First look at Freeform, Apple’s new collaborative whiteboard

First look at Freeform, Apple’s new collaborative whiteboard

It was kind of the WWDC chief’s surprise. Apple has indeed announced Freeform, a new productivity app that allows multiple participants to doodle, annotate, and write on a shared whiteboard. Unfortunately, the app did not appear in September with iOS 16, nor even in October with macOS Ventura and iPadOS 16. We will have to wait for version .2 of these OSes, the first beta of which fell tonight!

Freeform on iPad.

In the meantime, here’s what Freeform looks like. As promised, it is an almost infinite whiteboard, in which you can add drawings with the help of the usual tools, text, predefined shapes, post-its or even links and images. The background grid can be erased.

We quickly get into the game, even solo Freeform is flexible enough to turn into a reminder, even more than Notes. We will also appreciate the possibility of inserting a document in the table. Each of them can be renamed of course, printing and exporting to PDF are also available.

This is all well and good, unfortunately we couldn’t go further, especially for all that is collaboration: the tables could not be synchronized in iCloud and sharing was impossible. In the beta release notes, Apple asks to enable sync in iCloud settings, but nothing to do. It’s a beta…

Freeform will be available on iPhone, iPad and Mac.