Ten Cool New Features Introduced at WWDC 2021

Originally published at: Ten Cool New Features Introduced at WWDC 2021 - TidBITS

This year’s Worldwide Developer Conference keynote was chock full of innovative new features for apps and devices in the Apple ecosystem, far too many to cover at once. Here are our ten favorites.

The coolest feature, and the best demo, is the “text from camera” which is not just insanely cool, but will also be really useful. I pointed my phone at a page of text and sent all the text as a message to my wife, no images involved, and it’s instantaneous.

If I point the camera at my keyboard and move it, the text will update based on which key is in focus. Q W 3 F5… I used it to get the cottage and amps off a power supply. sure, I could have take a photo, but this way I had the plain text right there to search for a compatible power brick.

For anyone interested in new language-related features, there are a couple summaries at

Embarrassingly, I haven’t heard of Photos Search before although it sounds like a must-have app for people who take pictures of text (like me – all the time).
Can someone comment on the OCR quality of Photos Search, or even Apple’s Live Text?

Any thoughts here on the new Facetime? It sounds like it may not only allow calls from iPhones to Android “devices” but also (since it’s browser-enabled) calls from Macs to PCs?

I’ve used Photos Search only a little at this point, since it’s not something I need to do a lot. However, I did just realize that it would be a big win for searching for screenshots and it seems to be accurate at that.

You can certainly start a FaceTime call from a Mac, using the FaceTime app. But I’d be surprised if there was a way to start a FaceTime call from a browser on a non-Apple device.

Yeah, it’s clear that the call has to be initiated in iOS 15, but I wasn’t aware that FaceTime calls could be made from Mac OS to PCs at all?

Not currently, since there’s no FaceTime app for Windows. But the FaceTime app on the Mac works just fine now for initiating calls, and in Monterey, it lets you create the FaceTime links that are necessary for inviting Windows and Android users. Haven’t had a chance to test it yet.

1 Like

Yes, the latter is what I was referring to, although I wasn’t clear that it was going to part of Monterey as well as iOS 15. In my case it would replace both Zoom and Teams, which would be very cool.

1 Like