Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer’s Conference has spent two years behind closed doors, as an online virtual event during the COVID-19 Pandemic. For 2022, the conference is again online for thousands of developers around the world, but for a small group it is also kicking off at Apple’s global HQ – Apple Park Cupertino.
1,000 developers joined Apple Staff at Apple Park for a “viewing”. The event took place inside Cafe Macs and out onto the parkland outside the main huge doors of Apple Park.
The event was opened by Tim Cook, with Craig Federighi joining him to rev-up the on-site crowd, before the online keynote was streamed to large screens in the area.
Kicking it all off, here’s what’s new for iPhone – in iOS 16.
All-New Lock Screen
Apple describes the changes coming in iOS16 as the biggest overhaul of the home screen ever – some would argue that was getting ride of the slide to unlock, but in reality, this is a huge new look for the screen you probably see most.
You can choose a portrait photo from your gallery, or Apple’s own Wallpaper Gallery and have the foreground of the image overlap the time or date on the screen. The fonts for the date and time are customisable, from the font itself to the colour.
Plus you can also ad Widget information to your lock screen for important information or app data.
Notifications on the lock screen will now appear from the bottom of the screen.
Not a big deal, but this will clean up the lock screen, particularly for those who have customised their time and widget info at the top of the screen.
And there will be rich notifications too – so things like sports scores, or perhaps an Uber arrival, able to be richer with more graphical information helping you at a glance.
Edit, or undo a message send.
This means a simple typo can be fixed within the message thread.
For messages you regret, you can undo the send. We don’t have info yet on how long that feature will be available for, but in the keynote it was hinted as being for “recently” sent messages.
Additionally, message threads can be marked as unread.
Last year the live text function in iOS 15 allowed people to copy text from images and photos.
This year, in iOS 16 that grows, but also, photos themselves get smart. Imagine a photo of a dog, tap and hold on the dog, and the dog will be cut out of the photo, and can be dragged into a message or note. Very cool.
Expanding the data and features including 3D models within cities, including launching in Sydney later this year.
There’s a bunch of work on Transit cards, and routing, as well as rideshare scooter location – but no word on that coming to Australia.
Apple’s Family Sharing system is fantastic, allowing kids and parents to share apps that have been purchased, as well as allowing parents to manage screen time on the kids devices.
New in iOS 16, requests for new apps or more screen time will appear in messages, making it easier to find and approve them, but also allowing kids to actually say why they want the request approved. This may seem simple, but its a huge simplifier for both kids and parents.
Setting up new device for a child is also easier, with quick setup you just bring your phone close and choose the family member the device is for.
And, for the first time, you can have a shared family photo library in iCloud, This means all the photos you have, or all the photos you have of each other can be shared.
And when taking photos you can choose which library they go into – the Family library, or your personal library.
In line with Apple’s consistent approach to Privacy, Apple is launching a new Safety Check in iOS 16, allowing you to audit who and what apps have access to your personal information and location.
While this is great for everyone, it’s particularly fantastic for those who are escaping domestic abuse. Meaning at a few taps you can restrict previous partners or family members from having access to your location, app data or any other information.
A huge advance for iOS 16 is the list of changes coming to CarPlay. For years I’ve said that Apple isn’t building a car, they are building the software we interact with in your car.
Already on some BMWs you can see the Apple Maps data in your instrument cluster, but that is just the start.
With iOS 16, Apple can power every screen in the car, by drawing on data from your car like speed and RPM, as well as climate controls, all of which can then appear and be customised within the screens.
This means the ultimate personalisation of the in-car experience, all powered by your iPhone.
The first new cars with this will be announced near the end of 2023, and it will take years for it to truely roll out, but this will be a game changer in cars.
When will iOS 16 be available?
iOS 16 will be available around the launch of the next iPhone, likely to be in late September this year.
Developers will get access soon and there will be a public beta before the formal launch.