Apple unveils iOS 15 with new features for post-pandemic life

Originally Published: 07 JUN 21 09:16 ET
Updated: 07 JUN 21 14:02 ET

    (CNN) -- Apple kicked off its annual developers conference on Monday by unveiling new features on iOS 15 that cater to our lives as the world begins to emerge from the pandemic, including updates to video calls onFaceTime and digital keys in Apple Wallet as people once again step outside their homes.

On FaceTime, Apple will offer new options to let users watch movies or listen to music together during a call. It is also introducing a new grid view to better broadcast every face on a call.

"We've all found ourselves using video calling for just about everything," Craig Federighi, Apple's SVP of software engineering, said during a keynote presentation on Monday.

Apple is also introducing updates to its mobile walletthat will allow users to unlock everything from their home to their hotel room with digital keys in the app.

The features were announced at Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference, a multi-day event that's typically heavy on software news. The company is rumored to be planning a range of other announcements, including revamped MacBooks and an overhaul of the iPad operating system.

Like many tech companies, Apple and its products became even more central to our lives during the pandemic as countless households were forced to live and work more behind screens. Apple's announcements on Monday hinted at how the company hopes to remain a key part of our lives even as many resume working and socializing outside the home.

For people still frequently glued to their screens, Apple introduced a new iOS feature called "Focus" that will let users select what kinds of notifications they want to receive, and from whom, at certain times of day. For example, a user can set their phone on "work" mode, and opt to only receive notifications from coworkers, emails and Slack messages. When other notifications are turned off, users can set a "do not disturb" auto-reply for messages.

"With focus, you can carve out time in your day for work and personal life," Federighi said.

On iMessage, Apple wants to make it easier for users to keep track of the photos, links and other content they've been sent. Apps including Photos, Safari and Apple Music will now include a "shared with you folder" to highlight content that has been sent through messages.

Beyond new gadgets and the introduction of iOS 15, WWDC is also an opportunity for Apple to address its developer community in the midst of two major recent spats with app makers — a contentious legal battle with Fortnite-maker Epic Games over Apple's App Store fees and a feud with Facebook over Apple's new app-tracking privacy policy.

This year, for the second time, Apple's WWDC is being held online.

The-CNN-Wire
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