Apple unveiled several new features as a prelude to its annual show for software developers, the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), which opens on Monday, June 6. On the menu: many software improvements planned for the fall and a new laptop 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 leave the curves that the MacBook Air has cultivated since 2008 for a flat line, whose angular edges capture the visual signature of the new generation of iPhones.
Its equipment is improving, with a smaller bright screen, a better webcam and a faster processor on the M2 than the M1 of its predecessor, without the announced autonomy of computer reduction. On its side, instead of the USB-C socket on the previous MacBook Air, we see the old MagSafe power connector, less fragile because the cable connected to it is more magnetized than the plug.
The least expensive model in Apple’s ranges, the new MacBook Air will still sell for 1,500 euros, a high price against the competition from computers with Windows. The old MacBook Air with M1 processor remains in the catalog price of 1,200 euros.
On the iPhone, a personal screen saver
This is the first screen iPhone users see when they pick up their mobile, even before it is unlocked. Currently, this screensaver displays time and notifications, but it is less customizable. This will change in iOS 16, the next version of the iPhone’s central software: its users will be able to change the dominant color of the screen, even by switching it to black and white.
Those who put a photo there can move it down, to make room for widgets, very small information panels that display, for example, an upcoming appointment or the number of steps taken that day. To further clean the screen, you can also remove the background of the photo to better see people there. These customization possibilities, both aesthetic and ergonomic, are so dense that they seem complicated at first glance.
This evolution won’t apply to the iPhone 6s, 7 and the SE in 2016: these models that will soon enter their sixth and seventh years will be stripped of the new iOS version by the arrival of this fall.
A tool against harassment when there is separation
In the fall, iPhones will be equipped with Safety Check (“security check”), a tool intended for people to separate from a potentially malicious relative. According to Apple, Safety Check will list the services and other passwords shared by that person and help break down digital relationships, to avoid possible harassment or monitoring behavior. This tool will also turn off location tracking on iPhone, iPad or Macbook.
Improved email software
In development, Mail, Apple’s email software, is particularly popular with Gmail, the competing software published by Google. When Mail users hit the send button for an email, they have a few seconds to undo it. They can schedule the sending of a message for a specific time and date, and lose an e-mail received within a few hours, so that it can be seen again at a better time.
According to Apple, Mail’s search engine will improve: it can find an email even if the user forms his or her search with a typo, or types in a synonym instead of the original word.
On the MacBook and iPad, juggling between software just got easier
On the Macbook and iPad, open software can now be displayed on the left side of the screen when not in use, displayed in a postage stamp format, three quarters on the side. The goal is that we can find it more easily if we want to show it. This scene, called Stage Manager, doesn’t automatically invade the screen: you have to press a button to display it. It will be available on tablets and desktops this fall, after MacBooks receive their upcoming Mac OS Ventura software, and upgrade iPads to iPadOS 16.
In fact, we find that the ergonomics of Apple tablets are closer to those of computers. Convergence continues, following the opening of the iPad’s memory, their adoption of the mouse and the use of a processor of the same family. Someone is wondering what is stopping Apple from allowing large iPads to run more of the software available for its computers at the moment.
CarPlay invades the car screen
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 limited to one screen, located in the center of the dashboard. But the cars are likely to accommodate a second screen, located behind the steering wheel, that replaces the tachometers, Apple wants 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 important car functions, such as climate controls.
We can customize this display by selecting the information found there, and even changing the color of the counters, not without raising questions of readability, ergonomics and, finally, security. To develop this expanded CarPlay, Apple is working with a dozen manufacturers, including Volvo, Mercedes and Renault.