Welcome to our monthly Apple News Roundup. This column recaps the top 10 biggest Apple news announcements from each month. This edition features the highlights from June of 2021.
1. Apple selects WWDC21 Swift Student Challenge winners
350 Swift Student Challenge Winners from 35 different countries and regions attended Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June. The winners were selected as part of Apple’s annual WWDC student challenge, each demonstrating their coding and problem-solving skills by submitting an original Swift Playground. Through this challenge, Apple has proudly supported and nurtured the next generation of developers over the past three decades. Many of these students have gone on to have successful careers in technology, founded venture-backed startups, and created nonprofits.
2. Secure sharing and new insights advance personal health
With iOS 15, iPhone and Apple Watch users can now share health data with family members or a physician, view health trends, and measure their Walking Steadiness. Additional new tools in IOS 15 can be used to identify, measure, and understand changes in a person’s health data. “This past year has emphasized the importance of health, and we’re enabling our users to take a more active role in their well-being,” said Jeff Williams, Apple COO.
3. Apple unveils digital driver’s licenses & partners with TSA
Apple aims to make your identification digital so that you can eliminate your physical wallet. For states that opt to participate in the program, residents can scan their license or ID using the iPhone’s camera to create a digital copy. Apple has also partnered with TSA to use digital identification at airport security checkpoints. Airports will be the first place you can use your digital ID.
4. New operating systems details released at WWDC
During their 2021 WWDC virtual event, Apple unveiled the latest updates for iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey (Apple’s next computer operating system), and more. Among the new features highlighted were ‘Live Text’ through machine learning, and improved photo sharing in iMessage. Apple has also improved its ‘Memories’ feature in the Photos app. Another improvement is an updated Widget experience on the iPad that allows you to place widgets directly on your home screen and rearrange them alongside your apps. Also new is AirPlay to Mac, allowing you to airplay video, music, and screen share from your AirPlay-compatible mobile device to a Mac.
5. watchOS 8 offers greater access & new capabilities
Apple Watch users will enjoy impactful new features designed to help them stay healthy, active, and connected. Of the features updated were the Breathe app, which has become the Mindfulness app, which features a new session type, Reflect. Additionally, new Tai Chi and Pilates workouts were also added to help support mental well-being. Other new features include a redesigned Home app that offers more convenient access and the ability to control accessories by room, and Focus, a set of tools to help users reduce distraction and be in the moment.
6. Apple hosts Today at Apple sessions for Black Music Month
Apple’s newest store in Nashville teamed up with the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) to host virtual Today at Apple sessions in celebration of Black Music Month. Featured country artists included Willie Jones and Valerie June. The attendees had a unique opportunity to learn music-making skills from the songwriters. Apple Music celebrated Black Music Month worldwide and embraced the legacy and influence of Black musicians.
7. Apple Podcasts Subscriptions & channels available worldwide
Thousands of Apple Podcasts Subscriptions and channels are now available and listeners in more than 170 countries and regions can purchase subscriptions for shows and groups of shows through channels. Subscriptions and channels from the world’s best audio creators are available including the Los Angeles Times, NPR, CNN, The Washington Post, and Sony Music Entertainment. When listeners purchase a subscription to a show, the page is updated with a Subscriber Edition label so they know they have access to the premium experience.
8. Apple hires Ulrich Kranz, former CEO of EV company Canoo
Ulrich Kranz, former co-founder and CEO of electric vehicle company Canoo, has reportedly joined Apple to help with the development of the Apple Car. This news came shortly after CEO Tim Cook dropped hints that the Apple Car would include autonomous vehicle technology–hiring an executive with cutting edge industry experience may be a sign that Apple is moving forward with its auto manufacturing plans. Kranz oversaw the electric i3 and i8 cars at BMW, and sources say he’ll report to Doug Field, who runs the Apple Car project.
9. macOS Monterey offers new ways to connect & stay focused
macOS Monterey is the latest version of the world’s most advanced desktop operating system and it’s providing new ways for users to connect and get more done. One highlighted new feature is SharePlay, which lets users share experiences together while on a FaceTime call. FaceTime also now includes a suite of new audio and video features that make calls feel more natural and lifelike. Additionally, Shared with You makes it easy to locate and enjoy great content that’s shared through Messages such as photos, videos, articles, and more. All of the new tools in macOS Monterey are designed to help users stay focused and collaborate.
10. Apple introduces new developer tools and technologies
Apple unveiled new tools and technologies designed to help developers create more engaging app experiences and make it easier to build high-quality apps. Xcode Cloud, a new integration and delivery cloud service designed for Apple developers, brings the tasks together and offers a simple way for teams to build, test, and deliver high-quality apps more efficiently. The App Store also now provides new ways for developers to promote their apps and connect with users. Additionally, Swift programming language now has concurrency support built into the language, and augmented reality (AR) technologies make it easier to build content in apps or on the web.