Apple unveiled several novelties as an introduction to its annual show for software creators, the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), which opened on Monday, June 6. On the menu: several software improvements planned for the fall and a new laptop at the launch scheduled for July.
A modernized 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 cultivated by the MacBook Air since 2008 for a flattened line, whose angular edges take up the visual signature of the new generation iPhones.
Its equipment progresses, with a slightly brighter screen, a better webcam and a faster M2 processor than the M1 of its predecessor, without the announced autonomy of the computer decreasing. On its side, rather than the USB-C socket of the previous MacBook Air, we find the old MagSafe power connector, less fragile since the cable that is connected to it is magnetized rather than plugged.
The least expensive model of Apple’s ranges, the new MacBook Air will still be marketed at 1,500 euros, a high price perched against the competition from computers equipped with Windows. The old MacBook Air equipped with an M1 processor remains in the catalog at a price of 1,200 euros.
On iPhone, a personalized screen saver
This is the first screen that iPhone users see when they pick up their mobile, even before unlocking it. At the moment, this screensaver shows the time and notifications, but it’s not very customizable. This will change with iOS 16, the next version of the central software of the iPhone: its users will be able to modify the dominant color of the screen, even switch it to black and white.
Those who have placed a photo there will be able to shift it downwards, in order to make room for widgets, very small information panels displaying, for example, an upcoming appointment or the number of steps taken that day. the. To further purify the screen, it will also be possible to make the background of the photo disappear so that the people who appear there stand out better. These customization possibilities, both aesthetic and ergonomic, seem so dense that they seem complex at first sight.
This evolution will not be available on the iPhone 6s, 7 and on the SE of 2016: these models which will soon enter their sixth and seventh year will be deprived of the new version of iOS when it arrives this fall.
A tool against harassment in the event of a breakup
In the fall, iPhones will be equipped with Safety Check (“security check”), a tool intended for people who separate from a potentially malicious relative. According to Apple, Safety Check will list services and other passwords shared with that person and help cut those digital ties, to prevent possible harassing or surveillance behavior. This tool will also turn off location tracking on iPhone, iPad or Macbook.
Improved email software
To progress, Mail, Apple’s email software, will be largely inspired by Gmail, the competing software published by Google. When Mail users hit the send button for an email, they’ll have a few seconds to undo it. They can schedule the sending of a message for a specific time and date, and make an e-mail received disappear for a few hours, to make it reappear at a better time.
According to Apple, Mail’s search engine will improve: it will be able to find an email even when the user formulates his search with a typing error, or types a synonym in place of the original word.
On MacBook and iPad, juggling between software made easier
On Macbook and iPad, open software will now be able to be displayed on the left side of the screen when not in use, displayed in postage stamp format, three-quarters sideways. The goal is that we can find them more easily when we want to display them. This view, called Stage Manager, will not invade the screen automatically: you will have to press a button to display it. It will be available on both tablet and desktop this fall, after MacBooks receive their upcoming Mac OS Ventura core software, and iPads upgrade to iPadOS 16.
Incidentally, we see that the ergonomics of Apple tablets is even closer to that of computers. Convergence is underway, after the opening of the memory of the iPad, their adoption of the mouse and the use of a processor of the same family. One wonders what is still holding Apple back from allowing large iPads to run the richer software that is reserved for its computers at the moment.
CarPlay invades the car screen
The CarPlay software is intended for car drivers who, thanks to it, can find most of the functions of their iPhone on the screen of their car. The CarPlay display was previously confined to a single screen, located in the center of the dashboard. But cars tend to accommodate a second screen, located behind the steering wheel, replacing the tachometers, Apple wanted to support this development.
On some car models, the CarPlay display will be expanded: Apple’s software will be able to display the speedometer, as well as other key vehicle functions, such as climate controls.
We can customize this display by choosing the information that appears there, and even change the color of the counters, which is not without raising questions of readability, ergonomics and, ultimately, security. To develop this extended CarPlay, Apple worked with a dozen manufacturers, including Volvo, Mercedes and Renault.