Apple on Monday provided a peek at upcoming tweaks to the software that powers more than 1 billion iPhones and rolled out two laptops that will be the first available with the next generation of a company-designed microprocessor.
As usual, Apple spent most of the opening day of its annual developers conference touting the next versions of software for the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac computers instead of the sleek devices that established it as a technology trendsetter and the world's most valuable company.
The iPhone's next operating system, called iOS 16, will revamp the look of the device's lock screen and make mostly minor improvements to the current software. The software updates have become increasingly important in recent years as iPhone owners have started to hold to their existing devices for longer periods of time than they once did.
One of iOS 16's most noticeable differences will occur on the iPhone lock screen. The new software, which will be released this fall (US time) as a free download, will allow users to anchor their favourite apps as small widgets on the lock screen.
The new software also will enable the lock screen to display live notifications, such as the status of a Uber ride on its way to pick up a passenger. Other authorised notifications will come in from the bottom of the screen instead of the current distribution from the top in an effort to avoid clutter on the display.
The iPhone's messaging system will be revamped so texts can be edited after they are sent or even deleted if the sender has a change of heart. Those options will only be available when both users are using Apple's messaging app for texting.
Several of the new features for Apple's Macs and iPads are designed to make it easier to sync with the iPhone for things like making video calls. Other tools will enable more apps to run side by side to perform multiple tasks on the same screen.
Helping people toggle from one Apple device to another is one of the main reasons that the company began making Macs that run on the same kind of chips that power the iPhone and iPad in late 2020.
Now Apple is putting the next generation of its Mac chip in its two most popular laptops, the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, which the company said will be available in stores at some point next month. The MacBook Air will sell for US$1,200 and the MacBook Pro will sell for US$1,300.
- by Michael Liedtke, AP