WWDC 2021 Kicks off with iOS updates to FaceTime and More

Yay! It’s now easier to initiate FaceTime calls with all the friends I don’t have

In a surprise move, Apple has officially kicked off WWDC beginning with iOS. The updates came from great haired Apple VP Craig Federighi with an emphasis on four main points: staying connected, finding focus, using intelligence and exploring the world. Federighi also noted iOS 15 will roll into public beta in July, with a full release “this fall.”

FaceTime:

  • Spatial Audio: This feature will make it seem like your friends’ voices are coming from their on-screen position on any compatible device.
  • Voice Isolation: Machine learning distinguishes sounds by blocking out ambient noise and prioritizes your voice so that it comes out “crystal clear.” A “wide spectrum” option will be available to capture all sound including ambient noise such as music.
  • Grid View: Quick grid view with same-sized tiles that make it easier to know who’s talking in a group FaceTime call.
Screenshot of Grid View – Apple
  • Portrait Mode: The portrait mode from the camera app is coming to FaceTime with a beautiful bokeh effect for your calls.
  • FaceTime Links: Schedule a FaceTime call via a shareable link or join an ongoing call by clicking that same link.This includes Android and Windows devices via browser.
Screenshot of FaceTime links – Apple

SharePlay: 

  • Share audio/video that allows you to listen to music, watch video (select video partners initially, including Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max and TikTok), and control apps in sync with friends. Shared videos can also be pushed to your AppleTV, keeping it all synced up between devices and households.
Screenshot of Share Play – Apple

iMessage:

  • Photos: Updates to iMessage bring better photo collages and stacks with more photos you can easily swipe through. From stack view, tap to view all and add an “Expression.”
  • Shared with You: This one isn’t really an iMessage feature but I’ll include it here because I didn’t go to school for writing. New “Shared with You” feature comes to native apps News, Music, Safari, Podcasts, and AppleTV.
Screenshot of Shared with You feature in native News app – Apple

Notifications:

  • Notifications have a fresh new look with contact photos for people and larger icons for apps.
  • Do Not Disturb: Now, you can notify others when you have Do Not Disturb enabled, weeding out the a**holes who still message you anyway.
  • Notification Summary: New Notification summary prioritizes by app and excludes notifications from people so you don’t miss important alerts.
Screenshot of Notification Summary view – Apple

Focus Mode:

  • With this new feature, you’ll be able to customize modes such as “work” or “personal” so you can choose what you want to focus on. Once set, this feature will sync automatically with all your other devices.
Screenshot of new Focus Mode feature – Apple

Live Text:

  • The camera can now recognize text in photos that are printed or handwritten so you can select, search, copy/paste, and more.
  • It will also recognize objects like that giant dildo on the floor you forgot to move before sending that cute selfie. Am I the only one that happens to?
Screenshot of Live Text feature – Apple

Apple Wallet:

  • Who cares.

Apple Maps:

  • Cares are even less here.

Weather:

  • Cares are all the way gone.

Safari:

  • Tab Bar: new Tab Bar design placed at the bottom of the screen lets you maximize your screen space and stays out of your way as you browse and scroll. Easily jump from tab to tab with your thumb.
  • Tab Groups: New Tab Groups let you have more control over your tabs by organizing them exactly how you please.
  • Extensions: Just like on Mac, you can now install extensions for safari on your iPhone, and choose which extensions will be active.
Screenshot of Safari in iOS 15 – Apple

AirPods:

  • Conversation Boost: This new feature lets you boost the volume of voices (and control the volume of ambient noise) of those around you when you’re having a face-to-face conversation in a noisy environment.
Screenshot of conversation boost (actual feature does not emit cancer causing radio waves like the ones pictured) – Apple

If you’re brave enough, iOS 15 Beta is “coming soon” but maybe wait for full iOS 15 roll out coming “this fall.”

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