In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Apple, last month, announced that it will be hosting the annual Worldwide Developers Conference beginning 22 June 2020 as a digital-only event free for all developers. The virtual event aired last night, where Apple announced the first developer betas for iOS 14, iPadOS 14, macOS 11, watchOS 7, and tvOS 14, which are coming to supported Apple devices this fall.
Apple started the 31st WWDC with the unveiling of the next big mobile operation system, iOS 14. The latest version of iOS comes with a bunch of features and changes. iOS 14 brings a fresh new look to the home screen with the addition of beautifully redesigned widgets. Another vital change to the home screen is the addition of an App Library, which automatically organizes all of the user’s apps into a simple and easy-to-navigate view. This also allows users to hide extra pages from your iPhone.
The next big change lies in the in-built Messaging app, where Apple has added a bunch of new features such as the ability to pin important conversations, inline replied in groups, group photos, and much more. And, of course, the new update also brings in new customization features to Memoji.
Apple has also introduced Picture in Picture with iOS 14, which allows users to watch videos in a small window while multitasking. An extremely useful change is the introduction of a compact call screen, which is by far the most the requested feature in iOS over the years. This shows up incoming calls as a small banner instead of taking up the whole display. Siri, too, has been redesigned so that it doesn’t take over the full display from now on.
There are a number of updates to the Maps app too, which now features a new Cycling mode and EV routing. Then there’s CarKey, which will allow users to wirelessly unlock their cars with their iPhone. You can read all about CarKey in our sister journal, right here.
iOS 14 is now available in developer beta form, with a public beta expected to arrive next month. iOS 14 will be supported by iPhone 6s/iPhone SE (1st generation), iPod touch (7th generation), and later when it arrives later this year.
Technically the second version of iPadOS, the iPadOS 14 gets all the features that come with iOS 14, and then some. To take advantage of the iPad’s large display, certain apps have a sidebar to quickly navigate through different sections of the app.
The iPad will also get support for handwriting with Apple pencil. This allows users to write with their Apple Pencil in their own handwriting in any text field across the OS. It also works with multiple languages. This was already available in Apple’s Notes app, but Apple has expanded it across the whole iPadOS.
iPadOS 14 also allows users to set their preferred default email and browser apps. This has been a long-overdue update to the OS. Moreover, this is not just limited to iPadOS 14 as it will also be available with iPhones running on iOS 14.
Just like iOS 14, iPadOS 14 is also now available as a developer beta, with a public beta slated to arrive next month. When the stable version of iPad OS 14 arrives in the fall, it will support iPad Air 2, iPad mini (5th generation), and later.
The macOS Big Sur is the biggest update to the macOS, as per Apple. The update brings a ton of minor design changes to the Mac. The most visible change is the use of new icons across the OS, which are now flatter and rounder than before.
The macOS Big Sur also comes with a new control center, just like iOS 14. The control center is customizable and features all the toggles you’d expect for quick actions. The notification panel is also redesigned, and it now comes with the ability to add widgets, just like we saw in iOS 14’s home screen.
Moreover, keeping in line with the Messaging app on iOS and iPadOS, Apple has updated it here as well. Apple has also added the ability to make your own Memoji stickers from macOS, which was earlier limited to mobile platforms.
On top of that, Safari also gets a major visual rehaul for macOS Big Sur. Users can now change their wallpapers, give extension access to a particular website, and keep a note of websites that track their data. Similarly, Apple has also updated the Mail app, Photos app, and more.
macOS 11 is expected to arrive in Mac mini (2014), iMac (2014), Mac Pro (2013), iMac Pro (2017), MacBook Pro (late 2013), MacBook Air (2013), MacBook (2015), and later in fall this year. Starting today, it is available in beta form for developers.
Apple has made the watchOS even better with watchOS 7. The new update comes with a bunch of new additions such as native sleep tracking, a rebranded Activity app, now called Fitness, and then some.
The update will be coming to Apple Watch Series 3 and later, meaning the tech giant will be dropping support for the Series 1 and Series 2. Moreover, you’ll need at least an iPhone 6s running on iOS 14 to run watchOS 7 on your smartwatch. Starting today, watchOS 7 is available for developers in beta form on supported smartwatches with the stable version to be available later this year.
The watchOS 7 will also add new watchface complications to the mix. The developers will now be able to add richer complications to their watchfaces. Moreover, the update will also allow users to share their watchfaces with other smartwatches running on the same software.
Alongside others, Apple has also announced a new update for its tvOS platform. In a nutshell, the tvOS 14 adds support for a new picture-in-picture mode, better support for Apple’s HomeKit accessories, and native support for Microsoft’s Elite 2 and Adaptive Xbox One controllers.
There’s also a new Control Center, which is very similar to that of iOS, and now, macOS. Apple is also allowing support for multiple users with this update, which, as of now, can only be used for resuming Apple Arcade games.
Apple has also added support for third-party cameras with the new tvOS. So, with the new update, your television will gain the functionality to view the feed when someone rings your doorbell. It will also feature face recognition, on the basis of the person’s name in your Photos library. Apple TV will also gain support for 4K video streaming from the Photos app on iOS devices and audio sharing with AirPods with this update.
Lastly, Apple also announced it will be updating the firmware for its vastly popular earbuds. Of first, the company announced that automatic switching will be rolling out to the second-generation AirPods, Powerbeats, Powerbeats Pro, and Beats Solo Pro in a firmware update, which will automatically switch the audio feed based on the device the user is currently operating.
Additionally, the AirPods Pro will get a new “Spatial Audio” feature, which will offer 3D, surround sound-style audio on your AirPods Pro to replicate a “movie theatre experience” and will constantly recalibrate based on the position of your head to whatever device you’re using.