During the virtual keynote of WWDC, Apple shared the first details about iOS 14, the next major version of iOS that will be released later this year. There are four pillars with this year’s release: staying connected, focusing without distraction, using intelligence, and exploring the world. “For many of us, our iPhones have become indispensable,” SVP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi said. “Our new release is iOS 15. It’s packed with features that make the iOS experience adapt to and complement the way you use iPhone, whether it’s staying connected with those who matter to you most. Finding the space to focus without distraction, using intelligence to discover the information you need or exploring the world around you.”
FaceTime gets a bunch of new features.
Apple is adding spatial audio to FaceTime. Now the voices are spread out depending on the position of your friends on the screen. For instance, if someone appears on the left, it’ll sound like they’re on the left in your ears. In other FaceTime news, iOS now detects background noise and tries to suppress it so that you can hear your friends and family members more easily. That’s an optional feature, which means that you can disable it in case you’re showing a concert during a FaceTime call, for instance.
Another FaceTime feature is ‘Portrait mode’. Behind this term, Apple can automatically blur the background, like in ‘Portrait mode’ photos. If you want to use FaceTime for work conferences, you can now generate FaceTime links and add them to a calendar invite. FaceTime will also work in a web browser, which means that people without an Apple device can join a FaceTime call.
FaceTime is a big focus as Apple is also introducing SharePlay. With this feature, you can listen together to a music album. Press play in Apple Music, and the music will start for everyone on the call. The queue is shared with everyone else, which means anyone can add songs, skip to the next track, etc.
SharePlay also lets you watch movies and TV shows together. Someone on the call starts a video, and it starts on your friend’s phone or tablet. It is also compatible with AirPlay, picture-in-picture, and everything you’d expect from videos on iOS. This isn’t just compatible with Apple TV videos. Apple said there will be an API to make videos compatible with SharePlay. Partners include Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, Twitch, TikTok, and more. Here’s a screenshot of the initial partners: