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All the biggest reveals from WWDC’s opening presentation

Apple’s annual developer keynote has just come to a close, with plenty of announcements to explore. The presentation was a packed one, with some exciting software updates accompanied by two shiny new MacBooks.

We’ll take a deeper dive into every announcement in due course, but for now, here’s a quick recap of the important stuff: your cheat sheet to the biggest water cooler topics from a packed keynote. Let’s go!

Two M2 MacBooks

Apple’s M1 chip impressed the tech world in 2020 with its incredible speed and power efficiency. Now M2 is here to take things up a level – 18% faster processing, 35% faster graphics, you know the drill. More interestingly for most consumers is that Apple also launched two new Macs featuring the M2 chip.

First, a redesigned MacBook Air, thinner than ever and sporting a larger 13.6-inch display, new speakers, a better camera, and the return of MagSafe charging. Starting at $1,199. Second, an update to the 13-inch MacBook Pro, keeping the existing design but adding M2 alongside ProRes and up to 24GB of memory. This one starts just above the Air at $1,299. The 14- and 16-inch models remain untouched.

Both new MacBooks will be available from July, although Apple didn’t give a specific date.

Sharing and communication

If iOS 16 has a theme, it’s family. Apple this year has focused on ways to improve sharing and communication.

One way is with iCloud Shared Photo Library, a new feature that allows up to six users to contribute to a single collection that will appear in everyone’s Photos app. This looks to build on Shared Albums, taking the idea even further and (in theory) lowering the barrier for entry so you can get your family involved without fuss.

There are also long-overdue updates to Messages and Mail, bringing the apps more in line with third-party equivalents. That means you can finally edit and delete sent messages, schedule and resurface emails, and more.

A whole new Lock Screen

The iPhone’s Lock Screen hasn’t changed much in years, bar a recent visual overhaul of notifications. Critics have been quick to note how far ahead Android devices are in this regard.

That’s why we were delighted to see Apple finally cave in and rethink the Lock Screen, offering a more nuanced interface for users to customize.

That means Lock Screen widgets, ‘Live Activities’, (another) notification redesign, and wallpapers that make your Portrait photos really pop. If you’ve ever swiped an Apple Watch to change or customize watch faces, this works in a very similar way.

iPad goes pro

The latest iPads are absurdly powerful, but have been held back from becoming true computer replacements by software limitations. With iPadOS 16 and an M1 iPad, some of those problems are history.

Full support for external displays is a huge deal for anyone looking to get serious work done, while pro-level features like Reference Mode and Display Zoom will be helpful for video editors and other creatives. There’s a new collaboration app called Freeform, and improvements to Files mean you can finally change file extensions on an iPad.

But perhaps the biggest change is Stage Manager, a new way to multitask that allows users to run multiple apps in overlapping windows of different sizes. You know, just like on a computer!

Oh, and iPad finally gets its own Weather app! Still no Calculator, though.

Watch and Mac

iPhone, iPad, and new hardware will always take the headlines – but Apple also showed off upcoming software updates for Apple Watch and Mac.

As expected, watchOS 9 brings more watch faces, workouts, and activity metrics. But there’s also a bigger dive into health tracking, with sleep insights, AFib history, and a new Medications app.

Meanwhile, the next version of macOS – dubbed “Ventura” – has clearly been influenced by the world’s shift to more people working from home. As such, the focus is on productivity and videoconferencing, with Stage Manager here for focus and a neat Continuity Camera feature that uses your iPhone as a webcam.

Phew! We reckon that’s everything you need to know for now, but it’s certainly not exhaustive – we didn’t even touch on Apple’s updates to CarPlay, HomeKit, Siri, or countless other things. We’ll exploring every last corner of the beta releases this week, and will have full details on every new feature in due course. iOS 16 and every other software update will be available to the public this September.

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