Live updates from Apple WWDC21 keynote: iOS15, iPadOS, macOS Monterey, watchOS8, privacy features, and more

Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference 2021 ‘Glow and Behold’ keynote sees the announcement of iOS15, watchOS8, macOS Monterey, improved Health data features, new App Privacy Report and better developer tools for app-makers

Updated - June 08, 2021 09:04 am IST

Published - June 07, 2021 10:02 pm IST

Affectionately known as ‘DubDub’ to the devs community, Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) kicks off this spring, virtually of course, from Apple Park. The annual tech meet started in 1987 in Santa Clara and eventually moved to Silicon Valley years down the line.

The all-online conference that used to take place every spring at Apple Park in California, is catnip for all developers, offering insights into the future of Apple’s operating systems such as iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. Developers can also learn about the new technologies, tools, and frameworks they rely on to build innovative and platform-differentiating apps and games.

This year, includes a groundswell of expected launches: as predicted, a new line-up of OS, a potential ‘M1X’ MacBook Pro, more on Apple’s spatial audio tech. Apple may also announce a new line-up of original films and series for its own OTT service. AppleTV+ has launched favourite award-winners such as The Morning Show and Ted Lasso . And speaking of entertainment, Apple Arcade is also expected to release new gaming partnerships and, of course, a fun new set of experiences ahead which are likely to be heavy on the Augmented Reality.

On June 1, Apple also announced a number of Indian-origin winners for the annual Swift Student Challenge. We spoke to a few of these young developers about their perspective on the evolving tech industry for programmers.

12:17 a.m.

TimCook wraps up the WWDC21 keynote, with best wishes to participating developers around the world.

12:15 a.m.

Developers can now build and test apps in the cloud

Developers can now build, test, and deliver apps in the cloud. However it only stores the 'products' of the build and makes it easy to distribute apps across all iOS users. Also, Testflight makes its way to the Mac.


12:13 a.m.

Apple adds new features in App Store

Would it be a WWDC without improvements to the App Store? Apple says there are 600 million visitors to the App Store and it has paid $230 billion to developers for their work over the years.

App Store will feature multiple app product pages, as well as In-App Events that can be showcased on the apps' Product Page, Featured Page, and in Search. This will help boost an app's visibility on the platform, amid a time of continued physical distancing. Does the latter sound like a Fortnite feature?


12:09 a.m.

Apple introduces a new 3D API

It is WWDC after all, so Apple is offering many more APIs for developers building apps using macOS Monterey. One such new feature is Object Capture, a new 3D API for faster animation render, letting developers create ways for users to easily scan and capture objects in their apps just as Wayfair does with furniture.

Developers can look also forward to Concurrency on Swift to make it easier to write fast, modern and safe code.

11:58 p.m.

Apple announces new macOS

It has come a little late but it's finally here: macOS Monterey, inspired by California's vibrant and rugged coastline. 

Federighi explains the new macOS will feature Universal Control, where users can switch between their iPad and Mac with a single keyboard. This means shared cursors, trackpads and extended displays; this could potentially be a gentle farewell to Sidecar.

There will also be AirPlay to Mac, which extends display from iPhones and iPads to the Mac – as simple as it sounds!

Interestingly, this is the first version of macOS that’s being announced after the rise of Apple’s M1-powered Macs, the first of which were announced in November 2020.

It seems the tech giant's plan is to have its entire line switch over to its custom chips by the end of 2022, so it seems that macOS Monterey will be the operating system shepherding Macs through much of the rest of the transition.

macOS Monterey also comes with improved Safari UX such as faster tab switches and Safari extensions.


11:51 p.m.

Apple aims to empower the Home app

Apple is empowering the Home app through system-wide improvements such as engaging Siri better with third-party devices, opening up use-ability a lot more.

11:45 p.m.

Apple launches watchOS 8

Apple Watch users can look forward to a watchOS 8. The native Breathe app has been enhanced with a mindful feature called Reflect and also has a new metric to track one's respiratory rate. It is also adding new animations and other features to help Watch users relax.

The new software succeeds last year’s watchOS 7 and is going to be first available for developers to test their apps with. A public release is expected later this fall.

WatchOS 8 will also enable Watch faces with Portrait mode shots for striking personalised ownership.

Those who like to text using their Watch, can use GIFs in iMessage too.



11:38 p.m.

New features in Health app

The Health app brings new management tools, such as a 'Walking Steadiness' gauge, a feature that tracks how stable you are, and how likely you may be to fall. This is an expansion on Fall Detection for Watch users as well. It also comes with movement exercises to help your strength and balance.

The native app will alert users to their health trends and when things change, to help detect anomalies such as heart rate issues, sleep pattern changes, period cycle fluctuations and more – ultimately giving users granular control over their data.

Users can soon share data with their doctors, too, in a secure manner.


11:30 p.m.

Apple launches iCloud+, a new storage solution

A new storage solution, Apple is launching iCloud+ with a private relay that ensures the traffic leaving the device is encrypted. This simulates a VPN-like experience for users. iCloud+ also has Hide My Email (randomised email) and HomeKit Secure Video.

Other iCloud updates finally include iCloud Recovery for trusted contacts as well as Digital Legacy for whom to pass your account onto when you pass on.


11:25 p.m.

