Update from June 9th, 2021: The second day of WWDC21 went over the stage. Apple revealed new features in its operating systems in the sequel to the event. The focus of day 2: wellbeing, health and WatchOS 8.
Conscious breathing through the Apple Watch
With WatchOS 8, Apple’s smartwatch offers new functions that focus on physical activity and wellbeing. In this context, the Breathe app becomes a mindfulness app and offers a new type of session: reflection. The app sends its user messages like: “Remember a time when you felt a sense of calm. Try to experience it again at that moment.” Or, “Think of something that makes you feel grateful and find out why it means so much to you.” The goal is to create a positive state of mind. This type of assistance follows the trend that devices are increasingly listening to their own bodies.
Sharing health data and datasets related to Covid-19
Apple’s innovations in data protection (see below) also affect the transfer of health data. The Health app in iOS 15 offers a new tab to enable confidential communication between doctors and care teams as well as with relatives: “For example, a parent can share their activity or heart data with their relatives; Days to share or a person with Parkinson’s can share their mobility data with their physical therapist, “explains the Cupertino-based company.
In addition, the health app enables medical records on Covid-19 for those who have been vaccinated, recovered and those who tested negative. According to Apple, a doctor or vaccination center should authorize the patient to download the test results, which can then be verified via a web browser or QR code – similar to the corona certificate in Switzerland.
Incidentally, the Swiss Covid certificate started on June 7th. You’ll find more about it here.
Original message from June 8th, 2021: Apple presents new iOS and relies on data protection
New operating systems from Apple always promise new functions. On June 7th, Apple CEO Tim Cook presented new software and new features that will be released with the next release of the iOS 15 operating system in autumn. According to Apple’s keynote at WWDC21, iOS 15 will provide new video chat functions, updates for focused work and extended data protection. Apple also presented other operating systems: iPadOS 15, watchOS 8 and macOS Monterey.
Full WWDC21 Apple Keynote
Video call features of iOS 15
After the boom in video chat services such as Zoom, Apple wants to increase its role in such services. Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software development, spoke at the keynote address about new features for the Facetime video service, AWP reports. In addition, the in-house Apple service should be usable for the first time for users of Android smartphones and Windows computers. Similar to Google Meet, users should be able to be invited to a Facetime chat via a link. In addition, the app should enable people to listen to music and watch videos together in the future without users having to interrupt the chat. Apple is also upgrading Facetime with the suppression of ambient noise and a portrait mode with a blurred background, as AWP continues.
In addition, Apple developed the “Focus” function in the course of many months of pandemic and home office. This should give users more control over daily distractions and be able to determine when, where and which notifications should be displayed. Various profiles that users can create for work and leisure, for example, should also help to distinguish business from private calls. In the leisure profile, calls from the boss could also be blocked.
Extended data protection
In addition, Apple iOS 15 wants to increase user data security. On the one hand, according to AWP, the Siri voice control should no longer be sent via an Apple server and back again, but the voice recognition should work locally on the device itself. This increases data security and speeds up the software. Other functions such as blocking tracking pixels in e-mails that senders of advertising use are intended to protect the security of personal data.
In line with data protection, Apple is also aligning its subscription services. ICloud + subscribers can buy additional encryption – similar to what is known from VPN network services and can also select a virtual location, for example.
By the way, things are going really well for Apple and its App Store at the moment. According to a study by the Analysis Group, the app store generates high sales in the pandemic. You can read more about this here.