A key Apple app is rumored to be getting a major upgrade in macOS 15

We're set to hear much more about what's coming with macOS 15 when Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) gets underway on June 10 – and one app in particular is rumored to be getting a major upgrade.

That app is the Calculator app, and while it perhaps isn't the most exciting piece of software that Apple makes, AppleInsider reckons the upcoming upgrade is “the most significant upgrade” the app has been given “in years”.

It's so substantial, it's got its own codename: GreyParrot (that's said to be a nod towards the African grey parrot, known for its cognitive abilities). Part of the upgrade will apparently include the Math Notes feature we've already heard about in relation to a Notes app upgrade due in iOS 18.

It sounds as though Math Notes is going to make it easier to ferry calculations between the Notes and the Calculator apps. A new sidebar showing the Calculator history is reported to be on the way too. This might well get its own button on the app, AppleInsider says.

Currency conversions

Calculator for macOS

Currency conversions currently require a pop-up dialog (Image credit: Future)

A visual redesign is also apparently on the way, with “rounded buttons and darker shades of black” to match the iOS Calculator. Users will also be able to resize the Calculator app window, with the buttons resizing accordingly, which isn't currently possible.

Unit conversion is going to be made more intuitive and easier to access, AppleInsider says, with no need to open up the menus to select conversion types – at the moment, it's necessary to select currencies in a pop-up dialog.

The thinking is that Apple wants to better compete with apps such as OneNote from Microsoft, and the third-party Calcbot app for macOS. It's been a long time since the Calculator app was changed in any way, and its rather basic feature set means it's lagging behind other alternatives.

According to AppleInsider, there's no guarantee that Apple will go through with this Calculator upgrade, but it seems likely. Expect to hear much more about macOS 15, iOS 18, and Apple's other software products at WWDC 2024 on June 10.

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Spotify’s rumored remix feature could completely change how we listen to music

Spotify is reportedly working on adding remixing tools to its streaming service, giving users a way to reimagine their favorite tracks. 

The news comes from The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) whose sources state people will be able to “speed up, mash-up, and otherwise edit songs” however they want. The article explains that one of the purported additions is a playback feature for controlling how fast or how slow a track plays. When you’re finished with a remix, you can then share it with other Spotify users, but not to third-party platforms or social media. There are licensing agreements in place that will prevent people from sharing their creations.

The availability of these tools will differ depending on the type of Spotify subscription you have. The “more basic features” such as the speed control will be on the basic plan; however, the “advanced song modification features” will be on the company’s long-rumored Supremium tier

Imminent launch

Several lines of code were discovered by Reddit user Hypixely on the Spotify subreddit revealing the company plans on introducing the remix patch as the “Music Pro” add-on. Accompanying text also talks about lossless audio arriving on the platform which could be referring to Supremium. The name of the plan isn't explicitly stated, but the clues are there. The fact that lossless was mentioned alongside the remix update could hint at an imminent release for both, although it may still be a while before we see either one.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the platform is currently hashing out the details with music rights holders. Development is still in the early stages, but once everything comes out, it could upend the way we enjoy music.

Analysis: if you can't beat them…

Arguably, some of the more popular versions of songs are remixes. Fan reinterpretations can alter the meaning of the original and even serve as an introduction to a new generation. As the WSJ points out, people like to add their own unique twists on a classic or edit them for dance challenges or memes. That type of content can be a very effective way of discovering new music. How many times have you seen people in the comments section asking for the source of a song or movie or whatever? It’s quite common.

As great as fan remixes may be, they’ve apparently become a bit of a problem. Musicians and labels don’t get paid for the content utilizing their work. The WSJ mentions how a “sped-up cover version” of the song “Somewhere Only We Know” by the rock band Keane has over 33 million tracks on Spotify. Record executives see this and force these platforms to do something.

There are different solutions to this problem. Spotify chose the path of “if you can’t beat them, join ‘em.” It’s a win-win scenario for everyone involved. Rather than ban the content, the company is choosing to embrace the remixes. People can be creative and artists can get paid.

If you want to flex that creative muscle, check out TechRadar's list of the best free music-making software for 2024.

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Windows 11 24H2 update is rumored to be ready to go – but nobody will get any of its major new features anytime soon

Windows 11’s next big update just moved a step closer to fruition, perhaps, given a rumor that Microsoft has just pushed out a new preview update that represents the 24H2 release.

The 24H2 update is due later this year, most likely in September, but the twist is it’s expected to initially arrive – in a slightly different form for certain devices (we’ll come back to exactly what we mean here) – around the middle of 2024.

The preview version of Windows 11 we’re talking about is build 26100 and we’re told by reliable leaker Zac Bowden (of Windows Central) that this is the RTM build for the 24H2 update (which Bowden predicted would arrive in April).

RTM means 'release to manufacturing' and it translates, as the name suggests, to mean this is effectively a finished product – with caveats that we’ll come back to shortly – that Microsoft is sending out to PC manufacturers to put on their devices (and test before that hardware hits the shelves).

