wwdc2020

Everything Apple Revealed at WWDC 2020

Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference has once again introduced what the foreseeable future of the Cupertino giant will look like. Today, we got a look at some major changes to the Apple ecosystem.

As we pass the halfway point in 2020, a lot has happened that will shape the future. Tim Cook kicked off WWDC with a message on equality and Apple’s commitment to being a force of change. Just last week, Apple revealed a $100 million commitment to battle racism, by introducing the Racial Equity and Justice Initiative.

Apple Introduces iOS 14

This is the biggest update ever to the Home Screen with the introduction of redesigned widgets, the App Library, App Clips, new updates to Messages, and more.

Apple WWDC 2020

Widgets offer timely information at a glance and they can now be pinned to the Home Screen on any page. Users can even create Smart Stacks, which use on-device intelligence to bring the widget to the surface based on location, time, and activity. Neat!

There’s also a ton of ways to customize widgets, based on “work, travel, sports, entertainment, and other areas of interest.” Then, the App Library is a new space that organizes all of your apps into an easy-to-navigate view, and they intelligently surface at the right time.

FaceTime, phone calls, and Siri no longer take over the screen with a new and compact design introduced in iOS 14. With Picture-in-Picture support, iPhone users can now watch a video or make a FaceTime call while using another app.

App Clips, Translate, Siri and more

App Clips are meant to do specific things, with Apple suggesting things like renting a scooter, buying a coffee, or filling the parking meter. To access, you’ll need to scan a new Apple-designed Ap Clip code or through an NRC or QR code, shared in Messages or Safari.

Translate offers quick and natural translations of voice and text among 11 languages, and this can all be done offline, too. Siri grows its knowledge base with easier to find answers and sending audio messages.

The Home app makes smart home control even easier with new automation suggestions and expanded controls in Control Center for quicker access to accessories and scenes. Adaptive Lighting for compatible HomeKit-enabled lights automatically adjusts the colour temperature throughout the day, and with on-device Face Recognition, compatible video doorbells and cameras can identify friends and family.

You can unlock your car with a Digital car key, which can be shared via Messages or disabled via iCloud if lost or stolen. Only certain cars support this right now with more coming.

Health has all-new experiences to manage sleep, better understand audio levels that may affect hearing health, and a new Health Checklist — a centralized place to manage health and safety features — includes emergency SOS, Medical ID, ECG, Fall Detection, and more

Messages

wwdc 2020 messages

It’s getting easier to stay connected through Messages. With iOS 14, you can pin conversations to the top of the message list, the same goes with group chats and you can now inline reply to a message. Further customization includes setting a group photo using an image or emoji. New Memoji options in Messages are more inclusive and diverse with additional hairstyles, headwear, face coverings, and more.

Maps

In iOS 14, Maps get some much-needed updates including new cycling directions, electric vehicle routing and curated Guides. Cycling takes into account elevation, how busy an area is, and if stairs are part of the route. EV Charging adds stops on a planned route based on your vehicle’s current charge. Guides provide a list of curated places to visit in a city, allowing you to discover the best restaurants, attractions, and more.

AirPods

Your AirPods can now switch seamlessly between Apple devices with automatic device switching. There’s also spatial audio with dynamic head tracking, which creates a theatre-like experience to the AirPods Pro. By applying directional audio filters, and subtly adjusting the frequencies each ear receives, sounds can be placed virtually anywhere in a space to provide an immersive listening experience.

iPadOS

Apple revealed iPadOS 14 today, and it comes with new features and design changes unique to the iPad.

“With iPadOS 14, we’re excited to build on the distinct experience of iPad and deliver new capabilities that help customers boost productivity, be more creative, and have more fun,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “With new compact designs for system interactions and new app designs specifically tailored to iPad, even better note-taking capabilities with Apple Pencil, and more powerful AR experiences, iPadOS 14 delivers an amazing experience that keeps it in a class of its own.”

Enhanced App Experiences, New Compact Designs

FaceTime and Siri are getting compact designs on iPadOS 14 as well as iOS 14. Both features will use a lightweight banner to keep the screen clean, making it easy to pick up calls and ask Siri questions. Siri appears on the bottom of the screen now, and you can flick it away when you’re done.

Search

ipad os 14 search

Search sees a massive upgrade as it is rebuilt from the ground up with iPad OS 14. In one place you can find practically anything, and the new compact design allows users the ability to search from anywhere.

Redesigned sidebars across many apps, including Photos, Files, Notes, Calendar, and Apple Music, consolidate navigation into a single place, making it easier than ever to navigate within an app while keeping content front and centre.

Augmented Reality Gets More Realistic

I’m a fan of Apple’s AR toolkit and have seen what it is capable of. Good thing Apple believes in it because AR is here to stay. ARKit 4 delivers a brand new Depth API that allows developers to access even more precise depth information captured by the new LiDAR Scanner on iPad Pro. You can use AR to get better body measurements, try out paint colours, and more.

