Also a new feature in the iPhone Photos app that organizes your photos into a presentation with an emotional soundtrack will require a subscription to Apple Music. Access to the new fitness class offers in Apple Fitness +, and using them on a big screen, will require a Fitness + subscription, an Apple Watch and an Apple TV.
With macOS Monterey, which will soon arrive on Mac computers and laptops, a new feature called Universal control it allows users to wirelessly sync their Macs and iPads and use a keyboard or mouse on both pieces of hardware. AirPlay will also come on Macs, so iPhone users can launch their phone content on a Mac screen. And macOS Monterey includes many of the same software updates that iOS 15 gets, including an updated FaceTime experience and SharePlay feature. Almost all roads lead to another Apple product.
Not all features of the newly announced Apple software were limited to Apple products. SharePlay will have an API, or application programming interface, a set of software tools that allows other app creators to build those media sharing experiences into their offerings. Some major content streaming app producers have already signed up to allow their videos to be SharePlayed, including Hulu, Disney +, ESPN +, Twitch and TikTok. FaceTime comes on the web, which means Android phone users and people with Windows PCs will be able to pick up on the same FaceTime calls that they’ve been shutting down for years. Siri, Apple’s typically exclusive voice assistant, may appear to speak from Apple-approved third-party hardware interiors. Although Siri is still ineffective; at least it works now with an Ecobee smart thermostat!
Apple’s differentiation will also be in the details. Just because you can use Apple software on different apps or devices doesn’t mean it will be optimized on these devices in the same way it is on an iPad or an iPhone. FaceTime on the web won’t have Apple’s latest SharePlay feature, for example. Also, FaceTime callers on Android phones will not be able to apply effects to their video. And also the appearance of Siri on that Ecobee thermostat comes with a larger catch: You have to buy a $ 99 mini HomePod, Apple’s answer to Amazon Echo, for Siri to work with non-Apple hardware.
All about Apple
Some technologists — and consumers — will say that these fully integrated experiences are what make Apple products work. better than other options out there. In some cases, the argument is sound.
There are security benefits, for one. This kind of tight integration allows in part products like iCloud +, which, when released later this year, will include security enhancements to Apple’s email client, unlimited archiving for video footage shot with security-enabled cameras HomeKit, and a VPN-like feature that masks your Internet browsing in Safari.
Ben Thompson, the analyst who writes the popular Stratechery newsletter and is an acute critic of Apple’s App Store issues, remarks in his newsletter which also sometimes enjoys “the benefits that come from Apple’s deep level of integration, both in terms of individual devices and across its entire ecosystem.”
A specific example Thompson gives is his use of AirDrop as part of his workflow, and says a new feature called Quick Note, which creates an ecosystem-wide experience for taking notes on Apple products, the makes an attempt to switch to Apple Notes. “Yes, innovation stems from openness and a philosophy of letting a thousand flowers bloom, but it can also come from control and the ability to integrate into non-obvious interfaces,” writes Thompson.
Techsponential’s Greengart also has a somewhat optimistic view of Apple’s priority of its own software and app systems. He notes that Apple’s focus on its tightly integrated software is generally followed by a certain ease of access restrictions for developers that Apple puts on sensors and APIs that run on Apple hardware, which its turn leads to better apps for consumers. “I hope that at some point, the things that are shown to enrich the iOS ecosystem, developers can play into that ecosystem as well,” he says.
You can also call it a pink view of Apple’s approach – a fitting description for a walled garden.
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