Impressions of the WWDC Keynote
TL;DR A definite change in attitude from Apple. A lot less hubris while delivering a condensed, concise set of features and updates to multiple operating systems while still keeping it clear and relevant for developers. My thoughts on iOS and iPadOS updates:
Updates to the social experience came thick and fast, from SharePlay that allows you to watch, listen and work together through a facetime call to spatial audio so that voices will sound like they’re coming from where the person is located on the screen. Not sure about the latter, given that phone screens are small, but let’s wait and see. I love Spatial Audio when used with things like Airpods Max and the Disney+ App, so I’m hopeful!
I love the new Mic modes so that you can reduce background noise for meetings etc. Nothing groundbreaking or revolutionary here – it’s stuff you’ve probably experienced before on different apps or platforms. Still, it will be worth exploring with the regular Apple polish and tight integration.
There are also updates to messenger, where the ability to share things like pictures in messages is greatly improved. Photo collections where automated slideshows integrating music from Apple Music are a nice touch, but again, merely an incremental improvement on what has gone before.
It also includes a ‘Focus’ ability which integrates down to things like message settings, which is nice. I haven’t figured out how to use it yet, though!
Maps have a whole host of updates, with beautiful new cartoon-like visualizations.
The immersive walking instructions appear to have been lifted directly from Google Maps, though! Seeing stuff I used several years ago on my Android, now being portrayed as ‘new,’ is annoying!
Safari has also had a refresh to make it a little more mobile-friendly with tabs at the bottom navigable with a swipe. Maybe I’m just not used to it, but I did find it clunky.
Live Text in the camera is pretty cool, but again, nothing groundbreaking that you haven’t seen before. It includes ‘Visual Look Up,’ which is basically Google Lens.
There’s a tonne of updates for health, but I’ll have to cover them later when I’ve had a chance to play with them.
I like Multitasking in iPadOS 15. Finally, it doesn’t look like Windows 8! The home screen and widgets have been updated so that widgets do feel like they’re fully integrated instead of shoved to the side as they were with iPadOS 14.x
I think my very favorite feature is the new ‘Quick Note’, where you can swipe up from the corner and get a little popup note that allows you to make a quick note with your finger or a pencil. Notes are synced across your devices and linked to websites so that you can connect a note with content on the page. (Long ago, I worked on a Windows 8 launch app called ‘strands’ that did this, but it didn’t make it to the Windows 8 launch, so lovely the see the idea re-used!)
Another excellent update is Swift Playgrounds now on iPad! Yes, you can write code in SwiftUI with code completion and preview….and you can submit your apps straight to the app store! Yes, your iPad is now a developer tool!
If you’re using macOS Monterey, you can even work across devices – with your mouse/trackpad from your macOS device being usable on your iPad – giving you an authentic second-screen experience! I’m going to play with that one and report back! :)