Some PC makers may have received this RTM build already, or they are about to. In short, this is a positive sign that Windows 11 24H2 is progressing on track with its purported release schedule as aired via the grapevine.


Analysis: A new two-tier update process from Microsoft

The mentioned caveat-laden twist is that this initial hardware in question is AI PCs with Snapdragon X Elite chips, which are based on ARM architecture (quite different to AMD or Intel x86 CPUs). Because these Snapdragon chips are different to the general norm they need the new Germanium platform that Windows 11 24H2 is built on to work, so Microsoft is technically deploying the new version of the OS with these AI PCs which are expected to debut in June.

However, that particular Windows 11 24H2 build won’t have any of the new features touted for the next big upgrade. It’s just going to be much the same as what we have now with Windows 11, just with that new underpinning Germanium platform for ARM-based chips.

Microsoft will finalize the fully fleshed out 24H2 update, with all its new features added on top, in July; or that’s the predicted timeframe by Bowden. And then after final testing, the full 24H2 update will roll out to everyone on Windows 11 in September. Including those Snapdragon X Elite PCs, of course, who won’t get all the new features until everyone else is receiving them.

Hopefully we’ve made that clear enough. But it’s true that this is all rather more complex and convoluted than the usual straightforward deployment of a Windows annual feature update.

The long and short of it is that things appear to be on track, but nobody will get the full Windows 11 24H2 update until September 2024 (or around then). And while new AI PC buyers this summer will get a Snapdragon-powered laptop with 24H2 on board, this will be just the skeleton of that version, as it were, and all the meat (new features) won’t be added until everyone else receives the update in September(ish).

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Meta Quest 3 Lite: everything we know about the rumored cheap VR headset

Based on the leaks and rumors it seems increasingly likely that Meta is working on a cheaper version of the Meta Quest 3 – expected to be called the Meta Quest 3 Lite or Meta Quest 3s. 

It’s not yet been confirmed, but the gadget is expected to be a more affordable version of the Quest 3 – at a price closer to the Quest 2 – that would see the Meta fully phase out its last-gen VR hardware. The trade-off would be the device wouldn’t have all the capabilities of the Quest 3 – likely sporting lower-resolution displays, less RAM, a worse chipset, or dropping mixed reality support (though that last point seems unlikely).

While we’re not convinced the gadget will look exactly like what’s been rumored so far, as the saying goes: where there's smoke there’s fire. The fact that several independent leaks have come out suggests Meta is definitely working on something.

We’ve collected the latest news and rumors here so this page can serve as your one-stop shop for all things Meta Quest 3 Lite. As we learn more about the device we’ll be sure to update the page and keep you in the loop with all the latest information.

Meta Quest 3 Lite: Latest news

We’ve seen not one, but two distinct Meta Quest 3 Lite leaks – one render called the Meta Quest 3 Lite and one with more details that the leaker called the Quest 3s.

The Oculus Quest 2 was also at a record low price ($ 200 / £200) as part of this year's Amazon Spring Sale, following a permanent price cut to $ 249.99 / £249.99 / AU$ 439.99 earlier this year. This could be a sign Meta and retailers are trying to shift stock ahead of the last-gen device being phased out before a Quest 3 Lite release.

Oculus Quest 2 on a white background

Is the Quest 3 Lite the true Quest 2 replacement? (Image credit: Shutterstock / Boumen Japet)

Meta Quest 3 Lite: Price

As the Meta Quest 3 Lite isn’t yet official – meaning Meta itself hasn’t confirmed (or denied) its existence – we can’t say for certain how much it’ll cost or when it will be released.

But based on rumors and previous Meta hardware releases, we can make some reasoned predictions on what the gadget might cost and when we could see it in action.

Price-wise, we can reasonably expect it’ll cost around the same as Meta’s last-gen headset, given the Lite is billed as a super-affordable model meant to fully replace the Oculus Quest 2. It’ll certainly cost less than the Meta Quest 3.

This would likely see it released at around $ 299 / £299 / AU$ 479, which is where the Quest 2 started life. Honestly, we’d be more than a little disappointed if it was more expensive.

A man using his Zenni customized Meta Quest 3 headset

The Meta Quest 3 could soon have a sibling (Image credit: Zenni)

Meta Quest 3 Lite: Release date

As for the Quest 3 Lite’s release date, Meta usually likes to release new hardware in October. However, it might decide to mix things up with this budget-friendly gadget to avoid confusing it with its main line Quest and Quest Pro lines.

We predict the Quest 3 Lite will be announced and released as part of this year’s Meta Quest Gaming Showcase, which should be around June based on previous years. 

If Meta sticks to its usual hardware release schedule, though, then a launch after this year’s Meta Connect – which we expect will land in September or October – could be on the cards.

