And with that, another annual WWDC launch event is over. With no new hardware announcements, it was hardly the most exciting Apple event ever, and this year's iOS and iPadOS updates felt pretty minor. But tucked in the macOS part of the presentation was one particularly impressive new feature for creatives – and it's sending Twitter wild.
Universal Control will allow users to use a single MacBook trackpad and mouse to control several more devices, including an iPad and iMac. Essentially an extension of iPadOS 13's sidecar feature, it extends the capabilities of the iPad as a second display, which could be a game-changer for digital artists. (Check out our best tablets with a stylus if that's you.)
In an impressive demo as part of the WWDC keynote (opens in new tab), Apple showed the tool in the context of creating an illustrated presentation. The user can move the curser to the edge of the MacBook display, and it will magically appear on the iPad – offering new levels of multitasking opportunities.
Users can drag and drop between a Mac and iPad (or another Mac) without removing their finger from the MacBook trackpad, and use the MacBook keyboard to type or use shortcuts on either supplementary device. For creatives who use both the best iPad apps and graphic design tools on the Mac, Universal Control looks like a pretty seamless experience.
Universal Control is crazy! Sidecar was already nuts this is next level.June 7, 2021
I can’t imagine the engineering that went into universal control #WWDC21June 7, 2021
Elsewhere, WWDC 2021 was perhaps a little underwhelming. New iOS features include an improved Notification Centre and FaceTime tweaks, while iPadOS has gained enhanced multitasking tools. Last year's WWDC introduced Scribble for iPad and iOS homescreen widgets, but 'wow' moments like these were lacking this time around – except when it came to Universal Control.
That said, with iOS, iPadOS and macOS already offering three of the most polished UI experiences available, perhaps it's no surprise that the updates are starting to feel a little incremental. And hey, when new hardware is inevitably announced, we're sure we'll start to see the true potential of the next generation of software. If you can't wait until then, check out the best Apple deals, and find the best iPhone 12 deals below.