WWDC’s virtual events began at 10 a.m. (Pacific Time) on June 22. Engineering sessions for developers, online forums, and individual meetings were free of charge and open to all. Moreover, presentations were broadcast directly from ApplePark and could be viewed either on Apple.com, in the AppleDeveloper or Apple TV applications, as well as on YouTube.
So, what did Tim Cook and his team introduce us to? Here are the main highlights of this year. Let’s begin with the software:
The latest version of the OS for mobile devices can be installed on iPhone 6s and later models, as well as on iPod touch of the 7th generation. Its beta version is already available for developers, and it can be tested by everyone interested, but the official release is scheduled for 2020 fall.
This version of iOS has probably undergone the greatest changes in comparison with other updates. This was repeatedly stated by Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. Here is the list of innovations:
- There is a new way to group applications on the desktop – AppLibrary. It will automatically merge separate related folders and folders with applications. This is Apple’s attempt to somehow solve the problem of a bunch of icons on the desktop.
- Recycled widgets. Now you can change their size and place them anywhere on the desktop and also create smart stacks with the things that are currently most relevant for you at the top.
- Phone calls, FaceTime and Skype calls now do not cover the entire screen of the device. They appear in the form of a compact window at the top of the screen. Therefore, during a conversation, you can easily use other applications.
- AppClips – mini-versions of applications called with the help of NFC, a QR code, or a link in the Safari browser. This solution enables you to complete routine actions much faster in a single window.
- Translation Application allows you to translate text and voice messages in 11 languages. This application will be pre-installed, and it requires no Internet connection, which is a significant benefit for traveling abroad and using roaming services.
A new version of the OS for computers is compatible with all versions of MacBook, MacPro, iMac, and iMacPro, released in 2013 and later. Just like a new version of iOS, macOS is already available to developers, and everyone interested, but its official release is scheduled for fall.
The macOS interface is probably the most talked-about update here. Apple decided to change the appearance of the windows, the icons of basic applications, and the dock. macOS now reminds iOS much more than its previous version. Appearance is a matter of taste; let us discuss its main functional changes:
- Improved Safari browser. The control of the extensions and websites is now easier for a user (a user can now control what they are allowed to do, for example, you can forbid an extension to “read” a page), the start screen has now become easier to customize, a user can even set a screensaver of their own, in addition, a one-click translation option is now available.
- Innovations in Maps. These innovations will also be available in other Apple operating systems, including watchOS, but they are certainly more evident in macOS.
iPadOS 14 can be installed on all iPad models that came out after 2015. The OS for pads is also available for everyone interested as well as developers, but the official release is scheduled for fall.
Most of the OS innovations for tablets largely duplicate what we already mentioned for iOS 14. True, there are some special aspects here, for example, improved search and improved interaction with the ApplePencil stylus.
Now, you can work with handwritten text the same way as printed, which means that you can change its color, select, copy, and so on. In addition, you can convert it into a printed form. New machine learning algorithms will allow the pad to improve its skills in recognizing the text and geometric shapes.
WatchOS 7 smartwatch OS can be tested on AppleWatch 3 Series and later models. The owners of these gadgets can already try the beta version of the new items, but the official release will also take place in the fall.
So what’s new in this segment? Apple Watch now has a sleep control feature. You can sleep wearing the watch; it will gently wake you up with a tactile signal in the morning, give out relevant statistics, and automatically download it to the iPhone. In the evening, the Apple Watch will start to get ready for sleep – it will make the screen less bright, turn off the notifications, etc. There we have it.
Users can now customize their dials and even share them with friends. Another innovation was fuelled by the pandemic: the control of hand washing. Along with wearing a mask, regular hand washing allows reducing the risk of contracting a new virus, and your watch will help you with this task – it will show you a countdown so that you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.
Now it’s time to talk about hardware
Native MacBook processors instead of Intel ones
Tim Cook himself announced this news at the very end of the presentation – MacBooks will now use SoCApple A12Z Bionic processors utilized in iPadPro. True, the transition to their own processors is already at the final stage, and the first Macs with them will be released at the end of 2020. All Apple applications have been rewritten and will now work on a new processor. The representatives of the company claim their performance will allow users even to play games. Developers need to register in a special program to get access to the so-called Developer Transition Kit.
- AirPods headphones will now automatically switch between the devices when a user switches from one device to another.
- New audio technology simulates the surround sound of a movie theater – it is like watching a movie with 5.1, 7.1 track, and Dolby Atmos.
- Solutions for cars. At the presentation, Apple Inc. showed a BMW, which can be opened and closed with an iPhone or an Apple Watch.
- Software for smart houses has the option of recognizing the face of a person standing at the front door and automatic adaptive lighting.
Well, the conference is over, Apple showed a lot of new and interesting things, now we, ordinary users, can only give these innovations a trial and check if everything is as good as we were told.