Apple has announced the next major update for its operating system for iPhones — iOS 15.
Speaking during the keynote address of the 2021 Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi outlined some of the new features.
The updates include additional functionality across the Facetime, Messages, Photos, Apple Maps, and Apple Wallet apps, as well as changes to notifications.
The new operating system will only launch to the public in Spring in South Africa.
Developer versions will be available from today, while the first beta will go live next month.
Below are some of the most notable features that will be available on iOS 15.
iOS 15 will add spatial audio surround sound to Facetime, which will make it appear as though sound from participants in a conversation is coming from where they are on the screen.
A voice isolation feature will also be available. This will use machine learning to block out ambient noise and focus on the user’s voice so your speech is clearer, while a wide spectrum mode will ensure that sound is captured.
A new grid view will also allow for easily viewing and managing all the participants in a conversation, while a portrait mode will let you blur your background.
Notably, Android and Windows devices will be able to join scheduled calls via browser.
The useful new Share Play capability will allow Facetime users to sync music and video streaming to listen and watch together, while also letting users share their screens with each other.
Video streaming services who have come onboard with this feature include Twitch, Tiktok, and Disney+.
Facetime will also support picture-in-picture with audio, enabling easier multitasking while keeping the call on the screen.
iMessage will offer a “Shared with you” function for saving articles received in messages to read later.
This feature will also be integrated in other apps in the Apple ecosystem including Apple Music and Podcasts.
In addition, revamped collage design will allow for easier viewing and sharing of media with contacts.
Notifications and Focus Mode
iOS 15 will boast redesigned notifications, which includes the addition of app logos and contact profile pictures.
Users will also be able to get a notification summary scheduled to show according to their preferences.
New focus modes will offer more settings – including work, personal, and sleep – for iOS to better control notifications and contacts so that you can stay focused or relaxed, based on your needs.
This mode will be shared with contacts so that they are aware of your current situation.
iOS 15 will also suggest apps and contacts that would fit into a certain focus category.
Live text and Photos
With Live Text, users will be able to highlight text in the camera frame to instantly copy into an email or document, or to search certain terms or instantly call numbers.
Apple’s machine learning software and Spotlight feature will also be able to identify objects in an image and return information on them.
For example, aiming the camera at a dog, tree, or flower, can reveal more information about its breed or genus.
This feature will work on iPhone, iPad and Mac.
A new feature in Photos dubbed Memories can use machine learning to collect photos into relevant galleries or animations and add matching music from Apple Music.
The latter will analyse photos and adjust music to make personalised recommendations which also incorporates a user’s own library and curated playlists.
Apple wants to make users fully independent of a physical wallet with further features added to its payments platform Apple Wallet.
This includes more support for digital house and accommodation keys.
Apple will also support digitising US ID documents — like drivers’ licences — and saving them on their wallet.
This can then be used as a valid form of identification in participating states in the country and will be integrated into Transportation Security Administration systems at US airports.
New Apple Maps details will include items like turn lanes, cross-walks, bus-lanes and robots, as well as live 3D interchange rendering.
Coming to select cities, users will be able to scan buildings when they are lost, allowing Maps to identify their location and navigate them towards their destination.
New AirPods features
iOS 15 will also bring a new feature called Conversation Boost to AirPods.
This will help callers to better understand who they are talking to in a busy environment.
Users will also be able to adjust ambient background noise levels.
In addition, Apple’s smart assistant Siri will be able to announce important notifications.
Lastly, Apple’s Safari browser has also been updated to be more consistent across devices.
The browser has been redesigned with new features which include tab grouping and tab bookmarking.
Support for extensions has also been added to the browser app on iPhone and iPad.