iOS 15 will reportedly include notifications revamp, new iPad home screen, and more

Apple is getting ready to announce a raft of software updates for the iPhone and iPad in June according to a new report from Bloomberg, including “the most significant update to the [iPad’s] Home Screen since first launching the product in 2010.”

The new versions of iOS and iPadOS — iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 — will be unveiled at Apple’s upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on June 7th, says Bloomberg. Last year’s iOS 14 update was announced at WWDC on June 22nd, before becoming available for download on September 16th in time to accompany the iPhone 12 release.

Bloomberg’s story has a host of details about what to expect from the latest versions of Apple’s mobile software, but here are the biggest points:

  • New notification filters based on user status. From a new menu accessible from the Lock Screen and Control Center, users will have more granular control over how notifications are displayed (do they play sounds or not, for example) based on whether they’re driving, sleeping, at work, or have turned on Do Not Disturb mode.
  • iPad home screen upgrade. This will reportedly include the ability to add widgets (introduced in iOS last year). Bloomberg doesn’t offer any more details, but claims this will be the most significant update to the iPad home screen since the product launched.
  • Quick access to privacy data. A new menu will reportedly let users see what information apps are collecting about them. Presumably this would tap the same data used by Apple for new “privacy labels” introduced to the App Store last December.
  • Updated iOS Lock Screen. This will include access to the above privacy menu. It’s not clear if any other changes are coming.
  • Social upgrades for iMessage. New features would help iMessage compete with WhatsApp “with the eventual goal of acting as more of a social network.” But Bloomberg says these are “still early in development” and might be announced later this year.
  • Minor updates for macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. Apple launched a big redesign for macOS last year with Big Sur, so it seems right to expect only small changes this time round.

These are the first reliable rumors we’ve heard about what to expect from iOS and iPadOS 15, though they aren’t particularly surprising. Updated notification filters and access to app data are solid additions but not splashy features. Meanwhile, giving iPadOS the same widgets available in iOS is welcome but hardly a major change. Given that the iPad Pro got upgraded with a beefy M1 processor this week, we’re still hoping that Apple will be a bit more ambitious about what its tablets can deliver in future in terms of software. Bloomberg’s report doesn’t suggest a leap forward but we’ll have to wait for WWDC to see.

Meanwhile, iOS 14.5 is set to arrive next week featuring support for Apple’s new AirTag item trackers, and the company’s new podcast features.

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