Of course, this assumes the Meta Quest 3 Lite even launches at all.

The Meta Quest 3 in action

The Meta Quest 3 Lite will likely look a little different to the Quest 3 (Image credit: Meta)

Meta Quest 3 Lite: Specs and design

So far we haven’t heard many specs for the Meta Quest 3 Lite. The main leaks so far have been renders showing off its possible design.

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These leaks suggest it’ll be bulkier than the Quest 3, likely because the Lite would adopt the fresnel lens system used by the Quest 2. This makes some sense as fresnel lenses are cheaper, partly because the alternative pancake lenses require brighter displays. However, considering pancake lenses lead not only to a slimmer headset design but also better image quality (and we’ve seen cheap headsets like the Pico 4 use pancake lenses) we’d be surprised if Meta didn't use them in the Lite.

One of the leaks went into more detailed specs, suggesting it’ll have 128GB or 256GB of storage (instead of the 128GB or 512GB in the Quest 3) and 1,832 x 1,920 pixel displays (one per eye). Something seems off about the leak, though, in terms of the assets shared and the included info that could help identify the leaker (which seems like a bad idea for anyone trying to avoid the wrath of Meta’s well-funded legal team).  

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As such, color us skeptical when it comes to the details highlighted in the post.

Meta Quest 3 Lite: Software

Assuming the Meta Quest 3 Lite has the same or similar mixed-reality capabilities as the Meta Quest 3, we expect it’ll have access to all of the same software – which is to say, everything available on the Quest platform’s Store (and many other games and apps available through sideloading via third-party digital storefronts).

If it has significantly worse specs – such as the Quest 2’s Snapdragon XR2 Gen 1 chipset – there may be some software that launches in the future that would be exclusive to the full Quest 3. But we expect the Quest 3 Lite would use a Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 so, hopefully, this won’t be an issue.

We’ll have to wait and see what Meta announces.

Girl wearing Meta Quest 3 headset interacting with a jungle playset

The Meta Quest 3 Lite needs to have mixed reality (Image credit: Meta)

Meta Quest 3 Lite: What we want to see

As for what we want to see from the Quest 3 Lite VR headset – acknowledging that its lower price will necessitate lower specs than the Meta Quest 3 proper – our ideal setup would boast the same Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 chipset and 8GB of RAM as the Quest 3, though 6GB of RAM like the Quest 2 is, admittedly, a lot more likely. 

Storage options would start at 64GB – as frankly, you don’t need a lot of storage space for VR apps, especially if you’re willing to download and delete them as necessary – and the displays would be a lower resolution than the Quest 3. A leak suggested the 1,832 x 1,920 pixels per eye option, and considering this is what’s used by the Quest 2 it does make some sense.

Pancake lenses seem like an easy win from a design and image-quality perspective (especially if Meta opts for poorer displays), and mixed-reality passthrough that’s at least as high-quality as the Quest 3 is also a must.

Beyond this, one rogue cost-cutting measure could see Meta scrap or change its Quest 3 controllers. However, given how much developers have emphasized to us the importance of VR handsets having a standard design, and the fact that many Quest titles don’t support hand-tracking, this might be a step too far.

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Windows 11 24H2 update rumored to arrive in September, ushering in huge changes for the OS

Microsoft’s major update for 2024 will be Windows 11 24H2, we’ve again heard, but it’ll be a big old drop of multiple features – plus foundational changes – that’s expected to arrive in September.

That’s the latest from Microsoft rumor-monger Zac Bowden of Windows Central fame, a generally reliable source for all things Windows.

Bowden has previously asserted that Microsoft is going to keep Windows 11 and push out a 24H2 upgrade later this year – rather than launching Windows 12, or whatever an all-new version of the OS might be called – so this concept is nothing new.

Also fully expected is that the update will be heavily focused on next-gen AI experiences (for those AI PCs Microsoft keeps banging on about), and we’re told by Bowden that the 2024 Update will be a much larger affair than 23H2 (which was pretty minor, so again, that’s no surprise).

However, according to Bowden, 24H2 will represent a seriously big change in direction, and will be built on a new version of the Windows platform that’ll usher in various performance and security updates alongside a raft of new features.

What new features? Well, given the mentioned weight on the AI side of the equation, obviously there’ll be upgrades for Copilot. We’re told the desktop assistant will enhance the Windows interface and find ways to boost productivity in terms of apps, search, and more besides.

Bowden doesn’t go into any real specifics that haven’t been mentioned before, but in short, Copilot will help you do more stuff in a swifter and more convenient manner in Windows, as well as all the existing Bing Chat-style chops the AI has.

The leaker does expand on one point, though: that Microsoft is planning a Copilot timeline/history feature that’ll allows users to locate any file, image, app, basically anything that has been previously opened on their PC, using the AI. A history-based super-search, in other words, that’ll likely allow you to do things like request ‘that file where I wrote about Nvidia’s new RTX Super graphics cards’ or similar more natural language-based requests than traditional search. (We’ve heard rumors along these lines before).

