After a very full and extensive WWDC on Monday, the dust is starting to settle. Although many of the features spoken about don’t interest me much, there are three that do. Mac Mail, Messages, and Continuity…
The forgotten Mac Mail app
It seems I have been banging on about the current Mac Mail app for some time now. With good and fair reason as well. It has been just a little bit rubbish for ages. Now though, it’s almost as if they’ve remembered they have a mail app!
It is possibly my fault for being lazy, and not looking for other mail client alternatives. I happen to like getting a Mac out of the box, and it working. I like native apps, as I know they should sync across all my devices. Mail, though, has been woeful for much too long. Searching for mail has been like a needle in a haystack, and other common features completely overlooked.
Well, now my loyalty has paid off…so it would seem. In Ventura and iOS & iPadOS 16, we are now being brought slap, bang up to date. Bringing it more in line with Gmail, we will now be able to Undo Send, which is designed to let you recall an email if you make a mistake or error.
You’ll need to be rapid, though! Currently, your window of opportunity is only 10 seconds! With Gmail you can recall an email either 5, 10, 20 or 30 seconds after sending it. Maybe that functionality will come to Mac Mail as update later.
The improvements to Mail don’t stop there, though. You’ll be able to schedule an email for a future date or time, and have Mail remind you to respond to an email you opened, but didn’t, initially react to. Mail will remind you about important attachments too, and will also let you move sent messages to the top of your inbox (to act as a reminder for further action). Apparently, there is also a much better Search feature now as well.
With these improvements, I am really hoping that Mail will feel as if it has been modernised and streamlined.
The hugely popular Messages app has been dealt a new raft of features, some of which will bring it more in line with other messaging apps such as WhatsApp & Telegram.
The big stars are undoubtedly the edit & unsend features, brand new in iOS 16. You’ll also be able to mark a message thread as unread to act as a reminder. I swear, had you of asked me that a week ago, I’d have told you that was already a thing! You’ll get a bit more time in Messages than Mail to edit or unsend – up to 15 minutes.
It sounds as if it is super simple to do as well. I am not running beta’s, but speaking with a friend at MacRumours, it seems you only need to tap and hold on a message, then select the relevant option.
Last year, SharePlay was announced, but it was useable only with FaceTime. This year, in iOS 16, SharePlay comes to Messages. Simply put, it is a way of sharing a movie you are watching, or a song you are listening to, in real-time, with a friend. This feels way more intimate to me, now being in Messages…FaceTime just felt a bit too intrusive. I am keen to give this feature a go.
As mentioned, these features are only currently in beta as of now. The first beta was seeded to developers right after the keynote speech on Monday. A public beta will follow in July, with the full release coming a little while after that.
A higher level of collaboration is on its way to Messages. Sharing notes, reminders, and Safari tab groups with a team & colleagues are all part of this iOS release.
Although not limited to Messages, Intelligence will be a really useful tool in it. Intelligence, with the power of some clever AI, will let you separate and lift a subject from its background and place it in an app of your choice. By all accounts, it works brilliantly.
Continuity Camera & Handoff
The first of these, Continuity Camera, is something I welcome, but also feel it’s somewhat of an admission of guilt!
The camera on the new Studio Display is pitiful, even after its latest firmware update. There is no camera at all on the Pro Display XDR, and the cameras on the MacBook Pro’s still a fairly average 1080p affairs. Admittedly, in the MacBooks case, it is limited by the thickness of the screen panel.
Apples way of addressing this was to enable you to use the powerful rear-facing cameras on your iPhone to do the job for you. You won’t need to do anything, the relevant app, be it FaceTime, QuickTime, Teams or Zoom will simply recognise the camera is there, just by bringing it close. You will have the option to use the camera from your iPhone, but he mics from your MacBook, thus giving you the best of both worlds.
By using the iPhone camera, it also brings Centre Stage to the Mac for the first time, and you’ll be able to use Studio Light and Portrait modes as well. One all new feature is Desk View. Using the ultra-wide camera of your phone, it effectively gives you a desk down view, enabling you to better collaborate virtually with work colleagues.
It’s a wireless connection, which is neat, but the lumpy Belkin clip looks clumsy. The aesthetics are the only part of this feature of which I am not a fan…a beautiful, new sleek MacBook, with a huge iPhone hanging of it..not perfect, but mighty effective.
Finally, Handoff now comes to FacetTime. I have been a user of HandOff for ages with apps such as Mail or Safari. Now though, you’ll be able to start a call on your phone, and as you get home, near to a Mac, you can handoff the call to the larger device.
What about you?
Are there any upcoming features you are looking forward to from iOS 16 iPadOS 16 or Ventura?
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