Apple’s opening keynote on Monday for WWDC 2020, started with Tim Cook addressing the empty auditorium. He talked about Black Lives Matter and coronavirus before announcing iOS 14, its home-screen redesign and new widgets. We’ve heard about the new iPadOS 14, macOS Big Sur, TV OS, WatchOS updates and new Mac SOCs as well. Let’s talk about all of them one by one.
Apple unveiled a new Android-styled widgets home screen for the iPhone with improved organization and navigation.
The new home screen will change the way we interact with the home screen since the introduction of iOS 7. The re-design aims at making it easy to navigate through the apps.
Also added is a new sorting system called App library. This helps to sort the apps in a list view; the Apple AI will suggest you the most used apps at the top. While all the recently added apps will be sorted together in a folder named ‘Recently Added Apps’.
For the first time Apple allows you to hide the apps you don’t want on your home screen. All the hidden apps will be moved to the app library giving your home screen a minimalistic look.
Widgets come in a variety of sizes and can still be viewed today, but in iOS 14, Apple allows widgets to be added to the main Home screen to live right alongside your apps. These widgets not only provide an aesthetic appeal but also add a lot of quick access features. The most exciting widget is called the Smart Stack which helps the user to switch between various widgets. This allows the user to enjoy the functionality of various widgets by placing a single widget on the home screen. Smart Stack provides the right widget at the right time by utilising Apple’s smart AI i.e., it will suggest the user a widget he needs at that particular instant automatically.
Apple introduced the long-awaited picture-in-picture feature in iOS 14. It will help the user to enjoy his YouTube videos or his Apple TV+ shows or he may even continue his FaceTime call while performing a task simultaneously on his iPhone.
With iOS 14, Apple has now introduced the much demanded feature. Now the incoming call interface doesn’t occupy the complete screen rather it appears as a pop-down notification.
Let’s cover specific updates coming to various iOS apps:
In iOS 14, say goodbye to the ugly full screen Siri interface. Siri now has a very compact design, you will find your AI assistant at the bottom of your screen as a glowing bubble of tech. Siri is smarter than ever before. Siri now refers to even more websites for your queries. Siri helps sending audio messages so easy.Siri now provides real-time translation along with a lot of other features.
In 2020, Apple finally comes out with their own translation app. This translation app will support 11 languages namely- English, Mandarin Chinese, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Portuguese and Russian. The translate app will also help you carry a live conversation with a person who speaks a different language as it supports translation in live conversation. Translate app also auto recognises the language you speak and will translate it to the desired language.
Apple has now brought some of the most awaited features on iMessage. iMessage now allows you to pin your conversations at the top of the conversation list. Now you can even mention the person you’re talking to in a group chat. With mentions introduced, you can even decide to receive a notification only when someone mentions you in a group chat. With in-line replies, having a conversation with a person in a group chat gets so convenient.
The feature image of the group now contains the profile pictures of all group members with most active members having the largest photo bubbles. You may even set a group image of your own choice.
Yes! the feature I am most excited about is the addition of different gears to Memoji characters. Memoji characters now have more than 20 different head gears, different face coverings and characters with different ages. It’s not all, iOS 14 also introduced three more Memoji stickers.
In 2020, Apple Maps is ready to go face-to-face with Google maps. Apple Maps makes navigating an easy process. Apple Maps assists in finding hotspots like good restaurants or even an automobile repair station.
Apple maps also focuses on minimising the harm to environment as much as possible; to implement this Apple maps now supports cycling as a mode of transportation. It is now updated with new cycling routes which covers the elevation and even the location of stairs along the route. Apple has also joined hands with automobile companies like BMW and Ford to locate the compatible EV points for automobiles. Thus, making transport easy and stress-free.
Apple Maps has covered the whole of United States and is soon coming to countries like UK, Ireland and Canada.
In 2020, CarPlay is installed in 80% of all the available cars in the world. With the new update of CarPlay, user can customise his CarPlay display with a custom wallpaper. The CarPlay also tracks your EV which relieves the driver from worrying about running out of charge. It also offers some basic yet useful features like food ordering hands-free.
In 2020, Apple has came out with a feature called Car Keys. With Car Keys, you can turn your iPhone into a digital key for your car. All you have to do is bring your iPhone close to your car and the NFC tags will unlock the car for you. Then, place your iPhone on the charging pad on the car will start for you.
With car keys, sharing your car gets easy. All you have to do is just share your car keys using iMessage. Don’t worry! You can revoke the access at any point in time. Worried about lending your car to your kid? Car keys got you covered. With Car Keys, you can restrict the full access to the car for a teenager. 2020 BMW 5 series will be the first car to support car Keys.