We’ve already seen other incoming features in test builds of Windows 11 such as the new ‘energy saver’ capability and AI-powered Snap Layouts to pick out a couple of examples.

All the stuff you see in testing in early channels is likely to be for 24H2, and there are other additions coming, too. For example, Phone Link improvements are inbound, including being able to use your smartphone as a makeshift webcam for the PC (pretty nifty).


Windows 11 desktop on an all-in-one PC

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Analysis: Possible twists in the tale

Some still believe that this will be Windows 12, or some incarnation of next-gen Windows (Windows AI?) rather than just a 24H2 update for Windows 11. That’d make sense in some ways, given that this is Windows built on an entirely new platform (called Germanium) and it’s a big thing coming alongside those AI PCs we keep hearing about.

Bowden thinks a full name change is unlikely, though, and still maintains this will be the 24H2 update even though it ushers in extensive changes.

One reason Microsoft may not want Windows 12 is that it would fragment the user base into Windows 10, 11, and 12, which could be confusing for users, and a pain for Microsoft to handle in terms of development and patching. Remember, Windows 10 isn’t dead anymore, and Microsoft recently reversed the decision to freeze new features coming to the older OS, and is now piping fresh functionality across – including, most importantly, Copilot.

All of this is just speculation, mind, and even Microsoft itself may not have made the final decision as to whether this will be another update for Windows 11, or an all-new next-gen Windows.

Bowden lays out the development timeframe and as mentioned, the projected release for the theoretical 24H2 update is currently September (though it could be later in the year).

There’s a slight twist, though, in that the platform it’s built on, Germanium, will apparently be ready in April, after which work on finalizing the Windows 11 2024 Update will begin. It’s possible that new AI PCs with 24H2 on board could appear as soon as July, but the upgrade won’t come to existing Windows 11 installations until September at the earliest.

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Apple rumored to be announcing major Siri updates at WWDC 2023

Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference for this year – WWDC 2023 – gets underway tomorrow, June 5. We've already heard plenty of rumors about what to expect, and it would seem that Apple's digital assistant Siri is in line for some major updates too.

According to well-known Apple tipster Mark Gurman (via MacRumors), there's a possibility that Apple will announce that the “hey Siri” phrase used to trigger Siri on iPhones and other devices is being shortened to simply “Siri”.

While this might not sound major from a user perspective, it has apparently required a significant amount of engineering work: accurately recognizing a single word rather than two words is a lot trickier, and Apple's AI engines have been updated to cope.

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Listen up

Gurman first suggested this update was on the way back in November, though at the time it wasn't clear exactly when “hey Siri” would become simply “Siri”. Deeper Siri integrations with third-party apps and a better understanding of context have also been rumored.

At the moment, Google Assistant still requires a “hey Google” wake up command, though you can disable it for certain quick commands, and there has been talk of further changes here. As for Amazon Alexa, just an “Alexa” command is enough to get started.

We're expecting a whole host of software and hardware announcements at WWDC 2023 this year, including all the news about iOS 17 and a big reveal for the Apple VR headset – and of course you'll be able to read all about it here on TechRadar.


Analysis: expect yet more AI

Amidst the flurry of generative AI updates we've had in recent months, it's easy to forget that digital assistants like Siri have been around for many years now, with AI models leveraged to recognize and interpret voice commands from users.

At Google I/O 2023, Google seemed keen to remind everyone that it has a lot of artificial intelligence tools to show off, and the company has since been busy pushing more AI into more of its products – such as Google Messages.

We can probably expect the same from Apple at WWDC 2023: a look back at the AI that it's already been using, and a look forward to new innovations on the way. Siri, based on tech Apple acquired in 2010, is likely to play a big part in those new innovations.

AI is a hot topic at the moment, and we know that Apple isn't going to want to miss out or fall behind, whether that's with Siri or any of its other software: Google, OpenAI, Microsoft and others have set the pace, and Apple needs to catch up.

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What is xrOS? The Apple VR headset’s rumored software explained

The Apple VR headset is getting close to its rumored arrival at WWDC 2023 on June 5 – and the mixed-reality wearable is expected be launched alongside an exciting new operating system, likely called xrOS.

What is xrOS? We may now be approaching iOS 17, iPadOS 16 and macOS 13 Ventura on Apple's other tech, but the Apple VR headset – rumored to be called the Apple Reality One – is expected to debut the first version of a new operating system that'll likely get regular updates just like its equivalents on iPhone, iPad and Mac.

The latest leaks suggest that Apple has settled on the xrOS name for its AR/VR headset, but a lot of questions remain. For example, what new things might xrOS allow developers (and us) to do in mixed reality compared to the likes of iOS? And will xrOS run ports of existing Apple apps like Freeform?

