Apple held its annual Worldwide Developers Conference keynote on June 22nd, where it announced new features for the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. As well as an exciting new development for Mac computers. Due to current events in the world, it wasn’t possible to have the usual crowd of developers that gather for their WWDC 2020 event. However, company executives CEO Tim Cook and Vice president of software engineering, Craig Federighi still took to the “stage” to go over everything new for Apple products. Despite it not being a classic WWDC, the quality of the Keynote, was still top notch.
Here’s an in-depth view of everything new we saw from WWDC 2020.
One of the biggest announcements was for the iOS 14, Apples latest update for the iPhone. With iOS 14, there’s a handful of new features and improvements. A lot of which that are already being compared to certain Android features that have been around a while. There’s now a new Home screen which allows you to categorize Apps and view more information at a glance. There’s also the ability to take your widgets out of your Today tab and place them wherever you want. As well as features to show different widgets at different times of the day. We also now have a new space called App Library. These are folders that your iPhone creates to group Apps by category, e.g. Social, Arcade, suggestions, etc.
There’s also new features for messages. You can now respond to a particular message in a group chat, just like what you can do with Facebook Messenger. Also, you now have the ability to pin your favorites to the top of Messages for easy access. As well as the ability to customize the photo of group chats or assign an icon instead.
last but not least, they announced App Clips. A new way to get lighter versions of Apps to use for a specific feature. For example, for paying for parking, or buying a cup of coffee. This is a nice feature as it can help to free up some space on your iPhone.
There’s a ton of new features, too much to cover here, but we’ll feature them all in our in-depth review of iOS 14.
WatchOS 7 was also revealed at WWDC 2020 and one of the main features people have been “dreaming” about is the new sleep tracking features. But, seriously, this is a feature that a lot of Apple Watch users have been waiting for. The only question left, is when will you have time to charge your Apple Watch now? Well, there is a way to set a reminder to charge your watch in the morning. Which sounds a bit rushed, but it only takes 30 minutes to get a full charge.
There’s other new features such as a new hand washing features, yes, a hand washing feature. Can you imagine explaining to people in the not-too-distant future about this feature? So the new feature allows the Apple Watch to detect your movement and the sound of running water so it will start a 20 second timer to make sure you wash your hands properly. You can imagine how the crowd at WWDC 2020 would’ve reacted to this if they were present! But jokes aside, it’s a thoughtful new feature that gives a helpful reminder through these difficult times.
There are loads more features including the ability to share watch faces and new workout types, to name a few. We will be releasing a full review of WatchOS 7 here, soon.
MacOS Big Sur
As we depart from the sunny isle that is Catalina, we find ourselves beached on the coast of the Big Sur. Okay, for those who don’t know what I’m talking about, Apple are updating the macOS from Catalina, to the new Big Sur. This new update will bring a new design, an updated version of safari as well as some other new features. Sadly, for me, the more Apple bridges the gap between it’s Mac and other devices, the less excited I am about macOS. I remember the excitement of Catalina for me when I first saw it. But this year, it’s been overshadowed with iOS 14 and iPadOS updates (We’ll get to that soon).
New updates include the same control center for adjusting settings as on the iPhone or iPad and updated Messages and Maps to make them more like how they are on the iPhone, it just feels incredibly underwhelming. We will have a full, hands-on review once we’ve finished our testing of the beta update. I’m sure there are some new features that are more interesting, but my inner pessimist is not too sure!
There were some new features for iPad, including a feature called Scribble. Which lets you write in any text field with your Apple Pencil and convert it to text automatically. There’s also easier navigation for Photos and Mail with a new sidebar. Plus we get the same widgets update that we mentioned about for the iOS 14. There’s also a new feature for AirPods. Your AirPods will be able to detect when you put down your iPhone and pick up your iPad and will switch to them and vice versa.
Considering last year iPads got their own independent iPadOS. It feels very samey to the updates made to the iPhone. I would have much preferred for them to go off in their own independent direction. But I guess we’re not quite there yet.
One of the biggest announcements of WWDC 2020 was the reveal that Apple will start developing it’s own chips for Macs. This means no more Intel chips in your Macs. Does this sound like a good thing? Well, it sounds like a risk, and I’m sure we’ll see some bugs early on, but in the late game, it will make a huge difference to how Apple makes their products.
Let’s face it, anyone with a computer should know about Intel. And now Apple will become one of their toughest competitors. For Apple to make this decision means that they are now capable of rivaling them. And when you look at the A13 Bionic chip featured in the iPhone 11, it does show exciting prospects for future developments. It also gives some great new opportunities to developers, making it much easier for developers to create cross platform Apps.
Apple Silicon is a huge development and a massive step for Apple. One of which I personally think is the right one. We’re expected to see it in action by the end of 2020 (hopefully with some updates during the upcoming September event).
In general, a lot of updates may seem like they’re just copying Android, but this is a well needed update, in my opinion. Some aspects, Apple need to play catch up. However, in some areas, Apple is miles ahead of it’s competitors. My only disappointment with WWDC 2020 was that we didn’t see Mac, iPads and iPhones branch off in their own separate directions. But maybe that’s just me.