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  • Cheryl Tan

WWDC 2022: M2 Chip, New MacBooks, macOS Ventura & More

We're out here in Cupertino, California and we couldn't be more excited to be on-site to cover the latest announcements from Apple's WWDC22, so let's jump right into all the exciting things Apple has mentioned.

MacBook Air and MacBook Pro

Credit: Apple

Starting off with the most exciting hardware announcement, we have the new Mac computers, which have been rumoured for a while now. Of course, these are made even more exciting by the new M2 chip, but we'll get to that in a second.

Credit: Apple

MagSafe is back on the new MacBook Air, which is fantastic to keep your laptop safe from clumsy trips and the power cord from pulling your laptop off the desk.Additionally, that means you still get two USB-C Thunderbolt ports, which is definitely nicer than only having two ports and needing to use one for power.

Credit: Apple

On the right side, you get a 3.5mm audio port that supports higher impedance earphones and headphones. The laptop is still incredibly slim and lightweight though, coming in at 11.3mm thick and 1.22kg heavy while still keeping an 18-hour battery life on video playback.

Credit: Apple

As for display, it's a new Liquid Retina screen that's further enhanced by slimmer bezels, resulting in a 13.6" display that looks gorgeous and bright, with 500 nits of max brightness. The four speakers and three mic array are integrated between the keyboard and display, with support for spatial audio built in.

With everybody having to take more calls lately, Apple has finally given the webcam on the MacBook Air a much-needed upgrade, with a new 1080p camera. For the style-conscious, there'll be four colours available: Space Gray, Silver, Starlight and a new Midnight colour that's absolutely beautiful. There are also new charger options, with a super convenient 35W charger that offers two USB-C ports or a fast charging option with a 67W power adapter.

Starting at US$1,199, local availability and pricing for the new MacBook Air has yet to be announced.

Credit: Apple

For pro users though, we get the new 13" MacBook Pro, also with the M2 chip. Video editors will definitely be among the list of people interested in checking this laptop out. With ProRes encode and decode support, the laptop is able to play back up to 11 streams of 4K ProRes video or up to two streams of 8K ProRes video.

The new MacBook Pro starts from US$1,299 and will be available next month. Local pricing and availability is still unknown.

M2 Chip

Credit: Apple

Okay, so let's talk Apple Silicon. The M1 chip was introduced over a year and a half ago, and while there have been new models released like the M1 Pro and M1 Max (which are very impressive, by the way), rumours started swirling about an M2 chip last year. Well, we're finally seeing it now.

Credit: Apple

It's a 5nm chip with 20 billion transistors, which is 25% more than the original M1 chip. The unified memory bandwidth has also been increased, with support for up to 24GB of unified memory now. The chip is an 8-core CPU with four high performance cores and four high efficiency cores, with 18% better performance than the M1. As for the GPU, it's 10-core and offers up to 35% better performance than the M1.

The chip's media engine has a higher-bandwidth video decoder that supports 8K H.264 and HEVC video, with the ability to playback multiple streams of 8K and 4K video. There's also a new image signal processor that results in better image noise reduction.

We'll most likely see Apple transition to M2 for their remaining Mac lineup, or some variant of the M2, like a M2 Max or M2 Ultra in the near future.

macOS Ventura

Credit: Apple

Rounding off the Mac announcements is this year's new macOS Ventura, with some exciting new features. The one that's probably of most interest is Stage Manager, which offers a new way to keep windows organised and easy to find. Similar to the taskbar on Windows computers, Stage Manager moves windows off to the side in a small "dock" of sorts. So when you're using a window, it's up front and centre, while the other windows are clustered by the left side. Additionally, for apps with multiple windows, they're all gathered together and stacked, and users can cycle through the open windows by clicking on the left.

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Windows can be overlapped and grouped together by dragging from the left sidebar, and Stage Manager will actually remember which windows are grouped together so that they open together as well. Very nifty.

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If you're using a Mac and you have an iPhone, well, why not take advantage of how great the iPhone cameras are? Continuity Camera allows for users to use their iPhone as a webcam for the Mac, connecting wirelessly. Features like Centre Stage, Studio Lighting and Portrait Mode will all be available when using the iPhone as a webcam, making it the perfect option to get even better video quality on calls.

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There's also Desk View when using Continuity Camera, a feature that allows the iPhone's ultra wide camera to be used to show the user's desk while simultaneously showing the user's face. It's quite mind-blowing how the cameras are able to do this, and we'll definitely have to try this out for ourselves when available.

Spotlight has also gotten a bit of an update, with results in Quick Look having a bit more information, as well as the ability to find images across both the system and the web. Actions can now be taken through Spotlight as well, such as starting timers, activating shortcuts and more.

Credit: Apple

Mail gets a big update this year, with undo send, schedule send, follow up suggestions and remind me features across Mac, iPad and iPhone. Search has also been overhauled, with the search bar immediately showing recent documents, links and more once clicked into. Even if you make a typo error while typing a search term, the app is smart enough to show you the results for the correct spelling.

