Apple has just given previews of new features in the upcoming operating systems iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS "Monterey" as well as watchOS 8 with a nearly 2-hour keynote for this year&s WWDC 2021 (World Wide Developer Conference).
New for iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and macOS Monterey are extended video conferencing functions for FaceTime incl. new SharePlay function. In FaceTime, background noise can now be filtered out better with new microphone modes, backgrounds can be blurred better via the already known portrait function and all participants of a Facetime chat can be shown in parallel in a new grid (similar to Zoom). Via Shareplay function, screen contents and apps can now also be shared here. Films streamed in Disney+, ESPN+, HBO Max, Hulu, MasterClass, Paramount+, Pluto TV, TikTok, Twitch can also be synchronised in parallel via Shareplay and watched "together" with live-connected friends. Users of other operating systems can also be invited to group video chats via a browser link.
We are curious to see whether the greatly improved FaceTime functions have what it takes to compete even more strongly with established video conferencing providers such as Zoom, Skype and others ...
The new on-device intelligence with the so-called Livetext function should be interesting in the AI area. Text and telephone numbers recognised in photos can be processed directly and used for corresponding functions (internet search, calls, etc.). Even blackboard/whiteboard content can be recorded via photo and simply used for further (text) processing via select and paste.
And speaking of "on-device intelligence": Thanks to enhanced speech recognition on the respective device itself, less and less user data needs to be transmitted externally, according to Apple. The reaction times for voice commands should thus improve significantly. And consequently, a whole series of privacy updates are at the top of the list of new functions for Apple Safari, iCloud and other Apple services / apps.
The new Macbook Pro laptops from Apple (with the new M2 processor), which many had hoped for, were not announced at this year&s WWDC. Instead, the individual hardware components are moving closer together via automatic screen and keyboard sharing: For example, the keyboard of a MacBook Pro can be used to operate an iPad or a nearby iMac.
This year&s WWDC also had no updates for Apple&s media tools in the form of Final Cut Pro, Logic and others. All those who want to see FCPX on an iPad Pro will probably have to wait a little longer. The autumn should be quite exciting in terms of FCPX, MacBook Pro etc. also because of the NAB, which will take place in October for the first time this year ...