NameDrop, Stickers and Snoopy
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NameDrop, Stickers and Snoopy

Jun 08, 2023

The unveiling of its first VR/AR headset dominated the launch of Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference, but it was far from the only news to come out of Cupertino.

Alongside his team, senior vice-president of software engineering Craig Federighi led a lively (and at times Partridge-esque) whistlestop tour through updates to the Mac range, iOS, WatchOS, Safari and a whole host of other products.

And while Google I/O was laser-focused on artificial intelligence (execs in the presentation mentioned AI 143 times during the two-hour keynote), Apple gave only casual nods to machine learning throughout the presentation.

CEO Tim Cook opened proceedings on the lawn of Apple's Cupertino campus beneath a giant rainbow, hailing 15 years since the launch of the App store ‘which changed everything’.

‘Our teams continue to innovate, creating breakthrough experiences for customers,’ said Mr Cook.

Read on for a summary of the latest developments.

Apple introduced its first 15" MacBook Air, which offers a 15.3" liquid retina display, up to 18 hours of battery life and a six-speaker sound system.

Built on the M2 chip, it is 12 times faster than the Intel-based MacBook Air 3.

The laptop's fanless design is just 11.5mm thick, and weighs just 3.3lbs (1.5kg).

Starting from £1,399, it will be available June 13.

The two most powerful Macs the company has designed were also unveiled.

Mac Studio features both the M2 Max chip and new M2 Ultra chip, which delivers twice the performance capabilities of M2 Max and is up to three times faster than the previous generation with M1 Ultra.

It features a 12-core CPU, up to a 38-core GPU, and up to 96GB of unified memory with 400GB/s of memory bandwidth.

The new Mac Pro is also built on M2 Ultra, completing the company's transition from Intel chips to Apple silicon.

It can also be configured with up to 192GB of memory with 800GB/s of unified memory bandwidth, and features seven PCle expansion slots, with six open expansion slots that support gen 4.

Among the updates to iOS 17 is Posters, allowing users to set the screen display visible when calling or contacting others, FaceTime video messages for missed calls and audio message transcription for voice notes in Messages.

Live Voicemail provides a real-time transcription of the message being left so users can decide whether to pick up immediately.

NameDrop allows iPhone and Apple Watch users to exchange contact details via AirDrop, while SharePlay enables them to watch the same show or listen to the same music.

StandBy turns the iPhone lock screen into a home display when docked on its side while charging, offering a range of screens including an alarm clock, weather, music controls or photos.

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Emoji Stickers and Live Stickers have now been added to Messages.

Plus, pets will now be identified in the People & Places albums.

Personalisation was the name of the game for this latest update, offering new ways to modify the Lock Screen and interactive widgets.

Facetime has also had an update with the introduction of Reactions, including hearts, balloons and rain prompted by user gestures, such as two thumbs up for fireworks.

The Health App has arrived on iPad, offering the same insights as on iPhone and Apple Watch and synching data from all devices.

watchOS had a fairly comprehensive makeover - described as a ‘milestone’ by Apple.

‘watchOS is the world's most advanced wearable operating system, and it has redefined how people all over the world think of what a watch can do,’ said Kevin Lynch, Apple's vice-president of technology.

Popular apps such as Weather, Maps and Messages show more information at a glance by better utilising the display.

A new Smart Stack offers widgets it thinks will be useful to the wearer, such as weather in the morning and Apple wallet while travelling.

Control Center is now accessible using the side button, and a double-click of the Digital Crown reverts back to any apps used recently.

Two new watch faces were unveiled. The artistic Palette face depicts time in a wide variety of colours using three distinct overlapping layers, while Peanuts has also come to Apple Watch, with an interactive face featuring Snoopy and Woodstock, who react to weather conditions and get active during a workout.

Apple also unveiled a number of health features for WatchOS, including new tools for cyclists and hikers, while a mindfulness app allows users to log their emotions and daily moods. It also measures time spent in daylight in a bid to reduce the risk of the vision impairment myopia (nearsightedness) and boost physical and mental health.

FaceTime and video conferencing have been added to Apple TV, and a new control centre allows more personalisation and better interaction with iPhone.

iPhone can also now help locate Siri Remote, and when using the remote on iPhone to wake up and control Apple TV, users will be automatically switched to their profile.

Apple TV will also be available in a selected number of hotels at the end of the year, allowing users to log in to their profile.

Sonoma is the latest version of Apple's desktop operating system, and includes interactive widgets, enhanced video conferencing experiences, enhanced gaming graphics and more accessibility features.

Users can now place widgets on the desktop, interact with them with a click, and through Apple's Continuity, access all iPhone widgets on their Mac.

Safari has also been updated, with more security through Private Browsing. Advanced tracking and fingerprinting protections in Private Browsing help prevent websites from tracking or identifying the user. Private Browsing windows also lock when not in use, allowing users to keep tabs open even when they step away from their device.

MORE : Apple unveils its first AR/VR headset, the Vision Pro

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