Apple on Monday revealed dozens of new features in the latest versions of its mobile and desktop operating systems at the kickoff of its annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

“There were lots of incremental improvements in the areas of health and security,” observed Kevin Krewell, a principal analyst with Tirias Research, a high-tech research and advisory firm in San Jose, Calif.

“They also continued the theme of Apple stuff works better with Apple stuff in the Apple ecosystem,” he told TechNewsWorld.

“The emphasis of the whole presentation seemed to be making Apple products more useful for consumers,” added Gartner Senior Principal Analyst Tuong Nguyen.

In the next version of Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS 15, the company added features to its FaceTime app to make online interaction by groups of people more realistic through the use of spatial audio, voice isolation and use of “portrait” mode for faces.

Competing With Zoom

It also expanded the sharing capabilities of the program and its reach outside Apple’s “walled garden.”

“They really expanded FaceTime’s capabilities so it can be used in collaboration,” noted Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies, a technology advisory firm in Campbell, Calif.

“But Apple didn’t remove the 32-user restriction for FaceTime,” he told TechNewsWorld. “Businesses that use video conferencing need 50, 100 or more users in their conferences and seminars so I don’t see the new features enabling Apple to compete with the Zooms of the world.”

“Rather they’re providing richer features for their broader consumer audience,” he added.

Investment in AI and ML

While acknowledging the new additions to FaceTime were nice improvements, Krewell asserted that the software is still very much locked into Apple’s ecosystem.

“It’s not an open platform,” he told TechNewsWorld. “There’s a new API for developers now so we’ll have to see if they pick up the mantle and connect it to other platforms.”

“They have to allow outside access to FaceTime if they want to be more of an alternative to Zoom,” added Ross Rubin, the principal analyst at Reticle Research, a consumer technology advisory firm in New York City.

“Apple continues to invest heavily in AI and machine learning in iOS 15,” he told TechNewsWorld. “We can see that in the new notification modes that understand your behavior, the new translation capabilities and the matching of music to your photos.”

“We also see greater demarcation between what they’re doing with the iPad and the phone,” he said. “They’re beefing up the content capabilities of the iPad through an improved user interface and bringing over the app library feature from iOS.”

Another new feature in iOS is Live Text. It allows you to point the camera in an iPhone at any text in the real world — white board, signage and such — and convert it to digital text at the press of a button.