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WWDC 2021: THIS was Apple's most exciting announcement

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.)

Apple

Universal Control in action (Image credit: Apple)

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. 

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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.

iOS 15

We're a little underwhelmed by iOS 15 (Image credit: Apple)

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.

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Daniel Piper
Daniel Piper

Daniel Piper is Creative Bloq’s Senior News Editor. As the brand’s Apple authority, he covers all things Mac, iPhone, iPad and the rest. He also reports on the worlds of design, branding and tech. Daniel joined Future in 2020 (an eventful year, to say the least) after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more. Outside of Future, Daniel is a global poetry slam champion and has performed at festivals including Latitude, Bestival and more. He is the author of Arbitrary and Unnecessary: The Selected Works of Daniel Piper (Selected by Daniel Piper).