6 things you may have missed from WWDC 2021

The WWDC 2021 keynote revealed a lot of new features coming to Apple’s lineup of devices, and as always, there are a lot of small changes and upgrades. But out of the noise, we’ve broken down 5 things you might have missed from WWDC 2021.

And as always for Apple’s mid-year software show, none of this is in relation to the new hardware. While we’ve heard rumors that new products may come out, like a smaller MacBook, Apple has stuck to an operating system upgrade this time around — but some of that software is just too impressive for people to use every day.

Some of these are simple upgrades that make good Apple software even better, like a myriad of improvements to FaceTime. But others change how you use your devices, like an extension to the Wallet app that lets you unlock car keys, front doors and even hotel rooms with your iPhone or Apple Watch — and Even TSA uploads their US ID to pass through checkpoints.

A lot of exciting things came out at Apple’s software show, but here are five things you might have missed at WWDC 2021, in no particular order.

FaceTime: Improved audio, group media viewing, and more

Thanks to several cross-device upgrades, FaceTime is set to receive a range of new capabilities that make it easier for people to listen and watch in single and group video calls, as well as listen to and watch media.

First, there are two new microphone settings for listening for more or less ambient noise. Want to turn off annoying traffic horning or lawnmowers? Use voice isolation. Want to sound like a street performer? Turn on Mic Spectrum.

Group FaceTime gets some quality-of-life improvements, like adding a grid view at the end. There’s also a new spatial audio feature that angles the sound to make it sound like it’s coming from where everyone is calling – so if someone is speaking it’s in the top right corner of the grid From there his voice would seem to be coming out. From.

Some Apple devices will also be able to present video in portrait mode, adding a depth effect and (perhaps more important for some) blurring the background.

You’ll soon be able to invite people to video chat via FaceTime links. Like sending a room URL to Zoom or Google Hangouts, this feature lets you give attendees a link ahead of time and include it in email and calendar app events.

And when you’re in FaceTime, you can finally listen to the same song or watch the same video with SharePlay. Calls can continue while media is playing through picture-in-picture, and participants can queue songs themselves for the jukebox during the call.

Naturally, SharePlay looks like it will only work with Apple Music and select video streaming apps to begin with, including Disney Plus, Hulu, HBO Max, Twitch, TokTok, MasterClass, ESPN Plus, and more. Are included. Apple is releasing a SharePlay API to enable developers to enable this functionality in their apps.

Use Apple Wallet as a house key, TSA-approved driver’s license, and car key all in one

Apple wants us to be ‘completely free of our physical wallet’, and with iOS 15 is planning to add a ton of new features to Apple Wallet that will make it (in some cases) easier to travel with just an iPhone. will make

At the moment, Apple Wallet mainly offers hefty pay and tickets for flights and events. Soon, new iPhones with Ultra Wideband (UWB) will enable you to unlock and start compatible cars without needing car keys (some Android 12 Phones can also do).

Apple plans to have you unlock the Smart Lock at your home or tap in your office building using Wallet Passport on your phone or Apple Watch. Schlage appears on us only from listed partner companies best smart locks list; We suspect that most of Apple’s partners focus on business security rather than personal, at least for now.

In the most surprising addition, you can add a fully encrypted copy of your driver’s license to your Apple Wallet, then tap your phone at the airport to give the TSA access to that information. Apple says the TSA is working to ‘enable’ this technology at airports – so we don’t know if it will be accepted immediately when iOS 15 launches – but that your iPhone will be required to have an ID for travel. shall be considered as legal form.

Add in new support for Hyatt Hotels and Disneyworld, and Apple Wallet becomes more versatile than before. It is even more important that you never give up Set up your iPhone and a secure passcode, as someone could potentially steal your identity or enter your home with it.

Apple catches up to Google with Live Text, notification summaries and tab groups

There were a lot of innovative moments at WWDC 2021, but anyone familiar with Android phones will have noticed some of the ‘new’ Apple features that Google devices have had for a while.

