Freeform: Apple Just Launched Its First New App in Years

Freeform: Apple Just Launched Its First New App

Rarely does the tech giant introduce a completely new app, but that’s exactly what Apple did at the annual WWDC Keynote 6 months ago. Apple’s new and powerful tool is called Freeform, and it’s available on the latest versions of iOS and macOS (iOS 16.2, iPad 16.2, and macOS Ventura 13.1).

Imagine Freeform as an infinite whiteboard that you and your loved ones or coworkers may use to brainstorm and create anything you can imagine. This virtual whiteboard can accommodate anything imaginable, including but not limited to schematics, PDF documents, and high-quality films and audio files that can be played within the program.

Here are some of the best parts of Apple’s Freeform app.

Playing in the sand

Apple has made considerable efforts to provide users with extensive customization options in Freeform. The ever-growing canvas may be navigated with the built-in movements of your Apple Pencil, fingers, or the mouse and keyboard on your Mac.

You may use the program to create sketches, diagrams, and written work, and the ideal way to do so is on an iPad with a compatible Apple pen. But on an iPhone, you can use your fingers instead of a stylus to accomplish the same thing. In addition, the program comes with a library of over 700 pre-made forms that may be resized, colored, and customized as desired. Personal, unique shapes can be made and saved, too.

However, Freeform’s artistic and literary abilities alone wouldn’t be sufficient. Apple has designed it so that users can upload any kind of file, including but not limited to images, movies, audio, PDFs, documents, sticky notes, connections to websites, and GPS coordinates. What’s more, by double-tapping on these elements, you can see how they’ll look in your Freeform project without leaving the app.

It’s also handy that you can lock photos and PDFs so they don’t shift as you draw or sketch on top of them. Finally, Freeform’s built-in alignment cues are a nice addition that will help you maintain order on your canvas.

Designed to facilitate collaboration

Freeform can be used independently, but its full potential and features are unlocked when it is put to use in a group setting. If you’re worried about having too many people on your board, you’ll be relieved to know that Apple recommends no more than 100 users at once.

Some of Apple’s other apps are now accessible within Freeform as well. You can share a board with others by dragging it into a Messages thread and sending the link. Each new edit will be displayed as an activity update in the Messages thread, allowing everyone in the chat to jump right in and start participating right away.

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However, the built-in FaceTime that users may launch from within Freeform and back again is an even more interesting connection. During the creative process on the shared whiteboard, everyone’s names will appear as a trailing cursor.

It Can Transform the Way You Plan Travel

Apple’s new travel planning app is a clean slate. The Freeform app, an infinite whiteboard that allows users to pull in content from multiple sources like websites, photographs, movies, and files, will be released at 1 pm ET on December 13, 2022, with the latest iOS version on iPhone, iPad, and PC.

It’s essentially a digital version of a traditional bulletin board dedicated to trip planning.

Because they are stored on iCloud, you may access them from any device whenever inspiration strikes. However, you can also have numerous people working together on the same board, so it can evolve over time as you and your friends plan the perfect vacation.

Still, undecided between a hotel and a rental house for your vacation? Compile a list of advantages and disadvantages and invite input from all parties involved. Feeling overwhelmed by the abundance of options presented by a city? Put up sticky notes to block them all out and plan your day. Feeling the pressure of accommodating everyone’s restaurant preferences? Make them all provide you with links to their recommendations, and then pick the ones with the highest ratings.

When you launch Freeform, a massive white screen greets you. Then, the icons across the top provide you with what you need to express yourself creatively. Stickies is the default desktop icon because it allows you to keep your boards organized through color coding and the use of alignment cues. The following component is a set of shapes, and it has a library of over 700 graphics. These include categories for places (with images ranging from globes to specific landmarks like Rome’s Colosseum and New York City’s Statue of Liberty) and transportation (with planes, bridges, tall ships, and even a rocket ship if you’re ready to blast off).

Freeform: Apple Just Launched Its First New App
Freeform: Apple Just Launched Its First New App

The remaining three symbols cover the essentials: a text box tool, an image, a video, and web link tool, and a file management tool. But elegance is in the simplicity of every option. It’s simple to change the size of text boxes by dragging their borders (similar to Instagram Stories). You can view higher-resolution versions of photos and videos by clicking on them, and you can go straight to the linked websites by clicking on their preview cards. Moreover, if the link leads to a file, such as a PDF of a restaurant menu or a trip schedule, the file will load immediately.

Since users can annotate their vision boards in real-time with an Apple Pencil, Freeform takes on the feel of a digital scrapbook on the iPad. Apple’s Notes and Reminders documents can likewise be imported without any hiccups. One of the most striking features is the ability to scan physical objects with the phone’s camera and instantly set them on the board.

The beauty of Freeform is that it can be used for more than simply vacation planning; it can be used to organize the workflow of a professional project, to generate ideas for that screenplay you’ve always wanted to write, or even to play games like Hangman with friends across the country.

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Freeform “opens unlimited opportunities for iPhone, iPad, and Mac users to visually collaborate,” said Bob Borchers, Apple’s vice president of worldwide product marketing. Freeform “creates a shared environment for brainstorming that users can take anywhere with its endless canvas, capability for uploading a wide range of files, iCloud connectivity, and collaboration possibilities.”

Apple is excited to watch how customers respond to the app, the innovative ways they will put it to use, and, most of all, the places they will visit for the first time in years. After all, “Bring your ideas to life” is the app’s slogan, suggesting that this is its primary function.

Users of iPhones and iPads running iOS 16.2 or later, as well as Macs running macOS Ventura 13.1, can get Freeform at no cost.

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