Top 4 Features Announced at Apple’s WWDC 2021

1. FaceTime

Apple will be releasing in iOS/iPadOS 15 an upgrade to the ever-popular video conferencing app. The most notable changes include spatial audio, a wide spectrum mode, and FaceTime links.

Photo by Oliver Pecker on Unsplash

Spatial audio has been an Apple thing for a little bit now but if your new to the game it's basically a way for the sound to feel more natural like in a theatre. The effect is really to imitate the real-life feel of being in a fixed stereo room so if you move your head the source sound changes because of the new direction/propagation of your receivers (ears).

Now the wide spectrum mode is a cool addition to the feature list but I definitely would have loved to see this much sooner. In the simplest way, this mode allows you to pick up as much sound as possible in the vicinity. This might sound like a why moment but if you are a musician and want to stream you and a friend playing in the same room this would be great for you.

FaceTime links are what I'm most excited about in the new FaceTime features. Now I know that this is something we should have had for a while since so many other services already allow for the sharing of a join link.

But...

This is a bit different because now you can FaceTime with Android-powered devices. This does use a web browser solution for Android users but still, the river is gaining a bridge! I am an iPhone user and an Apple fan but I still use my Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G.

Photo by Shane on Unsplash

I’ve always said the river that divides the iPhone and Android devices is awful and I can't wait to be able to iMessage my friends on Android in the future! Also, this is end-to-end encrypted.

2. SharePlay

This addition to the AirPlay family (My words, Not Apple’s) is looking like it could be a lot of fun to play with. During the past year, you may have noticed apps like Disney+ offering the ability of “Watch Parties”. These were basically a way to start a movie/show at the same exact time as someone else so that you could effectively watch it together from far away.

Apple takes this idea and turns it up a notch with SharePlay. This new feature allows you to share your screen with FaceTime callers so you can do collaborative work and even watch a movie together. This could be really cool if you want to be able to see the other person while viewing something together.

Photo by Leon on Unsplash

For SharePlay what I’m most excited about is the ability to throw the video on the Apple Tv while staying in sync with the others and have the video call on my iPhone/iPad.

3. Focus

Focus is a new feature that kind of works in tandem with the ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode. Before Focus you could choose to manually set ‘DnD’ or you could have it set up for certain times of the day. With Focus you will be able to make profiles of sorts.

If you want to separate your work life from your personal life this tool will be perfect for you. You will be able to set up a ‘screen time’ of sorts for yourself so that for example all social media apps are unavailable while in the work state. Vice versa if you're in the personal state you can have it set to remove apps like Slack or Zoom from the screen and only show what's important to you and your personal time.

I personally get really distracted by my phone while trying to write or do any work for that matter. When this comes out with iOS 15 I will be trying it out to see if it helps with my concentration.

FYI Focus will be coming to all Apple devices to include Mac.

4. Privacy

So this isn’t an actual software feature in itself but this topic was a huge focus at the WWDC keynote. A lot of what was presented looks really interesting and possibly cost-saving. I also want to say I'm not a cybersecurity specialist but from a consumer standpoint Apple is really stepping it up.

Were getting our IP address hidden while on Safari and in E-Mails. This alone makes me giddy as it makes me feel like my online presence will be even that much more secure from shady hackers.

Photo by John Salvino on Unsplash

It also makes me wonder if a person uses only apple devices could they get away with not having a VPN? That's a topic of discussion for sure in my head.

Apple is also bringing privacy reports to help users see where and when something is being used by say an app. This could be as simple as a quick GPS location check or if the app turned on your camera or mic, you will now see a date/time stamp associated with that access.

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