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Outlines of WWDC21 Keynote and Platforms State of the Union

Jaanus Kase
June 8, 2021

WWDC is the highlight of the year for Apple developers, where we learn of the Apple platforms and technology changes and roadmap for the coming year. As Tact is fully situated in the Apple galaxy, the whole Tact team obviously watches this event with great interest.

Keynote and Platforms State of the Union are two events that kick off the whole week. The first one is more consumer- and public-oriented, while the second one provides a deeper outline for developers.

I took notes during the first two sessions. Here are the outlines as I saw them.

Keynote

iOS 15

  • Spacial audio on Facetime
  • Voice isolation or wide spectrum audio
  • Sharing Facetime links to calls
  • SharePlay. Watch music and movies together. Has an API for video streaming providers.
  • Screen sharing.
  • Messages
    - Collage design.
    - “Shared with you”
  • Focus
    - Notifications UI update
  • Identifying text from photos. Identifying nature, landmarks etc from photos
  • Photos memories with intelligent music suggestions
  • Wallet - can contain house key, hotel key, company badge etc.
    ID information to Wallet (US drivers license)
  • Weather new features
  • Maps UI update. At least in San Francisco.

Airpods

iPadOS 15

  • Widgets on home screen
  • Multitasking update.
  • Collaboration in Notes. Mentions, tags. Quick Note.
  • Translate. Auto translate.
  • Swift Playgrounds. Build apps on iPad with SwiftUI.

Privacy

  • Mail Privacy Protection
  • Safari
  • App Privacy Report
  • Siri on-device audio processing

iCloud

  • Account recovery
  • Digital legacy
  • iCloud+. VPN-like relay, hide my email.

Health

  • Walking steadiness. Risk of falling.
  • Lab results, trends
  • Share Health data securely with doctor or family

WatchOS

  • Mindfulness
  • Tai chi and pilates workouts
  • Fitness+ something something
  • Photos face is the most popular watch face

Home

macOS Monterey

  • Facetime sharing features
  • Universal Control. Single mouse and keyboard for Mac and iPad. Drag and drop between devices.
  • Airplay to Mac.
  • Shortcuts now on Mac (same approach as on iOS).
  • Safari. New tabs, tab groups.
  • Web extensions on iPhone and iPad.

Developer technologies

  • Object capture. Generate 3D model out of photos.
  • Concurrency. actor, async, await.
  • App store. Multiple product pages. In-App Events.
  • Xcode Cloud. Continuous integration and testing

Platforms State of the Union

Developing Apps

Xcode Cloud

  • New CI and delivery service
  • Biggest investment in developer tools since original Xcode
  • Can notify of build results on Slack
  • Gallery view for Xcode Cloud UI test result screenshots
  • Testing: Run tests repeatedly
  • Integration: Pull request comments straight in Xcode
  • Improved automatic code signing, certificates etc
  • Organizer shows written feedback for crash report

Swift

  • Concurrency
    - async, await
    - Structured concurrency. async let.
    - Actors. @MainActor.
  • SwiftUI
    - Swipe action in list
    - Pull to refresh
    - Restrict modifiers to a platform
    - Search field and suggestions
    - Accessibility. Voiceover stepper.
    - New material styles.
  • App development with Swift Playgrounds on iPad
    - Fullscreen preview
    - Publish to Testflight

AR and graphics

1 billion AR-enabled devices.

RealityKit.

  • RealityKit 2.
  • Object Capture. Generate 3D model out of photos.
  • More customization in rendering

Metal Graphics Platform

  • Variable refresh rate
  • Game controllers
  • Graphics developer tools

New features

Focus.

  • Notification interruption levels.
  • Communication app - message and call notifications. Person’s avatar.
  • Notification summary.
  • Focus. Share status with other people and apps.

ScreenTime API.

  • Managed Settings
    - App can manage restrictions
  • Family Controls
  • Device Activity

Widgets

  • Widgets on iPad homescreen.
  • Widget suggestions

SharePlay

  • Group activities in Facetime calls. Adopt in media apps.
  • Reliable data channel in Facetime calls.
    - Shared canvas to draw together. Group session messenger.