Apple announces improvements for iPadOS, iCloud, and watchOS at WWDC
Apple's worldwide developer conference (WWDC) is officially underway. So far, Apple has unveiled the new iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, watchOS 8, and a host of accompanying features including an iCloud subscription service. As speculated before the event, major talking points included Apple's AssistiveTouch feature for the Apple Watch and a slew of improvements for iPad OS. Here are more details.
iPadOS 15 finally lets users place widgets on the homescreen
Starting with the improvements bundled into iPadOS 15, Apple will finally allow widgets to be placed on the homescreen and in the app library. Previously, they were restricted to the Today View sidebar. iPadOS 15 will even allow the user to rearrange app library pages or hide them entirely. It is noteworthy that Android devices have had this feature for years now.
New multitasking shortcut helps switch between apps in split view
Since the M1-powered 2021 iPad Pro is more productivity-centric than its predecessors, iPadOS 15 includes a new shortcut that will help users put the additional processing power to use more effectively. The new multitasking shortcut will let users easily switch between apps in split view. A shelf at the bottom of the user interface will display all the opened apps.
Quick Note feature displays persistent notes above all other apps
Additionally, Notes for iPads will let users mention people and use hashtags. Separately, iPads also get the Quick Note feature that lets users jot down phone numbers in a pinch. Text and links can also be added to a Quick Note which will display above all other active apps. Swiping down on the Quick Note hides it. Apple's iCloud also received multiple new features.
New program gives details to legacy contact after your demise
Apple is adding an account recovery option so your family and friends can get a code in case you are locked out of your iCloud. The Cupertino-based company is introducing a digital legacy program so users can set up legacy contacts. These contacts will be provided with your credentials in the event of your demise. Apple also announced a new iCloud subscription at WWDC.
Apple announces new iCloud subscription with Private Relay feature
The new Apple iCloud subscription includes a Private Relay feature so all internet traffic leaving your device is encrypted. Apple claims that no one including itself can see the sites that you visit. iCloud will also let users add HomeKit Video support. Privacy-centric features including Mail Privacy Protection and App Privacy Report are reportedly being carried over from iOS 15.
Walking Steadiness calculates your risk of falling, suggests remedial exercises
Moving on to the Apple Health app, it will include a new feature called Walking Steadiness that will evaluate the risk of a fall based on how you walk. The feature will use multiple metrics to determine your stability and walking risk that will be displayed in the app. Further, the app will suggest remedial exercises to reduce your risk of falling.
Keeping tabs on elderly family members' health just got easier
The Apple Health app will also let users set up Family Sharing so you can get elevated heart rate notifications or other health reports of your family members. Apple believes this feature would be particularly useful for tracking the health of an aging parent. Apple claims that all data will be encrypted when it is being transferred.
Apple Watch's watchOS 8 will feature Tai Chi, Pilates workouts
Moving on to the Apple Watch, at WWDC the company announced new features built into watchOS 8. The Breathe app has been redesigned and the wearable will be able to track your respiration rate via the Sleep app. The watch will also get new Tai Chi and Pilates workouts. Besides this, the Apple Fitness+ subscription is adding new workouts and an Artist Spotlight series.
watchOS 8 lets you send images directly from Apple Watch
The new Mindfulness app for Apple Watch features enhanced Breathe exercises, and Reflect (to reflect on positive emotions, Apple says). Meanwhile, watchOS 8 has finally added the ability to send images via messages and emails, directly from the Apple Watch. The wearable also gets a new Portraits watch face that allows the time display to be repositioned and resized against a portrait photo.
Beta version launches in July, stable version later this year
The Apple Watch also sports a redesigned Photos app that shows Memories on the watch and categorizes images too. The public beta of watchOS 8 will reportedly be available in July with a stable build to follow later this year as a free software update for the Apple Watch Series 3 and newer variants paired to an iPhone 6S or newer running iOS 15.