Everything Apple Announced at WWDC 2021: iOS, iPadOS, macOS, AirPods Update

With its next update, iPadOS will get a multitasking menu that appears at the top of the screen. Using the tiny pop-up menu, you can take apps fullscreen, create a split view with multiple apps, or slide windows over to the side of the screen to access the home screen, all with one or two taps. Switching between apps in the split view is now accomplished with just a couple of swipes. These actions will also work with keyboard shortcuts—a boon for knowledge workers who pair their iPad with a Smart Keyboard for use as a laptop replacement.

Other updates: The Notes app gets more collaborative, with the ability to see recent changes, and the ability to tag your coworkers in a shared document. Widgets get an update in iPadOS, with new larger widgets, and new actions that make it easier to organize and manage widgets on the home screen. The Translate app is also getting a boost on the iPad, with real-time spoken language translations, and the added ability to translate text across all of your apps, web pages, Messages—everything on the system. Something really unique: You can use Translate to practice handwriting with Apple Pencil, so if you want to brush up on your Japanese kanji, here’s your shot.

WatchOS 8

New mental health features and some photo enhancements are headed to the Apple Watch.

Photograph: Apple

Your constant companion, the Apple Watch, can’t pat your back and tell you to put your head between your knees when you’re having a panic attack. But it’s doing its best to chill you out with some new meditative features. Now the Breathe app has a more absorbing animation. A new Reflect feature feeds you feel-good prompts, like to be thankful for something you love, or remind yourself of something that gives you joy (seashells!). The sleep-tracking system introduced to watchOS last year now also has new ways to measure different sleep goals, like measuring your respiratory rate.

Continuing on the meditative trend, Apple’s Fitness+ service now includes a tai chi workout to reduce stress, as well as artist spotlight workouts from artists like Keith Urban that are bound to increase the user base. A new celebrity trainer, Jeanette Jenkins, has also joined the Fitness+ workout team as an added attraction.

Finally, the Photos app is getting a significant update on the Watch. The new photo watch faces that put images of your loved ones on your Watch are sure to be a hit. Also, you can now scroll through your memories, look at featured highlights, and share them to your friends and family without even taking out your phone. Once you’ve found a particularly endearing shot, you can select it to send to your best friend, dictate a text, use the Scribble feature to edit the text inline, and then follow up immediately with just the perfect gif. It’s all the communication your friends and family could want, entirely from the wrist.

The Next macOS

The iPad becomes a true second screen.

Photograph: Apple

The next version of macOS will be nicknamed Monterey—it follows Apple’s recent habit of naming macOS releases after beautiful parts of California, though the name is a bummer for anyone who had their money on Buttonwillow or Manteca. With this next version of the desktop OS due this fall, Apple is aiming for device synergy. Apps will sync more easily between all your Apple devices: Mac, iPads, and iPhones. In fact, with a new feature Apple calls Universal Control, users can set their iPad beside a Mac to double as an instant second monitor. The Mac’s trackpad and keyboard will work across both devices too, with the cursor jumping between screens as the focus changes from one device to the other.

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