What you need to know
- According to Bloomberg, Apple is planning new iPhone features surrounding privacy, including a new privacy info panel showing exactly what data apps are collecting.
- Apple will also reportedly implement changes to how notifications are handled, offering users multiple 'status' options like working, driving, or sleeping.
- Widgets are once again said to be coming to the iPad's entire Home screen.
WWDC 2021 is only a few days away, but some news may have slipped out early, offering limited, though intriguing, details of what we might expect at the conference. In a new report at Bloomberg, Mark Gurman reiterates previous rumors, such as the ability to place widgets anywhere on the iPad's Home screen, as well as offering some newer details on features supposedly coming in iOS 15, including a new privacy information panel in Settings. The feature is meant to give users better information on exactly how they're being tracked.
Gurman also offered some details on the improvements we could see to notifications in iOS 15 and iPadOS 15:
On the iPhone and iPad software updates, users will now be able to set a status -- such as whether you are driving, sleeping, working or don't want to be disturbed -- and have that dictate how incoming notifications are handled. The update will also include a larger focus on auto-replying to messages and a new design for incoming notification banners at the top of the screen.
I can definitely see this being a useful way for people to draw more definitive lines between their work and regular lives.
The privacy enhancements sound interesting, too. While Apple implemented privacy nutrition labels earlier this year, this new feature would seem to take things a step further, perhaps monitoring apps to get more of a direct report of exactly what data is being collected. Sort of a "trust, but verify" approach to the whole matter. And if you thought Facebook was mad before, wait until Apple starts telling you exactly what they're doing on your phone.
Gurman also notes a couple of features coming to iPad, including the aforementioned widget placement capabilities. But beyond that, Apple is said to have rethought multitasking for its tablets, something that I think many iPad users would welcome. There's not a lot of detail here, just that Apple is working to make it "easier to operate multiple apps at the same time." One might also hope that Apple is planning some features that can really take advantage of the power packed into the new 2021 iPad Pro.
There are throwaway mentions of other possible features that we'll see, including interface updates and new health tracking metrics for Apple Watch, possible enhancements to tvOS, and minimal updates to macOS following its rather substantial overhaul last year. Whether any of this comes to pass, we'll know in only a matter of days, as WWDC 2021 kicks off on Monday, June 7 at 10:00 a.m. PT/1:00 p.m. ET.