This story is part ofCNET’s full coverage of Apple’s annual developer conference.
At Apple’s annual developer conference, WWDC, the company showcases the next versions of its operating systems and the occasional notable new hardware to run them on.
Why it matters
Knowing what’s coming to Apple’s popular product lines is essential when deciding whether to buy now or wait for the next model.
As usual, Apple’s WWDC 2022 was packed with something for everyone, from the latest release of Apple’s flagship iPhone operating system, iOS 16, and its latest chip, the M2, to the latest hardware that’s bringing everything in (or on). Your hands – in this case the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 13. High-profile new features include Security Check, designed to help people at risk of domestic violence.
Want a play-by-play, detailed synopsis? Check out our archived live blog. Read on for the highlights and links to all of our stories.
The latest version of the iPhone operating system focuses on customization. These include an updated lock screen with selectable fonts and colors, Apple Watch-style widgets, and rotating photos. Notifications also pop up from the bottom of the screen so they don’t obscure your photo, and live activities like music playing can expand to fill the lock screen.
Messages allow you to edit, undo sends, and mark messages as unread. SharePlay has been improved for easier sharing within FaceTime and Messages. Dictation merges with text and touch-on-the-fly, so you can use any input type, anytime. Similarly, Live Text (Apple’s answer to Google Lens) is extended to video, allowing you to pause at any frame and interact or pull text from the video.
Apple says it will be able to intelligently extract images from a background and automatically insert them into apps like Messages.
Changes to Wallet include more wireless key partners, such as B. Automaker, Tap-to-Pay on iPhone for contactless payments, and Apple Pay Later, which splits the cost of a purchase into four payments.
You’ll also see cycling, high-resolution Look Around imagery, and enhanced detail for points of interest and extra-detailed coverage for specific cities. It also shows the balance of the public transport card.
Apple News gets expanded sports coverage in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. TV Plus gets Family Sharing for up to five members with parental controls for apps, movies, books and music. Photos also improves sharing – new shared libraries via iCloud enable collaboration – and offers rules and automatic sharing based on proximity.
On the privacy front, iOS 16 introduces a new feature called Security Audit, which can help you quickly revoke access for someone threatening you, sign out of iCloud on all devices, and direct messages to a single, hand-held device restrict.
CarPlay has been redesigned to unify car and iPhone screens, including powering your entire instrument cluster.
The fitness app is also coming from the watch to the iPhone.
If you’re using Apple’s Spatial Audio, you can use Depth Camera to adjust it.
MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 13
For the first time in ages, Apple has redesigned the Air, and it’s done so with the M2 chip in mind. It’s still an aluminum unibody, but now it’s uniformly thin at 11mm and weighs 2.7 pounds. Also new colors! MagSafe returns, leaving your two Thunderbolt ports available and keeping an audio jack. It finally gets an upgrade to a 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display with a maximum brightness of 500 nits and a P3 color gamut. A 1080p webcam puts it on par with its siblings, along with a quad-speaker system (with Spatial Audio support) and a three-mic array.
Thanks to the upgraded GPU in the M2 and a focus on performance per watt, Apple says it delivers the same battery life and better performance. It finally supports fast charging and the new adapter has a second USB-C port.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro also gets the M2 chip with better performance thanks to an active cooling system. However, it has not been redesigned.
The MacBook Air starts at $1,199 (£1,249, AU$1,899). The MacBook Pro starts at $1,299 (£1,349, AU$1,999). Both will start shipping next month and offer a $100 discount for students and educators.
Apple also stocks the M1 MacBook Air, offering a sub-$1,000 ($999, $999, $1,499) computer, again with a $100 education discount.
Window management with grouping has been improved in Stage Manager, which also includes drag-and-drop multitasking. Better Spotlight search includes sports and web image search, full window search results, and more detailed music and movie information. (On iOS, Spotlight switches to the home screen.)
Search in Mail adds instant suggestions and synonyms, even on mobile. It gets the same updates as iOS for Messages, of course. Safari’s shared tab groups mean you can send your latest shopping tips to friends and family. Goodbye passwords and hello passkeys – Touch ID and Face ID are coming to Safari for logging into websites. Of course also on iPhone, iPad and Apple TV.
Improvements in the Metal Graphics API include MetalFX upscaling for faster game rendering and an added API for faster game asset loading. Resident Evil Village and No Man’s Sky are ported to Mac for the first time; Resident Evil Village is coming later this year.
Handoff comes to FaceTime so you can hop from device to device, and Continuity Camera finally lets you use your iPhone camera as a webcam. It will support split view for straight and desktop views.
New watch faces are on the way, including more diverse calendars, the ability to pin apps to the top of the dock, new banner notifications, and support for podcasts for kids with parental controls.
When exercising, WatchOS 9 gets much more detailed information about your running metrics – for example, to track how you’re moving up or down to track your form. A new multisport workout can switch between swimming, cycling and running to get the appropriate training and tracking data.
Sleep Stages uses the accelerometer and heart rate sensor to track what sleep stages you’re in and time them. The watch will be able to track the progression of atrial fibrillation once it receives approval from the Food and Drug Administration. Medication tracking in the Health app gets a little more granular and allows you to schedule reminders so it sounds like a typical full-featured medication app.
The iPad gets the same updates as iOS 16 plus a new weather app. Collaboration in the operating system allows co-editing of documents and tab groups, which can be launched via FaceTime, with update notifications via messages.
We also got a sneak peek at the Freeform app, a virtual collaborative whiteboard with drawing tools for group meetings, coming later this year. It supports embedding of documents, videos and images and will be included in all platforms.
Like Ventura, iPadOS will receive the new Metal API update for gaming and will download in the background. Game Center is adding activity flows, and SharePlay (coming later this year and for iOS and iPadOS) will allow for group play.
There are a number of UI and feature improvements to bring more desktop-like performance to iPadOS. It also adds a reference color (reference mode) for consistent color matching across devices (personal yay!).
On M1-based iPads, you can increase the display’s pixel density to fit more on the screen and take advantage of virtual memory. And like Ventura, iPadOS gets Stage Manager for far better switching between tasks in multiple windows. When connecting to an external display, it makes better use of the second screen via Stage Manager, making it slightly more seamless to use Touch and Apple Pencil with a Mac.