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All the new OS upgrades announced at WWDC 2024

vision0S2 debuts a seriously ultra wide wraparound screen
7 minute read
vision0S2 debuts a seriously ultra wide wraparound screen

As well as all things Apple Intelligence, WWDC also featured some fairly hefty new announcements regarding the OS line-up, not all of which involved AI.

There's a lot to talk about following last night's WWDC 2024, so we've split this article into two. To find out all about the new Apple Intelligence features announced, head to Apple Intelligence shines at WWDC 2024.

Apple Vision Pro 

On June 28th, Apple Vision Pro ships in China, Japan and Singapore, with July 12th seeing it debut in Australia, Canada, France, Germany and UK. Pre-orders in the UK open on June 28th.

Is this sooner than expected? A sign of stalling US sales? Apple’s spin on VR/AR has won kudos for its technical innovations, not least that 23 million pixel ultra high resolution display, but it is still at $3,500 a devkit trailblazer.

If you’re a pro videographer interested in taking a punt on the platform, there will soon be alternatives to shooting Spatial Video on the headset itself or an iPhone 15 Pro. Canon is developing a compatible 7.8mm f/4 lens with a particularly quiet, smooth STM (stepping motor technology) for its EOS R7 camera. Content can be edited on Final Cut Pro (for Mac) and distributed via a new Vimeo app for VisionOS. And for Apple’s 8K 180-degree Immersive Video, Apple is partnering with Blackmagic to build a new production workflow featuring their cameras and the new URSA Cine Immersive.

Apple also announced a collaboration with Red Bull for an extreme sports series, a ‘reimagining’ series with The Weeknd and ‘Submerged’ - the first scripted short entertainment by Oscar-winning director Edward Berger.

visionOS 2 is more of a refinement than a major advance. Mac support is extended with larger, higher resolution virtual screens including a wraparound screen equivalent to two 4K monitors stitched together. There’s also UI refinements, new gestures offering faster access to Home Screen, notifications and Control Centre, plus there’s support in SharePlay for photos and panoramas.

iOS 18


iOS 18 brings new ways to customize iPhone, additional ways to stay connected in Messages, the biggest-ever redesign of the Photos app, and more

Long a feature of Android, iOS 18 will finally allow users to place icons exactly where they wish on the Home Screen - the snap-to-top grid is gone. You can even customise app icons to follow the colour scheme you want, while Control Centre is radically expanded with the option for multiple pages of settings - for example all your home automation controls in a single sheet - plus a new API for developers to add their own.

Privacy is also being enhanced - you can select apps to only open with FaceID or even completely hide an app. You can also control which of your contacts are shared with which apps and pair accessories individually.

Support for cross-platform RCP messaging is added, but Messages is where Apple’s focus is with the severely limited Tapback feature almost infinitely expanded with emojis, custom emojis and more. Text can be formatted, plus there are text effects like shaking and explosions.

More seriously, if you’re stranded away from a cell tower, Messages for iPhone 14 and later can send texts via satellite and there’s also SMS support. This seems a major advance, but there was nothing on any potential costs.

Apple Mail has always been a functional rather than stellar app, but iOS 18 tries to change this with on-device categorisation of emails into transactions, promotions and so on just as Gmail has been doing since 2013. It will attempt to surface higher priority emails and offer smart summaries of email chains and so on. This looked cool in the presentation, but won’t appear in the beta releases until later in the year.

Apple Maps gets topographic routes with turn-by-turn navigation for hikes, even those you create your self. Apple Wallet allows for tap-to-cash, share money with a tap with no need to exchange emails or phone numbers. Passes for events will include venue info and event guides. Apple’s Journal app gains the ability to log your state of mind, insight stats for streaks and a search function finally arrives, but no sign yet of iPad or Mac apps.

Game mode is a feature first offered on Mac where background activity is minimised to dramatically improve responsiveness with AirPods, controllers and so on. Given the way that Assassin’s Creed Mirage looks astounding but pre-iOS 18 glitched even on iPad Pro M4, this is vital for Apple’s AAA gaming aspirations.

Photos receives its biggest redesign to date with a freshened up look. It’s long made heavy use of machine learning to identify people, but now this is stepped up a level. There’s automatically created grouping for trips and days, pinned collections and far more natural language search (in theory, at least).

Reminders integration into Apple’s calendar app has been a long-time coming, but reflects a continuing focus on upgrading built-in apps and will threaten Fantastical.

Audio & Home

Some nice quality of live improvements here. AirPods can react to you nodding or shaking your head to silently accept or reject a call. Personalised Spatial Audio comes to gaming with the first game being EA’s latest Need For Speed instalment.

tvOS gets inSight so, just like Amazon, you can ask who the actors are on screen, what music is playing. There’s an option for enhanced dialogue and smarter subtitles, automatically popping up if you rewind a noisy scene.  There’s also support for 21:9 projectors, new screensavers and a Snoopy screensaver.



