This story is part ofCNET’s complete coverage from and about Apple’s annual developers conference.
Apple’s annual developer conference, WWDC, is where the company shows off the next versions of its operating systems and occasionally notable new hardware to run them on.
Why it matters
Knowing what’s coming for Apple’s popular product lines is essential when deciding whether to buy now or wait for the next model.
As usual, Apple’s WWDC 2022 was jam-packed with something for everyone, from the latest version of Apple’s flagship iPhone operating system, iOS 16, and its latest chip, the M2, to the newest hardware that puts it all in (or on) your hands – in this case, the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 13. High-profile new features include Safety Check, which is intended to help people in danger of domestic violence.
Want a play-by-play, detailed summary? Check out our archived live blog. Read on for the highlights and links to all our stories.
The latest version of the iPhone’s operating system focuses on customization. That includes an updated lock screen with selectable fonts and colors, Apple Watch-style widgets and rotating photos. Notifications will also roll in from the bottom of the screen to keep them from obscuring your photo, and Live Activities like music playback can expand to fill the lock screen.
Messages will allow editing, undoing sends and marking messages unread. SharePlay is improved for easier sharing within FaceTime and Messages. Dictation blends with text and touch on the fly so you can use any input type at any time. Similarly, Live Text (Apple’s answer to Google Lens) expands to video, letting you pause on any frame and interact or grab text from the video.
Apple says it will be able to smartly extract images from a background and automatically paste them into apps like Messages.
Changes to Wallet include more partners for wireless keys, such as car manufacturers, tap-to-pay on iPhone for contactless payments and Apple Pay Later, which splits the cost of a purchase across four payments.
You’ll also see cycling, Look Around high-resolution imagery and expanded details for landmarks and especially detailed coverage for specific cities. It will also show transit card balances.
Apple News is getting expanded sports coverage in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. TV Plus gets Family Sharing for up to five members, with parental controls for apps, movies, books and music. Photos also improves sharing – new shared libraries via iCloud let you collaborate – and offers rules and automatic sharing based on proximity.
On the privacy front, iOS 16 introduces a new feature called Safety Check, which can help you quickly revoke access for someone threatening you, sign out of iCloud on all devices and limit Messages to a single, in-hand device.
CarPlay is redesigned to unify car and iPhone screens, including powering your entire instrument cluster.
The Fitness app comes to the iPhone from the Watch as well.
If you use Apple’s Spatial Audio, you’ll be able to use the depth camera to customize it.
MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 13
For the first time in ages, Apple has redesigned the Air, and it’s with the M2 chip in mind. It’s still an aluminum unibody, but now it’s uniformly thin at 11mm and weighs 2.7 pounds. Plus, new colors! MagSafe returns, leaving your two Thunderbolt ports available, and it retains an audio jack. It finally gets an upgrade to a 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display, with 500 nits max brightness and P3 gamut. A 1080p webcam brings it up to parity with its siblings, along with a quad-speaker system (with Spatial Audio support) and three-mic array.
Thanks to the improved GPU in the M2 and a focus on performance per watt, Apple says the Air delivers the same battery life and better performance. It finally supports fast-charging, and the new adapter has a second USB-C port.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro also gets the M2 chip, with better performance thanks to an active cooling system. It hasn’t been redesigned, though.
The MacBook Air starts at $ 1,199 (£ 1,249, AU $ 1,899). The MacBook Pro starts at $ 1,299 (£ 1,349, AU $ 1,999). They both start shipping next month, and both offer a $ 100 discount for students and educators.
Apple’s keeping the M1 MacBook Air around as well, offering a sub- $ 1,000 computer ($ 999, £ 999, AU $ 1,499), again with a $ 100 education discount.
Window management with grouping improves in Stage Manager, which also includes drag-and-drop multitasking. Better Spotlight searching incorporates sports and web image search, full-window search results and more detailed info on music and movies. (In iOS, Spotlight moves to the home screen.)
Search within Mail adds instant suggestions and synonyms, also on mobile. It naturally receives the same updates as iOS for Messages. Safari’s Shared Tab Groups mean you can send friends and family your latest shopping picks. Goodbye passwords and hello Passkeys – Touch ID and Face ID come to Safari for logging into sites. Also on iPhone, iPad and Apple TV, naturally.
Improvements in its Metal graphics API include MetalFX upscaling for faster game rendering and added API for faster loading of game assets. Resident Evil Village and No Man’s Sky are getting ported to the Mac for the first time; Resident Evil Village is coming later this year.
Handoff comes to FaceTime so you can jump from device to device, and Continuity Camera finally lets you use your iPhone camera as your webcam. It will support a split view for straight ahead and desktop views.
New watch faces are on the way, including more diverse calendars, the ability to pin apps at the top of the dock, new banner notifications and support for Podcasts for kids with parental controls.
For working out, WatchOS 9 gets a lot more detailed about your running metrics – for instance, tracking how you move up or down to track your form. A new multisport workout can switch between swimming, cycling and running for the appropriate workout and tracking data.
Sleep Stages uses the accelerometer and heart-rate sensor to track what sleep states you’re in and time them. The Watch will be able to track atrial fibrillation history, once it receives clearance from the Food and Drug Administration. Tracking medications in the Health app becomes a little more granular and lets you schedule reminders, so it sounds like a typical full-featured medication app.
The iPad gets the same updates as iOS 16 as well as a new Weather app. In-OS collaboration allows shared document editing and tab groups, launchable from FaceTime, with update notifications via Messages.
We also got a sneak peek at the Freeform app, a virtual shared whiteboard with drawing tools for group meetings, coming later this year. It supports embedding documents, videos and images, and will be included with all platforms.
Like Ventura, iPadOS gets the new Metal API update for gaming, plus it gets background downloading. Game Center adds Activity rivers, and SharePlay (coming later this year, as well as to iOS and iPadOS) will allow group play.
There are a bunch of tweaks to the interface and capabilities to give iPadOS more desktoplike power. It also adds reference color (Reference Mode) for consistent color matching across devices (personal yay!).
On M1-based iPads, you’ll be able to increase the display’s pixel density to fit more on the screen and use virtual memory. And iPadOS, like Ventura, gets Stage Manager, for a far better multiwindow task-switching experience. When you connect to an external display, it takes better advantage of the second screen via Stage Manager and makes it a little more seamless to use touch and Apple Pencil with a Mac.