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by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren for Macworld

How Apple is laying a foundation for a smarter, more connected future

Apple’s public betas are an opportunity for all of us—not just developers prepping apps—to get a peek into the future of the company’s software. Granted, we’re not transporting ourselves to a far-off year where no doubt we’ll all be wearing Apple-branded headsets and riding in Apple cars—this time travel jaunt is only a matter of months. But it’s still a chance to see what new capabilities we’ll be able to take advantage of come the fall.

If we zoom out a bit, though, we can also see the hallmarks of places where Apple is investing in the future, or—to use the classic adage that has become an Apple operating principle—skating to where the puck will be. Because Apple has a tendency to lay the groundwork for major changes years in advance, knowing it’s going to take some time for the rest of the world to catch up.

This year is no different. iOS and iPadOS 16, macOS Ventura, watchOS 9, even the latest update to the HomePod software are all about not just the year ahead, but the years ahead, with features that will change our lives in big ways—eventually. Just not necessarily right away.

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