In iOS 14, App Store is equipped with a feature called App Clips. App Clips allows you to access a particular feature of an app without having to install that app to your iPhone. App Clips are small card pop-ups that will appear on the screen when you need to use them. App Clips can be directly used through Safari, iMessage and NFC tags. To make the use of App Clips more convenient, you can scan a QR code and your App Clip card will pop-up on the screen. Recently used App Clips can be accessed from App library.
iPadOS 14 focuses on designing the apps to utilise the large screen of the iPads. iPadOS 14 supports all the features discussed above in iOS 14. Some of the unique features that iPadOS 14 offers are the introduction of sidebars for easy navigation in apps like Notes, Files and Apple Music. To utilise the screen size the Files app supports both list and grid-view.
The new search feature truly compliments the power of the iPad. The new search feature can be accessed within any app and can be used to launch other apps, to access documents, to perform web searches and to search a contact.
Apple Pencil upgrades
Handwriting is an efficient and easy way to take notes but it has certain limitations. Editing a handwritten note can be difficult. To tackle down this problem iPadOS 14 comes with a feature called Scribble. Scribble makes editing handwritten notes an easy task. With scribble, you can select handwritten words and can change the colour of the words or can copy a word to an entirely different location. Scribble also turns hand-made figures into properly-scaled figures.
Scribble also helps to turn handwritten notes into conventional text notes. It recognises both English and Chinese languages. Scribble auto recognises contact numbers and addresses.
Imagine watching a movie on your iPad, suddenly your iPhone rings and your AirPods automatically switches to your iPhone for picking up the call. Apple has made this happen for you. Now AirPods automatically switches among the Apple devices as per your need.
With the introduction of Spatial Audio, the AirPods Pro have become even more incredible. Spatial Audio aims at providing a cinema-like experience to the listener. To make this happen Apple uses accelerometers and gyroscopes from both the AirPods Pro and the active Apple device. Spatial Audio even supports Dolby Atmos. Spatial Audio is a step ahead to surround sound as it monitors the head position of the listener to provide a never felt before experience.
Watch OS 7 now allows customizing your Apple Watch Face using multiple complications. You’ll be able to share Watch faces. Your body will also appreciate the new Dance app to jazz up the workout. Finally, Apple added sleep tracking to Apple Watch. With the new OS, the Watch will be able to track your handwashing as well.
iOS 14 has brought a lot of changes in the HomeKit. Now the home app is better as it will display the current status of all the synced devices. It notifies you if your door is left open or your lights are left on. Another interesting update came to the smart cameras as HomeKit now allows you to set-up a busy zone. If anyone enters in the busy zone you will get notified. Another feature introduced is the face recognition. When someone knocks at your door, the smart cameras will recognise the person and you will be notified about your guest through HomePod.
The least expected thing that happened in WWDC was the introduction of a new Apple TV+ original, Foundation.
MacOS Big Sur
At WWDC Apple unveiled the new MacOS called Big Sur. The new operating system includes major updates to the Safari web browser adding new privacy settings, and refreshed Maps and Messages apps.
Big Sur also comes with the biggest design update since OS X which was released almost 20 years ago. The new OS includes tweaks to the curves of the window corners, adds more depth to the dock icons and adds new colours to the user interface. The OS adapts Photos design from iPadOS, as do many of the app updates that we’ll get in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14. The control center in the menu bar, widgets and notification center are more aesthetically appealing, too.
One of the biggest updates of MacOS comes to Safari. Apple adds a lot of customisation for the Safari home page. Translation in real time is another important upgrade to Safari. Safari now offers the functionality of adding Safari extensions. This makes doing third-party tasks quite easy. Safari tackles the privacy related issues with extensions by displaying all the permissions an extension is provided with. You can decide how much access you want to give to an extension.
Before getting your hopes high, check all the models of Macs that can run MacOS Big Sur, according to Apple:
- MacBook, 2015 and later
- MacBook Air, 2013 and later
- MacBook Pro, late 2013 and later
- Mac Mini, 2014 and later
- iMac, 2014 and later
- iMac Pro (all models), 2017 and later
- Mac Pro, 2013 and later
New Mac SOCs
Apple’s highly anticipated move to Arm-based chips away from Intel, intends to deliver better performance at lower power consumption than before, a (presumably) Metal-optimized graphics processor and other custom acceleration silicon.
Moving away from the Intel processors that Apple used for the last 14 years is a historic change that disrupts software makers but could appeal to customers who need better battery life.
“The Mac is transitioning to our own Apple silicon,” Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said Monday at Apple’s WWDC conference.
Apple demonstrated several important apps that has been already adapted for the new chips, taking pains to show the horsepower of its Arm-based Macs. It demonstrated Final Cut Pro playing three simultaneous 4K video streams, Lightroom scrolling and synchronising edits across a large catalog, and Photoshop being used to edit a large image with complicated edits. Other demos featured Affinity Photo and Cinema 4D.
With a new Rosetta-2 emulation tool, software written for Intel-based Macs will run on the new Arm-based machines. As evidence, Apple demonstrated the Tomb Raider game running at 1080p screen resolution.
Apple will support Intel-based Macs for years, the company said.
P.S. Check out PS5 event: ‘Future Of Gaming’ that we covered.