It has been a little over a month since WWDC 2022, Apple's annual developer conference where the company makes major software announcements and reveals the new features coming to its Mac, iOS, and other software platforms. This year, Apple unveiled iOS 16 and macOS Ventura — the two major releases that will be available to consumers towards the end of the year. These releases will bring along a host of new features & APIs which allow third-party developers to add incredible new capabilities to their apps.
As we do every year, Readdle's product teams have been keeping a keen eye on these announcements. Over the last few weeks, our developers have been playing around with the betas and have taken a deep look at the possibilities that the new features, APIs & improvements in iOS 16 and macOS Ventura shall bring to Readdle's apps.
Here are some of the new features & improvements that Apple announced at WWDC 2022 that we're excited about at Readdle.
1. Lock Screen improvements
Apple has announced some major improvements and changes coming to the Lock Screen on iOS 16. This is a radical change to the way that the company has perceived the Lock Screen as, now allowing anyone to fully customize & personalize the Lock Screen's look and feel entirely.
You will be able to customize the font, color, as well as the placement of various elements on screen. For the first time, Apple is offering additional font and color choices for the date & time element on the Lock Screen. iOS 16 will come with a Lock Screen gallery with a number of pre-built designs for inspiration. You'll be able to set up multiple screens and switch between them, such as having one Lock Screen for work and another for Home & Family.
These Lock Screen Improvements are accompanied by a number of developer-oriented capabilities too, meaning that your favorite third-party apps will soon become even better.
— Widgets on the Lock Screen
A substantial change coming to iOS 16 is the ability to choose and display a set of widgets on the Lock Screen to quickly glance at information such as weather, battery levels, upcoming events, alarms, Activity, etc. What's more, Apple is also offering a WidgetKit API that allows third-party developers like Readdle to offer their own set of Widgets. Apple added Home Screen widgets in iOS 14 and we already offer a variety of widgets through our apps.
The WidgetKit API allows developers to design & offer glanceable widgets in a textual, circular, or rectangular format. Imagine being able to see your upcoming events from Calendars right on your Lock Screen. Or the number of new files in PDF Expert. How about glancing at the new emails from Spark. That'd be pretty cool, right?
2. Improvements to Focus
Apple has made some big improvements to Focus, a feature it introduced last year with iOS 15. There are a number of new features that elevate Focus into a much more beneficial feature on iOS 16. For starters, you'll now be able to link your Lock Screens with a Focus — as you switch to your Lock Screen that you have customized for Work, iOS 16 will automatically enable the Work Focus for you. When you change over to your "Family" Lock Screen, iOS will switch your device to the relevant Focus you've linked to the screen.
Conversely, iOS will also automatically suggest the relevant Lock Screens based on the current Focus, such as showing a data-rich Lock Screen when a Work Focus is enabled and may be a photo-based Lock Screen when the Personal Focus is active.
Apple has designed Focus to help you cut away distractions and focus on what's important, thus making you productive. This is also fundamentally how Readdle designs its own apps. All our products — Calendars, Documents, PDF Expert, Scanner Pro, Spark, and Fluix — are designed to help you focus on what's important and help you become more productive.
— Focus Filters
In iOS 16, you will be able to set boundaries for certain apps when each Focus is enabled. For example, when a Work Focus is enabled, the relevant calendar can automatically be put in focus by hiding other, non-relevant calendars. Similarly, you can ask Safari to automatically open a work-related Tab Group, saving you some time.
With the Focus filter API, third-party developers will be able to make their apps work seamlessly with Focus Filters. For example, when you have a Work Focus enabled, Spark can automatically mute notifications for you to avoid distracting you. There's a number of possibilities that this API enables, and our product teams are working on the best implementations of them in our apps.
3. Shared with You and SharePlay
Apple announced SharePlay in iOS 15, enabling users to share & present their screens over a FaceTime call. Readdle was one of the first developers to integrate the SharePlay API in their apps with the release of PDF Expert with SharePlay support in November of last year. This year, Apple has expanded the API to work via Messages too, and we're excited to explore the various use-cases here as well.
In addition to SharePlay via Messages, Apple also announced the Shared with You framework and Collaboration API, where developers can bring their collaboration experiences into Messages and FaceTime. These APIs enable developers to highlight content from their respective apps that people have shared in Messages, and Readdle's product teams are already on top of this feature, exploring different ways it can be implemented in our apps.
4. Siri improvements
Siri Shortcuts have been one of the most remarkable additions to iOS in recent times, as they enable some really advanced & complex workflows for power users. And Apple's Shortcuts app makes it easy for anyone to get started with creating Shortcuts with a simple & straightforward interface on iPhone and iPad. Readdle's apps have shipped with Siri Shortcuts for quite some time now, and with iOS 16, Apple is taking this feature even further.
Run Siri Shortcuts without any setup
You will now be able to run Siri Shortcuts right away after downloading an app, no setup required. This effectively cuts down the entry barrier for most people, as apps can now enable to take full advantage of the capabilities offered through Siri Shortcuts. Readdle's apps already offer some impressive shortcuts to increase your productivity, and we're excited to see how they're used on iOS 16.
Discover what Siri can do for you
Starting with iOS 16, you will be able to discover all the capabilities of Siri in apps by simply asking, “Hey Siri, what can I do here?” You can also ask Siri about a specific app, such as, “Hey Siri, what can I do with Scanner Pro?”
5. External display support on iPad
There’s no denying that Stage Manager on iPadOS 16 is the biggest change that Apple has brought to multitasking on iPads. The ability to resize your windows and move them around according to the current task you’re working on is probably going to be a game changer for most people. In addition to this, Apple has also brought full support for external displays on iPads with the M1 chip, and you’ll be able to connect displays with up to 6K in resolution.
“Full external display support and the resizable windows make iPad an ultimate productivity device, which can simultaneously be portable and stationary according to one’s needs. For us, iPadOS 16 opens up some exciting opportunities to support more desktop use cases in our app,” said Eugene Plokhoj, the Head of Product for Readdle’s Documents app.
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6. Improvements to Mail app
Apple is bringing a host of improvements to the default Mail app on iOS and iPadOS. It has remained largely unchanged for quite a few years now, and Apple has decided to change that in iOS 16 and macOS Ventura. The Mail.app will get some much-needed improvements to Smart search in the form of Smart search suggestions and Smart search corrections. The app will also get new features like Undo send, Scheduled send, Follow-up, Remind me, etc.
For us at Readdle, it’s incredibly exciting and motivating to see Apple paying attention to the Mail app and elevate it from being just a basic mail app. The introduction of such features will lead to more people learning about better email habits, and more and more users will learn how to bring sanity to their email inboxes.
Spark has shipped with a number of amazing features like these for several years now, and we continue to improve our app with every release. Our teams have been working on some incredible new features over the last several months and we're excited to put them into your hands soon. Stay tuned to @SparkMailApp on Twitter to hear more about our upcoming releases.
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There are many other changes and improvements in iOS 16 and macOS Ventura that we’re excited to be working on. Readdle’s product teams are always on a quest to deliver amazing updates to our apps, and you can rest assured that the iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura releases later this year are going to see some outstanding product updates from us.
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