Safari has had some changes too, with tab groups now able to be shared with others. People can add tabs into the groups at any time, and you can even see who's looking at what tabs. Additionally, Apple is introducing their solution to going password-less: Passkeys. Passkeys utilise biometric verification from Face ID or Touch ID to create a secure, digital key that stays on device, meaning hackers can't use them. Of course, passkeys will sync across Mac, iPad, iPhone and Apple TV thanks to iCloud Keychain. People can even sign into websites or apps on non-Apple devices just by using their iPhone. Again, shared tab groups will be available across Mac, iPad and iPhone.

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Handoff now is extended to FaceTime, with the ability to switch video calls between Mac, iPad and iPhone with the click of a button. All you need to do is bring your iPhone or iPad close to your Mac, and the popup will show on the top right corner of the screen.

The developer beta is available today, with the public beta slated for July. Full public release will be in the fall, as per usual.

iPadOS 16

When Apple released iPadOS 15, there was a bunch of improvements, multitasking and productivity being one of the biggest. Well, Apple has built on that in iPadOS 16.

Credit: Apple

We can now have windows overlapping each other and able to be resized on the iPad, a feature that many have been clamouring for, along with the new Stage Manager feature. With this, it'll bring the iPad experience even more in line with a proper computer's. For the M1 iPad Pro and M1 iPad Air users, full external display support is now available, meaning you can plug in displays with up to 6K resolution and use them as extensions of the screen, rather than just screen mirroring as it is right now.

Apple also knows that some people might push their iPads to the limit, and with Virtual Memory Swap, there is now the option to use iPad storage to expand the available memory for all apps, up to 16GB. For the creative professionals who use iPad for their work, whether it be colour grading videos or editing photos, there's now Reference Mode, allowing the 12.9-inch M1 iPad Pro with Liquid Retina XDR Display to match reference colour requirements in their workflow.

There's a new collaboration app called Freeform, which is almost like a virtual whiteboard. People can all write or draw on the space and edits will be reflected in real-time, making it great for brainstorming ideas or planning.

For people complaining about the Weather app not being on the iPad, well, it's finally here with animations!

As like macOS Ventura, the developer beta is out today, with the public beta in July. Full release will be in the fall.

iOS 16

Credit: Apple

As usual, Apple has announced its new iOS 16 that's packed full with new features, but something that should excite a lot of people would be the ability to have customisable lock screens that look absolutely incredible. You'll be able to customise three areas, the date, the time and an additional field under that where you can add widgets such as your activity rings, the temperature, battery levels and more to. Using photos taken with an iPhone will result in a depth effect for the subjects, and you can even adjust the position of the subject or resize them if needed. There are also font choices and colour options with different shades able to be used.

In order to let you fully enjoy that new Lock Screen, Apple has made new notifications roll up from the bottom instead of the top. Small change, but a welcome one. There are also new Live Activities notifications for apps that send many notifications in a short period of time - notifications from a sports app on what's happening in a game, for example, and you're getting real-time notifications, or if you're enjoying music, the song and controls are now on the bottom with album art displaying in the middle of the screen.

Focus has been updated as well, with the Lock Screen also part of it. Different widgets and wallpapers can be set for different focus modes, and this even carries into apps with focus filters to filter out distracting content. You can, for example, turn on work focus and only see work-related tabs on Safari, or only see work-related chats in Messages, allowing for a clearer demarcation of work and personal life.

Another huge change is the revamp to Messages. Apple is adding the ability to edit messages after sending, recall messages with Undo Send and mark any thread as unread. SharePlay, which was previously only available on FaceTime, is now coming to Messages as well, with people able to watch movies or shows, listen to music and more together while interacting with each other through text.

There are also updates to dictation, with a major privacy bump thanks to dictation happening directly on device. When speaking, the keyboard also remains open so that users can switch between speech and typing as their input sources. Punctuation is also automatically added, and there's even emoji dictation now.

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Live Text is a handy little feature for extracting text out of images and the likes, and there's now support for Live Text in video as well. Pause a video on any frame and you'll be able to interact with the text as you could in photos. There are quick actions for converting currencies and translating text, and a new feature has been added to Visual Look Up to allow for users to tap and hold on any subject in a photo to "cut" it out and place into apps like Messages or Mail.

For users in the U.S., Apple has introduced Apple Pay Later to Apple Wallet, which splits payments into four equal parts to be spread over six weeks, with no fees or interest charged. This feature is available everywhere that Apple Pay is accepted. There's also Order Tracking for purchases made with Apple Pay, allowing for users to easily track the location of their purchase in-app.

Additionally, with ID saved in Wallet, users will be able to use that information for apps that require age verification and such. Keeping privacy in mind, Apple has designed it in such a way that only the required information is shared, the year of your date of birth for age verification, and not the day and month, for example.

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Keys in your wallet can also be shared through Mail, Messages, WhatsApp and more to other people's Wallets.

