Apple’s Freeform is a whiteboard for collaboration coming to iPad, iPhone, and Mac
Apple has announced a new app called Freeform for iPad, iPhone, and Mac, and it’s meant to be a new kind of collaboration experience. Freeform gives you a large whiteboard that can be shared with other users, and it allows everyone to work on different parts of the board at the same time. Yes, it’s pretty much Apple’s version of Microsoft Whiteboard, which does almost exactly the same thing.
In Freeform, boards can become as large as you want them to be, giving you plenty of space to brainstorm idea or gather information in one place. Freeform supports all kinds of content, including text, Apple Pencil inking, images, sticky notes, and more. It’s a blank canvas, and you can add almost anything to it, making it perfect for collaborating on various kinds of tasks.
As you collaborate with others, you can move around freely, but you can also tap someone else’s picture to jump immediately to where they are, so it’s easier to share what you’re working on at that moment. Freeform also integrates with FaceTime calls, so you can see and hear your coworkers while you’re working on the whiteboard. That’s one advantage the service has over Microsoft Whiteboard. Whiteboard does have an app for Teams, which can be seen as equivalent, but you need to be using Teams with a work or school account to have all those features. Teams for personal use doesn’t support apps in the same way.
Freeform is just one of the many collaboration features Apple announced today. The company introduced new updates for Mail, Messages, and Safari on the iPad to make collaboration and sharing easier.
While many of these features appear to be announced as part of iPadOS 16, Freeform is an app coming to iPhones and Macs as well, and it’s coming “later this year”. When Apple showed off Freeform, it said it was a “sneak peek”, which suggests it might arrive at some point after iPadOS 16 launches.