Hands-on: iOS/iPadOS 15 en macOS Monterey

Apple speaks of a major update, but that is disappointing or not so bad, depending on how you look at it. iOS/iPadOS 15 includes a lot of tricks, but no more than that. Last week, Apple released the first public beta versions of iOS and iPadOS. As of Thursday, the first beta of macOS Monterey is also available.

The fact that you don’t notice such big differences after installing the new system software for iPhones and iPads says a lot about the upcoming release. Apple has been improving its software in small steps in recent years, just like Google does with Android. Many additions will not even be noticed, let alone be used intensively.

An example is Focus, which allows you to temporarily stop the flow of messages in order to concentrate. That option was already available in iOS, but has now been expanded. There are settings for when you go to sleep, are at work or do not want to be disturbed at all. You can even create a separate home screen with the apps and widgets you need. But how many people are really going to use this?

Notifications have also gotten a tad smarter. You can even choose when you see those notifications, such as morning and evening. The reports are listed in order of priority, with the most important at the top. Yet here too the question is: a nice thing or a necessity?

You can also ask that question about the new privacy protection in Mail, which prevents the sender from seeing whether you have opened an email. It also hides the IP address so that the sender cannot find out your location or use it to build a profile of you.

Or take SharePlay in FaceTime. With it, you can listen to music together, or watch the same movie or TV show at the same time, or share your screen to watch the same app together. This seems to be mainly based on commercial motives, because initially SharePlay links to Apple Music and Apple TV. Disney+, ESPN+, HBO Max, Hulu, MasterClass, Paramount+, Pluto TV, TikTok and Twitch will support SharePlay.

City districts, shopping streets and buildings can be viewed in detail in Apple Maps and elevation information is available, at least for a few large cities and not in the Benelux for the time being.

For example, there are more functions that are not yet available here and may never be. In some states in the US you can put your driver’s license or ID in Wallet later this year. In the US, the Transportation Security Administration has started adapting the entrance gates at the airports, so that you only need your digital ID in Wallet to be able to walk through. But not at Schiphol for the time being.

The Translation app does not seem to work at all at first, until you find out that the Dutch language is not yet supported. You also encounter this problem with the most useful addition Livetext. It uses machine learning to recognize text in photos. The camera recognizes text in such a way that you can copy a WiFi password that hangs on the wall in a coffee shop.

With Visual Look Up you will learn about popular artworks and points of interest and plants and flowers are also recognized. Admittedly, Apple is very late with this. The comparable Google Lens has been supplied with Android for years.

The Weather app has been greatly improved and is now somewhat reminiscent of Yahoo’s excellent weather app. Which you still need for the iPad, because Apple still chooses to develop certain apps (Weather, Calculator) only for the iPhone.

I’m least excited about Safari’s new tab design. Apple has a knack for making tasks that were previously reasonably manageable more complex, such as with Mail.

The new Safari tab bar merges the tabs, the toolbar and the search field into one compact whole. Apple wants to emphasize tab groups, which on your Mac automatically sync with your iPhone so you can continue your projects anywhere or quickly share your tabs with someone else.

This all still works on the big screen like an iPad, but it becomes downright clumsy on an iPhone. The URL bar is not immediately visible, but must be brought out with a tap at the bottom. With the iPad, the bookmarks are now prominently on the left, although that option was already there in the current version. While it’s easier to switch between web pages, better than the “rolodex method” in iOS 14, I’ve honestly read very few positive comments about the design. It is hoped that Apple will adjust this based on feedback.

The support for extensions is useful, although there are hardly any at the moment.

For iPad, however, one change is immediately apparent: the widgets are in a different place and can be placed anywhere on the desktop.

The most significant change for the iPad is a new multitasking menu that lets you enable Split View or Slide Over functions with a single tap. The new Appstrip also lets you multitask with apps that use multiple windows, such as Safari and Pages (see how-to video below). As such, that doesn’t change the multitasking capabilities that are already in iPadOS. The iPad is not a laptop replacement, although you can go a long way with it. If you want to use many applications side by side, it is better to do so on a Mac.

With iPadOS 15, the app library will also be available for iPad. In it, apps are automatically sorted into categories.

For example, the new system versions are full of tricks that will appeal to some people more than others, but will not be missed anywhere. It is really time for Apple to take a more critical look at the user-friendliness of individual apps before a next release.

macOS Monterey

The new, according to Apple, “super social and super capable” macOS Monterey (the software for Macs) has become completely a puzzle. At first glance you won’t see any changes at all, although after installation you have to indicate which options you want to use for the new iCloud Plus, such as Private Relay in iCloud, Hide my email address, and extensive support for Secure Video in HomeKit.

A number of new features from iOS 15 are now available on the Mac: SharePlay for FaceTime, Focus to focus, Quick Notes, and Live Text in Photos.

Some features are just for the lucky few: AirPlay for the Mac, for example (share, view, listen to, or present content from another Apple device on your Mac’s screen) and Assignments (automate tasks).

Again, the most significant change is Safari’s redesigned tab bar, where the web page extends all the way to the edge of the window. The new floating tabs are combined with a smart search field. It takes some getting used to, but works better than on the iPhone or iPad.

Of all the recent upgrades, Monterey is unfortunately the least appealing yet, although you can’t really blame Apple for that either. The system software is already quite developed.

The new system software is expected around September. While we’ve encountered few really annoying bugs, it’s recommended that you don’t install betas on devices you’ll need to use every day.

Source: Mobile – Emerce by www.emerce.nl.

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