Apple has announced iOS 15, a major update with powerful features that will make the iPhone experience to a new level this fall.
FaceTime calls will now extend beyond Apple devices, so anyone can join a call from their web browser on Android and Windows devices.
The tech giant also introduced ‘SharePlay’ that will help users focus and be in the moment with new ways to manage notifications and quickly access information.
“iOS 15 helps users stay connected while sharing experiences in real-time, gives them new tools to help reduce distraction and find focus, uses intelligence to enhance the photos experience, and, with huge upgrades to Maps, brings new ways to explore the world,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering.
With spatial audio, voices in a FaceTime call will sound as if they are coming from where the person is positioned on the screen, and new microphone modes separate the user’s voice from background noise.
“Inspired by the stunning portrait photos taken on iPhone, Portrait mode is now available for FaceTime and designed specifically for video calls, so users can blur their background and put themselves in focus,” Apple announced during its WWDC21 conference on Monday.
Users can now share experiences with SharePlay while connecting with friends on FaceTime, including listening to songs together with Apple Music, watching a TV show or movie in sync, or sharing their screen to view apps together.
SharePlay works across iPhone, iPad, and Mac, and with shared playback controls, anyone in a SharePlay session can play, pause, or jump ahead. SharePlay has also extended to Apple TV.
Focus is another new feature in iOS 15 that filters notifications and apps based on what a user wants to focus on.
Customers can set their device to help them be in the moment by creating a custom Focus or selecting a suggested Focus, which uses on-device intelligence to suggest which people and apps are allowed to notify them.
Notifications have been redesigned, adding contact photos for people and larger icons for apps that make them even easier to identify. To help reduce distraction, a new notification summary collects non-time-critical notifications for delivery at a more opportune time, such as in the morning and evening.
The ‘Live Text’ uses on-device intelligence to recognise text in a photo and allow users to take action.
For example, users can search for and locate the picture of a handwritten family recipe, or capture a phone number from a storefront with the option to place a call.
“Safari gets a new design that makes controls easier to reach with one hand and puts content front and centre. The new tab bar is compact and lightweight, and floats at the bottom of the screen, so users can easily swipe between tabs,” Apple said.
iOS 15 takes Maps even further with brand new ways to navigate and explore.
Users will experience significantly enhanced details in cities for neighbourhoods, commercial districts, elevation, and buildings, new road colours and labels, custom-designed landmarks, and a new night-time mode with a moonlit glow.
“With iOS 15, users can simply hold up iPhone, and Maps generates a highly accurate position to deliver detailed walking directions in augmented reality,” the company said.
The developer preview of iOS 15 is available to Apple Developer Programme members now and a public beta will be available to iOS users next month.