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The 7 biggest announcements from Apple’s 2024 WWDC event

Apple Intelligence is coming to an iPhone near you very soon

The 7 biggest announcements from Apple’s 2024 WWDC event
10 June 2024

Apple has kicked off its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), which is where it traditionally details all the software enhancements and upgrades coming to its growing stable of devices in the second half of the year.

WWDC is primarily aimed at developers (clue’s in the name), but it also gives consumers an in-depth look at how they’ll be using their iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Mac and, for those who can afford one, Vision Pro headset, in the months to come.

This year there was one topic that dominated the event, which we get into below, as well as everything else you need to know about WWDC 2024...

1 Apple announces Apple Intelligence

The 7 biggest announcements from Apple’s 2024 WWDC event

It took a long time to get around to it (or even refer to it by name), but the overarching theme of WWDC 2024 was undoubtedly AI, which Apple has rather boldly rebranded for its own purposes as Apple Intelligence. A host of AI-powered new features will come to supported Apple devices later this year, including a much smarter, more conversational Siri that can do more and better understands you, and will turn to the officially integrated ChatGPT when it needs additional help in fulfilling your request.

Apple Intelligence will be able to automatically write things for you in various apps, rewrite what you already have to better suit the task at hand, summarise text and proofread it on the fly. It can also keep on top of your emails for you, intelligently arranging them in order of priority.

Apple Intelligence also goes big on image generation, with “Genmoji” letting you create custom emoji-like responses that you don’t already have to hand, while Image Playground can create animations, illustrations and sketches in seconds, with the functionality built into the Messages app.

Apple says it’s priortising on-device processing to keep your personal data secure, with Private Cloud Compute employed for more complex requests.

2 Your iPhone is getting even more customisable

The 7 biggest announcements from Apple’s 2024 WWDC event

No doubt the Apple-made operating system that you use the most, the newest version of iOS is always worth paying attention to, and in recent iterations Apple has made some pretty big strides with customisability. The iPhone finally caught up with Android a few years ago when Home Screen widgets arrived, and with iOS 18 you’ll be able to activate a dark mode for app icons.

App icons are no longer ordered to stay in a grid formation, as iOS 18 also lets you arrange them however you want, making the Home Screen look less cluttered and letting you have more of your wallpaper on display. You can change the colours of app icons too.

Apple has also opened up the Control Center in iOS 18. You’ll be able to cycle through multiple pages of various controls and toggles, with third-party apps now included should their developers opt to build Control Center features into them.

3 The Photos app gets an overhaul

The 7 biggest announcements from Apple’s 2024 WWDC event

When it comes to photos, Apple is in constant competition with Google Photos, and in iOS 18 it has given the Photos app what it’s calling its biggest ever redesign. The familiar tabbed layout has been replaced with a simplified single view, where all your photos and albums live. You’ll still be able to scroll through them in grid form, but the app will now intelligently organise them into themed “collections” that you can pin for easy access. You can filter viewable photos in the grid by dates, months and years, and filter out screenshots should you wish.

A new carousel view updates each day and chucks out those photos you won’t be interested in looking at again (think receipts), while an AI-powered feature called Clean Up can get rid of background and foreground objects (including people) from your photos, much like Google Photos’ Magic Eraser.

4 The Apple Vision Pro is finally coming to the UK

The 7 biggest announcements from Apple’s 2024 WWDC event

Apple launched its Vision Pro headset in the US at the beginning of the year, but VR/AR enthusiasts have had to be patient for it to make its way across the pond. The wait is nearly over, with Apple announcing at WWDC that the Vision Pro will start rolling out to new territories imminently, with a July 12 launch date in the UK.

Shortly after that, the second version of the Vision Pro’s dedicated OS will arrive, introducing features like spatial photos that apply machine learning to add depth to 2D snaps already taken on your iPhone, rather than requiring you to take new ones. These can be shared in a FaceTime call with friends and family at life-size scale when everyone is using a Vision Pro.

visionOS 2 also lets you customise your Home View by pinching apps and dragging them in, and you can work on an ultrawide virtual Mac display that wraps around you. Apple says it’s the equivalent of having two 4K displays side by side. And you can now watch embedded videos in Safari at cinema size.

The Vision Pro is still in its infancy but Apple currently seems committed to a spatial computing future, and early adopters will get to see the platform grow in the coming years. Such a privilege doesn’t come cheap though, with prices starting at (brace yourself) £3,499.

5 The iPad’s Calculator app is a lot more exciting than it sounds

The 7 biggest announcements from Apple’s 2024 WWDC event

The iPad is getting the Calculator app, tailored to the larger display size. Now, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this being the headline new feature in iPadOS 18 suggests a quiet year for the tablet crowd, but it’s not so much the calculator that’s exciting, but how you use it with the Notes app and Apple Pencil.

In what Apple is calling Math Notes, a separate tool that lives in its own folder in the Notes app, you can type or write out mathematical equations of various types and see them instantly solved in your own handwriting. It also works with graphs, and looks a bit like magic in action.

More of a frantic note-taker than a math enthusiast? Apple is also on a mission to make your scruffy handwriting easier to read with Smart Script. Start writing a note with the Apple Pencil and Smart Script will dynamically adjust your handwriting to ensure it’s legible and suitably straight, all while maintaining your handwriting’s personal look, however awful it might be.

6 iPhone Mirroring comes to macOS Sequoia

The 7 biggest announcements from Apple’s 2024 WWDC event

If you use multiple Apple devices then you’ve probably been thankful for Continuity, which lets you pick up what you were doing on one device and continue on another. Say you got halfway through messaging your mum on your iPhone and started using your Mac. A little app icon will pop up and let you finish the message there.

macOS Sequoia, which is what Apple is calling the next version of its macOS, takes that idea further with iPhone Mirroring. Rather than interacting with specific apps, you’ll be able to fully access your iPhone on your Mac, even when it’s locked and in a bag on the other side of the room. The virtual iPhone looks exactly like the real one (albeit bigger), and you can use your keyboard, trackpad and mouse to swipe between Home Screen pages and use apps, dragging and dropping content between your iPhone and Mac when you need to.

You’ll also be able to view and respond to iPhone-specific notifications from your Mac, with your iPhone remaining locked the whole time.

7 tvOS 18 is out to impress cinephiles

The 7 biggest announcements from Apple’s 2024 WWDC event

Apple TV+ has quietly built up a formidable library of original movies and shows, and using InSight in tvOS 18 you’ll be able to see information about actors, characters and music in Apple TV+ content in real time, as specific as an actor’s filmography or a song playing in a scene, which you’ll be able to add to your Apple Music playlists without leaving the app.

The Enhance Dialogue feature has been improved with tvOS 18, and you can now use it when listening on HDMI or Bluetooth-connected speakers and soundbars that aren’t Apple’s own HomePod speakers. And if you’re using a projector, you’ll be able to watch movies and shows in ultrawide 21:9 for the first time.

Oh yeah, and we got a first look at season two of Severance, but sadly no release date. Boo.