When it comes to the latest in tech news, Big Tech loves to put on a show. These events provide a world stage for companies to show off their latest gadgets and other advancements. The shows have become mostly virtual due to the pandemic, but the hype and showcasing have not slowed down.
Apple’s April event introduced us to AirTags and the expanded use of the powerful M1 chip. We also got news on Apple 4K TV and even a new iPhone color. Tap or click here to check out our roundup.
Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference kicked off this week. This annual tech conference usually sees attendees trying new software and hardware right alongside the engineers responsible for them. That didn’t happen this year, but Apple still brought out the goods. Check out some highlights below.
What you can expect with iOS 15
Apple’s latest version of iOS brings new privacy settings along with updates to many familiar features.
- iOS 15 features an App Privacy Report, which lets you see how apps use the access you granted them (location, camera, photos, microphone, contacts) over the last seven days. You can also view which third-party domains are contacted.
- The Mail app will have tracking blockers that keep senders from knowing if you opened an email. Both the Mail app and Safari will hide your IP address to keep your location private.
- iCloud+ gets new features like Private Relay, which works like a VPN. The update also includes Hide My Email, which lets you use a temporary email to sign up for new accounts when you use Sign in with Apple.
- Siri privacy updates (offline speech recognition) Siri will now recognize your speech when it’s offline. This means more privacy and faster response times.
Wallet app expansion
- Later this year, you’ll be able to add your driver’s license or state ID to the Wallet app (depending on the state you live in). The TSA is working on enabling this tech for airport security checkpoints.
- The Wallet app will also let you access your hotel room and smart home without having to pull out a key or keycard. Corporate badges will also be integrated. Tap or click here to learn how to set up Wallet and CarPlay to unlock and start your car.
- iOS 15 brings Portrait mode to FaceTime, which lets you blur the background, so your face is in focus.
- Grid view lets you see more people when using Group FaceTime.
- 3D audio makes the voices you hear seem to come from the person’s location on your screen.
- SharePlay lets you share your screen or music with others or watch a movie/TV show together in sync.
- The big news: Windows and Android devices will support FaceTime.
- With the new iOS, the Camera app uses machine learning to “see” objects in photos. You can then search your images by location, people, scenes or objects.
- Live Text can recognize and scan text in photographs, such as restaurant names, Wi-Fi passwords and phone numbers. Tap or click here to see how Google is offering this tech with Lens.
More convenience features
- Focus mode lets you filter notifications and apps based on your preferences. For example, you can create a custom Focus just for work that hides distracting social media apps and text notifications.
- Notifications from people now include contact photos and others have larger icons so you can quickly tell what type of notification came through.
- Notifications can be arranged by priority based on your habits and how you interact with each app. Notifications with the highest priority are moved to the top.
- When you receive a group of images through a contact over iMessage, they will be arranged into a collage you can swipe through.
- Shared with You locates links, music, TV shows, photos, videos and more that were shared through text and gathers them in one place. You’ll be able to see them in apps such as Photos, Safari, Apple News, Music, Podcasts and the Apple TV app.
What to expect with iPadOS 15
Many of the features coming with iOS 15 will also be included in the new iPadOS 15. iPad users will be able to view an App Privacy report, and Mail and Safari will hide your IP address. Siri will recognize offline commands, and iCloud+ brings along its encryption for your devices so nobody, not even Apple, can access the data between you and a website.
Have an old iPad lying around? Check out five useful things you can do with it.
Apple Watch fans weren’t left out
The new watchOS 8 has a watch face that lets you use a photo in portrait mode as your background. A new Mindfulness app reminds you to breathe.
The redesigned Home app gives you shortcuts to your most frequently used smart devices. If you have a HomeKit-enabled camera, you can view your camera feeds right from your wrist.