10th June 2021

POV: Apple WWDC 2021


Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) took place this week with the company announcing updates to its operating systems including a host of new features and improvements.

Details and Implications:

iOS 15: The next major version of iOS will be released later in the year. The new release focuses on four themes: staying connected, focusing without distraction, using intelligence and exploring the world and includes updates to FaceTime, improved notifications and more privacy controls.

  • FaceTime updates include spatial audio and voice isolation that will help reduce background noise and Portrait mode, which will allow background blurring. Users will be able to create shareable FaceTime links to let others join the call including Android users who can join via the browser. ‘SharePlay’ will let people co-watch videos and share music on FaceTime calls.
  • New look notifications will include contact photos on text notifications, bigger app icons and also a new filter mode called ‘Focus’ that will allow you to customise which notifications appear at appropriate times e.g., you could set up a ‘work’ mode so only work-related apps show. There will also be an option to batch notifications and receive them as a summary at a specific time of day.
  • Other iOS15 updates include: ‘LiveText’ which gives you the ability to search text in photos; Messages, which gets a new design and more organised content; Apple Wallet, which will support more items like hotel keys and Maps, which will get enhanced details and a 3D city driving view.

iPadOS 15: The latest iPadOS will let you add widgets to the home screen and access the app library, a function already available on the iPhone when you swipe left. ‘Split View’ will help simplify multitasking and ‘Swift Playgrounds’ will allow users to build apps and submit them to the App Store.

macOS Monterey: The key feature of this new release is ‘Universal control’ providing the ability to use the same mouse and keyboard across multiple macs and iPads, essentially extending the screens. SharePlay, Facetime updates and the new ‘Focus’ status will also come to macOS.

watchOS 8: The watchOS will have new health features including a Mindfulness app, the ability to track your respiratory rate and a way to share health data with your family.

Privacy: New privacy features include an update to the Mail app that will block tracking pixels often used in marketing emails to determine if an email was opened. Mail will also hide IP addresses by default as will Safari. An ‘App Privacy Report’ in the settings menu will provide a summary of how often apps access your location, camera or microphone etc. and Siri’s speech recognition will be processed on-device, keeping recordings off Apple’s servers. This also means Siri commands can be used without an internet connection.

Finally, Apple announced that it will let third-party manufacturers add Siri to their devices.


A host of new features and improvements are coming and as expected Apple has focused on connecting people and privacy. The company’s continuing focus on consumer privacy gives more power to the consumer and possibly more headaches for advertisers.

Further Reading:  WWDC21 | TechCrunch | The Verge |

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