People who use Maps to plan out their routes will be happy to hear that Apple is finally introducing multi-stop routing with support for up to 15 different stops. Previous routes are stored in Recents, with the ability to plan on a Mac and have it synced to iPhone.

Sports fans will be able to check out the latest news on their favourite teams and sports in the new My Sports section in Apple News. Unfortunately, this feature is limited to the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.

There's now a new way to share photos with your friends and family - iCloud Shared Photo Library. This is a separate iCloud library that everybody can use, with the ability to share the library with up to five people. You can select what you want to share, or just share everything in your library. New photos taken after the creation of the library can be manually added, but it's much more convenient just to toggle the new switch button in the Camera app that will send photos taken directly to the library. Additionally, edits made to the photos in the shared library will be synced and shared across everybody's devices, making it much more convenient.

Privacy has also gotten a small update here, focusing on personal safety this time around. Apple is adding a new tool to disable location and information sharing, called Safety Check. There's an emergency reset option that signs the user's iCloud account out of all other devices, reset privacy permissions and location sharing, as well as limit messaging to just the device the user is holding.

For the music lovers out there, there's now the option to personalise spatial audio for your ears, with the iPhone's TrueDepth camera able to be used to create a personal profile and scan of the user's head and ears to tweak spatial audio for them.

The Fitness app is also coming to iPhone, which allows for tracking even if the user doesn't have an Apple Watch. The iPhone's sensors can track steps, flights climbed, distance and more to provide an estimate of active calories to use to contribute to the user's Move goal.

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Medications can now be added into the Health app, allowing for reminders on when to take certain medication or just to have an easy list of what medication, vitamins and supplements are being taken. In the U.S., users will be able to scan labels of medication to add them quickly and conveniently to the app, and there are even warnings if drug-drug interactions are found.

Smart home owners will be pleased to know Apple has revamped the main tab, allowing for users to see their entire smart home setup in one page, while having a category overview at the top for climate, lights, security and more. Feeds from security cameras is also slotted into a multi-cam view, with four feeds shown at once and other feeds slotted in behind. The company has also announced Matter, a new smart home connectivity standard built with HomeKit as the foundation. Support for Matter will come in a future software update for iOS 16.

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There's something for everyone, and car owners that use CarPlay will be happy to hear that Apple is looking to integrate the software even more deeply with a car's hardware. One of the biggest changes will be the ability to let CarPlay provide content over multiple screens in the car, allowing for CarPlay to control the radio, adjust the temperature and more. Using the data from the vehicle, CarPlay is able to show all of that data on the instrument cluster, with gauges for fuel, speed, temperature and more.

watchOS 9

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As for watchOS 9, it's actually not quite as big as people expected. We're getting new watch faces, four to be precise: Lunar, which shows the lunar calendar, Astronomy, Metropolitan and Playtime, a fun watch face designed in collaboration with artist Joi Fulton.

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Something that really has me excited, though, is the introduction of sleep stages in sleep tracking. Now, users will be able to see exactly how much of their sleep is spent in REM, deep sleep and such, allowing for better analysis of their sleep quality. I've been waiting for this for a very long time, so I can't wait for this to be out.

For most of the people, the more exciting announcement would be the improved metrics for workouts. There is now support for heart rate zones, custom workouts that can alert when goals set for heart rate, heart rate zone, pace, speed and more aren't being met. There's also a new Multisport workout option that can switch seamlessly between running, biking and swimming, allowing for triathletes to track their workouts without having to fiddle with changing workout types in the middle of the session.

Runners will also be happy that Apple isn't leaving them out, with the addition of new metrics like Stride Distance, Ground Contact Time and Vertical Oscillation added. Best and last results on frequently used routes will be stored and available for runners to race against, with a new pacer feature that allows runners to set their distance and time goals so that they can be guided with the optimal pace during the run.

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Atrial fibrillation tracking is even more powerful in watchOS 9, with the new AFib History feature allowing users to track how frequently a user's heart rhythm shows signs of atrial fibrillation, with weekly notifications and detailed history in the Health app.

Speaking of heart health, cardiovascular recovery is a great metric to track fitness, and Apple Watch will be providing estimates of Cardio Recovery for Outdoor Walk, Run and Hiking workouts, even if the workout doesn't reach peak intensity.

The developer beta is now available, with the public beta following in July. Full release will be made available to the public in the fall.

  • Apple has announced a slew of updates at WWDC22, including the new M2 chip and two new MacBooks powered by it.

  • The new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 13 will be coming soon, with prices starting at US$1,199 and US$1,299 respectively.

  • iOS 16 brings customisable lock screens, changes to Messages, iCloud Shared Photo Library, Apple Pay Later and more.

  • macOS Ventura comes with Stage Manager, Continuity Camera, FaceTime Handoff and Apple's take on a password-less solution, passkeys.

  • iPadOS 16 finally brings resizable windows and full external display monitor support, as well as the Weather app.

  • watchOS 9 introduces new watch faces, detailed sleep tracking, more running metrics and AFib History.

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