Apple's First New App in Years Is About to Make Trip Planning so Much Easier

Say hello to Freeform

Apple Freeform

Courtesy of Apple

Planning a future vacation with your friends? Say goodbye to the endless text chains and multi-page Google spreadsheets. For squads with Apple devices, getting everyone on the same page about those trip details just got easier than ever.

Apple announced its first new app release in ten years this week, and it may just be the perfect solution to the complexities of group travel. The new app, called Freeform, is a virtual whiteboard that you can use to collaborate on projects with your friends—such as the perfect itinerary for your next group road trip, beach getaway, or wine weekend. The app is now available with the latest iOS update on Apple iPhones, iPads (16.2), and desktop devices (13.1).

Like the existing Notes and Preview apps on Apple devices, Freeform allows you to write and edit lists. But its new interface also features icons enabling multiple users to insert doodles, sticky notes, text boxes, photos, videos, and even shapes of global landmarks like the Roman Colosseum, just for inspiration. The app also supports links, PDFs, scans, and sketches.

Freeform allows users to move text, photos, videos, and links around the whiteboard to put their travel plans in perfect order. Text boxes can be dragged and pinched for size adjustment, pictures and videos can be magnified with just a click, and all URLs dropped in the app immediately become links. iPad users can write and draw directly on the boards with an Apple Pencil, and photos taken with an iPhone can be scanned and placed onto the board in a single step.

Users can create multiple Freeform boards, all of which live in the iCloud, meaning users adding to a project can stay in sync across various devices. When project participants update a board and add new items, all changes will be shown in real-time. The app even features buttons that launch iMessage and FaceTime so that you debate your project details with your friends while you type away.

“Freeform opens up endless possibilities for iPhone, iPad, and Mac users to visually collaborate,” said Bob Borchers, Apple’s vice president of worldwide product marketing, in an official press release. “With an infinite canvas, support for uploading a wide range of files, iCloud integration, and collaboration capabilities, Freeform creates a shared space for brainstorming that users can take anywhere.”

And while Freeform is perfect for travel planning, it can also be used for several other projects, including work presentations, creative brainstorms, or even interactive games (Tic Tac Toe, anyone?) with friends who live in different cities.

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  1. Apple Newsroom. "Apple Launches Freeform: A Powerful New App Designed for Creative Brainstorming and Collaboration." December 13, 2022.