Here's everything we know so far about xrOS and the kinds of things it could allow Apple's mixed-reality headset to do in both augmented and virtual reality.

xrOS release date

It looks likely that Apple will launch its new xrOS operating system, alongside its new AR/VR headset, at WWDC 2023 on June 5. If you're looking to tune in, the event's keynote is scheduled to kick off at 10am PT / 1pm ET / 6pm BST (or 3am ACT on June 6).

This doesn't necessarily mean that a final version of xrOS will be released on that day. A likely scenario is that Apple will launch an xrOS developer kit to allow software makers to develop apps and experiences for the new headset. 

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While not a typical Apple approach, this is something it has done previously for the Apple TV and other products. A full version of xrOS 1.0 could then follow when the headset hits shelves in late 2023.

The software's name now at least looks set in stone. As spotted by Parker Ortolani on Twitter on May 16, Apple trademarked the 'xrOS' name in its traditional 'SF Pro' typeface in New Zealand, via a shell company. 

We'd previously seen reports from Bloomberg  that 'xrOS' would be the name for Apple's mixed-reality operating system, but the timing of this discovery (and the font used) bolster the rumors that it'll be revealed at WWDC 2023.

Apple Glasses

(Image credit: Future)

A report from Apple leaker Mark Gurman on December 1, 2022, suggested that Apple had “recently changed the name of the operating system to “xrOS” from “realityOS,” and that the name stands for “extended reality”. This term covers both augmented reality (which overlays information on the real world) and virtual reality, a more sealed experience that we're familiar with on the likes of the Meta Quest 2.

While xrOS is expected to have an iOS-like familiarity – with apps, widgets and a homescreen – the fact that the Apple AR/VR headset will apparently run both AR and VR experiences, and also use gesture inputs, explains why a new operating system has been created and will likely be previewed for developers at WWDC.

What is xrOS?

Apple's xrOS platform could take advantage of the AR/VR headset's unique hardware, which includes an array of chips, cameras and sensors. It's different from ARKit, the software that lets your iPhone or iPad run AR apps. Apple's xrOS is also expected to lean heavily on the design language seen on the iPhone, in order to help  fans feel at home.

According to Bloomberg's Gurman, xrOS “will have many of the same features as an iPhone and iPad but in a 3D environment”. This means we can expect an iOS-like interface, complete with re-arrangeable apps, customizable widgets and a homescreen. Apple is apparently also creating an App Store for the headset.

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Stock apps on the AR/VR headset will apparently include Apple's Safari, Photos, Mail, Messages and Calendar apps, plus Apple TV Plus, Apple Music and Podcasts. App developers will also be able to take advantage of its health-tracking potential.

Gurman says that the headset experience will feel familiar to Apple fans – when you put it on, he claims that “the main interface will be nearly identical to that of the iPhone and iPad, featuring a home screen with a grid of icons that can be reorganized”. 

But how will you type when wearing the Apple Reality Pro (as it's rumored to be called)? After all, there probably won't be any controllers.

Spacetop computer used in public

The Sightful Spacetop (above) gives us a glimpse of how the Apple AR/VR headset could work us a virtual Mac display. (Image credit: Sightful)

Instead, you'll apparently be able to type using a keyboard on an iPhone, Mac or iPad. There's also the slightly less appealing prospect of using the Siri voice assistant. Apple is rumored to be creating a system that lets you type in mid-air, but Gurman claims that this feature “is unlikely to be ready for the initial launch”.

It's possible that you'll be able to connect the headset to a Mac, with the headset serving as the Mac's display. We've recently seen a glimpse of how this might work with the Spacetop (above), a laptop that connects to some NReal AR glasses to give you a massive 100-inch virtual display.

What apps will run on xrOS?

We've already mentioned that Apple's AR/VR headset will likely run some optimized versions of existing stock apps, including Safari, Photos, Mail, Messages, Contacts, Reminders, Maps and Calendar. 

But given that those apps aren't exactly crying out for a reinvention in AR or VR, they're likely to be sideshows to some of the more exciting offerings from both Apple and third-party developers. 

So what might those be? Here are some of the most interesting possibilities, based on the latest rumors and what we've seen on the likes of the Meta Quest Pro

1. Apple Fitness Plus

An AR fitness experience on the Litesport app

Apps like Litesport (above) give us a glimpse of AR fitness experiences that could arrive of Apple’s headset. (Image credit: Litesport)

Assuming the Apple AR/VR headset is light and practical enough for workouts – which is something we can't say for the Apple AirPods Max headphones – then it definitely has some AR fitness potential.

According to a report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman on April 18, Apple is planning to tap that potential with “a version of its Fitness+ service for the headset, which will let users exercise while watching an instructor in VR”.

Of course, VR fitness experiences are nothing new, and we've certainly enjoyed some of the best Oculus Quest fitness games. An added AR component could make them even more powerful and motivating, with targets added to your real-world view.

