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At WWDC 2024, Apple Unveiled a Range of New Products and Updates

Apple unveils iOS 18, macOS 15, and enhances its AI capabilities.

Everything Apple Announced at WWDC 2024
Everything Apple Announced at WWDC 2024

At WWDC 2024, Apple Unveiled a Range of New Products and Updates

Apple's WWDC 2024 presentation lasted close to two hours, covering a variety of topics, ranging from new Apple TV+ content to Apple's vision for the future of AI. If you missed the event, you don't have to watch the entire livestream on YouTube - here's a summary of everything Apple announced at WWDC this year.

Apple TV

To kick things off, Apple treated us to a sneak peek at its upcoming Apple TV+ content. The lineup looks promising, with the second season of Severance and fresh creations such as Dark Matter, Presumed Innocent, Fly Me to the Moon, Pachinko, Silo, Slow Horses, Lady in the Lake, The Instigators, Bad Monkey, Shrinking, and Wolfs.

VisionOS 2

Next, Apple showcased some new features for VisionOS 2. While not a major update, Vision Pro users have more reason to be excited. They can enjoy a larger and higher-res Mac Virtual Display, mouse support, and new gestures for Control Center. There will also be additional options like checking the current time, battery level, and adjusting the volume.

VisionOS 2 also introduces the ability to create spatial 3D images from 2D photos and supports using the headset on trains. While the Vision Pro comes with a plane mode for stable viewing, in other moving vehicles, the device sometimes struggles to orient itself correctly.

iOS 18

Everything Apple Announced at WWDC 2024

Credit: Apple/YouTube

Everyone anticipated Apple to present its set of groundbreaking AI features at this event. That didn't exactly materialize. Instead, Apple showcased some small tweaks to iOS and saved the big AI news for later.

The most significant changes to iOS include customization options like moving app icons around, changing their colors, and tweaking the tint to match your iPhone's dark theme. You can personalize your Control Center with your preferred functions in specific locations. iOS 18 also allows you to lock apps with Face ID, Touch ID, or your PIN, and tuck them away in a new Hidden folder.

Messages got a significant revamp. Tapback icons (thumbs up, heart, "Ha Ha," and so on) received a lively makeover, but you can choose any emoji from your phone for reactions. Messages can now be scheduled, so you don't have to set up reminders. In addition to that, you'll have access to text effects and formatting. You can now format individual words, and there are several font features available, including bold, italicize, underline, and strikethrough. To top it off, you'll be able to send messages to non-Apple users on other networks when you don't have a cellular connection. RCS is also on the horizon.

Mail has some new features as well. With iOS 18, you'll get quick tabs at the top of the screen (Primary, Transactions, Updates, and Promotions) to help you sort through your emails. Incoming emails will be intelligently sorted to display relevant info in one view, so you won't have to trace several emails to find different flight data. Maps boasts new hiking data, with improved topographical maps and the ability to create custom hiking trails. Tap to Cash allows quick payment by tapping phones together, while Game Mode reduces background activity for enhanced gaming performance.

Photos received a major makeover as well. Instead of using the current segmented approach, the new layout displays your photo grid at the top, with albums, memories, and other sorted content below.

AirPods and TV

Everything Apple Announced at WWDC 2024

Credit: Apple

In addition to iOS, AirPods are getting a few nifty updates. You can now interact with Siri using nods for "Yes" or head shakes for "No." Voice Isolation is also coming to the AirPods Pro, although it's unclear how this differs from the existing Voice Isolation on iOS and macOS. Apple promises it can block out city noises while on call. Personalized Spatial Audio will also be available for gaming experiences.

Apple is also introducing "InSight," a feature similar to Prime Video's X-Ray. When you pause a show or movie, you'll have access to information about the actors and the music playing during the scene. Enhanced Dialogue is coming to more devices with the help of machine learning (AI). Additionally, 21:9 projectors will now work with tvOS, and new screensavers are on the way, including a unique Snoopy animation.

In a similar vein to iOS 18, watchOS 11 is more of a minor update than a massive overhaul. However, it does introduce a couple of notable features. One such feature is an app called Vitals, where you can monitor metrics like heart rate and sleep, and observe how they have changed over time. There's also a new feature called Training Load, which utilizes all your metrics and body measurements to estimate the appropriate training intensity (with a score of 1-10) you should be following in your workouts. Using your personal experiences, it will adjust the suggestions if you feel you're working too hard or too little.