Live Text will let you point your camera at signs, restaurants or anything with words, then select and copy those words to your iPhone. You can tap a place name to see information or reviews, or hover over foreign language words to get translations. Plus, the new Visual Look Up tool will identify animals, paintings, landmarks or other things and summarize useful facts about them.

Does all that sound useful? google lens He already does all that and has an iOS Edition. Of course, Apple’s iOS 15 tools will be baked directly into the OS, rather than requiring you to open an app.

Another long-time change in iOS: Improved, prioritized notifications. With large app icons and contact photos next to Messages, Apple will prioritize certain notifications as more pressing or relevant to your life, while pushing more spammy pop-ups into a single notification summary.

Managing and Customizing Your Android Notifications Especially straightforward, and Android 12 will reportedly make them even more optimized, so it’s a welcome first step for Apple to catch up.

Anyone who uses Chrome will also be quite familiar with tab groups, which Apple is finally adding to Safari in iOS 15. Apple’s new tab groups look attractive but cover familiar ground for people using other browsers.

A speed-enhanced Siri is finally coming to non-Apple devices

Amazon and Google often lend their smart assistants to smart home developers, allowing them to host Alexa or Google Assistant directly on the device. With Siri and Apple HomeKit, you always had to control smart home technology using your iPhone or HomePod Mini.

Now, Apple will finally let third-party devices recognize Siri voice commands as well, though you’ll still need a HomePod to process your requests. The presentation featured the Ecobee Smart Thermostat playing an Apple Music playlist, and we believe Apple will announce other devices with Siri support in the future.

Apple, Amazon and Google have all teamed up to create a new smart home standard called matter, which will help all smart devices across brands and ecosystems to communicate with each other. Hopefully, the new mater standard and the new freedom of Siri will make HomeKit a more viable option for people building their own smart home.

If you primarily use Siri on your iPhone, iOS 15 will also make Siri a lot faster at answering your commands by processing them directly on your device without relying on an Internet connection. This would ideally make Siri more secure and private to use, as Apple would no longer need to store your voice recordings.

Focus: See only the apps and notifications you want

Many of the new features introduced at WWDC 2021 look a lot like what we’ve seen in other productivity apps, and Focus is one of them. In short, Focus lets users choose what they’re working on — which mode they want to be in, really — and presents relevant apps and notifications while blocking all others.

Focus has four ‘modes’, which combine the existing Do Not Disturb and Sleep with new personal and task selections. Choosing a mode is what the user sees and accesses, and they can choose which apps appear on the home screen and pass notifications through, making it easy to limit input and block out distractions.

While Focus was introduced as an iOS 15 feature, setting it on the iPhone will apply to other Apple devices such as the Apple Watch. Your iPhone can also suggest focus modes based on time and location (like if you’re often around the office or during daylight hours, choosing ‘Work’).

Privacy: Block tracking pixels and hide your IP address

Continuing its legacy of privacy protections, especially after app tracking transparency in iOS 14.5, Apple introduced some new privacy-focused features for Mail, Safari, and more.

Digital advertisers hide invisible tracking pixels in emails to detect user activity, but now users can choose whether Mail allows these pixels. Mail Privacy Protection is a new feature that lets you hide your IP address and location, as well as hide whether (and when) you’ve opened email.

Similarly, Safari will hide your IP address from trackers to prevent passing along activity and location data to the sites you visit. You can see which trackers are trying to track your activity.

sound like a good idea? Apple has brought a single privacy rundown to apps with the App Privacy Report to explain which apps are monitoring your activity and how often they’re tracking it – so if you’re using an app to track your location. The report lists how often your location has been accessed in the last seven days. In addition, it reveals which third-party services the app has contacted and when – and while it doesn’t show what data has been shared (only if), it gives an idea of ​​how much the app There may be leaks.

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