2. Apple Freeform

The Freeform app on an iPad on an orange background

(Image credit: Apple)

We called Apple's Freeform, which gives you a blank canvas to brainstorm ideas with others, “one of its best software releases in years”. And it could be taken to the next level with a version of AR or VR.

Sure enough, Bloomberg's aforementioned report claims that “Apple is developing a version of its Freeform collaboration app for the headset”, which it apparently “sees as a major selling point for the product”.

Okay, work-themed AR/VR work experiences might not sound thrilling and we certainly had misgivings after working for a whole week in VR with the Meta Quest Pro. But mixed-reality whiteboards also sound potentially fun, particularly if we get to play around with them in work time.

3. Apple TV Plus

A basketball team scoring in a NextVR stream

(Image credit: NextVR)

Because Apple's headset will have a VR flipside to its AR mode, it has huge potential for letting us watch TV and video on giant virtual screens, or in entirely new ways. This means that Apple TV Plus will also likely be pre-installed in xrOS.  

Another claim from that Bloomberg report on April 18 was that “one selling point for the headset will be viewing sports in an immersive way”. This makes sense, given Apple already has deals for Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer on Apple TV Plus

And while they're only rumors, Apple has also considered bidding for Premier League soccer rights in the UK. Well, it'd be cheaper than a season ticket for Manchester United.

4. FaceTime

Joining a call through FaceTime links in macOS 12 Monterey

(Image credit: Apple)

While we haven't been blown away by our experiences with VR meetings in Horizon Workrooms on the Meta Quest, the Apple mixed-reality headset will apparently deliver a next-gen version of FaceTime – and the Reality Pro's hardware could take the whole experience up a notch,

With an earlier report from The Information suggesting that Apple's headset will have at least 12 cameras (possibly 14) to track your eyes, face, hands and body, it should do a decent job of creating a 3D version of you in virtual meeting rooms.

We still haven't really seen a major real-world benefit to VR video meets, even if you can do them from a virtual beach. But we're looking forward to trying it out, while crossing our virtual fingers that it works more consistently than today's non-VR FaceTime.

5. Adobe Substance 3D Modeler 

Adobe has already released some compelling demos, plus some beta software called Substance 3D Modeler (above), showing the potential of its creative apps in VR headsets. Will that software's list of compatible headsets soon include the Apple Reality Pro? It certainly seems possible.

The software effectively lets you design 3D objects using virtual clay in a VR playground. Quite how this would work with Apple's headset on xrOS isn't clear, given it's rumored to lack any kind of physical controllers. 

These kinds of design tools feel like a shoo-in for Apple's headset, given many of its users are already happy to shell out thousands on high-end Macs and MacBooks to use that kind of software in a 2D environment.

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Windows 12 – five features we want to see from Microsoft’s rumored upgrade

There's been much speculation that Microsoft is already hard at work on the successor to Windows 11, likely to be called Windows 12.

Some of us at TechRadar are all for a swift follow-up to Windows 11, and would like to see Microsoft matching the regular update schedules of macOS and other operating systems.

So what improvements and new features might Windows 12 bring with it? Users have been peppering Microsoft with feature requests, with some of these wishes set to be granted in upcoming updates to Windows 11, tentatively called Sun Valley 2.

The TechRadar computing team has come up with its own wish list of five features we'd like to see in a Windows 12 release, no matter how unlikely some of them may be.

Windows 12 release date rumors

This is still very early days for Windows 11 – we're not even at the one-year anniversary of the update having been announced. However, going on past releases, we'd expect to see Windows 12 arrive in late 2025, just as support for Windows 10 is ending.

Windows 12 supported devices

When Microsoft announced availability for Windows 11, the main requirement was for machines to have a hardware feature called TPM enabled, which is a security feature that can be found on most motherboards.

While the same requirement will most likely be requested by Microsoft again, it may be at a point where almost every PC has TPM enabled anyway.

Other than that, it will likely have similar requirements to Windows 11:

  • 64-bit processor
  • 1Ghz clock speed
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 64GB drive
  • UEFI, Secure Boot capable
  • TPM 2.0 (Trusted Platform Module)
  • A display larger than 9-inches with HD Resolution (1366×768)
  • DirectX 12 compatible graphics / WDDM 2.x 
  • Internet connection

What we want to see

We don't know much about Windows 12 yet, or whether the rumored upgrade will even become a reality, but we do have a good idea of what we want from it, with the following features topping our list.

1. Merge Skype and Teams into MSN Messenger 12

MSN Messenger in Windows 11

(Image credit: TechRadar)

It's no secret that Microsoft's efforts on video calling and collaboration through messaging apps have been less than stellar in recent years. In a time when people needed to communicate remotely more, it was Zoom that took the lead and Skype was bafflingly left by the wayside.

While there have been some new features brought to both Teams and Skype, there's still an air of confusion as to which one you should use. If you need to take part in a job interview that's on Teams, for example, chances are you'll quickly need to install the app and make sure it works.

