer text from a photo immediately

WWDC 2021: Apple’s new iOS15, watch OS 8, spatial audio, and more (фото 4)

It's pretty much Google Lens on your iPhone. Live Text uses artificial intelligence to recognise text in a photo and allow users to take action, a tool that comes in handy. Got meeting notes written on a whiteboard? Just snap a picture of it and you can instantly copy and paste the text anywhere. Or capture phone numbers displayed at a storefront with the option to make calls. It also works on photos already in your library. Live Text understands seven languages: English, Chinese, French, Italian, German, Spanish and Portuguese.

Available in September 2021

watchOS 8: Unlock (everything!) with Apple Watch

WWDC 2021: Apple’s new iOS15, watch OS 8, spatial audio, and more (фото 5)

watchOS 8 now comprises of improved Ultra Wideband support — digital car keys have been extended to Apple Watch Series 6, so the feature is no longer limited to iPhones. Unlock your car with a simple tap on your wrist! Very soon, you'll be able to add keys for your home, office and hotel to Wallet as well, and unlock them with your watch. How cool is that?

Available in the fall (expected to be in September 2021)

watchOS 8: Text more than just text

WWDC 2021: Apple’s new iOS15, watch OS 8, spatial audio, and more (фото 6)

Another perk from the all-new watchOS: text is out, multimodality is in. New tools in Apple Watch's Messages make communication more flexible and efficient, where users can combine Scribble, dictation, and emoji all within the same message. And for dictated messages, you also have the option to edit the presented text. What's more, to spice up your expression, enter a word or phrase and select from hundreds of trending GIFs.

Available in the fall (expected to be in September 2021)