Apple‘s opening keynote Monday for WWDC 2020, its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, started with Tim Cook addressing the empty auditorium about before it launched into the announcement of iOS 14 and its home-screen redesign and new widgets. Thus far, we’ve heard about the new iPadOS 14, MacOS Big Sur, TV OS and WatchOS updates as well. Public betas will start next month, and as usual ship in the fall.
But the big news was, intended to deliver better performance at lower power consumption than before, a (presumably) Metal-optimized graphics processor and other custom acceleration silicon. New systems will ship by the end of 2020, and the Apple silicon will roll out across the rest of the Mac line over the next two years.
All of the Big Sur Apple apps are written to support the new custom Apple processors, and Apple claims that support is just a simple recompile for developers (or at least within a couple days). Partners like Adobe and Microsoft will also be onboard with their apps at launch. And the company claims the performance will be great. Rosetta 2 will automatically recompile older apps when you install them. Catalyst-compiled iOS and iPadOS apps and games will run natively starting on Day One.
! Smart switching the connection across devices comes to our rescue, and AirPods Pro gets spatial audio using a gyro and an accelerometer to track your head movements. It supports multiple spatial standards. Apps will provide more granular options for location tracking and give developers a way to show you more detail about what they’re capturing.
We also saw a preview of the, based on Isaac Asimov’s classic sci-fi book series.
Better multiuser support inlets you pick up where you left off in a game, and it now supports Xbox Elite and Xbox Adaptive controllers. .
There are new capabilities for Siri, including a Google Translate-like app for live conversational translations. Messages, too, gets much-needed updates with the ability to pin messages, improvements in group conversations, and more looks for Memoji customizations.
Maps, too, has new features, such as cycling navigation for more cities, and EV routing to alleviate worries about running out of juice en route. CarPlay “rethinks car keys.” They’re now virtual and shareable! App Clips come to the App Store for quick access to new apps and to link to apps from Safari and more.
Borrowing a feature from iPad (and Android phones), Apple brings, which will give you a floating thumbnail of a video if you switch to look at your home screen or any other app.
For smart home, the Home app provides adaptive lighting, the ability to define activity zones for cameras, plus face recognition notifications from your doorbell across all the devices.
You’ll find the same redesigned widgets as iOS 14, but iPadOS improves Photos navigation with a sidebar; the sidebar design has also been integrated into several of Apple’s own apps, with tapping and dragging. Compact notifications for incoming calls and more won’t obscure your screen — that’s in iOS as well. Search has been redesigned to work from anywhere and to operate more like Spotlight on the desktop.
And finally, the new Scribble app provides handwriting recognition note-taking for use with Apple Pencil and the ability to cut and paste more intelligently, as well as the ability to write into text fields — very Windows 10-like. It can recognize different languages as well.
MacOS Big Sur
A complete redesign will greet you when you update to the newest MacOS version, though you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a pretty subtle change. The same Photos design from iPadOS comes to MacOS, as do many of the app updates that we’ll get in iOS and iPadOS. Control center in the menu bar, widgets and notification center is more sophisticated as well.
Mac Catalyst, the tool for porting iOS apps to MacOS fleshes out some of the capabilities to make it more natively MacOS-like. Safari will be faster at loading frequently visited websites and enhanced privacy features, including more granular controls over how long the privileges you’ve granted a site last.
Customize your Apple Watch face with multiple complications — customizing is easier, too — plus there are some new faces. You’ll be able to share faces, as well. Your body will also appreciate the new dance routines to jazz up your workout. At the other end of the spectrum, it adds sleep tracking. With the new OS, the Watch will be able to track your handwashing as well.