WWDC 2021 Keynote Roundup

Here’s everything that Apple announced in Monday’s keynote, and a bit that was found after.

Developer Technologies

  • Object Capture: walk around an object to create a 3D model.
  • Swift concurrency
  • App Store: Create and A/B test multiple product pages
  • Timed In-App Events can be surfaced throughout the App Store, including in a new App Store widget.
  • Xcode Cloud: CI builds of Xcode projects that run automated tests on every Apple platform. Once a change passes tests it can be automatically delivered to internal and external testers (via App Store Connect and TestFlight).
  • TestFlight for Mac.

FaceTime

  • Spatial Audio support so “friends’ voices are spread out”.
  • Voice Isolation, as seen in Voice Memos.
    • Conversely, “Wide Spectrum” mode, which plays more realistic sound.
  • A static grid view.
  • Portrait mode for background blur.
  • Share FaceTime links. Users can join from their browser on any platform without disabling end-to-end encryption.
  • New API: SharePlay - listen to and watch content in sync or share your screen via FaceTime.
    • For example, Apple Music integration was demoed: synced playback, a collaborative queue, and shared playback controls.
    • Integrates with Apple TV to play the content on the bigger screen while showing other participants on the device that originated the call.
    • Integrates with iOS PiP to show callers alongside content.
    • It appears that SharePlay isn’t supported by FaceTime for web, and I’m not sure whether subscription status will be a prerequisite for queue contributors or all participants.

Messages

  • Automatically collapses batches of attachments.
  • “Shared with You” across apps like News, Music, and TV surfaces relevant links you’ve been sent in Messages (similar to Safari for iOS suggestions).
  • Photos “Shared With You” in Messages are added to your library automatically, minus screenshots and impersonal photos.

Notification / Focus:

  • Notification summary you can schedule for a selected time is sorted with on-device learning.
  • Do Not Disturb displays your status to iMessage users and reminds users texting you that you’re in DND.
  • Focus groups allow for quick switching between rules of what apps and people to show alerts from, as well as your homescreen content.
    • The system will automatically populate Focus Groups for activities like work/home based on behavior and app categories.
  • Includes a design refresh with higher contrast background colors and bigger icons.
  • Live Text: An indicator in camera converts to text selection mode and you can also select text from images in Photos and Safari.
    • New Photos search in Spotlight is also a quick way to find items with certain text.
  • Look Up now supports photos of pets, landmarks, and books.
  • Spotlight results now include Contacts quick actions and cross-app summaries of their correspondence.
  • Spotlight includes better support for entertainment look up, perhaps similar to the data already available to Siri.
  • Multistep contextual Siri interactions.
  • Siri voice search.
  • On-device speech recognition: audio by default never leaves device when using Siri, is faster and doesn’t require Internet

Wallet

  • Supports dwelling keys, corporate badges, and automatically populated with hotel keys (launching with Hyatt’s app).
  • Government ID cards.

New Widgets

  • Sleep (iOS)
  • Find My
  • Contacts (a grid of faces to quickly launch calls, threads)
  • Parcel tracking
  • TV
  • Game Center friends
  • Files (iPadOS)
  • App Store (including In-App Events
  • Mail (via MacRumors)

iOS & iPadOS

  • Improved cross-app drag-and-drop.
  • “Temporary iCloud Storage to transfer your data” — this will make pre-purchase trade-ins easier.
  • Per-app text size settings.

Photos

  • “For You” Memories includes a carousel of personalized tracks and visual effects from Apple Music with smart tempo adjustments.
    • There’s a view to manually apply any track from the Music catalog to a memory.
  • The info inspector now displays EXIF data (via MacRumors).

Weather

  • A more dynamic design with widget-like cards.
  • New accurate backgrounds for different conditions.
  • Rain, temperature, and air quality maps.

Maps

  • Globe view.
  • 3D models of landmarks and buildings.
  • More detailed road navigation.
  • Better support for transit, including “exit soon” alerts.
    • Scan your surroundings for AR directions.

Translate

  • Auto Translate: detects the language you’re dictating.
  • System wide translation from text selection.

AirPods

  • Conversation Boost focuses on the person talking in front of you and offers a separate “Ambient Noise” slider.
  • Announce Notifications from your selected apps.
  • Better Find My support:
    • Find them even in the case.
    • Proximity view so you don’t have to mess with a map when you know you’re close.
    • Separation alerts to know when you left them.
  • Spatial Audio support for tvOS and M1 Macs.
  • Spatial Audio in Apple Music is now available.

iPadOS

  • Place widgets on the homescreen, including a new extra large size class.
  • Access App Library by tapping an icon on the right of the dock.
  • Translate app with Pencil support.

