Apple unveiled several novelties as a prelude to its annual presentation for software creators, the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), which opened on Monday, June 6. On the list: Several software improvements planned for the fall and a new laptop at launch scheduled for July.
A modern MacBook Air
The new MacBook Air has been completely redesigned. Its thickness is reduced by half a centimeter and its weight is reduced by 50 grams, while its screen grows from 13.3 inches to 13.6 inches. Its lines abandon the curves that the MacBook Air planted since 2008 for a flat line, whose angular edges take on the visual signature of the new generation of iPhones.
Its hardware advances, with a slightly brighter screen, better webcam and faster M2 processor than the M1 of its predecessor, without diminishing the advertised autonomy of the computer. On its part, instead of the USB-C socket of the previous MacBook Air, we find the old MagSafe power connector, which is less fragile because the cable connected to it is magnetized rather than wired.
The least expensive model from the Apple ranges, the new MacBook Air will still sell for 1,500 euros, which is high against the competition from Windows PCs. The old MacBook Air equipped with the M1 processor remains in the catalog at a price of 1,200 euros.
On iPhone, a custom screensaver
This is the first screen iPhone users see when holding their cell phone, even before they unlock it. Right now, this screensaver shows the time and notifications, but it’s not highly customizable. This will change with iOS 16, the next version of the central software for the iPhone: its users will be able to modify the predominant color on the screen, even switching it to black and white.
Those who put a picture there will be able to move it around to make room for widgets, or display small dashboards, for example, an upcoming date or the number of steps taken that day. To further refine the screen, it will also be possible to remove the background of the image so that the people who appear there stand out better. These possibilities of customization, both aesthetically and ergonomically, are so dense that they seem complex at first glance.
This development won’t be available on 2016’s iPhone 6s, 7, and SE: Those models soon entering their sixth and seventh years will be denied the new version of iOS when it arrives this fall.
Anti-harassment tool in case of separation
In the fall, iPhones will be equipped with Security Checkup (“Security Check”), a tool intended for people who are separated from a potentially harmful relative. According to Apple, Safety Check will list services and other passwords that have been shared with that person and help cut digital links, to prevent potential harassment or monitoring behavior. This tool will also turn off location tracking on your iPhone, iPad, or Macbook.
Email software optimization
Going forward, Mail, Apple’s email program, will be largely inspired by Gmail, the competing program published by Google. When mail users press the send button for an email, they will have a few seconds to undo it. They can schedule a message to be sent for a specific time and date, and make the received email disappear for a few hours, to have it reappear at a better time.
According to Apple, the Mail search engine will improve: it will be able to find an email even when the user has formulated his search with a typo, or typed a synonym instead of the original word.
On MacBook and iPad, switching between programs just got easier
On the Macbook and iPad, it will now be able to display the open program on the left side of the screen when not in use, displayed in a postage stamp format, three-quarters of the sides. The point is that we can find them more easily when we want to display them. This view, called Stage Manager, will not automatically invade the screen: you will have to press a button to view it. It will be available on both tablet and desktop this fall, after MacBooks receive the upcoming Mac OS Ventura base program, and iPads upgrade to iPadOS 16.
By the way, we see that the working environment of Apple tablets is closer to computers. Convergence is in progress, after unlocking the iPad’s memory, adopting a mouse and using a processor from the same family. One wonders what still prevents Apple from letting the larger iPads run the richer software meant for their computers right now.
CarPlay invades the car screen
CarPlay is intended for motorists, thanks to which they can find most of the functions of their iPhone on the screen of their car. The CarPlay screen was previously limited to a single screen located in the center of the dashboard. But cars tend to accommodate a second screen, located behind the steering wheel, to replace the tachometers, Apple wanted to support this development.
On some car models, the CarPlay screen will be expanded: Apple software will be able to display the speedometer, as well as other key car functions, such as climate control.
We can customize this display by choosing what information appears there, and even changing the color of the counters, which is not without raising questions about readability, ergonomics and, ultimately, security. To develop this extended CarPlay, Apple has worked with dozens of manufacturers including Volvo, Mercedes and Renault.