WWDC 2022 is underway, which means that both the in-person and at-home (hi!) audience full of Apple intrigue got their first taste at a number of developments baking within the walled garden. As expected, Apple took nearly two hours to detail a litany of new hardware and features, including updates to operating systems for all of its core devices. The long wait for a new MacBook Air came to an end and you can use your iPhone as a webcam. Neat.
Let’s take a closer look at the major announcements from Apple’s WWDC 2022 keynote.
Apple’s journey into developing its own chips has proven to be a great decision for the company, and its latest processor, the M2, looks to carry on the young tradition. The follow-up to the M1 chip places its focus on both power and efficiency, with aims to outperform its sibling while maintaining the high battery life expected of Apple devices. According to Apple, the M2 tops the M1’s computing performance by 18% and boasts a 25% improvement in graphical performance. It even supports playback of multiple 8K and 4K video streams.
If you introduce a new chip, you better have a device worthy of utilizing it, and the return of the MacBook Air lives up to the billing. The company’s most popular laptop is back, powered by the M2 chip, in a slightly altered design that keeps its compactness intact. It measures 11.3mm thin and weighs under three pounds with a 13-inch display. MagSafe charging and the headphone jack are back alongside a three mic array and 1080p camera perfect for video calls. The new MacBook Air also supports fast charging and contains up to 2TB of storage. It’s set to hit stores next month at a starting price of $1199.
While Apple spent considerably less time on its new MacBook Pro during the keynote, adding the M2 chip to its line of pro notebooks makes for a wonderful addition. The battery life expands to 20 hours, according to Apple, and features up to 24GB RAM, delivering a device that can capitalize on the M2’s increased power. A 13-inch model of the MacBook Pro housing the M2 chip is slated for release in July at a starting price of $1299.
What if you could use your iPhone as a webcam? The idea may not sound novel at first, but seeing it in action during the keynote was intriguing. Dubbed Continuity Camera, users can seamlessly transition to using their iPhone as a webcam on other Apple devices thanks to updates to Apple’s Handoff feature. It supports Center Stage and includes Portrait Mode and Studio Light to improve image quality. The feature also allows for a top-down camera to run simultaneously via the iPhone’s ultrawide camera.
Apple opened up its iOS16 presentation with a completely overhauled suite of customization tools for the one part of our phones that we look at the most: the lockscreen. Everything from the font of the clock to which widgets appear without unlocking your phone is up for editing, and users can save multiple templates that can be switched at a whim. The new tools also allow for certain lockscreen templates to be mapped to Apple’s Focus feature, meaning you can have different lockscreens for work time, family time and me time. Talk about work/life balance!
Edit buttons are all the rage right now, and Apple is on the ball with this addition to Messages. The app will let users edit sent messages to address typos and other text message headaches. It is also introducing an “undo send” option to retract messages entirely and will let users mark threads as unread. The dictation tool also gets a robust update simply by keeping the keyboard on screen during use, letting you write and edit messages both manually and vocally interchangeably.
It feels like Apple positions its trademark wearable as a health and fitness necessity more and more with every new update. Its latest watchOS is no exception, adding new running metrics and heart rate zone trackers that are supposed to help users further understand and maintain their fitness goals. Users can build custom workout regiments, complete with cooldowns and multi-sport offerings, that keep you on track through haptic and voice updates. The Sleep app can now track your sleep stages and the new AFib History tracker updates you with detailed information on when you experience atrial fibrillation, though there have been some concerns regarding the accuracy of the Apple Watch’s A-Fib tracking previously.
MacOS Ventura introduces a number of new features with a focus on collaboration and organization. The Stage Manager tool coming to Mac and iPad is basically a single-window mode that organizes other windows to the side of the display in “piles” for quick access. Spotlight is getting new features that bring it closer to a proprietary Apple search engine and Hand Off will let users transfer FaceTime calls between devices seamlessly. Safari is getting a Shared Tab Groups feature that basically lets a group of people surf the web together and works with other collaboration tools to work on projects through select apps.
Apple has its own whiteboard app. The company showed a sneak peek of the app during the keynote, and it includes pretty much anything you want from an app of its ilk. Apple said it would have more to share on Free Form later this year.
Apple’s Safety Check feature allows users in situations of domestic and intimate partner violence to effectively cut off access to sensitive data, a vital practice when trying to keep digital or identifiable information out of the wrong hands. Wallet’s continued addition of states that will let users store State IDs and driver’s licenses on the digital platform also necessitate some added privacy tools. Wallet can use that information to verify identity in certain apps, but users can also customize how that information is presented to keep some information in check.