Technology · 2021-06-07 0

WWDC 2021 Keynote

Today’s WWDC keynote included a slew of new features with a focus on iPhone, iPad, and Mac with a heavy focus on refining existing technologies further. There has been a lot of changes in each platform in recent years (most notably on macOS Big Sur last year), so to have Apple announce features that simply expand existing integrations between iPadOS and iOS is a nice change of pace. Possibly the biggest announcement to developers was that you can now create apps on the iPad using Swift Playgrounds and the Xcode Cloud features.


For most users though, expanding FaceTime to work for any meeting type is a huge expansion of the already popular service, especially now that works in a web browser. But SharePlay may be the most exciting feature that remains within the platform for now. These two announcements, coupled with the Center Stage feature announced earlier this year in the iPad and iMac, only add fuel to the fire that there is a living room hardware device in the cards coming soon.

I’ve added notes on what was announced today with some moderate commentary that I’ll eventually expand on as more information is released.



  • Spacial Audio
  • Portrait Mode
  • FaceTime Links: schedule FaceTime events and it works on other devices (via a web browser) with end-to-end encryption for all calls!
  • SharePlay: shared music, TV, movies, or screen on a FaceTime call! Music includes a shared playlist.
  • They are going to introduce a hardware device that integrates these features.
  • Can be used in combination with AppleTV.
  • SharePlay API “for easy adoption.” Disney+, Hulu, HBOMax, NBA, twitch, etc.
  • Screen share for showing off games, help.


  • Photos can be shared as a collage or other views.
  • Articles added to Shared with you in Apple News app for articles. Music integrates with shared playlists from Messages. Photos gains similar features (while filtering out screenshots and other things).
  • Safari, Podcasts, TV, etc.
  • Pins


  • Notifications Summary: This can be scheduled for when you need to see them for quick catchup. Ignores messages from people.
  • Do not disturb status now included in Messages as status.
  • Boundaries: DND for work or home. Can customize the Home Screen that matches your mode (work/personal).
  • Focus suggestions depending on the time of day or location.

Live Text

  • Captures text from photos. OCR but live from the camera app!
  • Can be used on existing photos.
  • Understands 7 languages and on all devices.
  • Visual lookup (reverse image search) for books, pets, flowers, landmarks, etc.
  • Spotlight integration for these features.


  • Integrates with Live Text
  • Rich results for Contacts. Also for popular public figures.


  • Photo Memories adds Apple Music.
  • Memory Mixes: filter-like addition to memories to easier create them using MI.


  • Adding real-world keys to cars, homes, and hotels.
  • ID cards: scan your driver’s license into Apple Wallet securely.
  • TSA enabling digital ID.


  • Big update [integrating Dark Sky].
  • Redesigned backgrounds based on location, clouds, sun position.
  • Weather maps.


  • Globe view.
  • Adding: commercial districts, marinas, etc.
  • Elevation and landmarks
  • Night-time mode.
  • Driving mode: increased detail and graphics. Added crosswalks, bus lanes.
  • 3D highway maps.
  • All coming to CarPlay later this year.
  • Improved transit drivers.
  • AR mode to find where to go once you get off mass transit.


  • Conversation Boost: focuses AirPods on the person in front of you.
  • Announce notifications: reads select notifications.
  • Find My: locate much better using new network features by pinging nearby Bluetooth devices. Separation notification when you move too far from your AirPods.
  • Spacial audio: coming to TV and Mac.
  • Spacial audio for Apple Music releasing today.
  • [AirPods were interestingly announced as an iPhone accessory — I knew this and their marketing has stated this in the past but they really were pushed as specifically an iPhone accessory today.]



  • Add anywhere (not locked to the sidebar).
  • Larger format widgets.

App Library

  • Features released in iOS last year are coming to iPadOS.
  • Available from the Dock.
  • Can hide unnecessary screens.


  • Multitasking menu: tap at the top opens up a multitasking control to simplify the process.
  • Swiping down now lets you choose another app in multitasking mode.
  • Shelf: open windows in an app to manage open windows.
  • App Switcher: can now be used to place apps in multitasking mode.
  • A new set of keyboard shortcuts.