Scribble

Apple revealed a new feature called Scribble, which allows you to handwrite and have your writing converted to text. It can also highlight, copy, and paste the text.

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watchOS 7

Apple’s new watchOS 7 is introducing sleep tracking, which takes a holistic approach to sleep by providing valuable tools to help users get the desired amount of sleep, get to bed on time, and create a pre-bedtime routine to meet their sleep goals.

Using the watch’s accelerometer and micro-movements from the users, watchOS 7 can tell how you’re sleeping and it captures how much sleep you get each night. Using a new feature called Wind Down, this allows a user to program schedules for bed, and if the battery is too low within an hour of bedtime, you’ll be prompted to charge your watch.

On top of that, watchOS 7 offers updates to faces, allowing for personalization and greater access to apps. You still can’t use third-party faces, which is a bummer.

Automatic Handwashing Detection

Washing hands properly for at least 20 seconds can help prevent the spread of illness. In a first-of-its-kind innovation for a wearable, Apple Watch uses motion sensors, microphones, and on-device machine learning to automatically detect handwashing motions and sounds. It then initiates a 20-second countdown timer, and if the user finishes early, they will be prompted to keep washing. Apple Watch can also conveniently remind the user to wash their hands when they return home.

Workout and Fitness

Workout is getting four new exciting workout types, supported by the heart rate monitor: Core Training, Dance, Functional Strength Training, and Cooldown.

watchos 7 dance

Dance users the Apple Watch’s advanced sensor fusion and combines data from the heart rate sensor and inputs from the accelerometer and gyroscope. This workout type was validated and tested with four of the most popular dance styles for exercise: Bollywood, cardio dance, hip-hop, and Latin.

Hearing

Following the introduction of the Noise app in watchOS 6 that measures ambient sound levels and duration of exposure, watchOS 7 adds further support for hearing health with headphone audio notifications.

macOS Big Sur

Following Catalina is Big Sur, the latest version of macOS. Apple revealed a new and beautiful design, which is new but also familiar to the user.

“macOS Big Sur is a major update that advances the legendary combination of the power of UNIX with the ease of use of the Mac, and delivers our biggest update to design in more than a decade,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “With its modern and clean look, huge improvements to key apps including Safari, Messages, and Maps, and new privacy features, we think everyone is going to love the breakthrough experience that macOS Big Sur offers.”

All app icons have seen a redesign, and everything from the curvature of the windows, to the colours and materials, have seen refinement. All in all, things are now more consistent across the Apple ecosystem. Buttons and controls appear when needed, and recede when they’re not. The entire experience feels more focused, fresh, and familiar, reducing visual complexity and bringing users’ content front and centre.

Control Center is now part of macOS and delivers quick access to all the controls you’ll need from your desktop. There are more interactive elements, and by clicking on one thing, you can dive deeper into the settings.

Safari

Apple says Safari is getting its biggest update since 2003. Tabs have been redesigned to make navigating Safari faster and more powerful by showing more onscreen. You can get a quick preview of a tab by hovering over it, and there’s a ton of personalization while browsing now.

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You can customize your start page with an image, and other things like Reading List and iCloud Tabs. Safari includes built-in translation, can detect and translate entire webpages (from seven languages) and more.

Safari also includes Privacy Reports; these deliver added visibility into how Safari protects browsing activity across the web. Users can choose when and which websites a Safari extension can work with, and tools like data breach password monitoring never reveal your password information — not even to Apple.

Industry-Leading Privacy

Privacy is at the core of the Mac experience, and macOS Big Sur offers users even more transparency and control over their data. Inspired by the convenience and readability of food nutrition labels, new privacy information detailed in the Mac App Store will help users understand the privacy practices of apps before downloading them, including the types of data the apps might collect — such as usage, contact information, or location — and whether that data is shared with third parties for tracking.

Mac Transition to Apple Silicon

Apple revealed that it will transition Macs from Intel to the new Apple Silicon. Intel has been producing chips for Apple for 15 years, and now is transitioning to produce their own chips in-house. This is a move similar to how the iPhone and iPad are produced, and because of this move, Mac will be on a new level of performance. This transition will also establish a common architecture across all Apple products, making it far easier for developers to write and optimize their apps for the entire ecosystem.
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Developers can now convert their existing apps to run on Apple Silicon and for the first time, developers can make their iOS and iPadOS apps available on the Mac without any modifications.

Apple is launching the Universal App Quick Start Program, which offers support and documentation to developers to help them get started.

Apple plans to ship the first Mac with Apple silicon by the end of the year and complete the transition in about two years. Apple will continue to support and release new versions of macOS for Intel-based Macs for years to come and has exciting new Intel-based Macs in development.