Siri gets on-device speech recognition

Apple has also announced a huge update to Siri with on-device speech recognition. It will make the voice assistant faster and many things will not need an active Internet connection.

11:23 p.m.

Apple announces new App Privacy Report

The new App Privacy Report sees Apple's native Mail app now claiming more privacy; it will hide a user's IP address as well as whether or not someone has opened an email or not.

11:20 p.m.

Developers can now build apps on the iPad

iPad's SwiftUI playground will let developers create and build apps on the iPad itself, and also submit them to the App Store for review.

11:16 p.m.

Apple introduces new iPad OS

The all-new iPad OS experience offers an adjusted UI and UX with widget and page rearrangement for neater displays and new feature Multitasking.

Finally, iPadOS has a more fluid SlideOver and Split View. The Shelf helps users 'minimise' windows to help switch seamlessly between apps.

Those using Apple's Magic Keyboard can use new keyboard shortcuts, and those using Apple Pencil can enjoy better Scribble capabalities for quick note-taking using site links and easy saves on-the-go for easy productivity.

Apple's new iPadOS will also use Translate for real-time translation across devices within a user's ecosystem.


11:09 p.m.

Tech boost for AirPods

Conversation Boost for AirPods will engage Apple's AirPods and AirPods Max with some hearing assistance during natural conversations, cutting out ambient noise.

Additionally, look forward to Announce Notifications, Spatial Audio tech for Mac and Apple TV and during FaceTime.


11:04 p.m.

Apple Maps on iOS 15

Apple Maps on iOS 15 will feature lane-specific data, improved real-time traffic information, using three-dimensional spaces to help navigators better understand their driving, transit routes – but this feature will launch in major US cities first!

11:02 p.m.

Weather App for iOS 15

iOS 15 users can also expect better Weather App with more accurate readings.


11:00 p.m.

Apple Wallet

Looks like Apple Wallet is only for participating U.S. states!


10:53 p.m.

Apple announces Notification Summary

Federighi announces Notification Summary, a streamlined way for users to play 'catch up' on their notification they have missed.

A new rollout called Focus allows users to compartmentalise their phone activity based on Work and Personal, or even create their custom Focus area. This is to help users leverage Intelligence from iOS 15 to find balance in digital wellbeing.

Interestingly, Federighi says you can customise location and activity tracking to further customise these features. We'll be delving into this, people!


10:43 p.m.

Apple introduces iOS 15

Craig Federighi, Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, introduces iOS 15 which promises to help iPhone users to stay connected, finding focus, use intelligence, and to explore the world around them.

FaceTime, Apple's ecosystem-specific video chat platform will have Voice Isolation to block out ambient noise. One can use Grid View to arrange profiles equally during group calls. Plus, iOS 15 will usher in Portrait Mode for visual appeal.

Looks like Apple is snagging notes from video-meet apps and Netflix Party! Federighi also announces FaceTime links. Much like Zoom links, you can soon organise calendars for calls. SharePlay will also enable shared music streaming and shared video streaming via iPhone, iPad or even AppleTV.

To keep up with WWDC's beat, SharedAPI allows developers to leverage SharePlay to connect Disney+, Hulu and other OTT services.


10:35 p.m.

Tim Cook stresses on importance of code

CEO Tim Cook says Apple is committed to ensuring code being a force for change to change the world, using innovative apps and easily-accessed resources.

10:33 p.m.

Apple's WWDC 2021 kicks off

The opening scenes of WWDC21 sees developers thinking up a film about the conference. One suggested name for the film is 'Our Journey Into Tomorrow'. Many interpretations include musicals, a disembodied voice of Craig Federighi, a rock concert, a superhero moment where code saves the day. The best idea? CEO Tim Cook getting out a Delorian.



Apple's Tim Cook says 'threat profile' of iPhone justifies App Store rules

Apple Inc Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook told a court the 'threat profile' of the iPhone required tight control of the App Store, which Fortnite gamemaker Epic Games says is a monopoly that Apple abuses.

Epic has waged a public relations and legal campaign , arguing that Apple acts anti-competitively by only allowing apps it approves on the world's 1 billion iPhones and by forcing developers to use Apple's in-app payment system, which charges commissions of up to 30% on sales.

Cook under questioning said he had higher concerns about the phone than Mac computers. "You have a phone in your pocket most of the time and you want instant service. We felt both the use cases and the threat profile would eventually be much greater because of the number of iPhones on the market."


Apple halves App Store fees for small developers

Apple has halved App Store commission for developers earning up to $1 million.

"Developers can qualify for the programme and a reduced, 15% commission if they earned up to $1 million in proceeds during the previous calendar year," Apple said in a statement.

If a developer crosses the $1 million mark, the standard commission rate of 30% will be applicable for the remaining year.

Developers can qualify again for the reduced fees when their business drops below the $1 million mark.


Apple asks app developers to disclose user data on apps

Apple has asked its app developers to reveal user data that they and their third-party partners collect for apps and app updates.

“Third-party partners” refers to analytics tools, advertising networks, third-party SDKs, or other external vendors whose code developers add to their app.

"You need to identify all of the data you or your third-party partners collect," the company said in its App developer site.

This will enable users can learn about some of the data types the apps may collect once developers put that on each app's product page, later this year.


Regards from Apple CEO

Apple CEO Tim Cook preps viewers for WWDC 2021 with a peppy 10-seconds video clip on Twitter.


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