WWDC21 Keynote Summary: New Systems, No Hardware

The kick-off event of this year's World Wide Developers Conference was broadcast and the news about the new versions of iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS was published. It was another creative video that was streamed for an hour and 45 minutes. There are some great innovations, others are more specific, and some only for the US market for the time being. In addition, there was no new hardware, so the rumors about new MacBook Pro models and the like were not confirmed. But I have summarized everything that was there for you here. 

Note: If you find spelling mistakes, you can keep them. It's already late ;)

iOS 15 - Numerous innovations in various areas

After the Apple WWDC21 keynote was initiated by developers and the filming of their opening ideas, Tim Cook stepped onto the stage of the Steve Jobs Theater. He didn't say that much tonight, however, as the Apple software experts in particular had their say. So basically Craig Federighi led the presentation. This really started with iOS 15. And these are the new features that can be expected on compatible iPhones from autumn 2021:


The aim is to improve the audio experience with Spacial Audio, Voice Isolation and Wide Spectrum. In addition, there is now a grid view for the simultaneous display of all participants of a call in the same size. FaceTime links can be used to share calls - you can also participate via a web browser from Android or Windows. SharePlay is a great feature for sharing music, films, series and the screen of the device used with the others in the call. Whether family, friends or work - there are many possible uses. The first offers that can be streamed via FaceTime include Disney +, hulu, HBO, Twitch and TikTok.

Messages / messages

The message app now has stack and collage overviews in case you get several photos sent at once. These will then also appear in a new “Shared with you” area in the Photos app. There are also new functions for shared playlists (Apple Music) and articles (Apple News) in the News app. In the individual apps, you can then see in a special area what you have received from whom. 

More news about iOS 15

Notifications are not only presented more clearly and tidily. With "Focus" there are also new and individually adjustable modes for notifications. Do not disturb will not let any notifications through. "Work" lets emails and other notifications that are work-related through. "Personal" and "Sleep" are also available, with options for customization. 

Also cool: "Live Text"! Live Text lets you extract, copy, paste, translate, etc. text from photos and images (on storage, on the web and so on), etc. The function is also available on iPadOS and macOS. There are also more options in Spotlight and new memory and reminders functions in the Photos app, for example background music for the automatically created slide shows with suitable music from Apple Music.

Suitable for iOS 15: Wallet, Weather, Maps and AirPods

In connection with the new operating system, which will be available for compatible iPhones from autumn 2021, this news was also published:

  • Wallet: Is expanded to include keys for cars, doors, hotel rooms, etc., in the USA, ID cards or driver's licenses can also be used as identification documents in the wallet in participating countries
  • Weather: New design, new graphics and new animations, but even more important are the full-screen weather maps that make the weather understandable across regions
  • Maps: In selected cities there are new details, elevation views, colors, a night mode, street details such as cycle paths and zebra crossings and so on, stops and public transport lines can be found more easily, the scan of buildings brings the location and navigation to aim
  • AirPods: the new "Conversation Boost" function is supposed to work like a kind of hearing aid by amplifying what is said in front of a person speaking, "Announce Notifications" reads notifications or the shopping list in the supermarket, Spacial Audio comes to tvOS and Macs with M1 chips, notifications indicate if you forget the headphones somewhere

iPadOS 15 - Widgets, Multitasking, Quick Note, Translations

From autumn, there will also be new functions and options for productive use of the Apple tablet for compatible iPads. Since it is already late, I will also limit myself to bullet points here. You can find details in the video of the WWDC21 keynote embedded below.

  • Widgets: New widgets and new widget sizes to better display TV content or photos, for example
  • App Library: can be reached directly via the dock, so that all apps can still be accessed quickly even on many screens with large widgets
  • Multitasking: New easy-to-use buttons and gestures make it easier to work, arrange and swap windows in Split View; In addition, individual content (e-mails from the Mail app, for example) can be displayed above both windows. And more.
  • App Switcher: Also great for multitasking and split view, as you only have to slide one app onto another to open them next to each other
  • Quick Note: simply swipe from the bottom right with your finger or pencil and quickly create a note - this also recognizes the open app in the background and offers, for example, to insert a link in Safari (it will also be available on the Mac)
  • Translate: Auto-translate for spoken content (i.e. direct translation for dialogues in two languages) as well as live text translations (see iOS 15)
  • Swift Playgrounds: With the program for learning to program, you can now build your own apps and load them into the App Store, collaboration with Xcode on the Mac is possible, there are tutorials and initial app projects to build for beginners

Mixed things for several systems: privacy, Siri, iCloud, health

Before it went to watchOS 8, the WWDC21 keynote featured a few features that have to do with the clock system as well as with other Apple operating systems. Here is the information from the intermediate section that was and is particularly interesting:

