From iOS 14 to macOS Big Sur.
WWDC 2020’s first online-only event kicked off with a keynote that showcased what’s to come in terms of Apple’s software line. Tim Cook opened the keynote with an acknowledgment of the current events happening in the US along with a pledge to help and give more to the African American community. Cook also thanked frontliners battling the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Here’s a rundown of everything Apple has announced:
iOS 14 brings new changes in design and function, most notably on the home screen where apps are now organized through the App Library. Widgets can now also be integrated on the home screen so you can customize it any way you want. Part of the new widget is a new Smart Stack Widget that will dynamically change based on the information you need.
Picture-in-picture support is now also supported that lets you continue watching a video on a small screen while you multitask and do something else. Siri also gets a new less obstructive UI and gets more user-friendly features like the ability to send an audio message or even offline translation.
App Clips is also a way for you to use an app without the need to install it and a new feature will now let you use your iPhone as the main key for your vehicle.
But probably our favorite is that you can now set default apps for your email and browser.
iPadOS 14 will get more tablet-specific features like a sidebar that will be supported on most native apps. The sidebar will allow for easier navigation along with drag-and-drop support to easily manage your files.
Call notification will now appear on a small window on top of the screen instead of covering the entire screen. This feature will also appear on iOS 14. A new Search bar is also included that’s reminiscent of Spotlight, the powerful universal search tool for Mac.
Apple Pencil is also getting a new Scribble app that takes your handwriting to a new level. You can select your handwriting just like text, copy them, or simply change its color. Additionally, you can now use your Apple Pencil on text fields, letting you use your handwriting instead of typing.
The AirPods surprisingly also got new features. Automatic switching is now available, where the AirPods know if you’re using another Apple device and will automatically output the audio from the one you are using. What’s more, AirPods Pro is getting a new spatial audio feature that will bring sound as if it were coming from all directions, much like a real cinema or home theater.
watchOS 7 will give developers more options to design their own complications on the Apple Watch and users will now be able to share their own custom watch faces with others. The Workout app also gets new exercise modes that now include Dance and Core Training.
But probably the best feature coming to the Apple Watch is sleep tracking. To complement this, Apple is introducing a new feature on iOS 14 called Wind Down to slowly prepare you for sleep. When the Apple Watch enters sleep mode, it will quietly monitor your sleep and slowly wake you up when you’ve set an alarm.
All your health statistics will be available on the redesigned Activity app, which has now been renamed to Fitness. As an added feature, the Apple Watch will now detect if you are washing your hands and a countdown timer will start telling you when to stop washing.
Apple also noted to its privacy features running on all their devices and highlighted some of the efforts that the company has done to make sure your data is safe. Sign in with Apple is also getting a new feature where you can migrate your existing account to Apple’s own privacy sign-in feature.
While we were expecting new hardware to be introduced, most of the user-facing features of tvOS 14 included support for the Xbox Elite 2 and Adaptive controllers along with the ability to stream content using AirPlay in 4K.
A preview of an upcoming Apple TV+ show was also previewed. Foundation is based on Isaac Asimov’s collection of sci-fi novels first published in 1951.
macOS Big Sur
macOS Big Sur is getting a new redesign with updated icons, wider spaces in menus, and utilizing open spaces. Control Center also arrives on the Mac, letting you easily access controls for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or even the screen brightness. The same resizable widgets from iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 will also be supported.
Messages will now be able to preview effects, along with an improved search tool. Safari also got a few upgrades that include more customizations to the start screen, enhanced privacy tools, and an easier way for developers to migrate their extensions.
But probably the biggest announcement of the night is the company’s shift from using Intel processors on the Mac to its own Apple Silicon. They’ve already proven that their own chip can be as powerful as desktop computers, evident with the recent iPad Pro.
Apple says that its new chip custom made for the Mac will balance power and performance that will be utilized by its native apps. Apps like Final Cut Pro were demoed on a Mac running on the same processor as the 2020 iPad Pro, which gives you an idea of how the future of Macs running on Apple chips will be.
Apple did say that Intel chips will still be supported, and the company is looking to release the first Mac powered by their own chip later this year. It has also released Rosetta 2 as a way for developers to easily transition their apps to the new chip.
WWDC20 commences this week with various online sessions for developers.
iOS 14, iPadOS 14, watchOS 7, tvOS 14, and macOS Big Sur will all be available to download later this year.