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Looking Back - What Happened at WWDC

The latest Apple conference news is finally available now that the WWDC is officially over. Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) started on June 7th and ran for five days until June 11th, 2021. This year’s conference saw Apple announcing a few anticipated updates and releases. There were also some surprise announcements, like the SharePlay video and music feature for Facetime.


Even though this conference has been happening for over two decades, it still sends a wave of excitement through the technology community. Considering the impressiveness of some of this year’s announcements, it makes sense that developers and consumers still hold the conference in such high regard.


So, what does Apple have planned for the near future? 


Here’s a few of the most interesting announcements:

Apple Wallet Digital ID 

Apple will soon let you store your ID (driver’s license, state ID, passport, etc) in your Apple Wallet. Depending on where you live, you’ll then be able to use your digitized ID at the airport. This feature will only be available in some states and for domestic travel - at least for now.

On-device Speech Recognition

You’ll soon be able to use Siri without a data or WiFi connection for certain requests. Instead, your requests will be fully recognized on-device. You won’t have access to web-only features like Google searches, but navigation, setting timers, opening apps, and controlling music will all be accessible offline.

Share Play Video and Music Sharing

On Facetime and want to listen to or watch something with your friends or family? The new SharePlay feature makes this possible. Apple has even released a SharePlay API so that other apps can be developed that make use of this feature. 

Live Text AI 

Have text on an image that you want to copy and paste? Or, maybe, you’d like to call a phone number from a screenshot or photo? The Live Text features uses artificial intelligence to copy and paste text from images, including phone numbers, email addresses, and addresses. 

AirPods Updates

Always losing one or both of your AirPods? Both AirPods Pro and AirPods Max will be ‘Find My’ network compatible. This means you’ll be able to use your ‘Find My’ app to locate your AirPods (within a certain range) - a useful feature, especially considering how easy it is it lose such small accessories. To aid with accessibility, the new Conversation Boost feature will help drown out background noise and amplify speech. This is a great update for those with hearing disabilities that can use this feature to block out noise, even during one-on-one or in-person conversations. 

Object Capture Technology

Apple has enabled application programming tools and interfaces that will allow mobile and tablet cameras (like the iPhone and iPad) to create 3D models. This new technology uses multiple photos of an object, taken from specific angles, to compose a 3D rendering of that object. Technology like this could eventually allow those in the e-commerce industry to easily offer 3D models of products at a much more affordable cost. Regular 3D rendering requires multiple cameras and is usually incredibly costly to produce.

macOS Monterey

The newest build of macOS has been named ‘Monterey’ and comes with a few impressive updates. These include shortcuts, Universal Control, Spatial Audio support (for AirPods Pro and AirPods Max), and AirPlay (from Mac to Mac, or Mac to another Apple device). The most outstanding of these updates may be Universal Control, which will allow users to place up to three Apple devices next to each other and control them all using a single keyboard and mouse or trackpad. You’ll be able to use this feature across all devices - iPhones and iPads included. 

Here’s what Apple didn’t announce:

Although there were quite a few surprising announcements, there were also some disappointments. Many Apple users were looking forward to announcements that never happened. 


For example, MacBook Pro users were looking out for at least one model, preferably 2019’s 16” MacBook Pro. It’s long overdue for an update, but there’s no official word on what, if any, changes Apple may have in store. Most consumers are looking forward to a more powerful processor, such as an M1X or the M2 chip - but, we’ll have to keep holding out hope.


Another disappointment was the lack of confirmation of Lossless support for HomePod and HomePod Mini. Both Lossless and Spatial Audio were announced to soon be available to all Apple Music users, but there isn’t any mention of when this feature will be HomePod and HomePod Mini compatible. 


Apple also didn’t make any big announcements regarding homeOS, Mac Pro, or Beats Studio Buds. The company will likely release more information on any updates later this year - but, for now, Apple users are in the dark.


The Wrap Up

All in all, WWDC21 was an example of another successful, exciting Apple new’s event. The Apple conference news that developed from this event was anticipated by developers and non-developers alike. Apple has a loyal following that maintains its support due to the consistent upgrades, features, and add-ons that are made available year after year. 


The device announcements and releases will likely begin beta testing and slow roll outs into the end of this year and the beginning of next. We can expect to see more updates from Apple as the year continues. Hopefully, the topics that weren’t covered at WWDC21 will be touched on during future press conferences and releases in the fall.