CUPERTINO, California. More than two years after the coronavirus pandemic, Apple on Monday made a major push to return to normalcy by inviting hundreds of software developers and journalists to bring to their campus a host of new software features that extend the utility of the iPhone.
In a two-hour presentation, Apple has unveiled a buy-now-pay-later program that splits the purchase over several months, similar to the programs offered by PayPal and others. It is also said to be expanding the use of the iPhone to unlock the doors of apartments, hotel rooms and rental cars. A version of CarPlay was also introduced, taking over the car’s entire dashboard, providing information on speed and fuel, as well as maps and music.
In general, the new features show how Tim Cook, CEO, is still finding ways to increase the utility and longevity of Apple’s flagship product while reducing its sales through features that engage the company in adjacent industries such as finance. real estate and cars.
“They are a digital control center and expanding their reach as more and more devices are digitized,” said Bob O’Donnell, president of TECHnalysis Research, a technology research company. “Most of it won’t change the world, but it’s an improvement that gives people a little freshness.
Software upgrades continue a year-long slump as the company introduces a new category of products that one of its founders, Steve Jobs, has become synonymous with revolutionary new devices. Apple last introduced a new product category, wearable clothing, in 2014 with the introduction of Apple Watch.
The pandemic helped boost sales of old Apple products. Students and workers forced to work from home benefited from upgrading their iPhone, iPad and Mac versions to the latest versions. Many turned to video games and Apple TV + subscriptions, which helped the company increase sales by 33 percent to $ 366 billion last year.
On Monday, Apple sought to boost the speed of its Macs by upgrading its most popular MacBook Air. The new version drops a decade-old wedge-shaped case, which is a thin, rectangular laptop. The computer is available in a variety of colors, including silver, gray, gold, and navy blue. The new model is 20 percent smaller than its predecessor and weighs 2.7 pounds, the company said.
The MacBook Air has Apple’s latest M2 processor, which the company says has improved performance even if it uses less battery power.
The company said the iPhone provides more personalization and can customize the lock screen with colors, controls, and live action. The new software will allow iPhone users to create custom lock screens for a variety of purposes, such as a work screen that displays a calendar view, or a personal screen that displays exercise activity data.
The new software features that are part of Apple’s new iOS 16 operating system for iPhones reflected those that Google introduced to its Android system in 2021. Google has created Material You, an offer that allows users to change the appearance of their lock screens by dragging colors. on your home screen backgrounds.
In addition to these updates, Apple has said it is redesigning its messaging system so that people can remember and edit texts when they are sent. There’s also a new way to create messages by seamlessly switching between text input and voice memo dictation.
The company’s efforts to bypass its existing business have been expanded to include new software for the iPad. It introduced new workplace collaboration tools called Freeform that allow colleagues to search across devices simultaneously. This feature, similar to the offerings from Microsoft and Google, can add value to the iPad for businesses.
Apple has also introduced software updates to its smartwatch that will allow runners to track their progress – perhaps give up working with coaches – and help people keep track of the stages of their sleep cycle.
The launch was the first major event Apple held in its small town in Cupertino since 2019. In response to the growing number of coronavirus cases in the Bay Area, the company has built screens and chairs outside the cafeteria in the heart of the $ 5 billion campus at Apple Park. . Participants included developers, journalists and retailers, a group Apple wants to improve its relationship with as trade unions grow.
While the event focused on existing products, it had hints about a virtual reality product that is expected to be the next device to transform its business. Apple said the app makes Siri easier to use and creates a keyboard shortcut that will allow you to interact with apps by voice on future headsets, said a person familiar with the project. A new Resident Evil video game with as sophisticated graphics as it is in virtual reality games has also been unveiled.
The headphones, which look like ski goggles, should only be introduced next year because of problems with battery power and performance, two people familiar with the project said.
Its success is far from guaranteed. Meta, Facebook’s parent company, has sought to expand the reach of its Quest virtual reality headset beyond passionate video game players. Last year, it surpassed sales of about 10 million units, a small portion of the 240 million iPhones sold by Apple, analysts estimate.
Apple has been working to persuade developers to embrace its vision of a mixed reality world. 2017 it introduced ARKit so developers could use an iPhone camera and motion sensor to start combining the digital and real worlds. However, a survey of more than 500 developers by technology research firm Creative Strategies found that about 70 percent of Apple developers said they had not used the tool.
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