The Apple WWDC 2020 keynote kicked off last night with some big announcements, including the iOS 14, watchOS 7, and more.
Of course, this year’s edition of the Apple WWDC is unique in its own right; this is the first time Apple’s developer conference is exclusively streamed online, thanks to the pandemic that is still raging on. However, that didn’t deter Apple from dropping plenty of updates across its entire ecosystem.
From hardware to software and everything in-between, Apple covers all the aspects to ensure it gives its users the best experience possible.
The biggest by far definitely goes to the iOS 14 with redesigned widgets on the Home Screen. Now you can have a mix of both apps and widgets on your main Home Screen, giving you greater flexibility with how you want to manage your device. App Library is another new addition, which automatically organises a user’s apps into one simple, easy-to-navigate view.
Aside from the Home Screen, iOS 14 also offers plenty of updates to other features like Siri, which now comes with a fresh new look. Instead of having a dedicated screen, Siri will now take the form of a circular overlay at the bottom of the screen. This ensures that it doesn’t disrupt your usage by being in the background, only coming on when called upon. Siri can also help you send audio messages as well as better dictate your messages.
If you own AirPods, it will benefit from iOS 14 as well. Now you can switch seamlessly between Apple devices. AirPod Pro users will also have spatial audio with dynamic head tracking, ensuring you get a theatre-like experience. Other new updates also include Find My Phone, Translate, Health, and Weather to name a few.
The watchOS 7 update centres around health and fitness in a big way, but not forgetting other necessities like its watch faces and many more. As its faces are central to the entire experience, watchOS 7 now offers new ways to discover and share unique combinations to completely configure the watch face to suit any style or activity of your choice. There is also an update to the current faces, which now has greater personalisation to use all your favourite apps with your preferred watch face.
With the entire premise of the Apple Watch centred around health, fitness, and wellness, you know the Cuppertino company will be introducing plenty of updates in those aspects. Sleep is one of the more important updates for watchOS 7, which now introduces sleep tracking. This holistic approach will provide valuable tools to help users improve their sleep cycle and schedule. As for the Workout app, it now has four new exercise routines with its own custom-built motion algorithms — Core Training, Dance, Functional Strength Training, and Cooldown.
Apple also isn’t done when it comes to tackling COVID-19. In watchOS 7, you will now have a built-in automatic handwash detection feature. It uses motion sensors, microphones, and on-device machine learning to automatically detect handwash movement and sounds. This will initiate the 20-second countdown timer (the length of time you need to wash your hands) and if you’re finished early, the watch will prompt you to keep washing.
Much like iOS 14, the iPadOS 14 receives similar updates for Siri, Messages, Maps, and even its widgets. This is all down to its new and enhanced app experience with its compact design. This allows you to do more on the multi-touch screen display of the iPad while utilising way less space. The search feature has also been completely redesigned from the ground up with iPadOS 14. You can now start a search for just about anything without having to leave the current app you’re in.
Apple is also bringing greater compatibility to iPadOS 14 with its Scribble to iPad with Apple Pencil. Now you can write down your thoughts in any text field and watch it automatically convert to typed text. This makes texting on Messages or even going through Safari an easy and seamless experience. Taking down notes is also a lot smarter now with on-device machine learning.
macOS Big Sur
It wouldn’t be an Apple WWDC keynote without hearing from macOS. The all-new macoOS Big Sur introduces a beautiful redesign of your favourite operating system. It leaves it looking brand new, yet still familiar in many ways. This spaciously new design was all about making navigation easier and giving you more control.
Icons at the dock have also been redesigned to remain consistent with the rest of the Apple ecosystem while still maintaining its Mac personality. The menu bar is also customisable with an all-new Control Center, delivering quick access to controls from the desktop.
After much fanfare for its many updates, one that many Apple fans were looking forward to is finally here: Mac is transitioning to its own custom silicon chips, finally moving away from Intel. This falls in line with its latest macOS Big Sur release, which includes technologies that will ensure a smooth and seamless transition to Apple silicon. Developers will now be able to update and easily convert its existing apps to run on Apple’s silicon chips, taking advantage of its powerful technologies and performance.
(All images courtesy of Apple.)