I love covering Apple events, but they are really hard work as a content creator.
This is primarily because Apple squeezes so much information into a single keynote. Since switching from in-person to pre-recorded events, they’ve got even better at doing this; the new features, announcements, and surprises flash by quicker than data travelling through an M1 Ultra’s circuitry.
This year’s WWDC keynote was no different. In fact, I’d argue that it was one of the most densely packed presentations Apple has ever delivered. Unless you watched it twice, there may have been a few things that skipped your attention.
So, here are ten WWDC 2022 announcements that are worthy of more time in the spotlight.
I never use dictation in iOS, but I’m conscious that I might be missing out on the benefits this feature offers. Certainly, now that I’m a dad, I fully appreciate why so many parents rely on hands-free tech to get things done.
The updates to dictation in iOS 16 looks really interesting. It now moves fluidly between dictation and regular typing; the stop-start nature of the current method is indeed one of the reasons I just can’t be bothered with it.
Punctation is automatically added now, too, along with emojis. Put all of that together, and this could finally be the iOS release that tempts me to use dictation to its fullest.
2. Apple Pay updates
I must temper this year’s Apple Pay announcements with the fact that we won’t get them in the UK when iOS 16 launches later this year. That’s a shame, but I’m sure they’ll arrive at some stage, and, regardless, the future looks increasingly bright for Apple Pay.
For instance, being able to accept payments from customers with nothing more than your iPhone will be of significant benefit to smaller merchants and independent retailers.
For shoppers, Pay Later makes spreading the cost of purchases resolutely Apple-like, with the ability to split the cost of practically anything into four equal payments without any interest charges and with zero hassle on the retailer’s part. Apple is even integrating order tracking to keep everything related to your purchases within the Wallet app. Nice!
3. Family Checklist
There was a raft of new features announced on Monday for Family Sharing. This is undoubtedly fantastic but results in a pretty complex management task for parents.
Thankfully, Apple saw it fit to introduce something called ‘Family Checklist’ in iOS 16. This groups all of the available features for Family Sharing into a bunch of to-do list items for parents. The idea is that it unearths all of the features available for families and promotes the use of stuff that may otherwise be missed entirely.
4. Safety Check
Apple has been working closely with a number of organisations in the US to provide more user control over shared data and location access.
Being able to share elements of your digital life with your partner is a wonderful thing, but it can become a serious risk if you’re in an abusive relationship. This is why Apple is introducing new controls to help people who need to “cut ties and get to safety”.
The result is far easier methods for revoking location sharing and resetting privacy permissions. It’s vitally important work and I’m glad they gave it some stage time this year.
Apple’s new smart home connectivity standard has been in the works for quite some time, but they chose WWDC 2022 to finally unveil its purpose to the wider public.
If you’ve ever set up a bunch of smart home accessories from different manufacturers, you’ll know that it’s an absolute pain in the backside. Matter is a new standard developed by Apple which aims to add consistency to that setup process, regardless of who makes the device.
We’re told that 130 products are in the pipeline, and while it remains to be seen when and how Matter will benefit those of us who want to make our homes as smart as possible, the principle is bang-on. I eagerly await its arrival.
6. Spatial Audio improvements
This really was a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it announcement.
Hidden within the iOS 16 announcements was an update to the brilliant Spatial Audio feature, which uses the true depth camera on your iPhone to create a personalised listening profile.
In theory, this should make Spatial Audio even more accurate (although Apple isn’t first to the post with this – Sony has been doing something similar for quite a while).
7. watchOS podcasts update
I mentioned in one of my WWDC preview articles that we shouldn’t expect anything major to happen with the Apple Podcasts app. And I was right – as far as I could tell, Apple’s worst native app will remain a hot mess.
However, there is a glimmer of hope in the form of the watchOS 9 podcasts app, which will introduce a new form of content discovery. Although it’s slightly frustrating that Apple appears to have focused entirely on the watchOS version of the app, it is clearly on their minds, which might bode well for the iPhone version. Maybe.
8. macOS Ventura Mail
I have a feeling that many of the macOS Venture announcements got lost in the frantic tweeting and headline writing that followed the M2 chip and MacBook Air announcements.
For instance, you’d be forgiven for forgetting that they even mentioned Mail at all. But they did, and it’s starting to look like a very tempting proposition for people like myself who deserted Apple’s email client long ago.
The ability to undo and schedule sends is spookily Spark-like (my current email client of choice), and it looks as though the search feature has finally been modernised.
This might tempt me back to Mail. Possibly.
9. iPadOS 16 Reference Mode
The detail was light on this one, but it arrived during the reveal of iPadOS 16 updates designed specifically for professional users, which is encouraging.
Intended for anyone working on colour-accurate content, Reference Mode is designed to make full use of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro’s Liquid Retina XDR display. Put simply, it will enable you to use your iPad in standalone mode or as a secondary display to accurately colour grade, or work on compositing projects.
10. ‘Desktop-class’ iPadOS 16 updates
For a brief moment, I thought Craig was going to show us Final Cut Pro on the iPad. No such luck. But Apple’s take on ‘desktop-class’ updates for iPadOS 16 gets more interesting the more you think about it. Basically, this is a bunch of system-wide improvements which will make your iPad feel far more Mac-like.
Updates to the Files app, proper undo/redo support, and a list of changes so long it seemed to scroll infinitely on the screen behind Craig, will probably have quite an impact on day-to-day iPad usage for most users.
This isn’t new – Apple has been gradually macOS-ifying the iPad over the last few years, and it’s encouraging to see more of these familiar features arrive on the platform. Combined with Stage Manager on M1 iPads, we may finally be getting somewhere.
The M2 MacBook Air stole the headlines this week, which is why I wanted to highlight some of the less headline-worthy stuff that was announced by Craig and co.
However, I’m aware that there was even more to Monday’s keynote, and I have no doubt that I’ve missed some of the stuff you spotted. If that’s the case, please get involved in the comments section below – what caught your eye at WWDC 2022?