Apple today took to the stage at its WWDC conference and the first of the announcements is iOS 15. The company started off talking about FaceTime, announcing that it is bringing spatial audio to the video conferencing service. The app is also adding what the company calls noise isolation, helping silence background sounds to amplify users’ voices.
The firm also announced FaceTime links, bringing the ability to send meeting invites to users on not just iOS, but also Windows and Android to join FaceTime calls via the browser. Another new addition is SharePlay, a feature in FaceTime that allows users to share their device screens, watch content on streaming platforms, or listening to music together. The firm is also introducing APIs for streaming platforms to add support for SharePlay
Next up is Shared with you, a way to share news items and other types of content right with other users easily. These items can also be pinned in iMessages. The firm is adding support for apps like Podcast, Apple Music, Apple TV, and more for Shared with you.
Notifications are getting a major update with the addition of Notification summary. iOS 15 will summarize notifications from non-important apps to reduce clutter on the lock screen. Users will be provided the choice to select contacts and apps that can break through and display complete notifications. Notification summary uses “on-device intelligence” to tweak these summaries.
However, users can choose to turn on Do Not Disturb to block all notifications or choose the apps and contacts that can bypass the restrictions to serve notifications, thanks to Focus. Focus will also allow for adding relevant widgets with information on the home screen.
Next up is Live Text for Photos, a Google Lens-like feature that allows users to detect content from across the OS like text and look them up on the web. Users can also lookup locations from pictures, recognize characters in images, and more. Live Text works not just with images, but also with the web, and across iOS, iPadOS, and macOS.
There are updates to a bunch of apps as well, with the first being Spotlight. Apple is adding support for Photos in Spotlight, allowing users to search for images right from the home screen. The company is also adding rich information in Contacts, bringing information from services like Find My into the contact’s cards. The firm is also adding specialized cards for celebrities.
In the list of Google-inspired features, there’s the Memories feature in Photos. iOS 15 will create interactive memories based on users’ images using its on-device machine learning. It will also let users interact with the memories by adding or removing images and choose what shows up, add music, and more.
Other app improvements include added capabilities to the Wallet app that allows for storing government-issued identity cards, allowing users to carry a digital copy of their IDs. The firm is also expanding the use of Wallet as a lock or access system by leveraging the UWB technology in iPhone. These include car keys, hotel access cards, and more.
The Weather app is being redesigned with a bunch of new information, with a background that adapts to the current weather situation. Lastly, the Maps app is receiving some improvements such as a an improved design and added details for commercial buildings and more. There is also a new Nearby Transit feature and the ability to the app to notify users when it is time to disembark from public transport.