The WWDC 2022 keynote ended and it brought some big and exciting software changes to our Apple gadgets, as well as some new hardware in the form of the MacBook Air (M2, 2022).
But tucked away among the headliners were some supporting acts you might have missed in the noise. Now that the dust has settled on a WWDC 2022, it’s time to shine a light on the unfamiliar announcements that might be more important to you than Apple’s larger announcements.
Here are our ten favorite things that went a little under the radar during Apple’s lengthy presentation but didn’t escape our trusty spotlight.
1. You will be able to unsubscribe from disastrous iPhone messages
Have you recently experienced the direct regret of texting the wrong person on your iPhone’s messaging app? Apple can’t help you now, but in the future, thanks to some useful messaging updates in iOS 16.
When iOS 16 arrives later this year, you’ll be able to edit or un-send a message after tapping the fateful arrow icon. You’ll need to be pretty quick as the option will only be available for up to 15 minutes after sending a message, but it can be a lifeline. After all, we use Gmail’s ‘undo send’ feature on a daily basis.
2. Apple did away with the Apple Watch Series 3
In a slightly controversial move, Apple’s new watchOS 9 software will only be supported by Apple Watch Series 4 or later models – meaning it effectively killed off the Apple Watch Series 3, a product that is still for sale.
The Series 3 launched in 2017, so it’s certainly showing its age. But it’s one of the watches that supports Apple Fitness, and until now, it represented an affordable way to get the Apple Watch experience. Not now, though – that honor now goes to the Apple Watch SE, as we’d recommend avoiding the Series 3, given the surprising lack of watchOS 9 support.
3. Your iPhone’s lock screen can really come in handy
If you’re used to being put off by how bland your iPhone’s lock screen is, fear not – Apple is finally planning to let you improve it in iOS 16, which will be released in public beta starting in July. Apple’s “biggest lock screen update ever” will allow you to customize the clock font and add Apple Watch-style widgets.
These widgets will give you visible information such as calendar and weather events, and you can also create multiple custom lock screens that you can swipe through. Android owners might roll their eyes at this ‘innovation’, but it’s a big personalization new for the iPhone.
4. iPhones will soon work as Mac webcams
The webcams built into Apple Macs often feel like secondary, but Apple just announced a workaround – you’ll soon be able to use your iPhone as a wireless Mac webcam. The new Continuity Camera feature in macOS Ventura, which will be released in late 2022, will automatically detect your iPhone and allow you to use it as a camera for any macOS video conferencing app without cables.
This might sound like a slightly underwhelming stopgap, but Apple has built some really cool features into the Continuity Camera. Along with the usual portrait mode and center stage, to blur the background and keep it in the middle of the frame, there’s Studio Light (think of a virtual ring light) and a Desk View that somehow creates a bird’s-eye view of your iPhone ultra wide camera table.
5. Your Apple Watch will silently judge the running efficiency
The Apple Watch has always lacked some of the more advanced fitness tracking features found in some of its rivals, but watchOS 9 is going some way towards correcting that. In addition to some new watch faces and improved notifications, one of its most exciting updates is the new race form metrics.
Using some machine learning tricks, watchOS 9 will be able to collect data on three running metrics – vertical oscillation, stride length and ground contact time – to help you improve your efficiency and move towards some PBs. All of this will be served up on watchOS 9 (supported by Apple Watch Series 4 and above) in some useful new workout views. We will begrudgingly take your advice if it propels us to a fun victory.
6. Apple quietly announced new Apple TV treats
It looked like WWDC 2022 had left Apple TV owners completely empty-handed when it came to software gifts, but buried in the fine print of some developer notes were some details about tvOS 16.
Sadly, the update looks like Apple’s equivalent of a new pair of socks, with minor details on improvements to device connectivity and improved smart home support. Still, this could become more exciting than it seems once developers get stuck on tvOS 16, with an improvement depicting the second screen information on your iPhone or iPad while you’re watching your main TV. All very promising, as long as Apple is more committed to the Apple TV platform than meets the eye.
7. The Apple Home app has finally been rebuilt
Yes, Apple is supporting the new Matter smart home standard, which we saw at Google IO 2022, but perhaps more importantly, it has finally redesigned the underwhelming Home app in iOS 16.
This update, which apparently rebuilds the Home app from the ground up, looks like a much more modern (and usable) hub for your smart home tech. There are categories at the top for things like lights, security, and weather, and below is live information for all of them, including feeds from up to four security cameras. Now, all we need is smart home technology that delivers on that brilliant promise.
8. CarPlay wants to take over your entire dashboard
Apple’s CarPlay software is a great way to enhance your car’s infotainment experience, but its ambitions apparently don’t stop there – at WWDC 2022, Apple demonstrated a next-gen version of CarPlay that takes over the entire dashboard, including features like the speedometer, temperature controls and more.
Like a car version of your iPhone’s home screen, you’ll be able to customize the appearance of different gauges and choose widgets to provide visible weather or music information. The downside? It won’t be here until late 2023, and we suspect some automakers might be a little resistant to its dashboard acquisition ambitions.
9. iPhones will scan your ears for better sound from Airpods
Apple’s iPhones can certainly take a bad picture, but their front-facing cameras will also soon be used for a slightly more unusual purpose – scanning your ears. Because? So they can create custom spatial audio for a “more accurate and immersive listening experience”, of course.
The scanning will be done by Apple’s TrueDepth camera, which means you’ll need an iPhone X or later to take advantage of the feature. And while Apple hasn’t yet stated which headphones will support the 3D effect, we think the AirPods Pro, AirPods 3 and AirPods Max are top contenders given Apple’s familiarity with their inner workings. The only question is, how protective are you about your ear data?
10. The end of passwords is near
Some welcome news if your online security is still built on the dubious foundations of that ‘unbreakable’ password you created in 2006 – Apple has joined Google and Microsoft in supporting the passwordless authentication standard detailed by the FIDO alliance, giving a Safari Demo of their ‘Passkeys’ at WWDC 2022.
Instead of using passwords, the idea is that you use your iPhone’s more modern identification features, like Touch ID or Face ID, to log in to your favorite web services. According to Apple, passwords cannot be phishing, as they never leave your devices, or leaked, as they are not stored on a web server. Does the end of passwords also mean the end of password managers?