No bold changes, maybe that will wait until the rumoured Apple Watch X later this year, but meaningful improvements. A training mode allows you to set goals for building up to something like running a marathon, while Effort rather cruelly uses its knowledge of your vital stats, age, weight etc to judge how much you’re giving in a workout. There’s also a much appreciated option to pause your Activity Rings so you don’t lose out on a streak if on a long flight or otherwise incapacitated.

A Vitals app draws together the vast amount of health information tracked by Apple Watch and summarises it show trends, baselines and even alerts if something is of concerns. There’s also further intelligence added to Smart Stacks to add widgets as needed. Precipitation appears if it’s raining on a hike, Translation if on an overseas trip



The debut of Apple’s M4 chip in the 2024 iPad Pro, theoretically outperforming most of the MacBook Pro line-up, led to a burst of rumours that this would be the year macOS would appear on iPad. Add a keyboard and launch Final Cut Pro for Mac…

Unsurprisingly, this wasn’t the case. The superslim iPad Pro M4 is designed to be the lightest, best tablet experience Apple can make - it’s not carrying the kind of relatively chunky battery a Mac laptop relies upon for all-day battery operation. (This said, the way in which a Mac can now open a fully controllable iPhone window is food for thought.)

There’s also a long list of features power users have long craved and little sign of them in the keynote. No clamshell mode. No mention of better supporting background processes. No multi-user support.

However, the iPad’s default Calculator app - missing since iPad’s launch in 2010 - provided an unlikely rebuttal to the iPad’s ‘future of computing’ becoming stagnant.

Calculator with Math Notes initially looks like a scaled up version of the familiar iPhone calculator app, just a bit more space for calculations etc. However, it’s transformed with Apple Pencil into a kind of chalkboard where you can hand write equations which are automatically read by the system. You can revise input numbers, even scale them up and down by a dial like feature.

You can also maintain different spaces for different activities - one space could store costs for an upcoming trip, another could be for house hold finances. It was a flamboyant vision of a pen-first OS and led into a supercharged version of Scribble called SmartScript. With this system, you have the option for it to refine your handwriting to be neater, more legible as you write. You can even paste in standard text and it will restyle to fit in. In the demo it looked fluid and engaging, something similar to the excellent third-party handwriting notes app Nebo with its intuitive editing features. How well, of if it will work with a third-party stylus remains to be seen.

The handwriting recognition and Math Notes were stellar demos… but for most people a keyboard is always going to be faster and more practical. ‘iPad as computer’ could’ve done with more basic upgrades. Still, in this fit-and-finish department, there’s a new floating tab bar which is customisable and a side-bar with refined animations that should make using iPad more efficient, more fun. This will take time to roll out with third-party apps to support it.

macOS Sequoia


macOS Sequoia improves Continuity with iPhone Mirroring, which lets users wirelessly use their iPhone right from their Mac

Many of the features mentioned above are coming to macOS; greater personalisation, Math Notes and so on. New to Mac is iPhone mirroring - click the app to launch your iPhone Home Screen on your Mac and then operate it via Trackpad just as you would with touch. Open apps, input information. Edit a movie in Final Cut Pro and the transfer into your Photos app on iPhone without touching it.

A less radical, but no less welcome feature is refined window management with options to tile windows similar to the third-party app Magnet. Video conferencing gets a presenter preview option and you can replace your untidy home office bedroom with a scene from the Himalayas, just as Teams as done for age but with potentially greater refinement.

Apple has long maintained an excellent password manager in Keychain, but it was somewhat hidden away in Settings and overshadowed by third-party apps like 1Password. However, the latter’s switch to a subscription model makes Apple’s launch of its own Password app all the more welcome. It’s available across all Apple devices, even Windows.

Safari got some time to shine with Apple insisting it would again be the world’s faster browser and offering 4 hours more battery life than Google Chrome. New features include Highlights, using machine learning to find relevant content, to create summaries and to highlight Apple Maps, Music, pop-up Video windows. Reader view, which strips out adverts and other clutter, is refined to provide a better balance between readability and design.


Apple simply doesn’t get AAA gaming, they say, but this WWDC24 it got a sizeable amount of time with Mac games such as Baldurs Gate 3 name checked.

The M-Series Macs, M-Series iPads and iPhone 15 Pro and above offer a unified gaming environment for an entirely new class of games being playable on Apple devices. Version 2 of Apple’s Game Porting Toolkit makes it even faster to bring advanced games to Mac, plus it’s easier to export from Mac to iOS (but not yet BG3).

UbiSoft’s Assassin’s Creed Mirage appeared on iOS a few days before WWDC and a spokesperson was on stage at WWDC to announce more games were coming. The latest Prince of Persia is scheduled in, as is Assassin’s Creed: Shadows - set in feudal Japan and showcased with some dazzlingly detailed footage.