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macOS Monterey stars, iOS 15 lets you 'connect' and more: WWDC 2021 as it happened

We've got everything on the new software from Apple, including macOS Monterey

iOS, macOS, tvOS, watchOS and iPad OS on stage with Tim Cook
macOS Monterey was the most popular launch at WWDC 2021
(Image: © Apple)

Apple's WWDC 2021 is done and dusted, and while the developer's conference is set to last the majority of this week we've heard all about a bunch of new software.

macOS Monterey was one of the stars of the show, with the new name coming to replace Big Sur as the new Mac operating system. It was Universal Control, where you can use a MacBook or iPad as a second or third screen just by placing them next to each other, that stole the show for us, but we saw new tweaks and design upgrades to Safari (with a new, simplified layout), Shortcuts finally coming to the macOS ecosystem (and replacing Automator) as well as things like Quick Note, which came to iPadOS 15, landing as well.

iOS 15 was the update that many will have been clamoring to hear about, given it'll affect many different devices across the world. It'll come with big FaceTime improvements (with FaceTime even coming to Android), such as background blur and spatial audio, offer far more ways to see links, photos and music that your friends send through Messages as well as work on devices all the way back to the iPhone 6S. That's all the way back to phones from 2015.

iPadOS 15 was an odd update - it seemed to bring more things like widgets to the homescreen, which was already there in the iPhone's iOS 14 from last year. The App Library appears, as well as getting a place in the dock at the bottom of the iPad's display, and things like Quick Note allow you to jot something down using the Apple Pencil from anywhere in the device.

It wasn't the biggest change for the iPad operating system, but it did enhance some multi-tasking features we're looking forward to trying out.

If you were excited about watchOS 8, it's best not to be. It was a very quiet update, with things like Apple's depth-perceiving Portrait images making their way to the Photos watchface, new ways to help you be more mindful during the day and monitoring of your respiratory rate during sleeping.

Given last year, sleep tracking was built into the Watch for the first time, this was a rather underwhelming change.

As expected, we didn't hear anything about upcoming products like an iPhone SE 3, Apple Watch 7 or iPhone 13, but there were a bundle of new features around the key software products.

We won't lie - the lack of hardware was underwhelming, but some of the new features in the software were intriguing, with Apple's dual thrust of connecting to people you love and privacy being constant messages throughout.

WWDC 2021 screenshot

The App Store got some new tweaks too (Image credit: Apple)

Welcome to TechRadar's WWDC 2021 live blog. We're getting started early today ahead of the big event, and we'll be here to run you through everything we're expecting from Apple before the stream kicks off.

Expect to hear about updates for your iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple TV and perhaps even more, with rumors suggesting there will be new gadgets like a MacBook Pro for 2021.

It's expected to be a packed show, and we'll be running you through everything as it happens. While you wait, why not check out our feature below where we spoke to three app developers on what they'd like to see Apple introduce at WWDC 2021?

We'll be talking you through a variety of the updates we're expecting to see at WWDC 2021 throughout today. First off, we're going to talk about iOS 15 and iPadOS 15.

iOS 15 and iPadOS 15

iPad Pro 12.9 2021

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Possibly the biggest unveiling of WWDC 2021 will be iOS 15, the next iPhone update that’ll likely come to phones in September.

We haven’t heard too much about iOS from leaks and rumors, but since iOS 14 was quite a big upgrade, people are expecting iOS 15 to present fewer changes. We’ve heard the Control Center could get a little redesign though.

iPadOS 15 is a version of iOS 15 designed for iPads (as the name suggests), and new updates are generally the same as the iPhone counterpart except with a few tablet-specific tricks. Again, news is very light, but iPadOS 15 isn’t expected to change too much from iPadOS 14.

In the last 24 hours, a new leak has suggested Apple may be introducing a new mental health focused app at WWDC 2021. The rumors suggest it'll be called Mind, and the truth is we don't know a huge amount about.

We've broken down what we do know so far, but it sounds like it may be an improvement on the existing Breathe app that you'd find on your Apple Watch. Here's our analysis on what we think Mind could be.

Will we see new Mac hardware from Apple today? A host of leaks and rumors over the last few weeks have suggested so. 

Jessica Weatherbed, Computing Writer for TechRadar, says "We're expecting Apple to announce two new models of MacBook pro - a 14-inch and 16-inch model - though rumors are in the air regarding updated design, potential release dates and even hardware.

MacBook pro

Apple's current MacBook Pro (Image credit: Future)

"It's been suggested that these new additions might include some beefier internal silicon (an M1X or M2 if you will), which makes sense given most of the current Mac family now uses the M1 SoC.

"I'd be surprised if these new products are announced for imminent release given existing estimates that components for the new MacBook Pro units won't be ready until Q3, but Apple typically doesn't wait long to put it's new goodies on the shelves."

Could tvOS get its next upgrade today? Little is known about tvOS 15, but TechRadar's Home Cinema Editor, Henry St Leger, has some ideas about what you can expect. 

He says, "New iterations of Apple tvOS smart platform are usually announced at WWDC, and we expect this year to be no different. tvOS 15 should be on show, with a host of improvements, tweaks, and new features for the OS behind the Apple TV app and Apple TV streaming device hardware. If Apple sticks to its usual timelines, that will be followed by a private beta that turns into a public release this September.

"With a new Apple TV 4K now on sale, we expect at least some changes to be around optimizing the Apple TV experience. Rumors are swirling around an app redesign to aid navigation, and we’re hoping to see Apple finally fix its awkward Apple TV Plus integration. We could see an in-app guide to live channels too, as well as a kids mode and more parental controls – which was rumored to come last year but has yet to appear in the operating system.

"Last year’s tvOS 14 update added Audio Sharing for connecting two sets of AirPods, 4K video transfer over AirPlay and 4K playback on YouTube, and greater control over HomeKit-connected smart devices."

Developers are the main focus of WWDC, and often this is a show that is mostly around preparing them ready for the new features so they can have their apps ready and up to date for software to land in future.

We spoke to three prolific app developers for Apple platforms on what they want to see from WWDC 2021. You can read what they want here.

While it's not on the official WWDC schedule, it would make sense for Apple to make a big deal about Spatial Audio today. It recently announced that Spatial Audio and Lossless Audio will be coming to Apple Music at no extra cost to subscribers, in a move that has shaken up hi-res streaming services like Tidal.