WWDC 2020 Apple introduces iOS 14, iPad OS 14, watchOS 7, macOS 11, and Apple Silicon

Apple’s enormously debated about yearly developer conference, WWDC 2020, has begun with lots of new software updates and a huge improvement in macOS. It’s the first digital-only WWDC event and was prerecorded due to this pandemic situation around the globe.

Let’s see what are the new announcements for iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, watchOS 7, and macOS 11 during the first-ever Apple’s “no in-person attendance” event.

iOS 14

iOS 14 Brings Customisation to Home Screen, App Clips, Picture-In-Picture, and much more. As iOS 13 was the huge update, it was expected that iOS 14 would be a lot smoother version with a focus on stability, but to our awe, they have presented some surprises.

  • The home screen is entirely redesigned. It now grants us the capability to show/hide pages from the main home screen, thereby letting us keep the number of pages short and concise. Apple now equips us with the ability to set third-party apps as default email and web browsers.
  • The app library is a new feature that enables us in organizing apps by category. It leverages the on-device ability to classify applications while making you scroll through a new vertical list of apps in that group.
  • Widgets can now be arranged anywhere on the home screen outside of Today’s view, and by adopting Smart Stacking, we can quickly rearrange and move around the widgets.
  • The Picture-in-Picture was very much expected and is now finally available systemwide in iOS 14. It enables us to do multitasking and also works for videos and FaceTime calls.
  • App Clips is a new App Store feature that lets you quickly install a small part of an app that you require essentially (similar to Android’s Instant Apps). By utilizing a camera for visible cues or NFC, it immediately comprehends the application and can accommodate access to Apple Pay and Sign in with Apple-like features.
  • Following the introduction of the on-device speech recognizing in iOS 13, Apple has now introduced a new systemwide Translate application in iOS 14 that works with text and voice.
  • Compact Siri will be a huge relief to many users as it’s current full-screen view can be distracting. Besides, the Call screen will also show a compact notification from now on.
  • The Maps application has gotten some advanced features that incorporate cycle directions that notify you about elevation, steepness, and busy and quiet roads. It’s running out in only six countries, though, but introduces in major cities like New York, San Francisco, Beijing, and Shanghai.
  • CarPlay in iOS 14 now enables you to set new wallpaper customizations and, further importantly, enables you to use your iPhone as the digital keys for unlocking while also allowing you to share the key securely through iMessage, for instance.
  • The iMessage app now makes an easier way to pin favorite conversations and allows you to do in-app replies and mentions in groups along with a bunch of different techniques to create emojis.
  • Location privacy has added a good additional feature in the form of approximate location and at the same time, users can now see the entire app privacy information while downloading the App from the App Store.

iPadOS 14

iPad OS was defined as a separate entity last year, and it’s only been sustained with updates to enhance the user experience on the larger screen. The prominent features included this year are as below:

  • Updated widgets, maps, iMessage, a compact Siri, and call-screen features — all working much like the corresponding iOS 14 features
  • The sidebar is a new user interface component, much like what we see on macOS at the left-hand side. It currently looks at Apple’s stock applications, like Photos, Notes, Files, and Music apps, intending to implement better navigation and user controls.
  • Apple has redesigned and reconstructed the search functionality from scratch for iPadOS 14. In achieving so, it’s now possible to extensively search from within apps or anywhere on your screen, and the new design seems much like macOS’s Spotlight.
  • Apple’s Pencil forms the crux of how users interact with the iPad, and now it’s powered by ML(machine learning). The new Scribble feature lets you write on text fields while searching on the web, and the handwritten text will be transformed automatically. Also, Apple now gives the capability to copy and paste handwritten texts from the canvas into Notes.

watchOS 7

Apple Watch has always been the center of attraction, and now, Apple wants to deliver the features that are very important today:

  • Sleep tracking has been one of the most demanded features recently, and Apple releases it in a very delicate fashion. It gives more importance to Bedtime by dimming the display and presenting an option to hear sleep stories. Furthermore, the Health app on iOS 14 has been expanded with sleep-pattern metrics.
  • Customized faces have been a user favorite, and Apple has included several distinct ones made exclusively in native SwiftUI. Additionally, Apple now gives a new Face Sharing ability to let you share custom faces on social media networks and messages — in a try to boost watchOS app engagements.
  • Besides the addition of cycling routes in the Maps application, the Fitness application now makes dance-workout tracking — a great action as we all find ourselves sheltered in place.
  • A hand-wash tracking mechanism reaches out given the global pandemic we’re experiencing. The watchOS uses on-device machine learning for motion tracking and sound detection to assure users are washing hands as per the directed measures.

macOS 11(Big Sur)

Apple was quiet about macOS updates while pre WWDC. Beginning directly from the name Big Sur itself to Apple’s turn tirelessly from Intel chips, macOS dumped the most important updates in Apple’s keynote through WWDC 2020. Here’s a glimpse at some of them:

  • Apple Silicon announces its ARM-based chipsets to increase the performance of macOS, making custom-designed neural engines for stimulating machine learning and consolidating its ecosystem further.
  • On the design aspect, macOS made its most significant rehaul in recent times by translucent menus, reconstructed icons, and space-efficient designs showcasing an effort to improve the user experience of our favorite development machine. Also, macOS Big Sur now has a control center in the menu bar, widgets, and notification center much like something we’ll have in iOS 14.
  • Built-in mac applications like iMessage now have extremely robust search functionality and a dense grid view, similar to a photo picker.
  • This year’s macOS major update was on Safari and its privacy parameters. Now the user can decide when and what data to share and the time limit to that. Apple also claimed that most visited websites render faster like 50% as compared to Google chrome.
  • Project Catalyst, which was originated last year in a proposal to port iPad apps to macOS, got encouraged with a keyboard, date picker, and menu APIs this time. Also, from now onwards, developers can run native iOS and iPadOS apps directly on macOS.
  • Despite the transformation from Intel chips, Apple Silicon-based macs won’t roll out until the end of the year. More importantly, the transformation from Intel to ARM will take about a couple of years. So Apple offered Universal two to allow developers to build applications for both Apple’s modern Silicon-based Macs as well as for Intel-based Mac computers.

This year’s WWDC delivered the predictable results in terms of enhancing the user experience for the Apple devices. Customization in the home screen, widgets, picture in picture, and very fast – App clips will come in convenient for Apple users, and more focus in terms of data privacy will add benefit in terms of user’s satisfaction and trust in their products. But the major announcement will be the hardware as Apple Silicon for Macs.