Software, and nothing else! Last year, Apple’s annual developer conference was marked by a major shift, which Tim Cook even described as “historic”: the abandonment of Intel processors for its Mac computers, in favor of chips designed in internal. Nothing like this this year. The event, which started on Monday with nearly two hours of keynote in 100% virtual mode, did not give rise to any new product announcement.
Instead, the WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference), which sets out Apple’s roadmap for the coming months, gave pride of place to new operating systems. By the fall, all devices marked with an apple will receive an update, from smartphones (iOS 15) to tablets (iPadOS 15) to computers (MacOS Monterey) and watches. connected (WatchOS 8).
The most notable novelty, accessible on most of these devices, is a redesign of its audio and video calling tool via the Internet, FaceTime. Faced with the growing success of Zoom or Microsoft Teams in videoconferencing, Apple first chose openness: reserved since its inception for owners of iPhone, iPad or Mac, FaceTime will soon be available on Android devices or Windows PC. As with Zoom, it will be possible to schedule a call, and send the link to correspondents by email or SMS to allow them to connect via the Web.
Work and leisure to share
The new FaceTime will also be more collaborative: all participants will be able to share working documents, but also streaming movies or music thanks to a new function, SharePlay. This will be integrated into Apple’s software and services, but also those of certain competitors, such as the Disney + and HBO Max streaming platforms, or the TikTok social network. Apple also promises improved sound and image of calls “To make them more natural than ever”, said Craig Federighi, senior vice president in charge of software engineering. So many innovations that would have been welcome in the midst of the pandemic, but which seem a little out of step today …
Apple has also chosen to take personal data protection tools a step further, two months after forcing app editors to seek user consent before tracking them. The new version of iOS, which will be available to the general public in the fall, will feature a new privacy report, which will provide more details on how installed apps access the camera, mic, or phone. geolocation of the phone, and the addresses to which they send information.
At the same time, the iPhone and Apple Watch’s electronic wallet, Apple Wallet, will contain even more sensitive data. In addition to replacing contactless bank cards and public transport cards, or even car keys (with the latest BMW models), Apple Wallet can accommodate professional access badges, hotel room cards, etc. And, soon, identity documents: later this year, the driving licenses of certain American states – which generally replace the identity card – can be stored in the iPhone.
Always more integration
The conference also highlighted the growing closeness between Apple tablets and computers. It will even be possible to switch from one to the other without seeing the difference: if you use a Mac and an iPad side by side, the same mouse and the same keyboard will allow you to navigate and enter text like s ‘it was a single device, or dragging and dropping a document, thanks to a new feature, called Universal Control.
A technical feat that may seem anecdotal, but which shows how much Apple wants to provide the same experience on all of its devices, separately or together. One of the best examples is the Apple Watch, which collects multiple data about its owner’s health, and makes it accessible on the iPhone. This was already the case for the heart rate or the level of oxygen in the blood, the new version of WatchOS adds fall detection. It also facilitates the way in which information can be transmitted to relatives or healthcare professionals, via the telephone.
While Apple faces a lawsuit in California over the commissions it levies on in-app purchases, the group took advantage of the conference to communicate a symbolic figure to them: since the beginnings of the App Store, more than 230 billion dollars have been donated to the creators of applications. Of course that is enough to calm the discontent of some developers …