Apple Shows Off Vast Upgrades to Software, Hardware, User Experiences at WWDC22

Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2022
Image Credit: Apple

Apple’s 2022 Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday revealed the company’s latest versions of its mobile and desktop operating systems at the kickoff of its annual week-long virtual high-tech show targeting developers and the Apple consumer experience.

The event showcased Apple’s major software updates to iOS 16, as well as updates to iPadOS, macOS for the company’s computers, and watchOS 9 for the Apple Watch.

Presentations highlighted the new MacBook Air with a 13.6-inch screen and Liquid Retina display, along with a new 13-inch MacBook Pro — both with enhancements powered by the new M2 Apple silicon chip.

This year’s conference was Apple’s first major opportunity to introduce some of its new product lines based on its own processor designs.

Apple CEO Tim Cook boasted during his opening comments that these platforms and the products they drive deliver amazing experiences for users and provide developers with incredible opportunities so they can use their superpowers to innovate, create, and collaborate, making apps that continue to change the world.

“WWDC is designed to give this community what they need to do their very best work. We love to support our developers beyond WWDC with comprehensive world-class support,” Cook said during the virtual keynote presentation.

One particularly impressive announcement unveiled the ability to use an iPhone as a webcam. A clip-on attachment will let users secure an iPhone to the top of a computer screen and have instant integration for FaceTime and other videoconferencing apps via Continuity Camera features.

macOS Ventura Continuity Camera lets iPhone function as webcam

Continuity Camera uses an iPhone as the webcam on the Mac for videoconferencing. (Image Credit: Apple)

Growing Developer Community

Cook summarized Apple’s efforts to grow the developer community. This support for developers extends into several important initiatives.

One is the just-opened developer center across from Apple Park where developers can engage with Apple engineers and to reach its global community. Another occurred last fall with Apple’s first online tech talks for developers to learn more about new technologies and directly connect with Apple engineers in live sessions and one-on-one office hours.

“We are also committed to cultivating the next generation of developers including efforts to reach underrepresented communities,” added Cook.

Apple’s entrepreneur camps include female, Black, and Latin founders and provide developers from underrepresented communities with mentorship, inspiration, and insights from Apple.

The company initiated developer academies to teach students the fundamentals of code and other necessary skills to find and create jobs in the app economy. These 17 coding centers are located around the world.

For example, last October Apple opened in Detroit a racial equity and justice initiative. In Saudi Arabia, Apple launched its first Developer Academy for women in February.

“We are excited to say we have grown our developer community to over 34 million Apple developers,” Cook said. “Today we are going to push our platforms further than ever for our developers and our users.”

MacOS Expanded Reach

MacOS Ventura, the latest version of the desktop operating system, takes the Mac experience to a new level with several integrated innovative features.

Stage Manager gives Mac users an all-new way to stay focused on the primary task while seamlessly switching between apps and windows.

Continuity Camera uses iPhone as the webcam on Mac to do things not previously possible. Handoff arrives on FaceTime, letting users start an iPhone or iPad call and fluidly pass it over to their Mac.

Mail and Messages gain new features that extend the apps’ performance. The Safari browser transitions to a passwordless future with passkeys.

“MacOS Ventura includes powerful features and new innovations that help make the Mac experience even better. New tools like Stage Manager make focusing on tasks and moving between apps and windows easier and faster than ever, and Continuity Camera brings new videoconferencing features to any Mac, including Desk View, Studio Light, and more,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering.

New features in Messages, state-of-the-art search technologies in Mail, and an updated design for Spotlight, give Ventura much more to offer and enrich many of the ways customers use their Macs, he added.

Unifying Apps and Windows

Apple software initiatives bring new ways to work across apps and open windows with Stage Manager, Continuity Camera features, and shared Safari browser tabs.

Stage Manager automatically organizes open apps and windows so users see everything in a single glance. The current window displays prominently in the center. Other open windows appear on the left-hand side and are easily switchable between tasks.

macOS Ventura Stage Manager

New features in macOS Ventura like Stage Manager help users stay focused. (Image Credit: Apple)

Users can also group windows together when working on specific tasks or projects that require different apps. Stage Manager works in concert with other macOS windowing tools– including Mission Control and Spaces — and users can now easily get to their desktop with a single click.

Shared Tab Groups enable friends, family, and colleagues to share their favorite sites in Safari. They can see what tabs others are looking at live. Users can also build a list of bookmarks on a shared start page, and even start a Messages conversation or FaceTime call right from Safari.

