This story is partCNET’s full coverage with and about Apple’s annual developer conference.
Apple’s annual developer conference, WWDC, is where the company demonstrates the next versions of its operating systems and occasionally spotted new hardware to run them.
Why it matters
Knowing what’s coming for Apple’s popular product lines is essential when deciding whether to buy now or wait for the next model.
As usual, Apple’s WWDC 2022 was full of something for everyone, from the latest version of Apple’s flagship iPhone, iOS 16, and its latest chip, the M2, to the latest hardware that puts it all in (or included) your hands – in in this case, the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 13. New high-profile features include Safety Check, which is designed to help people at risk of domestic violence.
Want a detailed summary of the gameplay? Check out our archived live blog. Read on for the highlights and links to all of our stories.
The latest version of the iPhone operating system focuses on customization. These include an updated lock screen with a choice of fonts and colors, Apple Watch-style widgets, and rotating photos. Notifications will also appear from the bottom of the screen so as not to obscure your photo, and live activities, such as music playback, can be expanded to fill the lock screen.
Messages will allow you to edit, cancel sending, and mark messages as unread. SharePlay has been enhanced for easier sharing within FaceTime and messaging. Dictation merges with text and touch on the go so you can use any type of input at any time. Similarly, Live Text (Apple’s response to Google Lens) extends to video, allowing you to pause any frame and communicate or download text from video.
Apple says it will be able to cleverly extract background images and automatically paste them into apps like Messages.
Changes to Wallet include multiple wireless key partners, such as carmakers, tap-to-pay on the iPhone for contactless payments and Apple Pay Later, which divides the purchase cost into four payments.
You’ll also see cycling, high-resolution images Around view and extended detail for sights and particularly detailed coverage for specific cities. It will also display the status on the transit card.
Apple News gets expanded sports coverage in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. TV Plus gets Family Sharing for up to five members, with parental controls for apps, movies, books and music. Photos also enhance sharing – new shared libraries via iCloud let you collaborate – and offer rules and automatic proximity-based sharing.
In terms of privacy, iOS 16 introduces a new feature called Security Check, which can help you quickly revoke access to someone threatening you, sign out of iCloud on all devices, and limit Messages to one device at hand.
CarPlay has been redesigned to integrate car and iPhone screens, including powering the entire dashboard.
The Fitness app also comes to the iPhone from the watch.
If you use Apple’s Spatial Audio, you’ll be able to use a depth camera to adjust it.
MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 13
For the first time in years, Apple redesigned the Air, with the M2 chip in mind. The aluminum body is still one, but now it is uniformly thin with 11 mm and weighs 2.7 pounds. Plus, new colors! MagSafe is back, leaving your two Thunderbolt ports available while retaining the audio port. It finally gets an upgrade to a 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display, with a maximum brightness of 500 nits and a P3 gamut. The 1080p webcam brings it to par with its siblings, along with a four-speaker system (with surround sound support) and an array of three microphones.
Thanks to an improved GPU in the M2 and a focus on performance per watt, Apple says Air provides the same battery life and better performance. It finally supports fast charging, and the new adapter has a second USB-C port.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro also gets an M2 chip, with better performance thanks to an active cooling system. However, it has not been redesigned.
The MacBook Air starts at $ 1,199 (£ 1,249, $ 1,899). The MacBook Pro starts at $ 1,299 (£ 1,349, 1,999 AU). Both begin shipping next month, and both are offering a $ 100 discount for students and teachers.
Apple also retains the M1 MacBook Air, offering a computer under $ 1,000 ($ 999, £ 999, 1,499 AU), again with a $ 100 discount on education.
Grouping window management is improved in Stage Manager, which also includes dragging and dropping multiple tasks. Better Spotlight search includes sports and web image search, full-window search results, and more detailed information about music and movies. (In iOS, Spotlight moves to the home screen.)
Search within the mail adds current suggestions and synonyms, also on the mobile device. Of course, it receives the same updates as iOS for messages. Safari’s shared card groups mean you can send your latest purchases to friends and family. Goodbye passwords and hello access keys – Touch ID and Face ID come in Safari to log in to the site. Of course, also on iPhone, iPad and Apple TV.
Improvements to its Metal Graphics API include MetalFX upscaling for faster game playback and an added API for faster game asset loading. Resident Evil Village and No Man’s Sky are being streamed to the Mac for the first time; Resident Evil Village is coming later this year.
Handoff comes in FaceTime so you can jump from device to device, and Continuity Camera finally lets you use your iPhone camera as a webcam. It will support split view for straight and desktop views.
New dials are on the way, including a variety of calendars, the ability to pin apps to the top of the dock, new banner notifications, and support for Podcasts for children with parental supervision.
For exercise, WatchOS 9 gets a lot more detail about your running metrics – for example, tracking how you move up or down to keep track of your form. The new multisport training can be switched between swimming, cycling and running for appropriate exercise and tracking data.
Sleep Stage uses an accelerometer and heart rate sensor to monitor and measure which sleep states you are in. The watch will be able to track the history of atrial fibrillation after receiving approval from the Food and Drug Administration. Tracking medications in the Health app becomes a little more detailed and allows you to schedule reminders, so it sounds like a typical full-featured medication app.
The iPad received the same updates as iOS 16 as the new weather app. Collaboration in the operating system allows you to jointly edit documents and groups of cards, which can be run from FaceTime, with notifications of updates via messages.
We also took a brief peek at the Freeform app, a virtual shared whiteboard with drawing tools for group meetings, coming later this year. It supports the embedding of documents, videos and images and will be included with all platforms.
Like Ventura, iPadOS received a new update to the Metal Gaming API, plus a background download. The Game Center adds Activity rivers, and SharePlay (coming later this year, as well as on iOS and iPadOS) will enable group play.
There are a bunch of interface settings and options to give iPadOS more power like a desktop. It also adds a reference color (Reference mode) for consistent color matching on all devices (personal bravo!).
On M1-based iPads, you’ll be able to increase the screen’s pixel density to stand on screen more and use virtual memory. And iPadOS, like Venture, gets Stage Manager, for a far better experience when switching tasks to multiple windows. When connected to an external screen, it takes better advantage of the second screen via Stage Manager and makes it a little easier to use touch and Apple Pencil with a Mac.