Apple threw a lavish party on Monday at WWDC 2022 for developers (and users of Apple devices), and while we wait for more detailed details to emerge, here’s a rundown of some of the major improvements and features that make the most difference. will make for you and for your business when they roll out this fall.
Messages and email
Apple has finally put some much-needed effort into the application that most business users use most of their time: Mail. It also improved Messages.
Mail improvements are welcome. They include rich link support, scheduled sending, follow-up, and reminder suggestions so you don’t forget to transact. You’ll also find an unsend option and an improved email search. The latter means recent emails, contacts, documents and links should show up when you start searching for emails, Apple said. (For me, I’d like Mail to get better at handling terribly large mailboxes, but we’ll have to see if any improvements have been made.)
Apple hasn’t given up on Messages either. It allows users to mark messages as unread, undo messages, and edit sent messages, all useful additions. When users send an invitation to collaborate through Messages, everyone in the thread is automatically added to the document, spreadsheet, or project.
Apple is innovating the search industry
Apple didn’t replace search in Safari, it just made it less necessary. Spotlight – available on any Apple device – now supports rich results, and in macOS (the new version is “Ventura”), it provides QuickLook access to those results. The results themselves use numerous databases, including Apple’s, and the presentation makes it easy to browse different forms of results from within Spotlight – no search engine required.
We know that the AppleBot has been scouring the web for a while; what we need to discover next is what the new rules of the Spotlight search game may turn out to be. All over the world, SEO experts will see the significance of this. Since Spotlight can complement all this with tasty tools like the ability to search text in an image and more, these rich results, delivered on a platform basis, can still grow into a more private search engine for the rest of us.
Siri also adds the ability to automatically run app shortcuts, with no installation required — and it can handle more types of requests offline without an internet connection.
The passwordless future? It’s here
Apple brings in Passkeys. These work in tandem with biometric identifiers so that the passkey cannot be phishing, leaked, or stolen. They work just as easily on apps on the web and sync securely between your iCloud Keychain devices. Since Apple also offers tools to support Keychain on Microsoft devices (and Microsoft is a fellow member of the FIDO Alliance), I think the passwordless future is now gently born.
Stage Manager, stay focused on the main attraction
Stage Manager is available on Macs and iPads and lets you focus on the app you’re using without distractions. You activate the tool in Control Center and all current windows are placed on one side of your screen, providing a clearer desktop to help you focus on what’s important. Check back later this week to take a closer look at Apple’s massive iPad improvements.
This should be really handy. In a nutshell, Display Zoom allows you to increase the pixel density of your M1-powered iPad’s screen in an instant, making it easier to see more in your apps, especially when using Split View. iPads are also getting new capabilities optimized for the iPad screen, “from system elements and interactions to new features available on Mac, including consistent system-wide undo and redo, a redesigned find-and-replace feature.” experience, customizable toolbars, the ability to change file extensions and view folder size in Files, and more,” Apple said.
Freeform is a whiteboard for collaboration
Apple didn’t invent a project management suite, but it has managed to turn FaceTime into a collaboration super hub with Freeform. Think of this as a whiteboard where anyone can provide input, share, and comment, so dispersed teams can collaborate on project plans. Users can view the contributions of others as they add or edit content, all while enjoying a real-time collaboration space.
There are other whiteboards, many of which are better integrated with project management tools, but Freeform will almost certainly become a creative industry space for project development.
Continuity Camera and Deskview
Apple has a new feature that lets you use your iPhone as a collaboration session camera instead of the camera built into your Mac. That’s great, but it houses a second feature that’s both amazing (and creepy) as something of the future of machine vision intelligence. It uses your iPhone camera as a webcam which is cool and includes CenterStage support which is also cool. But while you’re doing this, it offers a Deskview feature that allows you to keep seeing what’s happening on your desk (so you can stare straight ahead while using your keyboard).
This also shows how Apple could replace the keyboard and mouse with gesture controls and virtual tools for both text input and pointer positioning — highlighting the vast amount of data that can be collected by a video camera linked to Apple’s increasingly powerful AI.
The M2 processor and new Macs
Apple has announced the first M2 Macs (a MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro). Pre-WWDC speculation that the chip would stay on 5nm process technology was correct, but Apple still managed to get impressive performance results with it. Users are looking at an 18% faster CPU and 35% faster GPU, along with 50% more memory bandwidth and the capacity to deliver performance at a fraction of competitive PCs.
Since this is the M2 processor and we know the performance differences Apple was able to make within its M1 range, the future of the Mac platform seems robust. (Keep in mind that in a few years we’ll probably be looking at the first iterations of the M3 chip, built on 3nm technology.) Apple claims it can get 2.3x the performance of a 10-core PC laptop with only 15 watts of power consumption and a 25% performance improvement over the M1 Macs, thanks to M2.
I don’t know what roadmap your business is working towards, but I can’t help but believe that a 25% performance boost every 12-18 months is more than enough for most technology-based businesses. And for some business professionals, continuing to support the MacBook Air MagSafe is the best way to ensure you always have a power cord with you.
Widgets and more in iOS 16
Your iPhone will boast a fully personalized always-on lock screen and support for widgets inspired by Apple Watch complications, including a new Live Activities tool that monitors things like ride shares and food orders you have.
Apple Watch and health
What Apple is building is an argument that any company should offer employees an Apple Watch as part of its health benefits package if they want to lower their insurance costs (and make employees happy). Afib history, heart rate zones, and the watch’s tacit encouragement to foster better habits can save your employees’ lives.
Apple Pay gets a new business opportunity
Apple today opened a brand new services company that it calls Apple Pay Later. Where this is supported (and assuming you pass the credit check), Apple has just become arguably the most prosperous player in the “Buy now, pay later” competition – and given its customers are warped to be slightly richer, too, I suspect that once we go through the terms and conditions, Apple just built a powerful new profit line.
With Apple Pay, the company took a slice of every user’s wallet and helped evangelize mobile payments. With Pay Later, it takes some of the wallet that every user hopes to have one day.
Happy Birthday, Apple Maps
Two years ago today, Apple learned to play the cards. Now Maps gets much better: multi-stop routing, trips that can be planned on one device and then shared with another, and – perhaps most interesting for business developers – Look Around (Apple’s equivalent of Street View) is now available in Map Kit. This should mean much deeper integration between your customer-facing Apple-compatible apps and services and Maps. And it offers exciting opportunities for any industry where location matters.
Improvements in translation and dictation
Apple has added live translation using the iPhone camera to its translation app in iOS 16. This means all you need to do is point your camera at a board to get an idea of what that communication says. The company also said its dictation tools are used 18 billion times a month — and it’s added translation to video so you can translate a character when you point your camera (in both video and photo mode) at something.
This is an important feature that means people in abusive relationships can view and revoke access to their abuser’s apps and passwords if they try to escape. I would argue that any employer should support this, as such abuse is not always obvious and the main goal should always be to free victims from malicious control.
Which devices are supported?
The big news? iOS 16 requires iPhone 8 or later. This might be seen as a bit of a sight considering iOS 15-supported devices return to iPhone 6S, but it makes sense to point out that iPhone 8 will be five years old by the time iOS 16 ships. While this may annoy companies with tight budgets who had hoped not to upgrade older devices, I suspect the A11 chips in the smartphone will last about a few more years.
When will the betas ship?
Developers, including your own developers registered with Apple, can download the beta software today. Members of the public will be able to participate in the beta test next month (July), when the public beta opens.
And there’s more…
There are plenty of additional nuances to explore; this first roundup of major improvements should help you power your business to take advantage of Apple’s digital opportunities once fully baked.
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