Apple made a couple of announcements during the first online-only WWDC keynote.
Mac transition to Apple silicon
One of the biggest changes has to do with the Mac, Apple announced that they will begin to transition their Mac devices from Intel to their own custom n silicon.
“From the beginning, the Mac has always embraced big changes to stay at the forefront of personal computing. Today we’re announcing our transition to Apple silicon, making this a historic day for the Mac,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “With its powerful features and industry-leading performance, Apple silicon will make the Mac stronger and more capable than ever. I’ve never been more excited about the future of the Mac.”
Basically, that means that new Macs will be powered by more advanced versions of Apple’s A-series processors as featured in the iPad and iPhone.
The advantage of Apple making this transition the company and its developers has better control over the power and performance apps and games have.
Apple is working with Adobe and Microsoft to help make the Creative Cloud and Office apps work with the new Apple SoCs for Mac.
The first Mac with Apple Silicon is set to ship by the end of 2020 and the complete transition will take around two years.
The company will continue to support and release new versions of macOS for Intel-based Macs for the coming years.
For developers, Apple is offering the Universal App Quick Start Program that gives devs, documentation, forums support, beta versions of macOS Big Sur, Xcode 12 and limited use of the Developer Transition Kit (DTK).
The Developer Transition Kit is a Mac Mini that uses Apple’s A12Z Bionic System on a Chip (SoC). The kit has 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage.
Interested developers can apply for the program at developer.apple.com and it costs $669 CAD ($500 USD).
You can read more about Apple’s Mac transition here.
While the look of iOS isn’t changing all that much, Apple is adding some new features in iOS 14.
“iOS 14 transforms the most iconic elements of the iPhone experience, starting with the biggest update we’ve ever made to the Home Screen,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “With beautifully redesigned widgets on the Home Screen, the App Library that automatically organizes all of your apps, and App Clips that are fast and easy to discover, iPhone becomes even more powerful and easier to use.”
Widgets are now available on the homescreen in iOS 14, letting you quickly access information at a glance.
There’s also the App Library that is essentially iOS 14’s version of the app drawer found on Android for a number of years. App Library will automatically organize your apps into one space with different categories and suggestions.
Incoming calls in iOS 14 have a new compact design that shows up at the top of the screen. Picture-in-Picture support is now available on iPhones, so you can keep watching videos while using another app.
App Clips in iOS 14 basically allows you to use a small part of an app without needing to download the whole app. Whether you’re paying for parking or buying a coffee, you can just tap an NFC tag or scan a QR code to open an App Clip.
You’ll also be able to share App Clips in Messages in iOS 14. In messages, iOS 14 brings the ability to pin conversations, reply inline to messages and also new Memoji options.
Apple Maps in iOS 14 will also bring new cycling directions and EV charging options for electric vehicles.
Apple is also letting users in iOS 14 set their default browser and email apps, so you don’t have to use the iOS Mail app or Safari.
Here are some of the other features in iOS 14:
- Translate is designed to be the best and easiest app for translating conversations, offering a quick and natural translation of voice and text among 11 different languages.4 On-device mode allows users to experience the features of the app offline for private voice and text translation.
- Siri expands its knowledge, helps find answers from across the internet, and can now send audio messages. Keyboard dictation runs on device when dictating messages, notes, email, and more.
- 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. The Home app and HomeKit are built to be private and secure, so all information about a user’s home accessories is end-to-end encrypted.
- AirPods gain the ability to seamlessly switch between Apple devices with automatic device switching. Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking brings a theatre-like experience to 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.
- Digital car keys give users a secure way to use iPhone or Apple Watch to unlock and start their car. Digital car keys can be easily shared using Messages, or disabled through iCloud if a device is lost, and are available starting this year through NFC.8 Apple also unveiled the next generation of digital car keys based on Ultra-Wideband technology for spatial awareness delivered through the U1 chip, which will allow users to unlock future car models without removing their iPhone from their pocket or bag, and will become available next year.
- Find My will add support for finding third-party products and accessories with the new Find My network accessory program. This will allow customers to use the Find My app to locate other important items in their lives, in addition to their Apple devices. User privacy remains central to the Find My network with end-to-end encryption built-in. A draft specification is available for accessory makers and product manufacturers starting today.
- Safari offers a Privacy Report so users can easily see which cross-site trackers have been blocked, secure password monitoring to help users detect saved passwords that may have been involved in a data breach, and built-in translation for entire webpages.
- 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.10 Health also adds support for new data types for mobility, Health Records, symptoms, and ECG.
- The Weather app and widget keep users up to date on severe weather events and a new next-hour precipitation chart shows minute-by-minute precipitation when rain is in the forecast.
- Accessibility features include Headphone Accommodations, which amplifies soft sounds and tunes audio to help music, movies, phone calls, and podcasts sound crisper and clearer, and sign language detection in Group FaceTime, which makes the person signing more prominent in a video call. VoiceOver, the industry’s leading screen reader for the blind community, now automatically recognizes what is displayed visually onscreen so more apps and web experiences are accessible to more people.
The iOS 14 developer preview is available now with a public beta in July. The final version of iOS 14 will hit users in the fall and works with iPhone 6s and later.
You can read more about iOS 14 here.
The changes for iPadOS 14 are very similar to the ones featured in iOS 14.
“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.”
A new feature called Scribble lets you turn your handwriting into typed text instantly in any text box. Search in iPadOS 14 will let you quickly find anything from your contacts, files, quick information and more.
ARKit 4 lets developers use the new Depth API to take advantage of the new iPad Pro’s LiDAR Scanner. The Depth API can be used for featured like a more accurate virtual try-on or testing paint colours in a room.
Just like in iOS 14, Apple is also letting users in iPadOS 14 set their default browser and email apps, so you don’t have to use the Mail app or Safari.
The iPadOS 14 developer preview is available now with a public beta in July. The final version of iPadOS 14 will hit users in the fall and works iPad Air 2 and later, all iPad Pro models, iPad 5th generation and later, and iPad mini 4 and later.
You can read more about iPadOS 14 here.
Apple’s watchOS 7 brings a lot more customization options to the Apple Watch including Watch Faces sharing. That means once you customize a watch face, you can share it with your friends and family or even on your social media for others to try.
“We’re energized by the positive impact Apple Watch is having on our customers and are excited to deliver meaningful new tools that support their health, fitness, and wellness,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. “watchOS 7 brings sleep tracking, automatic handwashing detection, and new workout types together with a whole new way to discover and use watch faces, helping our users stay healthy, active, and connected.”
Sleep tracking is also coming to watchOS 7 and can provide details like the red amount of sleep, get to bed on time, and create a pre-bedtime routine to meet their sleep goals.
You can read more about watchOS 7 here.
macOS Big Sur
With macOS 11 Big Sur, Apple has redesigned the look and feel of the Mac with a more spacious design to help make navigation easier and also compliment the latest iOS.
“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.”
The new dock and icons in macOS Big Sur are more consistent with the Apple ecosystem. The new Control Center lets you control settings like volume, brightness quickly.
Messages in macOS Big Sur gains a lot of new featuring coming Messages in iOS 14 like pinned conversations and more.
The macOS Big Sur developer preview is available now, with a public beta in July and final release in the fall.
The update will work with the following Macs.
You can read more about macOS Big Sur here.