Apple Inc. will host its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2021 on June 7. It is readying major software updates for the iPhone and iPad (likely to be called iOS 15 and iPadOS 15) to unveil at the event. The updates will include an upgrade to how users handle notifications, an updated Lock Screen, a redesigned iPad Home Screen, and additional privacy protections for its flagship devices, according to a report by Bloomberg.
It is an annual procedure of the American company to roll out major software updates for all of its key devices as a way to keep people glued to its ecosystem, encourage developers to create new apps, and sell more devices. Typically, these updates are released near the launch of new iPhones, around September. Given that WWDC is more than a month away, the company could still choose to alter features or delay them to a later update.
According to the report, the company is planning to unveil a new feature that will allow users to set different notification preferences, such as if the phone rings a notification tone or not, depending on their current status. The enhancement will come in the form of a new menu that lets users select a custom category of their choosing or a pre-added category such as driving, working, or sleeping. The menu will be shown on the updated Lock Screen and in the iPhone and iPad’s menu for quickly accessing settings, the Control Center.
Depending on the user’s status, there will also be an option to set automatic replies to messages. This will supposedly be an improvement over the current auto-reply feature, which is only currently available while driving. Some unique notification features such as Sleep Mode and Do Not Disturb have also been added by Apple, but this will mark the first time the company offers a systemwide feature for changing notifications depending on a user’s status.
Upgrades to iMessage are also in the works with the eventual goal of acting as more of a social network and better competing with Facebook Inc.’s messaging platform WhatsApp.
The iPad line, which gained the largely rumored new iPad Pro models, officially, earlier this week, will also see software changes. The device’s Home Screen is set to get its most significant update since it was launched in 2010. Bloomberg reported that “Following a similar feature for the iPhone introduced last year, Apple plans to let users place widgets — miniature apps that can display the weather, upcoming appointments, stock tickers, and other data — anywhere on the Home Screen. Users will also be able to replace the entire app grid with only widgets.”
Apple’s promise of taking better care of customer privacy is coming to works with more privacy protection measures including a new feature in the works that is a new menu that will show users which apps are silently collecting data about them. This new feature is expected to cut down the thousands of apps that have been identified to use special trackers that can collect and share data such as phone numbers and location.
The Cupertino, California-based tech giant is also planning a more minor update to macOS after its redesign last year, and updates to Apple Watch and Apple TV software.