  • Privacy: "Mail Privacy Protection" takes action against so-called tracking pixels, which monitor when, where and with which IP a mail was opened - the data is encrypted
  • Safari: Here the IP is hidden from trackers, the app privacy report is also extended to apps so that you can e.g. B. under iOS can see which app wants to track how often and what it is accessing (camera, microphone, photos, contacts, etc.)
  • Siri: With “On Device Speach Recognition”, offline use is possible to a certain extent, for example to open apps or use shortcuts / automations
  • iCloud: Accounts can now be restored quickly and easily via confidants, and the digital estate can be better managed
  • iCloud +: The new subscription model brings the "Private Relay" for Safari, which is a kind of VPN, as well as "Hide My Mail" with which you can hide your email address behind a disposable address, similar to "Login with Apple", In addition, any number of surveillance cameras can save their videos in the iCloud without using up memory - the best thing: all at the previous prices!
  • Health / Health app: Mobility data are evaluated to assess the risk of falling, tips and videos for improving posture (when walking) are available directly in the app
  • Trends: Trends show developments in health data, for example the number of steps over days, weeks and months
  • Communication with doctors: Sending health data, e.g. B. pulse recordings can be made securely 
  • Family health: Whether parents, grandparents or children - if you have authorization, you can now monitor their data and be notified of trends or emergencies

watchOS 8 - breathe, sleep, exercise and view photos

The Breathe app is being expanded on the Apple Watch. There are also new exercises for mindfulness in the form of questions that one can and should think about. The sleep app is intended to monitor sleep and improve sleep. Among other things, the respiratory rate is monitored and trends are observed. For users of Apple's fitness offering, there are new training sessions and star playlists for workouts. 

There are also innovations for using photos on the Apple Watch. There will be a “Portrait Watch Face” that shows portraits and hides the time in parts behind the faces or heads of the people shown. That gives a kind of 3D effect. In addition, photos can be viewed more clearly and shared more quickly. Even GIFs come on the Apple Watch.

HomeKit - HomePod mini, Siri for third-party devices, Matter, and more

We are on the home stretch and can already see macOS on the horizon. But first we have to pass the points that were mentioned in connection with Apple HomeKit. These include the following:

  • You can now tell Siri on the HomePod mini to start Apple TV with certain content
  • In Apple TV there are now overarching categories ("For All of You"), which are supposed to bundle the tastes of all family members (e.g. Sci-Fi + Comedy = Sci-Fi-Comedy)
  • Two HomePod minis can be used as stereo output devices for the Apple TV 4K
  • In the future, you will be able to access surveillance cameras on your wrist via HomeKit on the Apple Watch
  • On the Apple TV, not only can smart home devices near the displayed camera be selected and activated, but multiple camera streams can also be displayed at the same time in order to monitor everything

Matter was also mentioned, we have a separate article on this here.

macOS Monterey 

The new macOS Monterey was named after the Monterey Bay on California's Pacific coast. Certainly not a coincidence, because the new Mac operating system should enable new, particularly fluid workflows. This is particularly possible in conjunction with other M1 Macs or an iPad with iPadOS 15. But one thing at a time ... Here, too, I will again use bullet points to finish with the WWDC21 keynote summary:

  • Benefits such as sharing music, films, series and the screen in the Messages app as well as Quick Notes, Focus settings and the like also come to the Mac
  • “Universal Control” ensures that Macs and iPads placed next to each other can be operated with just one mouse and keyboard (as well as a trackpad) - the cursor can be dragged across all three screens, for example
  • Universal Control also allows you to drag and drop content, files and folders across devices - the fastest way to transfer data from one device to another
  • AirPlay comes to the Mac in order to use it, for example, from the iPhone as a screen and / or speaker
  • Shortcuts using Siri are coming to the Mac, e.g. B. to open the necessary windows and content for work (I would simultaneously open Safari, Mail, Calendar, Pages, Affinity Photo and start a music playlist) - but can also be used for many other things
  • Safari gets a sleeker design and smarter management of tabs, which is adopted across all devices - if you create a tab group on the Mac, it will also be available on the iPad
  • Safari extensions are not only available under macOS Monterey, but also under iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 on iPhone and iPad

WWDC21 Keynote Conclusion: Technologies for Developers

The first three points addressed in the last section of Apple's WWDC21 keynote were API, Swift and App Store. Here are the individual contents as far as I was still able to accept them:

  • API: There are a lot of new interfaces, such as for shared play in messages, voice isolation for video telephony, focus, notifications, iPad widgets and RealityKit
  • Swift: There is now “concurrency”, which is supposed to ensure better coding - but I didn't really understand it because I have nothing to do with programming
  • App Store: Product pages tailored to target groups can now be set up for the same app in order to be more successful; There are also in-app events to draw attention to innovations in the app via video or other highlighting

Xcode Cloud was also announced, which can be used from 2022. This allows apps to be developed, coded and tested in cooperation with the development team. For beta tests, “TestFlight” will soon be available on the Mac. 

Closing Notes: OS Betas and Hardware

The developer betas for the new operating system versions of iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, watchOS and macOS are available from today. The public beta versions will be available from July. The publication (also on the new devices such as the iPhone 13) will be in autumn 2021. Contrary to what some expected, no new hardware was presented today as part of the WWDC21 keynote. So we have to wait a little longer for the 14- and 16-inch models of the MacBook Pro with M1, M1X or M2 chips.

Apple WWDC21 Keynote as video

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