Apple has presented the next version of its mobile operating system, which will make it possible in particular to better manage notifications, but also to store more elements in its Wallet, and which will include improvements on Face Time, Photos or even Maps and Weather forecast.
Apple unveiled a slew of new features for its mobile operating system on Monday, with the release of iOS 15. This latest release will include on-device intelligence for a slew of new features and capabilities, like more engaging FaceTime calls and the ability to organize and prioritize notifications.
The new version will also include updates to Apple Wallet to allow users to store keys, whether it's their home, work place or hotel room. They will also be able to store their identity card (in some American states).
What's new in iOS 15?
The new features were designed to help users stay connected, focus better and explore the world, Apple SVP Craig Federighi said during the WWDC keynote.
For starters, FaceTime is evolving. Indeed, as Craig Federighi recalls, “we all found ourselves using video calls for just about everything”.
For its novelties, Apple is largely inspired by Zoom. The new "Spatial Audio" function will create a "sonic sensation allowing conversations to take place as easily as face-to-face", explains the SVP. It will give the impression that the user's voice is coming from the direction they are standing during the video call. Additionally, the voice isolation feature uses machine learning to block out ambient noise, and "broad spectrum sound" picks up your voice and all sounds around you.
For an improved video experience, FaceTime now offers a Grid feature to show everyone in a room in a tile of equal size. Portrait mode blurs the background. The new FaceTime Links feature generates a link for a FaceTime call and lets you share it anywhere, through the Messages app, email, WhatsApp, or through a calendar. The links feature works with Android and Windows devices.
At the same time, the new SharePlay feature, still on FaceTime, offers a set of features that allow users to enjoy shared experiences while on a call, such as listening to music, watching a TV show, or sharing a screen. For example, a communicating user can share a song with Apple Music, and all communicating users will hear the song being played synchronously. Each user can control the music played and add songs to a shared queue.
According to Apple, SharePlay is unique because it moves smoothly throughout the Apple ecosystem. If you want to continue a conversation while playing a song, for example, you can go through Messages. Users can also extend their screen to Apple TV and use SharePlay on multiple devices by syncing everything and everyone. SharePlay is designed to work with other streaming apps and services that have an API, including Disney plus, Hulu, HBO Max, Twitch, TikTok, and ESPN Plus.
Summary of notifications
IOS 15 updates also include tools for better focus, such as an improved notification experience. Notifications have a new look, with bigger icons for apps and contact photos for people.
To help people manage a large number of notifications, iOS 15 introduces Notification Summary that users can schedule to show at a certain time, with notifications sorted by priority. People's notifications will not be included in the summary, to ensure that they are not missed.
Users can use the "Do Not Disturb" feature to completely hide notifications. This mode will automatically deliver an "absence message" to anyone contacting you via Messages. For really urgent messages, it will be possible to bypass the downtime, according to Apple.
The new "Focus" feature will allow users to filter notifications based on specific contexts. For example, if you need to concentrate on your work, you will only receive notifications from your colleagues or from work-related apps. If you focus on your personal life, you will only receive messages from your friends and family, or from apps like Calm. Apple may smartly suggest using the Focus feature in certain contexts, such as when you regularly go to the gym.
The new version of iOS also brings more intelligence to the camera with Live Text, a feature similar to Google's Lens. It can capture text from a photo, allowing users to select and copy the text into a message or use it for a web search. Live text supports seven languages and works on iPhone, iPad and Mac, and also recognizes objects and scenes.
Photos also benefit from smarter features, like the Spotlight feature, which will allow users to quickly search for people, places, or even text in a photo. The new Memories feature will intelligently group your favorite moments.
The new Apple Wallet improves access to car keys with ultra-wideband support. It is therefore no longer necessary to take your phone out of your bag or pocket to start your car.
Apple also provides Wallet with the keys to everyday life, starting with those to your home and your workplace. The latest version can also be useful for travelers who stay at the hotel: you can automatically receive your key when your room is ready. Starting this fall, Hyatt will roll out this feature to more than 1,000 properties around the world.
The Wallet may also have certain encrypted identity cards. This function is currently only available in certain American states, but it will notably allow you to pass security checks at airports in the United States.
Maps and Weather
The revamped Weather app will feature more graphical displays of weather data, full-screen maps, and dynamic layouts that change according to weather conditions.
For Plans, Apple is adding new details about areas, like shopping districts, buildings, or marinas. There will also be elements such as altitude, new colors and labels for roads, as well as personalized icons for landmarks. For driving, Apple is adding new traffic information that makes it easier to see and understand things like storage lanes, crosswalks, or lanes reserved for buses and taxis. On highways, the app now renders complex interchanges in 3D to help you know which lane you should be in.
For public transport users, the application allows you to find nearby stations. Users can pin their favorite stops to the top of the page. As you approach the station, the app warns you that you will soon have to get off.