The WWDC 2021 keynote saw several announcements from Apple that highlight what’s to come on the software side for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch users this year. The announcements included previews for iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, and watchOS 8. However, apart from the major development, the company announced some supplementary details that mainly center around its offerings including Siri, AirPods and Apple TV. Apple didn’t have time to announce details about things like an inbuilt authenticator and advanced tracking via Find My Network. Thus we are including all such declarations here.
Siri on Third-Party Devices
Apple’s Siri has so far been exclusive to Apple devices — unlike Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa, both of which are also available on third-party devices. However, that trend is soon changing as Apple announced the arrival of Siri on third-party devices at the WWDC 2021 keynote. It will be enabled via HomeKit which will allow accessory makers to enable the “Hey Siri” command on their devices. However, users will need a HomePod or HomePod Mini to pass on their voice commands to third-party devices. This is in contrast to how many non-Google and non-Amazon devices support Google Assistant and Alexa, respectively.
Details Available on iOS 15 Preview Website reveal That HomePod devices need to be running HomePod software version 15.0 or later to enable the new experience.
Siri starts working offline
In addition to its access through third-party tools, Siri has been updated with the ability to process a list of requests without an Internet connection. These requests may be to access preloaded features and apps, including timers and alarms, phone, messaging, sharing, app launches, control audio playback, and settings. The change will come through on-device processing which is also said to help Siri respond faster. This will allow Apple to have an edge over competitors and address privacy concerns around unwanted audio recordings being stored by companies that offer the voice assistant.
According to the fine print available on the Apple site, users must have an iPhone with A12 Bionic chip and later (at least iPhone XS, third-generation iPad Air, or fifth-generation iPad mini) to enable the offline Siri experience . It also requires downloading the speech model and is available in select languages, such as German (Germany), English (Australia, Canada, India, UK, US), Spanish (Spain, Mexico, US), French (France) , Japanese (Japan), Mandarin Chinese (Mainland China), and Cantonese (Hong Kong).
The arrival of iOS 15 is enhancing the user experience on AirPods by bringing in new features. These include a ‘Conversation Boost’ that is limited to the AirPods Pro and is aimed at helping others with hearing problems, especially when in crowded places. Apple said the feature will allow true wireless stereo (TWS) headphones to isolate the voice of the person in the foreground, by offering specific sliders on the connected iPhone or iPad screen to accommodate ambient noise.
AirPods also gained the ability to tell users what notifications were showing up on their screen from Siri. The feature is called ‘Announcement Notification’ and is an extension of the existing option to read messages and texts via AirPods. Apple has also provided support for announcements based on location-based actions recorded in reminders and time-sensitive notifications. In addition, notification messages will be read based on Do Not Disturb and Focus settings.
The feature to announce notifications in the US English language is limited to AirPods (2nd generation), AirPods Pro and AirPods Max.
In addition, AirPods Pro and AirPods Max have got Find My support, so that users can directly find their lost headphones using Find My Network. The headphones will be able to play sound when a call is made using the Find My app – whether in their case or placed separately. There will also be separate alerts to notify users when they are about to leave their AirPods behind.
Both the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max also get spatial audio support – backed by Dolby Atmos Music support along with Apple’s dynamic head tracking. It will be available for Mac and Apple TV users.
Although it didn’t get the space to receive an official announcement at the keynote, an integrated password authenticator is available in iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey to provide better security. The company notes on its site, “If a site offers two-factor authentication, you can set up a verification code under Password in Settings – there’s no need to download an additional app.”
Users of the latest iOS, iPadOS or macOS versions can set up new verification codes by going here Passwords , Adjustment, Once set up, verification codes will be autofilled when you sign in to the site, the company said.
The inbuilt authenticator takes the likes of Google Authenticator, Authy and Microsoft Authenticator and Apple will not give any reason to the users to go for any third party solution.
Find My Network remains useful when iPhone is turned off
Apple is quietly enhancing Find My Network and the ability to locate a lost iPhone when it is turned off. This will be especially helpful if your missing iPhone doesn’t have enough battery to remain active or has been turned off by a thief until you are able to track its location. The location tracking feature will work even when the phone settings are reset to defaults.
Users will receive a notification about the new experience after installing iOS 15 on their iPhone when it reaches low battery for the first time, 9to5Mac reports, The feature appears to be enabled by default, although users have the option to disable it from Find My Settings.