If you're someone who sometimes finds themselves feeling guilty for not meeting their exercise goals, fear not! You can now pause your Activity Rings to prevent your Apple Watch from shaming you. The Activity app can now have different goals for different days too. Additionally, you can customize the Fitness app with tiles, so you can easily access the most important metrics and features for you. Custom workouts now support pool swims, while pregnant users can manage additional health-related information more conveniently. Your Apple Watch will soon have a new AI-powered live translation feature, although we're still waiting for more information on that. Smart Stack receives some updates as well, featuring a new Live Translate and Precipitation widget. You'll also have access to the iOS' "Check In" feature, allowing you to automatically notify a friend when you return home after an outdoor run. More apps will be able to make use of newer watches' Double Tap feature, Tap to Cash will work with Apple Watches, and there will be new versions of the Photos watch face.

For more details about Apple's latest update for Apple Watch, check out our article here.

iPadOS 18

Everything Apple Announced at WWDC 2024

Credit: Apple

Credit: Apple

iPadOS 18 shares many features with iOS 18, such as message scheduling and Game Mode. However, the most significant update is the new Calculator app for iPads.

Yes, that's right. After more than a decade of resisting, Apple has finally added the calculator app to iPads. iPadOS 18 can perform calculations and excel in doing so. Specifically, the newly designed calculator app for iPads will allow users to take notes, featuring machine learning to make the note-taking experience more enjoyable on tablets.

When you open the Calculator app, you'll be able to perform basic calculations as usual. However, a simple tap will reveal the app's new Math Notes section. Here, you can jot down formulas and other equations, and the app will promptly display the answers in your handwriting when you draw an equal sign or similar symbol. You can even modify already solved equations in real-time, and Math Notes will adjust the solutions accordingly.

The app also supports graphs, allowing you to create and adjust them based on your written equations. Your notes will be saved in a history, similar to the arrangement of notes in the Notebook app, meaning you can view old problems even weeks later. Educators may lament this new "show your work" aid, but Apple views Math Notes as helpful for budgeting or even prototyping scientific ideas.

Furthermore, the ability to do Math Notes calculations can be accessed within the standard Notes app, which is receiving an update with a new Smart Script feature.

Everything Apple Announced at WWDC 2024

Credit: Apple/YouTube

Smart Script aims to change your scribbled writing to resemble a more ideal version of your handwriting. Apple's vice president of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, said, "It's still your handwriting, but it looks smoother, straighter, and more legible."

Notes is also getting some formatting options, such as five new highlighter colors, the ability to collapse sections under headings and subheadings, and automatic content resizing. For example, if you delete a paragraph, Notes will adjust the remaining content to fill the space left empty.

For seamless navigation, a new floating tab bar will appear at the top of multiple apps across the system, providing quick access to various parts of each app. It will showcase a few key sections by default, like the Apple TV version, which has shortcuts to Apple TV+ and MLS content. However, you can customize it to display more details or add your own shortcuts. [^1]: The 2023 Guides by Apple: A Preview

At last, accessibility and Shareplay are set to boost the iPad experience. iOS 18 will feature eye-tracking for navigation, while vocal shortcuts will permit the assignment of custom sounds to specific tasks. Additionally, Shareplay will enable visual feedback during tasks, letting someone else observe your screen with the option for remote control, subject to your consent.

M1-powered iPads will also grant access to unique Apple Intelligence features, including Image Playground, to be addressed further.

macOS Monterey

Everything Apple Announced at WWDC 2024

Credit: Apple

In macOS terms, we have Monterey (macOS 15). Reminiscent of a California locale, it'll inherit iOS 18 features wherever applicable, such as Tapbacks and the Passwords app. Moreover, Apple has designed a distinct Math Notes version for handy typed calculations.

To satiate the more unique facets, Monterey focuses on window layout, device syncing, and gaming.

One interesting continuity feature presented is iPhone mirroring. Assuming your iPhone is near, you can unlock its screen on a floating window within macOS, allowing interaction with apps and notifications, and even share files with supported apps like Unfold. You can do all this without unlocking your iPhone.

With regard to regular macOS utilization, you can now pin windows (Apple refers to them as "tiles"). Employing third-party tools like Magnet is no longer necessary as this is the first time such functionality is native. Pioneered for iPadOS 15, it enables window positioning at the screen edge, resulting in optimal desktop organization. Additionally, keyboard and menu shortcuts are accessible for advanced customization.

Another nifty feature is the integration of a presenter preview. Video conferencing participants will now get a preview of the windows you plan to share prior to presenting. Custom backgrounds are also available, or you can use a personal photo.

Lastly, macOS Monterey brings an emphasis on gaming. Developers can utilize a fresh game migrating toolkit to port Windows titles onto Macs, ensuring a bigger selection of games available. Reports suggest that popular titles like Control and Assassin's Creed Shadows will make the transition. Apple's M1-powered Macs will enjoy the same Apple Intelligence perks.

Everything Apple Announced at WWDC 2024

Credit: Apple

Safari

Updates for Safari in macOS Monterey are notable, incorporating features like a video mode, article summaries, and AI-enhanced services.

