Today Apple went all out on its latest event. This year’s Worldwide Developers Conference announced tons of new features and gave us some great surprises. You can find a quick summary of everything we saw today below, with the whole WWDC stream if you want to watch and links that will take you to our extended coverage.
WWDC 2020 started with Apple CEO Tim Cook explaining Apple’s efforts to fight against racism, inequality, and injustice. He invites us “to aim far higher to build a future that lives up to our ideals,” while mentioning Apple’s Racial Equity and Justice Initiative, which Apple announced two weeks ago. This initiative comes with a commitment of one hundred million dollars “to challenge systemic barriers that limit the opportunity for communities of color in the critical areas of education, economic equality, and criminal justice.”
Tim Cook also addressed the current pandemic and how it’s affecting the daily lives of people around the planet. He thanked healthcare workers for their sacrifice and efforts. He also pointed out how people are relying more on Apple products to remain connected to family and friends and how these tools are now essential for work, creativity, entertainment, and more. He then explained how this week, “There will be more than a hundred engineering-led video sessions, one-on-one consultations with Apple engineers, developer forums, and so much more.” This content will be available to Apple’s entire community of 23 million developers, and anyone interested, for free.
We had received several rumors about new features in iOS 14, but we weren’t expecting to get this much. First, iOS is now more powerful and easier to use. Apple’s experience has helped them improve the user experience, even as tasks have gotten more complicated.
Major changes came in several ways with iOS 14. We now have an App Library that will help you control your apps into a more simple, organized way for you to navigate. Widgets were also announced. These will be more beautiful and data-rich, plus we get different sizes to pick the one which is best suited for our needs. Picture in Picture s another new feature that will let us keep watching whatever we want while we multi-task, and we can also pinch the video to make it smaller or larger.
Siri is now getting more power and a new compact design that won’t take over the device’s screen. You can also ask Siri to send audio messages, it will allow dictation on the device, and it will also help with Conversations to translate up to 11 languages in real-time.
Other Apps such as Messages, Apple Maps, Car Play, and the App Store are also getting new features that will make conversations more fun, going places easier and more. CarPlay is now available in 97 percent of the US and 80 percent around the world. These services will also help the App Store give you a new experience thanks to App Clips that is a new way to discover apps, services ad more.
The experience in iPadOS 14 has also received improvements, as its new experience includes designs that are exclusive to this OS. It also features the same re-designed widgets that we get in iOS14, a new sidebar that woks with Notes, Files, Music, and more.
Siri is also changing in iPadOS 14, as it won’t take over the entire screen of your iPad, and neither will calls, as the incoming call notification is now a small banner at the top of your screen. Using an Apple Pencil with your iPad will be even more satisfying, as it will make handwriting as powerful as typed text thanks to Scribble for iPad, meaning that you can write anything on your device and get text as a result.
AirPods will also get a software update that will allow users to automatically switch between devices seamlessly without having to do it manually. New features such as Spatial Audio are also coming, which will be able to recreate an authentic surround sound experience, and these wireless earbuds are also getting tracking features.
We now jump to the new OS for the Apple Watch. We start with the announcement of more than 20K WatchOS apps that are currently available in the App Store. We are also getting new re-designed watch faces, better performance in Maps, the Workout app, which now includes Dance workout. The Activity app is also getting a new name, as it will now be known as the Fitness app, but maybe the most important announcement was that the Apple Watch would finally get sleep tracking.
Apple has always focused heavily on its users, and it has also improved in this area. We get more Security Protection Transparency and control, which is available on hardware and software. Apple also mentions that you can now define to give apps only approximate location data. Users are also getting a status bar indicator to let them know which apps are using the mic or camera.
Home and tvOS
We also get upgraded features to HomeKit, which is now Open Source since Apple has partnered with Amazon, Google, and other companies to create better interaction between smart home devices. You will also cards to suggest different ways to interact with your devices and visual status at the top of your home app to get a quick bird’s eye view of something important. tvOS now supports Xbox controllers, and gaming on Apple TV now expands to multi-user support, so you can continue playing anywhere right where you left off. You will also get Apple TV app support in Sony and Vizio Smart TVs this summer.
macOS Big Sur
Maybe the biggest surprise was given with macOS, as we get a new design, new symbols, consistency on icons between iOS and macOS, a new translucent menu bar, and big improvements in apps such as Messages, a new version of Maps, Mac Catalyst and Safari. Until now, the event was great, but it was just about to become amazing as Apple announced that the Mac is transitioning to Apple Silicon. This change will help Macs maximize performance while also being energy efficient.