Apple announces launch of iOS 15 with powerful features

Gabby Fernie

Apple today announced iOS 15 - a major update with powerful features to enhance the iPhone experience. 

FaceTime calls have had a major overhaul to make conversations feel more natural. With spatial audio, voices now sound as if they are coming from where the person is positioned on the screen, and new microphone modes separate the user’s voice from background noise.

Portrait mode is now available for FaceTime and designed specifically for video calls, so users can blur their background and put themselves in focus. While using Group FaceTime, a new grid view enables participants to see more faces at the same time.

Perhaps inspired by lockdown, users can now share experiences on FaceTime with SharePlay - whether its watching a movie in sync with friends or sharing a screen to view apps together.
Focus is a new feature that filters notifications and apps based on what a user wants to focus on, helping eliminate distractions. Customers can set their device to help them be in the moment by creating a custom Focus or selecting a suggested Focus, which uses on-device intelligence to suggest which people and apps are allowed to notify them. Focus suggestions are based on users’ context, like during their work hours or while they’re winding down for bed, and when Focus is set on one Apple device, it automatically applies to their other Apple devices.
Notifications have also been re-designed to reduce distraction, with non-time-critical notifications able to be collected and delivered to the user at a more opportune time, such as outside of work hours. 
Other updated features include full screen maps and more graphical displays of data to Weather, support for home keys and ID cards in Wallet and new privacy controls in Siri, Mail, and more places across the system to further protect user information. 

In the Health app, a new Sharing tab lets users privately share their data with a trusted partner or caregiver. Users have full control over which data they share and with whom, whether they’re an ageing parent who shares their activity or heart health data with a family member, or a person with Parkinson’s disease who wants to share their mobility data with a physical therapist. For the person receiving this information, shared data is presented with important insights and trends highlighted.
The Health app adds trend analysis for 20 types of data — ranging from resting heart rate to sleep to cardio fitness — so users can easily see how a given metric is progressing. 
Walking Steadiness on iPhone is an industry first, providing insight into fall risk by capturing important mobility data as users walk with their iPhone. Currently, fall risk is assessed by a care provider through a questionnaire and an in-person evaluation.
Using custom algorithms to assess balance, stability, and coordination through built-in motion sensors, Walking Steadiness offers the added ability to capture everyday movements and surface classifications within the Health app as OK, Low, or Very Low, allowing users to proactively take action to help reduce their risk of falling.

The iOS 15 update also includes tools and technologies to help developers create more engaging and high-quality app experiences.
Xcode Cloud brings together the multiple tasks and tools required to build, test, and deliver apps using powerful cloud services. With In-App Events and Custom Product Pages, the App Store now provides all-new ways for developers to promote their apps and connect with users.
Swift - Apple's intuitive programming language - takes a massive leap forward with concurrency support built into the language, and augmented reality (AR) technologies make it easier than ever to build immersive content in apps or on the web.
“We’re thrilled to provide our developer community with powerful new tools and technologies to help create even more compelling and higher-quality apps, while engaging with their users in all new ways through the App Store,” said Apple’s Vice President of Worldwide Developer Relations, Susan Prescott. “With the robust set of tools included in Xcode Cloud, continuing innovation in the Swift programming language, a wide range of new APIs, and even more ways to reach users — Apple’s platforms have never been stronger.”

 The developer preview of iOS 15 is available to Apple Developer Programme members starting today, and a public beta will be available to iOS users next month.