The new video mode detects video content on site and provides a Viewer mode, enabling hiding the page content and resorting to picture-in-picture display.

Safari's Reader mode instantly declutters texts, presenting an AI-generated table of contents and a summary. However, specific nuances of these changes remain unclear.

Lastly, Highlights offers context enhancements using machine learning. Situations such as finding a specific singer's audio link in Apple Music are now possible. Identifying the location of a hotel during your search also becomes feasible.

Apple Intelligence

Everything Apple Announced at WWDC 2024

Credit: Apple/YouTube

Apple's segment of the WWDC presentation revolved around the unveiling of Apple Intelligence, a comprehensive AI initiative. There are still unknowns like training data, image generation detail, and release dates. However, other aspects share more information, hinting at significant developments.

A much-needed revamp of Siri forms the cornerstone of Apple Intelligence. Since inception, Apple pioneered digital assistants, but AI Intelligence transforms Siri into a more versatile assistant. Equipped with context understanding, Siri is now capable of answering questions based on page content and predicting the correct contact for a specific mention like "Mike". This leads to expanded search capabilities and streamlined actions.

For example, you can inquire about Apple gadgets and receive direct tutorials, while answers will manifest in a separate window rather than navigation to linked articles.

Furthermore, the virtual assistant learns Apple-related information and displays relevant advice, such as "how to switch on Dark Mode."

In summary, Apple Intelligence is poised to enhance various aspects including user interaction, gaming, and web browsing on macOS Monterey.

You'll soon be able to issue instructions to Siri, causing it to create custom Memory Collages using your photos. The bot will understand mentions of individuals, actions, locations, or musical styles and organize them accordingly.

Everything Apple Announced at WWDC 2024

Credit: Apple/YouTube

Siri will also delve deeper into its AI chatbot role with the help of ChatGPT. If Siri encounters a question it believes ChatGPT could address, it will request permission to forward the query. Apple has pledged to maintain anonymity by hiding your IP address and preventing ChatGPT from logging requests originating from Siri. Signing up for a ChatGPT account won't be necessary for asking questions, but usage limitations will exist, and subscribers will be able to link their accounts for access to premium features.

Apple Intelligence is also introducing a tidying tool akin to Google's Magic Eraser in the Photos app. In this mode, touching or circling a certain subject in the app will prompt your phone to extract that object from the photo.

Apple's AI can also transcribe audio from phone calls inside the Notes app. All parties on the call will be notified when the recording begins, ensuring no one feels surprised.

Notifications and the Mail app are capable of prioritizing and summing up information, while the Mail app allows AI-generated smart replies.

For text revision, Apple Intelligence can alter or correct the text across various platforms using custom cues or pre-set tones. Additionally, ChatGPT will be employed to create entire pieces of text using similar rules as Siri.

Image Playground serves as your AI-powered image generator, capable of incorporating artificial artwork into your Notes, Messages, and more. It boasts pre-selected themes and styles, along with a prompt section, though the level of customization isn't entirely clear. Apple's language suggests users will "select from a broad spectrum of concepts" as opposed to being able to type anything. To create caricatures of your Contacts, Image Playground will draw from the subject's name.

Everything Apple Announced at WWDC 2024

Credit: Apple/YouTube

Lastly, Genmoji are personalized, AI-generated emojis similar to Image Playground. Just as with regular emojis, you can insert Genmoji into messages and share them as stickers.

In summary, Apple Intelligence introduces a variety of intriguing features, yet its implementation is limited to Apple Silicon neural engines, meaning only devices with an A17 Pro chip or M-series chip are eligible. This includes certain iPads and Macs, as well as the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Apple Intelligence trials are set to begin in U.S. English this summer, with a beta version planned for the fall. [Let me make that clear]. Apple is focused on privacy with its AI products. They wish to have most of the AI processing occur on-device, but for any tasks requiring cloud access, Apple has promised that data will not be stored and will exclusively be used for requests. Apple is even opening up its server code to third-party audits to ensure transparency. [I'll try to be clearer]: Apple's main concern is privacy, so most AI processing will happen on-device. Content that needs cloud access will be protected, with data not being stored and only used for requests. Apple is also allowing for third-party audits of its server code to ensure transparency. The features that rely on Apple Intelligence will be rolled out starting this summer in U.S. English, and a beta version is expected in the fall.

Read also:

At WWDC 2024, Apple discussed their plans for integrating AI into various products. However, the most significant AI updates were not showcased during this event. (tech, Apple WWDC 2024)

Despite expectations of groundbreaking AI features at WWDC 2024, Apple mainly focused on small adjustments to iOS, saving major AI news for a later release. (tech, Apple WWDC 2024)

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