  • Mentions: getting @ mentions.
  • Tags!
  • QuickNote: system-wide easy note creation. Swiping from corners for quick typing or pencil notes. They are app aware and will pull in-app data (such as the website you are on in Safari). In-app linking to a note to pull you back into an app you generated the note from.
  • iPadOS and macOS can create them. iPhone can edit them after they are created.


  • Auto Translate: detects the speaker and translation live.
  • Live Translate: Can translate text anywhere.
  • Can be downloaded to be used on any device.

Swift Playgrounds

  • Can now build apps on iPad in Swift Playgrounds.
  • Testing and App Store submission for iPhone and iPad app creation.


  • Mail privacy protection: hides IP address, location, and whether you opened the email from marketers.
  • Safari: hides IP address and noted in Safari privacy protections.
  • App privacy report: “…overview of how apps treat your privacy,” over the last 7 days.
  • Siri: on-device speech recognition: never leaves the device. Good for privacy but also means no internet connection is needed. Also means things process faster.


  • [we haven’t had an iCloud update in a while, it feels like]
  • Account Recovery: add family or friends to help you unlock your account. They don’t get access.
  • Digital legacy: allows to pass down information if you pass away and recover your account.
  • iCloud+:
  • Private Relay: encrypts outgoing requests and sent through 2 private relay’s without compromising speed. Not even Apple sees this data.
  • Hide my email: private email forwards for using additional addresses.
  • HomeKit Secure Video: Unlimited cameras now supported and not counted against storage.
  • Same price.


  • Integration with Health resources (ResearchKit, HealthKit, Apple Watch) to build post-medical visit care app.
  • Mobility: expanding existing iPhone data into *Walking Steadiness*. Detects your pace/gait to determine how you are moving.
  • Labs: Includes details about lab results and if your results are in the expected ranges.
  • Trends: better tracking of long-term health tracking for better monitoring of potential issues or improvements in health.
  • Private sharing with health provider: selectively choose what you can share with your doctor. Goes into their electronic records securely with some vendors now and more later.
  • Family: tracking kids’ and parents’ health which can be shared between family members.

watchOS 8

  • Breath app: improved experience.
  • Reflect: mindful moment to remember positive feedback.
  • New mindfulness app for tracking this data.
  • Sleep: Respiratory rate tracking.
  • Tai Chi and Pilates workouts added.
  • Fitness+ new workout instructor. Artist spotlights added.
  • Portraits watch face: adds Portrait photos.
  • Photos: an improved app with mosaic layout, memories. Sharing via messages and mail.
  • Improved dictation or scribble when sending messages. Easier access to emojis or gifs with #images.
  • Multiple timers.


  • HomeKeys to securely unlock your doors.
  • HomePod now can play something on your AppleTV hands-free.
  • SharePlay: shared with you on AppleTV.
  • For all of you: helps find things based on your previous viewing habbits.
  • HomePod mini select as output for AppleTV 4K.
  • HomePod mini gaining lossless audio at the end of the year.
  • Expanded international rollout.
  • Individual HomePod mini results.
  • Siri being brought to third-party devices!
  • Matter: a new standard for HomeKit devices.
  • Apple Watch improvements with the Home app.
  • Adding package detection.
  • AppleTV adding multiple camera views.


The crack marketing team came up with…Monterey!

Craig Federighi


  • Universal Control: single mouse and keyboard for Mac and iPad! Can use to mouse and keyboard for multiple devices. Can drag and drop documents or into actual apps.
  • Airplay to Mac: present things from iPhone to Mac.
  • Automation: Shortcuts now on Mac. Automator still supported but looks like will be integrated into Automator.


  • Tab design updated.
  • Tab groups: save tabs in groups in sync and with several websites together.
  • All devices have the updated tab experience. iPhone now simplifies the tab experience. Gestures to swipe between tabs. Start page syncs between devices.
  • Extensions come to iPhone and iPad.

Developer Technologies

  • API’s: SharePlay, Screen Time API, ShazamKit, ObjectCapture, etc.
  • ObjectCapture: stitches together 2D photos that can transform into a 3D model.
  • Swift features: Concurrency
  • App Store features

Xcode Cloud

  • Cloud-based Xcode with privacy and security baked in.