iOS 15 features that just weren't meant to be: What Apple still didn't give us
At its WWDC event on Monday, Apple unveiled the latest versions of its major operating systems: iOS 15, iPadOS 15, MacOS Monterey and WatchOS 8. While these updates include some much-anticipated new features -- like the ability for Android users to join FaceTime calls, enhanced privacy options and dual-screen controls for working across Macs and iPads -- some notable rumored features didn't end up coming to fruition, at least this time around. We also didn't see any new Apple hardware, like new AirPods 3 or MacBook Pros.
Here are some of the software features that we thought might make an appearance at Monday's event, but did not.
Read more: How to download iOS 15 and iPadOS 15
Extended display support for iPads with monitors
While Apple did introduce "universal control," allowing you to turn your Mac keyboard and trackpad or mouse into a way to also control your iPad, this isn't the same as extending your iPad to your desktop or another connected display, which would be a more impressive productivity move. But perhaps it signals that a bigger change in that direction could be on the horizon.
Improved battery life or low power innovations for Apple Watch
Though WatchOS 8 adds a bunch of new health features and app updates, still missing is any improvement to battery life or low power mode -- something the wearable sorely needs, especially if you wear it overnight for tracking your sleep.
New iPadOS features for M1 iPad Pros
Apple's M1-powered iPad Pros dramatically improved the tablet's performance and battery life. But the iPad is still running the same OS -- and largely the same apps -- as every other iPad. We thought we might see some interesting new upgrades in iPadOS 15 for iPad Pros taking advantage of the M1 chip, but that was not the case.
At last year's WWDC, Apple unveiled CarKey, the ability to add virtual car keys to your Apple Wallet that allow you to open and unlock your car just by using your iPhone's NFC chip. While iOS 15 adds the ability to store your driver's license and ID in your Apple Wallet, there was no mention of any CarKey updates.
Game-changing FaceTime features to help it compete with Zoom
iOS 15 includes some major updates for Apple's FaceTime video chat service, including spatial audio, a grid view, portrait mode, and the ability to schedule calls in advance and invite those with Android and Windows devices to join FaceTime calls from their browsers. A new feature called SharePlay also lets you watch shows and listen to music with others through FaceTime. While these are great upgrades, they come more than a year after they would have been most useful during the pandemic, and fail to add anything game-changing that will make FaceTime a true competitor for industry mammoth Zoom, like better cross-platform options (and, of course, backgrounds).
More tapback options in iMessage
While iMessage did get several upgrades in iOS 15, including better sharing features, we didn't see any new tapback options, leaving us with the same message reactions we already have (heart, thumbs up, thumbs down, ha ha, exclamation point or question mark).
Revamped iPhone widgets
While the iPhone's widgets finally made their way to the iPad as well in iPadOS 15, iOS 15 didn't get any new widget options, like more customization and interactivity.
More exercises in the Breathe app
The popular Breathe app is getting an update, with a new animation to help you focus and a "reflect" mode that prompts you to think about something specific and improve mindfulness. But it will not include different kinds of breathing exercises.
Was there anything else you were hoping to see announced at WWDC 2021? Sound off in the comments below.
For more, check out how to use Apple's new Hide My Email feature to keep spammers out of your inbox, and how to download iOS 15 and iPadOS 15.