Lots of new features this year.
And also a new Macbook Air using an M2 chip, the next iteration on their M-series processors.
A list of thoughts:
- Lock Screen widgets look awesome. The ability to have a time-bound, floating widget sitting on the bottom of the lock screen showing you sports scores or when your Uber/Lyft arrives could be a killer feature; but I hope it becomes more widespread and successful than App Clips.
- iCloud Shared Family Photo Library could be a solution to the problem of having to share all family photos manually, through specific albums! Depends how it works in practice, but the fact you can toggle it from the Camera app does make it more discoverable and likely to be used. The killer part of this feature is that the Camera toggle can enable when you’re in close proximity to this in your family? If that works as advertised it is very discoverable and should be convenient to use.
- Apple Pay Later competes with Klarna, Affirm, and other “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) services. Hmm. This feels like an area where consumer protections/regulation will be landing with a thud, soon. Hello, CFPB? (Update 9 June 2022: high-level explainer coverage on BNPL from The Verge.)
- Dictation finally has some improvements! I use this a lot when drafting a longer email or text message string on my phone. Very nice to see.
- watchOS adds heart rate zones. Finally? Also good to see improvements to sleep tracking. I’m not sure if this silent, long-lived collection of health data will ever both worth anything to me in the future, but good to know it’s there, I guess. On the other hand, the privacy implications of having so much health data stored about yourself are…chilling.
- Medication tracking and reminders, on top of fall detection, irregular heart rhythm detection, medical alerts, etc will make the Apple Watch a good gift from kids to aging parents.
- The MacBook Air regains MagSafe!
- The new MacBook Air design looks sick. I’m torn between impulse ordering one (since supply chain delays are rumored), waiting to actually hold one in a store, and just getting a MacBook Pro 14" as I edit more GoPro video footage. Hmm.
- Please kill the 13" MacBook Pro.
- They did kill the Series 3 Apple Watch! Finally.
- Continuity Camera is going to be excellent. I’ve been using an old iPhone 6S with Camo and it has been amazing to make a powerful webcam out of an old and otherwise unused device. Having the ability to do the same thing with my primary iPhone has always been a struggle - I don’t want to have to connect it via wire to my machine, unlock it, put it in the stand, and also use that same phone for taking the call. Apple solved this by allowing the phone to mount magnetically (iPhone 12+) and using no wires to connect it to the machine. That enhanced convenience makes it much more likely I would use it day-to-day.
- Improvements to Mail on macOS? I use snooze a lot. If these same improvements come to iOS I might be able to stop using the (kinda ugly) Gmail app there. On desktop I use Mimestream, which is frankly fantastic. Not sure Apple’s Mail app is going to win me over from it this year, but I will give it a try.
- Passkeys! Improving security on the web and killing off passwords are some noble goals. If this implementation of Passkeys can work in a cross-platform, don’t lock me in sort of way, I’ll be happy to embrace it.
- iPadOS gains external display support! And it’s not just mirroring; it’s a whole separate desktop scaled to the screen you are using. Finally, finally, finally the iPad might become the nifty “naked robotic core” so many power users have been asking for.
- Some neat-looking features for collaboration on iPad, including the white-boarding tool Freeform. Great for collaboration. Doubt I’ll ever see a mammoth company adopt it, though.
- Weather on iPad! Guess that SwiftUI stuff is starting to produce fruit. (Apple? Fruit? end bad puns here)
- Stage Manager for multitasking on iPad and (hopefully optional on) macOS looks…meh? Need to see it more and watch more people react to it before I figure out if this is good (yay external display support!) or bad (they’re killing good multi-window and replacing it with this less powerful alternative).
Many things changing in software this year. I wonder how many I will remember come next year?