Many More Sharing Features

Messages on the Mac now can edit or undo a recently sent message, mark a message as unread, or even recover accidentally deleted messages. New collaboration features make it fast and simple to work with others. For example, a user sharing a file via Messages with a Share Sheet or drag and drop can choose to share a copy or collaborate.

Everyone on a Messages thread is automatically added if the user selects collaboration. Edits to the shared document appear at the top of the thread. Users can also join SharePlay sessions from their Mac from within Messages so they can chat and participate in synchronized experiences.

Do not count photos out of the picture. New features provide a more consistent experience across Apple devices. Users can now find images in their photo library, across the system, and on the web. They can even search for their photos by location, people, scenes, or objects, and Live Text lets them search by text inside images.

Users of iCloud Shared Photo Library can now create and share a separate photo library among up to six family members. They can choose to share all their existing photos from their personal libraries, or share based on a start date or people in the photos.

To be even more productive, users can now take actions from Spotlight, like starting a timer, creating a new document, or running a shortcut. In addition, Spotlight now includes rich results for artists, movies, actors, and TV shows, as well as businesses and sports.

M2 MacBooks

Apple introduced a completely redesigned MacBook Air and an updated 13-inch MacBook Pro, both powered by the new M2 chip that extends the performance and capabilities of M1 even further.

MacBook Air’s thin design also features a larger 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display, a 1080p FaceTime HD camera, a four-speaker sound system, up to 18 hours of battery life, and MagSafe charging.

MacBook Air MagSafe charging

The new MacBook Air features MagSafe for dedicated charging when users are plugged in. (Image Credit: Apple)

It is now available in four finishes — silver, space gray, midnight, and starlight. M2 also comes to the 13-inch MacBook Pro, delivering improved performance, up to 24 GB of unified memory, ProRes acceleration, and up to 20 hours of battery life.

“Only with Apple silicon can you build such a thin and light notebook with a fanless design and this combination of performance and capabilities, said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing.

“M2 starts the second generation of Apple’s M-series chips and extends the features of M1. With power efficiency, a unified memory architecture, and custom technologies, this new chip brings even more performance and capabilities to Apple’s most popular Mac notebooks, the MacBook Air and the 13-inch MacBook Pro,” he added.

MacBook Air ports side view

Apple’s new MacBook Air features MagSafe charging, which keeps the two Thunderbolt ports available for connecting a variety of accessories. (Image Credit: Apple)

The new MacBook Air features a 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display, which has been expanded closer to the sides and up around the camera to make room for the menu bar. The result is a larger display with much thinner borders, offering more screen real estate.

At 500 nits of brightness, it is 25 percent brighter than previous models. In addition, the new display now supports one billion colors for more-vibrant photos and movie watching.

The new MacBook Air and updated 13-inch MacBook Pro join the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Pro and M1 Max to round out Apple’s laptop lineup.

MacBook Pro 13-inch M2

M2 on the 13-inch MacBook Pro supports up to 24 GB of fast unified memory and 100GB/s of memory bandwidth for more efficient multitasking. (Image Credit: Apple)

Both new laptops will be available next month. Pricing starts at $1,199 for the MacBook Air and $1,299 for the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

WatchOS 9

Apple also previewed watchOS 9, which brings new features and enhanced experiences to the wearable operating system. The Apple Watch will now have more watch faces to select with richer complications that provide more information and opportunity for personalization.

Apple Watch, watchOS 9

WatchOS 9 brings new experiences and features, app updates, and creative ways to customize Apple Watch. (Image Credit: Apple)

For instance, the updated Workout app, advanced metrics, views, and training experiences inspired by high-performing athletes help users take their workouts to the next level.

WatchOS 9 brings sleep stages to the Sleep app, and a new FDA-cleared AFib History feature provides deeper insights into a user’s condition. The new Medications app makes it easy for users to manage, understand, and track medications conveniently and discreetly.

“This fall, watchOS 9 takes the Apple Watch experience to the next level with scientifically validated insights across fitness, sleep, and heart health, while providing users more creative ways to make their Apple Watch their own,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer.

Jack M. Germain

Jack M. Germain has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2003. His main areas of focus are enterprise IT, Linux and open-source technologies. He is an esteemed reviewer of Linux distros and other open-source software. In addition, Jack extensively covers business technology and privacy issues, as well as developments in e-commerce and consumer electronics. Email Jack.

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