Instead, let's see them both retire and mark a fresh start for Windows 12, with the return of MSN Messenger to do the job these two apps have limped on with.

Not only to see the return of nudges, winks, and classic sounds if users want, but powerful features to make it go toe-to-toe with Zoom, Google Meets, and FaceTime. Perhaps have integration with Slack, so if a video meeting is needed, it can prompt in a channel and with one button, MSN Messenger will launch with the required invitees.

Microsoft needs to reboot how it perceives itself for messaging apps, and the return of MSN Messenger could be a great start to that.

2. Live Wallpaper

Wallpaper Engine app, available on Steam.

(Image credit: Wallpaper Engine)

A request by TechRadar's Senior Computing Editor Matt Hanson, and an intriguing one at that. There have been similar features in iPhones and Android phones for some years, with animations moving across these devices. But for PC and Mac, they've been relegated to third-party apps, such as Wallpaper Engine, to be able to have animated wallpapers with the ability to display information from your PC.

To have something similar from Microsoft for Windows 12 could further push its efforts in themes, something that's seen improvements in Windows 11, thanks to its dark themes.

Having a dedicated section for wallpapers where you can place static bytes of information on the desktop that works with an animated live wallpaper, could appeal to all kinds of users.

Microsoft could also bring back previous wallpapers, such as the hillside of Windows XP but have it animated, alongside some clouds displaying battery status or the weather.

This can update the desktop substantially and make it much more up to date, without having to rely on widgets or a taskbar to showcase changes.

3. Dedicated Podcast app

Apple Podcasts

(Image credit: Primakov / Shutterstock)

While it's been great to see the return of Windows Media Player from Microsoft, having additional features such as podcasts feels irrelevant for what Media Player is for.

macOS has had its own podcast app since Big Sur in 2019, but if you wanted to use a similar app on Windows, it's not clear where to start, as Microsoft doesn't offer a dedicated podcast app.

This is why Windows 12 should include a dedicated podcast app that could also be used on other platforms, such as iOS and Android, so your subscriptions could sync across all your devices.

Podcasts are a great way of listening to interviews or the latest news that involve your interests, and managing them all in a first-party app would be great for Windows users. It's something that could really help spur the company's effort to make content available on almost every device.

4. Dedicated Streaming app

Game Streaming

(Image credit: Razer)

A storming idea by our resident Computing writer Jess Weatherbed, as there is yet to be an integrated option in Windows to stream what you're playing.

For years there have been apps such as OBS and Twitch that offer ways to stream what you're playing or watching with others. However, these apps have always required extra effort to make sure that you're streaming to viewers in good quality, with low latency.

Then there's the additional aspect of the peripherals that streamers use to help show them in a better light, or Stream Decks to easily control their setups with shortcut keys.

It can be overwhelming to manage multiple apps just to control all of these, which is why Windows 12 could benefit from having one app that can manage your streams and the peripherals.

Microsoft has been pushing gaming in Windows 11 since its announcement in June 2021, with a redesigned Xbox app and HDR support. But countless gamers also stream these games through Windows, so there's a big opportunity here.

Having one app to control, say, ring lights and the streams for viewers is appealing, shifting the heavy lifting to one app. It could automate streams based on the schedule and the games being played, alongside different lighting scenarios for the different times of the day.

This could encourage more gamers to see Windows as a service, as the CEO of Microsoft Satya Nadella has been stating since the release of Windows 10 in 2015, while also making Windows 12 an enticing prospect for streamers to earn more followers and income for their careers.

5. Companion app for Android

Samsung DeX

(Image credit: Samsung)

A suggestion by our Editor-in-Chief at TechRadar Pro, Desire Athow – this can be an expansion of Your Phone, Microsoft's effort to sync your phone to Windows. But when you open this new app in Windows 12, it has a layout reminiscent of Windows Phone and its tile layout that can enable a desktop experience from your phone.

This would be similar to Samsung DeX, where you can transform your S22 or Tab S22 Ultra into a desktop once it's connected to a peripheral.

This new app would go beyond DeX and Microsoft's Your Phone efforts. When you connect to a monitor, it becomes a fully-fledged Windows 12 desktop, showcasing everything from your main PC. And when you click on an icon, it downloads the content from the cloud and displays it in its native resolution.

It would be an innovative extension of the cloud, where you can access your files wherever you are. Here, you're carrying your desktop with you and all you need to do is to connect your smartphone to a monitor, either with touchscreen features or a keyboard and mouse.

This would also further Nadella's plans again, similar to the streaming feature, of seeing Windows as a service. Having your PC in an app is an enticing thought, and could help for those situations when you have a short window of opportunity to do some work with a spare monitor, keyboard, and mouse somewhere.

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Safari may be getting a better dark mode in rumored update for iOS 15

Safari in iOS 15 looks to be getting its own dark mode function, alongside better features for your privacy involving cookies.

