Like every other year, Apple often dedicates its annual worldwide Developers to announce new updates for its product and services, only which this year’s edition took a different turn as it was hosted virtually
Apple went against all odds to host its annual WWDC amidst the ongoing pandemic which has continued to rage the world with no hope of a possible solution in sight. As a result of this, the tech giant held a virtual event in an empty auditorium contrary to the norm- as in previous editions where the company often hosts a hall-full of developers and media personnel.
While this year’s edition of WWDC was streamed via a dedicated link provided by the company, the event kicked with an opening admonishment by Tim Cook who first addressed the Black Lives Matter Movement and Coronavirus, the two pressing issues that has been ongoing around the globe for a while now.
As for the highlight of the event, Apple announced an update for some of its operating systems including; iPadOS 14, macOS Big Sur, TV OS, and Watch OS updates. However, the company relayed that public beta of all new updates will commence next month, and as always, ship sometimes in the fall.
Well, that’s not all about the highlight of the event; Apple announced the biggest news towards the end of the event– the tech giant is ditching the Intel chipset for its overdue Arm-based chips, and it intends to offer the best performance there is in terms of better performance; lower power consumption; Metal-optimized graphics processor; and custom acceleration silicon. In this regard, the company plans to ship new systems which packs the latest chipset towards the end of the year, while plans to roll out Apple silicon will follow subsequently, over the next two years.
For those who care to know more details about the new OS updates, here are some takes for you below;
The upcoming iOS is everything as far as rebranding is concern, well, don’t expect a totally alien look for your iOS 14- compatible devices, but something close to it. Yes! Apple welcomed a lot of new idea on the new iOS update, that after several years, one could feel the need to purchase any of the latest iPhones as they are clearly the only ones open to the new update.
Talking about specs, the preview mode that was rolled out to developers after the event features a couple of interface changes, starting with;
App library: (a new home screen page) that will show up after swiping through the final page of apps. The juicy part to this is that, the new update automatically categorizes or perhaps sorts your apps based on usage.
Also, we also found out that Widget can now be moved around the screen; Yes! More like what we have on the android devices, users can now relocate their various widgets like calendar, weather, e.t.c to other pages, and even position it amidst your regular apps.
Picture-in-Picture on iPhone: Finally, Apple bends to the pressure from its users demanding the need to include the awesome feature. Although iPad has had the feature since the introduction of iOS 9, the latest iOS 14 introduces the same feature for iPhones, allowing users to enjoy Picture-in-Picture video playback; with this, users can switch between apps without having to forfeit their watch time.
Siri/ Messages: Over the years, Apple’s default voice assistance have not really experienced so much innovation aside from a couple of upgrades such as the auto-summon feature, voice recognition, and a couple of other menial features. Now, with the new update, Siri is capable of executing more sophisticated actions which include speech-to-text transcription. More interestingly, Siri won’t have to forcefully exit you out of an existing page by taking over the entire screen, instead, it will only take a portion of the screen moving forward.
Messaging on the other hand now comes with more aesthetics. By pinning your most important conversation, you can have a top portion of your messaging app graced with profile images of the persons you are chatting with. Also, you can setup notifications on noisy group messages to only alert you when you are mentioned by name.
Maps, CarPlay, App Clips were not also left out of the upgrade as they all added new features such as ‘Cycling direction’, ‘New Wall Paper options’, and ‘Applets’ respectively.
iPad OS (Specific)
As usual, iPads tends to get its own dedicated upgrade, and Apple has not failed the norm even in this year’s edition of WWDC. As a matter of fact, the iPad got most of the juicy updates including all of the ones that has been mentioned above. Here are few dedicated new tricks that the iPad is welcoming alongside the new update;
New Univeral Seach: Apple surprisingly overhauled the entire iPad search UI which will no loger go full screen upon usage. Also, users can now search deeper into the apps feature i.e, key note, messages, Mail, and files.
Apple Pencil: Since the pecil feature is only limited to the iPad, this dedicated update comes with zero-bias. Here, handwriting recognition now works perfectly as users can seamlessly write in any text field.
Say no more, Apple have also secured an upgrade for airpod users, although, it is not clear whether the new update cuts across all of the wearable generation. Anyways, Airpods can now ‘automatically switch between multiple devices’. If your airpod is connected to both your iPhone and iPad, then commands can be giving simultaneously. That been said, don’t be too dumb to play music on both device as the same time as switching to one means cutting off connection from the other.
Also, the new audio allows for what the company refer to as ‘Spatial Audio’, a feature that is compatible only with the airpod pro, and allows for simulated surround sounds.
Here, there is less story to talk about. However, two of the highlights of the update for the watch OS are; the cycling direction feature as stated in the general iOS 14 update, and a Handwashing detection feature that capable of detecting whether you are washing your hand, making use of an accelerometer to look for relevant motions and prompt the microphone to listen for sounds of scrubbing; although sounds quite irrelevant, it appears to be a tribute to the new era of COVID-19. Other new upgrades include Face sharing, multiple complications per app, and sleep tracking.
Unlike anything that we are familiar with, there was a special upgrade home kit feature. Here, there is an automatic adaptive lighting , which automatically adjust the brightness/temperature of your connected smart bulbs throughout the day. With the new update, you can get cooler lights during work hours, and warmer temperatures when it is time to wind down.
Likewise, an improvement was also made with respect to Face recognition as homekit-enabled doorbell camera can now recognize known face and notify you of who is at the door via Homepod/Apple Tv.
MacOS Big Sur
Well, if I’m not mistaking, this happens to be one of the biggest announcement of the night. The ‘Big Sur’ name is what the next build of MacOS will be called, and according to what was said about it; will include some tweakls that will make it look and feel a bit more like iOS. Unlike the big bulgy app icons you are familiar with in previous OS, users will have a smaller icons appear below their screens.
Well, that’s not all about the ‘Big Sur’, new improvement cutting across the control center, notification center, new maps, Safari, have now been added to the new update, and of course, Apple will be rolling out an entirely overhauled extensions for the new big deal.
New Processors on Macs
Like I clearly stated earlier, Apple is switching, not necessarily dumping the Intel for a custom ARM-based CPU which it has been working on for a couple of years now. So yes! The rumours that has been making rounds for months ended up being a legit upgrade for the tech giant. According to the company, what users have experienced over the years cannot be compared to what is coming, as the upcoming CPU boasts of enhanced performance with less power consumption.
Apple values its users’ privacy, so it was never left out of the upgrade. Some of the advancement in this category include an accessibility to approximate location. With the latest update users can grant an app access to approximate location rather than pin-point a precise location as we have in previous update.
Also, with respect to Mic/Camera indicator, iOS will now show an on-screen indicator when an app is accessing either apps.
Still, on privacy, Apple now offers a simplified policy that requires developers to provide simplified “highlights” of what user data they track or in other cases share with third-parties.
Having said all of that, one could anticipate a more exciting buy for future iOS devices.