Tech giant Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote arrived and was conducted through a virtual event on June 22. The event included some significant announcements by Apple like iOS 14, its transition from Intel chips on Mac, and many more.
WWDC 2020 Keynote
WWDC kicks off with Hope for Equality
The WWDC keynote started with a special message that focussed on inclusiveness in light of the death of George Floyd. The company reaffirmed its commitment to education, economic equality, and criminal justice through the message, and also introduced a new entrepreneurial developer camp for Black developers. “We are committed to being a force for change,” Apple CEO Tim Cook stated. The keynote also saw the company thanking healthcare workers for their work amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “Great challenges have been met with great creativity,” Cook said while kicking off the virtual event.
- Apple is making it easier for users to find apps and information from their device’s home screen. The App Library is a new space highlighted at the end of the home screen pages that automatically arrange the apps in the phone to navigate view. The App Library is a collection of intelligently grouped apps in folders, similar to how Apple’s Photos apps use AI to create photo collection from the photo library.
- There is also a change to the Widgets section, which is available in different sizes for different data needs. The widgets can also be placed on the home screen, along with the apps and folders. The devices would also have a Widget Gallery to feature all the available widgets.
- Apple is also bringing picture-in-picture video to video apps for multitasking and entertainment purposes.
- Apple tool Siri would also get an update, with its engine now can be used for dictation, and speech-to-text will be handled on-device for greater privacy.
- An update to Messages will help iOS 14 users to stay updated about the messages by allowing them to pin notes to the top of the screen list.
- There is also a new feature into Maps called Guides, which show lanes and routes, be it for public transit, walking directions, or cycling routes. There is also an EV routing mode for electric vehicle owners with charging stops.
- Apple is also updating the car experience with a digital key named Car Key. With Car Key’s help, a vehicle can be unlocked and started with the iPhone, allowing the user to tap the phone to open the key.
- Apple also announced the AppClip, a small part of a light, fast and easier app. The app clip can be launched from Safari, messages, maps, NFC tags, QR codes, or new Apple AppClip code.
- A majority of the changes on iOS 14 will be featured on the larger iPad screen with the latest release of iPad OS. In addition to widgets, there is an update of Apple’s Photos where photos will portray on the front and center. There is an additional swipe-out sidebar, which will give the users easy access to more controls and options. This sidebar will also be available to other iPad apps like Notes, Calendar, and more.
- The universal search feature is getting a big update, where the experience has been redesigned to familiarise with Spotlight on the Mac.
- There is also a new Apple Pencil coming to the iPad named Scribble, which allows the users to jot down what they want to search, rather than peck away from the keyboard or type.
- Apple is updating AirPods with features like spatial audio for AirPods Pro. It uses hardware features like gyroscope and phone’s sensor data to understand how the sound vibrates and what one sees. The result is a surround sound experience!
- Additionally, AirPods will also have a new handoff feature, allowing users to choose their music listening sessions as they switch between devices.
Apple Watch and Watch OS 7
- There are a bunch of updates and additions to the Apple Watch. With WatchOS 7, Apple is making the user experience efficient when users can share their favorite custom faces with Face Sharing. To share a custom-created look, one can long-press on the front, pick a contact to share with, and hit send.
- The workout app by Apple has a new cardio workout — dance! This workout feature uses sensor fusion, which collects various sensor data to figure out the dance styles and moves by a person and combines this with heart rate data.
- Apple is also introducing sleep tracking to Fitness. To help you have a sound sleep, Wind Down displays a screen on the phone to get ready for sleep. In the sleep mode, the screens would automatically turn off, and during wake up time, one can select from alarms to get up without waking the partner.
- There is also an efficient handwashing tracker by Apple for COVID-19 pandemic times. A.I. helps to detect when the user is washing their hands automatically, and the feature helps to keep proper hand hygiene by letting them know the length of handwashing sessions.
New upgrades and additions to the privacy section by Apple include approximate location data sharing, recording indicators when microphone and cameras are activated, and Safari tracking settings. Apple takes security and privacy seriously!
Apple announced a new alliance with Amazon, Google, and other industry leaders to make the home smarter and efficient. Everything is controlled with the Home app, which lets the user set up automation. The Homekit connected cameras in this feature also have facial recognition, whereby it not only allows the users to know if someone is at the Homekit enabled doorbell camera but also tells the user who is at the front door. This is detected based on the photos tagged in the photo library of the user.
- To make entertainment and music more enjoyable, Apple introduces the ability to see lyrics as a person watch music videos. The gaming features are also upgraded, with the platform supporting Xbox controllers. There is also a multi-user support for the game which is introduced to the platform with tvOS 14.
- Apple TV is also adding a picture-in-picture mode, which allows the user to watch the news in a smaller window, for example, and view a favorite app in another.
- Apple also introduced a new Apple TV+ Original called Foundation. This is a sci-fi show based on the book series authored by Isaac Asimov.
MacOS Big Sur
- The next Mac OS release is the Big Sur, which introduces a new design and significant updates to the Mac. Apple is introducing design refinements like buttons and sliders. Also, the app icons have been redesigned, and a new compact and simplified toolbar is added. The menu bar is now translucent and imbeds the colors of the desktop.
- Mac OS users can now create and share their own Memoji. Group enhancements, pinned conversations, and more are also transitioning from iOS to Mac OS. Mac is also getting new Maps features that are introduced in iOS 14.
Apple Processors usher in a new Era for Macs
- After 15 years of using Intel processors on the Mac, Apple says goodbye to the Intel processors. The company announced that it had developed its custom silicon, which gives better performance than the Intel. The company announced that it would use its own SoCs (system on a chip) in the future Mac.
- Apple is also testing Big Sur using the same A12Z Bionic processor, predominantly used on the iPad Pro. Apple showed Microsoft Word and Excel, Adobe Photoshop, and Apple Final Cut Pro software running fluidly on this processor in its WWDC 2020 demo.
- Apple also announced the Rosetta 2, an emulation app with which existing macOS apps can run on new systems with Apple silicon. Apple showed a demo gaming with Rosetta 2 with the title Shadow of the Tomb Raider working efficiently.
- Apple announced that its new ARM-powered Macs would be able to run iOS and iPad OS apps along with the native and emulated apps. According to Cook, Apple’s transition to custom A-series ARM-based processors for Mac will begin this week. To help developers start coding for ARM-based Macs, Apple will introduce the Developer Transition Kit this week. This kit would include a Mac Mini with an A12Z Bionic chip inside.
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