Apple's web browser works off an engine called WebKit, similar to how Google's Chrome browser is powered by an engine called Chromium.

But as WebKit is an open-source project hosted on GitHub, which allows any developer to add their programming to the engine, there have been some new features uncovered that may see an appearance in iOS 15.4, or iOS 16.

While there may be a rumored March event coming, it does raise the question of whether more regular updates should appear to Apple's apps, instead of waiting for a major iOS update every year.

Analysis: More regular updates for Safari are very welcome

Safari on iPadOS 15 Beta

(Image credit: Apple)

In the last few years, since iOS 13, Apple has made a concerted effort to roll out more features to its software across multiple releases, instead of aiming to have all of them arrive in one big release alongside the latest iPhone.

iOS 13.4 was a great example where mouse support was brought to the iPad line, alongside the Magic Keyboard peripheral which included a trackpad.

But Safari has had a rough ride recently, with its new design at WWDC 2021 criticized by users, then rolled back significantly once iOS 15 and macOS Monterey were released in September 2021.

There's currently a design that is halfway between what was shown in 2021, and what every Apple user has had since Safari 1.0 in 2007 with the original iPhone.

However, new features such as a custom dark mode and more privacy options could give more faith to users of Apple's web browser that the company isn't focusing on a new look that just wasn't needed or asked for. Instead, there are features coming up that's going to benefit their privacy, and how the browser will look in a different shade of dark.

For that, at least, is a sign that Apple is not only listening to what its users want in software, but also bringing the features out for .1 releases, way before the rumored WWDC event happens in June this year once again and we most likely hear about what the company has in store for its next major software updates.

Via 9To5Mac

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What can we expect from Apple’s rumored AR/VR headset in 2022?

Every few years, an Apple product that's not confirmed by the company, builds momentum in rumor and speculation until it’s impossible to avoid.

The iPad had it when it was rumored to be called the iSlate in 2009, while the Apple Watch was thought to be a next-generation iPod nano around 2013. The Apple headset that’s going to introduce VR and AR to its customers is the latest in these rumors of what could be launching next from Apple.

Augmented and Virtual Reality has seen huge improvements in recent years, with companies such as Oculus and Valve refining the experience and offering storefronts where you can play a variety of VR games.

But Apple has a chance to redesign its ecosystem to adapt to VR and AR in interesting ways that have not been attempted before.

A VR iTrooper

Apple VR

(Image credit: Future)

It’s not clear whether this rumored headset will both feature AR or VR features, or whether there are two headsets that will cater to each instead. But Apple has a way of adapting its apps into other devices while not compromising on features, while making them unique to the device in question.

With many operating systems ending with ‘OS’, we suspect that rOS, to stand for reality could be a good candidate for the software that the headset will run on, as it works for both VR and AR.

In previous years Apple lays down the groundwork for what’s coming, such as the iPhone for the iPad, or 3D Touch appearing in the Apple Watch and then seeing it debut in the iPhone. With this in mind, Siri could be a big hint towards what it’s planning for the headset.

Earlier this month, an Apple Music Voice Plan was released, where you can control your music only by Siri for $ 4.99 / £4.99 / AU$ 4.99 a month.

This plan could be a great fit for the headset, as you don’t need to use anything tangible to navigate your music, only through Siri. Browsing the App Store or choosing another app to use through Siri could be an intuitive way to use the headset without having to use controllers similar to the Meta Quest 2.

Spatial Audio, a feature in Apple Music again where you can turn your head and the sound will feel as though it's coming from one specific place, could also work well for the headset.

But when it comes to games, this is where the controllers would be a must and an inspiration for developers.

A VR App Store

Apps in VR are only beginning to diverge from giving short experiences like Beat Saber, to communication and accessibility such as what META is announcing for the metaverse and avatars. Seeing FaceTime VR or AppleTV+ VR is a tantalizing thought, but developers could transform the apps they already have available, into being made into a native VR headset app.

Apps like CARROT and TikTok could benefit from what the headset may offer, especially if widgets also make their debut.

What about AR?

Then there’s the aspect of AR. Augmented Reality allows you to have certain bits of digital information in a normal lens. Imagine a pair of glasses that has a section of the lens where it shows live information, such as a widget or push notifications.

This is something we’re already seeing in some apps, especially the Measure app. Others such as IKEA can allow you to place furniture in the camera’s viewfinder on the iPhone, to see if it fits your room.

There’s no reason why this headset could have both by switching modes. Seeing live widgets in a corner of a lens as you walk around your house is a tempting prospect, as it saves you from checking your phone from your pocket, or glancing at your Apple Watch.

WWDC in 2022 could showcase what developers could do with the headset, and with Apple’s Silicon chips showcasing how much power they can achieve with far less power consumption than an Intel and AMD CPU, we could see the first-generation headset feature impressive battery life for an app store that could show what AR and VR could do in the Apple eco-system.

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