By Tony Glinski, Director, Apple Business, Stratix
Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference makes headlines every year, and WWDC 2021 is notable for the operating system updates helpful to Apple enterprise customers. The iOS, iPadOS, and macOS improvements are of especial benefit to remote and hybrid workers.
iPhone Gets iOS 15
The pandemic forced millions to embrace working from home, and it’s been so successful that 79 percent of large businesses say 10 percent or more of their employees will be able to work remotely at least three days a week a year going forward.
Adapting to remote work hasn’t been without its pain points, and with iOS 15, Apple has some answers to those challenges. One they call “Focus” is essentially a new redesigned notifications summary that lets users customize how they’re alerted to phone calls, texts, emails, and updates from apps. It goes beyond the blanket “Do Not Disturb” and can be based on the user’s status like working, driving, sleeping, or custom categories. It’s intended to help the end user “stay in the zone” by eliminating distractions—handy for business users who need to prioritize their focus for the day and get work done.
Apple said at WWDC 2021 that the Wallet app is getting an upgrade that’ll allow it to work as a corporate badge. It’ll also support scanning and saving U.S. IDs like driver’s licenses. It only works in some states currently, but the TSA will accept it for getting on planes. No more fumbling to find your ID at security, which will be welcomed.
Also, updates to the Health app will give users new ways to share data with their loved ones and healthcare teams. There is also a new metric to assess your risk of falling, which could have interesting implications for workers’ safety monitoring using the iPhone and Apple Watch in the enterprise.
iPad Gets iPadOS 15
iPad is also getting an operating system upgrade. In iPadOS 15, there will be new ways to arrange apps, similar to what’s currently available on the iPhone but even more robust due to the larger screen real estate. Apple says the “new widget layouts for the Home Screen and App Library offer simple ways to personalize the iPad experience and organize apps.”
There’s also a new multitasking interface/menu that makes it easier to put two apps side by side on the screen. Apple says it’s more intuitive, not as hard to find, and more powerful. For example, just one tap lets users go into Split View or Slide Over.
At WWDC 2021, Apple said it’s also redesigned the experience with an external keyboard. There’s a new look for the menu bar and keyboard shortcuts that helps users get more done.
The Apple Notes app has been updated to better interface with other apps. One feature, called Quick Notes, lets users jot notes using the Apple Pencil—very cool for in-the-moment, contextual notetaking.
Also, a new version of the Translate app for iPads allows users to speak and have the discussion translated on-screen in real-time (this is already available on iPhone). It will be great for multilingual conversations, especially with the larger screen size.
Mac Heads To Monterey
The Apple team that names macOS continued their California travels to its central coast and said at WWDC 2021 that it’s landed on “Monterey” for the upcoming release.
Monterey has a new feature called “Universal Control,” where you can move your mouse cursor between a Mac and an iPad—making the iPad into a second screen just by setting them beside each other. As Apple so often does, it’s elegant and “just works” for the end user. This is one feature that power users and even basic users will love, especially those who want to get more out of their multiple Apple devices.
With Monterey, iOS devices can beam their screen to a Mac, so a TV will no longer be required for AirPlay. Other new features include new keyboard shortcuts similar to the shortcuts on iPad, and the Safari browser is redesigned with tab grouping and bookmarking—a much cleaner and streamlined UI.
Apple OS Updates Mean Improved Productivity
Machine learning has gone into overdrive with these latest OS releases, and things are getting more and more exciting at every release. The biggest beneficiaries are end users because of just how intuitive and seamless the productivity experience is, especially for remote workers on the go—even if “on-the-go” means bouncing around your house to change the work-from-home atmosphere a bit.
I’m excited to get my hands on all these updates coming our way soon, and I know our Apple enterprise customers will appreciate the enhancements that help workers get more done.