Swift Playgrounds for iPad

  • Build SwiftUI apps on iPad.
  • Projects are compatible with Xcode of course.
  • Improved code completion.
  • Built-in support for submitting to the App Store.

Multitasking

  • A multitasking menu to enter Split View and Slide Over modes.
  • Swipe Split View apps away and choose a new app from the homescreen.
  • Shelf: a widget that surfaces the focused app’s windows across different Split Views.
  • Drag apps together in App Switcher to make a Split View.
  • New multitasking keyboard shortcuts.

Notes

  • Mention participates in shared notes and they’ll be notified.
  • Activity view shows what’s been changed since you last opened the note.
  • Tag support.
  • Quick Note (iPad & Mac): sticky-like notes that can be created anywhere on the system
    • Separate per app, supports custom features like an “insert URL” button when making a note in Safari.

Reminders (via Six Colors)

  • Tag items and sort them into smart lists.
  • Quickly delete all completed items.

Privacy

  • Mail hides your IP address from email trackers and lets you choose to block them entirely — without blocking all images like you would currently.
  • Safari hides your IP address from web trackers.
  • App Privacy Report: audit log of permission access in the last seven days and all the domains apps have contacted.

iCloud

  • Account Recovery lets you add people you trust to receive recovery codes for your account.
  • Legacy Contacts: trusted people can request access after the account holder’s passing.
  • iCloud+ is the new name for all the paid subscriptions which now include:
    • Private Relay, a first-party web proxy.
    • Hide My Email: receive a random address for forwarding and deletion at any time.
    • Support for unlimited HomeKit cameras with no storage limits.
    • Custom domain for iCloud Mail (via MacRumors).
    • No price change.

Health

  • Walking Steadiness: view your fall risk.
    • Also demoed: receive alerts about negative changes.
  • Trends: get notified to view long term changes in health data.
  • Increase strength and balance with new movement exercises in the Health app.
  • Lab results now include explanations of different markers and expected ranges.
  • Data sharing with healthcare providers’ electronic health record system.
  • Health Sharing: Share trends and alerts with family (end to end encrypted, unlike Activity Sharing AFAIK).
  • Support for storing vaccination records.

watchOS

  • New Breath animation.
  • A Mindfulness app combines Breath with “Reflect”, which shows a prompt for meditation.
  • Respiratory Rate: Breaths per minute.
  • New workout types: Tai Chi and Pilates.
  • “Artist Spotlight” music playlists for Fitness+.
  • Photos watch face now supports Portrait mode with a parallax effect triggered with the Digital Crown.
  • A redesigned Photos app with sharing to Messages and Mail.
  • More streamlined text input with scribble, emoji, and dictation in one view.
  • An app shelf in Messages (similar to iOS) that includes new GIFs support via #images.
  • A redesigned Music app with sharing support.
  • Better Always On modes in apps like Maps and Photos that don’t obscure the content.
  • AssistiveTouch
  • Next-hour precipitation data.
  • Support for multiple timers.
  • Home app.

Home

  • Home Keys: Support for smart locks.
  • HomePod can control the Apple TV.
  • “For All of You” on the TV app lets you select the profiles watching and tailors a row of recommendations for them.
  • Apple Music lossless support will arrive later this year (presumably Fall).
  • Later this year: HomeKit accessory makers can enable Siri on third-party devices (a thermostat was demoed). Requests are sent to a nearby HomePod rather than an Apple server.
  • Matter standard support is coming in iOS 15.
  • HomeKit Secure Video now supports package detection for notifications.
  • HomeKit camera viewing on Apple TV offers a grid view and quick interaction with other accessories like lights.

Safari

  • A Safari redesign with tab groups and more vertical space.
  • Each Tab Group’s focused tab syncs across devices.
    • On iPhone, the tab bar now floats up from the bottom, offers a quick horizontal swipe between tabs, and redesigned grid view.
  • Syncs the start page configuration.
  • Extension support for iOS and iPadOS.

macOS

  • Universal Control lets you move keyboard and pointer input between any combination of Macs and iPad - including the input built into MacBooks
    • Supports drag-and-drop through every device.
    • Unclear whether multiple iPads are supported. Multiple Macs are supported.
  • AirPlay to Macs.
  • Shortcuts for Mac, runnable across the system, like in Finder and even a dedicated Menu Bar item
    • Automator workflows can be imported to Shortcuts.
  • Memoji on login page.
  • Low Power Mode

Passwords (via MacRumors)

  • A new section in Settings / System Preferences.
  • Offers access to saved credentials.
  • Generates and autofills TOTP passcodes.

Timelines

  • Xcode Cloud limited free beta starts today, rolls out next year. More details on pricing this fall.
  • As usual: developer OS betas right now, public beta in July, and public release in fall.
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