Every year, the company shows how Apple sees the future at its developer conference. This year, the new Vision Pro mixed reality headset was at the forefront of interest. But the improved software for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch brings surprises, as does the modernization of the Mac portfolio.

Michael Spehr

Editor in the "Technology and Engine" department.

  • Follow I follow

First, let's take a look at iOS 17 and iPad OS 17. The major software update for smartphones and tablets will not finally come until autumn with the next generation of devices. But the developers and beta testers can already get started.

iOS 17 allows more than ever the personalization of contact cards in the address book. Whoever calls, their image or avatar appears in an individual display on the screen of the person called. There is also a new call kit for the developers. With Live Voicemail, you can see what a caller is saying to voicemail. The message is transcribed in real time and shown on the display. If it fits, you can still answer the call that landed on the answering machine. In the future, there will also be an answering machine for video telephony with Facetime, and all messages can be transcribed automatically. Google and others have been able to do this for a long time.

An automatic check-in system ensures, for example, that parents automatically receive a push message when the children have arrived safely at home or school. This works via geofence. If you work a lot with the message stickers in iMessage, you can look forward to the fact that photos of friends and relatives can soon be converted into a sticker. Airdropping files from one device to the next is becoming more versatile, and there is an automatic exchange of the personal business card from one iPhone to another, called Name Drop.

Apple has also revised the virtual keyboard with iOS 17, it relies on machine learning, recognizes dictations more accurately and, for example, suggests entire phrases as an answer in messages.

Digital diary as an app

A new app called Journal is a digital diary that automatically records not only what you type, but also, for example, what music you listened to that day and what your sports program looked like. In the future, Siri can be activated without a preceded "Hey". Maps can be preloaded to be available "offline" and the automatic recognition in photos will soon even identify the pets.

Many of these innovations are also moving into the iPad OS. In addition, there are interactive widgets that allow direct input. So you no longer have to open the associated reminder to check off a completed task, for example. The lock screen can be personalized, and the Health app with all health data lands on the iPad for the first time. In addition, the editing and filling out of PDF documents will be fundamentally expanded – and integrated into the Notes app.

Video conferencing will be significantly upgraded

The Mac computers will receive a new operating system called Sonoma in the fall, which will take over many iOS 17 functions, such as the widgets, which can be arranged anywhere on the screen in the future. Video conferencing is significantly enhanced by providing various effects for Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Webex or the in-house Facetime.

Last but not least, the software of the Apple Watch is refreshed. The new Watch OS 10 is expected to rely more on the digital crown for operation in the fall. If you rotate it, you call up a stack that provides quick access to different information. In the future, the side button will open the Control Center. As always, the software preview in the summer does not show all the innovations of the hardware autumn. One or two surprises are sure to follow.

Many observers were surprised at how quickly Apple is once again modernizing its hardware. The Mac Studio introduced in March last year, which has the footprint of a Mac Mini but is significantly higher, appears in the same design with a more powerful processor: The new M2 Ultra consists, to put it simply, of two connected M2 Max processors and is currently the fastest Apple processor. Prices start at 2400 euros.

The modularly upgradeable Mac Pro in a perforated tower case can be ordered with Apple's M processors for the first time, starting at 8300 euros. The Macbook Air, once Apple's smallest notebook, now appears in a new size. With a display diagonal of 15.3 inches, it is larger than a small Macbook Pro and costs 1600 euros in the cheapest configuration.