At the Apple developer conference everything revolves around software. But this year the focus is primarily on hardware. So there is a chip premiere and new Macbooks. However, the eagerly awaited VR glasses have not been presented.
Seven years after the launch of the Apple Watch, iPhone group customers are still waiting for the launch of a major new product category. It is an open secret in California’s Silicon Valley that Apple is working on an epoch-making project, namely its own glasses for virtual and augmented reality. Nevertheless, on Whit Monday, Apple boss Tim Cook never once said the words “Virtual Reality” (VR) or “Augmented Reality” (AR) in his keynote speech at the WWDC developer conference.
Instead, at the start of WWDC, Cook and his team presented a whole range of further developments and improvements to improve the already very successful Apple products a little further. The US group also announced a new processor for its new Mac computers. Apple launched its first own computer chip, the M1, two years ago and thus turned its back on Intel, its main supplier at the time.
The M1 success story is to be continued with the new generations of the Macbook Air and Macbook Pro laptops with the M2 processor. The M2 chip system is said to offer more power than Apple’s first M1 chip with the same power consumption. Among other things, the M2 has a quarter more transistors, emphasized Apple technology chief Johny Srouji.
On the iPhone, the new operating system iOS 16 brings, among other things, more options for personalizing the lock screen with so-called widgets for functions such as displaying the weather forecast. Smartphones with the Google Android operating system have long been able to display widgets on the lock screen. Apple will also offer developers a live interface, which can be used to display the arrival time of a ride service or the status of a game on the lock screen in real time, for example.
In Apple’s SMS alternative messages, messages will be corrected and withdrawn for a while. In future, routes with up to 15 stops can be planned in the map app. In the future, apps will be able to integrate images from Apple’s “Look Around” street views – which will benefit real estate applications, for example. The Apple Watch will also track sleep stages and remind users to take their medication.
With the new “Freeform” app, Apple wants to offer a kind of digital whiteboard on which several users can share and edit not only text but also drawings, photos and videos.
Owners of an older iPhone model also benefit from the iOS innovations, because iOS 16 runs on all Apple smartphones from the iPhone 8. However, the older iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 models are then no longer able to run the very latest operating system allow. Despite cutting software support from six to five years, Apple is doing pretty well compared to the Android competition. Smartphones with the Google operating system are usually no longer available with the latest Android system after three or four years.
At WWDC, Apple also tried to show prospects for success beyond the iPhone and Macintosh computers. Apple is getting more involved in the financial business and will expand its Apple Pay payment system with an installment model. Apple Pay Later lets users—initially only in the US—split the cost of a purchase into four equal payments spread over six weeks with no interest or consumer fees. Apple collects a fee for this from the credit and debit card issuers involved.
Apple also showed greater ambitions in the automotive sector. Although the mysterious Apple Car is not in sight here either, the company has big plans for its CarPlay car software. So far it has been there to bring content from an iPhone to the infotainment screen. The upcoming version should now also offer access to car functions such as controlling the air conditioning – and also be able to operate the entire instrument cluster, for example with the speed display.
The first vehicles that use it should be presented at the end of next year, it said. Among the manufacturers that Apple says are participating in the project are Mercedes, Audi and Porsche, as well as Ford, Renault, Nissan and Volvo, among others. Google has been working for years to offer manufacturers an Android version for vehicle functions in addition to its CarPlay competitor Android Auto.
For Apple, the start of the WWDC 2022 after two years of Corona was also a step towards normality. But the group did not yet dare to welcome more than 5,000 developers in Silicon Valley, as it did in 2019. Only a few hundred developers and a few journalists were allowed to visit the futuristic company headquarters in Cupertino, the Apple Park, after a drawing of lots. Apple reached the masses with a broadcast of the recorded event on the Internet.
All WWDC participants had to wait for the data glasses from Apple, which has been the subject of speculation for years, regardless of whether they were sitting in the California sun or at home in front of the screen. Recently, expectations were fueled by media information that the group had presented its board members with the prototype of a headset that could combine digital content and images from the environment for the user. However, anyone who listened and looked closely on Whit Monday could see other software components that can help Apple with such a device. This includes improved voice control and text recognition not only in photos, but also in videos in the future.
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