It is nice to enjoy a long weekend with extended family whom we haven’t seen in more than two years. No drama, no frenetic drive to do this and that, just a time to visit and relax.
Yesterday I downloaded the iOS 15 public beta as well as the watchOS 8 beta and began to use some of the new features. By and large, they are impressive. Things that I especially like:
- Photo recognition of plants and animals, allowing me to take a photo of a wildflower, for example, and then have Photos automatically identify it for me. This was what I primarily used the separate iNaturalist app for, and now I am not sure I’ll need to any more.
- The weather app is transformed and I’ll be using it from now on instead of Dark Sky.
- Photos now does built-in text recognition and translation. Very nicely done.
- Enhanced Spotlight search, which now includes photos that are identified using dynamically generated keywords. For example, input “bird,” and photos from my photo library of birds are now included in Spotlight search results.
- Safari has many significant changes and I like them all including the ability to set up something like VPN, called iCloud Private Relay.
- Maps, wow, very different in a good way.
- The new Portrait watch face in watchOS 8.
There are many other new things in iOS 15 and watchOS 8, but that’s what I’ve noticed the most so far.
Yesterday, I went for a walk in a nearby state park and took these photos. It was nice to return to a place we’ve gone to since I was a child, and to see that it is still well-maintained. I also had a look at a new, nearby wind farm.