Apple held its WWDC 2020 keynote earlier today, but it wasn’t your standard presentation in front of a huge crowd of people. Instead, it was a pre-recorded presentation delivered from the Apple Campus in California.
Even with the change in styling, the WWDC 2020 keynote still contained a bunch of announcements. Let’s take a closer look at all of them.
- Widgets on the home screen. Apple redesigned iOS widgets to support placement on the home screen. You can re-size and arrange each widget how you see fit, though widgets still adhere to the grid of apps. You can also add a “Smart Stack” of widgets based on apps you use the most. That way, relevant widgets will show up at different points of the day.
- App Library. Taking a page from Android, iOS will finally include an app tray in the form of the App Library. It automatically organizes your apps by category and the ones you use the most. If there’s a particular app you’re looking for, App Library lets you search for it.
- Compact calls. In the current version of iOS, incoming calls take up the entire screen until you take an action on it. For iOS 14, incoming calls have a new compact design. That way, they don’t take up the entire screen.
- Picture-in-Picture. Already available on iPad OS, iOS 14 brings Picture-in-Picture to iPhones for the first time. As on iPad, you can move the video and resize it. You can also hide it if you just want the audio and close it when you’re done watching.
- Messages. The built-in Messages app gets five new features: the ability to pin conversations at the top of the app, group photos for your group conversations, the ability to mention and highlight someone in a message, the ability to directly reply to a specific message in a group conversation, and more styles and stickers for your Memojis.
- Maps. The Maps app gets three new features: cycling directions that include bike lanes and paths, electric vehicle routing to better plan your road-trip with your electric vehicle, and Guides. Guides show you brief descriptions of spots you might want to hit while visiting a city, such as restaurants and more.
- Translate. As the name implies, the Translate app automatically translates spoken word into another language. The app automatically recognizes whatever language you’re speaking, saving you the step of telling the app what language you’re speaking in.
- Siri. Apple’s voice assistant gets a visual overhaul by means of a compact design. Instead of Siri taking over the screen, Siri now shows up as an icon at the bottom. Apple also promised behind-the-scenes improvements for Siri. The voice assistant now tells you answers from the internet instead of just showing you results, lets you send audio messages to others, and sees what’s on your screen.
- Home. The Home app now offers suggested automations, updates the visuals a bit, supports adaptive lighting, lets you define Activity Zones, and supports face recognition for video cameras and doorbells. For face recognition, the Home app identifies people you’ve tagged in the Photos app.
- Safari. With the updated Safari, you can translate websites in seven different languages. Also, the app notifies you if a password you’re using isn’t secure and offers a Privacy Report for each website.
- CarPlay and car keys. Apple is paying more attention to the car with updates to CarPlay. You can now change the wallpaper and select from three new app types: parking, electric vehicle charging, and quick food ordering. More significantly, you can now use virtual car keys to unlock and start your car from your iPhone. You can even share your car key with friends or family.
- AirPods. With iOS 14, you can move between Apple devices without manually switching to your AirPods. You can also adjust your AirPods audio to your hearing differences, connect two sets of AirPods to your Apple TV 4K, and get notified when you need to charge your AirPods. More significant is support for spatial audio, which will only be available on the AirPods Pro.
- App Clips. Similar to Instant Apps on Android, App Clips is just that: a snapshot of an app. Although they offer specific functions from apps, they don’t take up the space of one on your device. Because of that, App Clips load and launch quickly.
- Updated app design. Some apps on iPadOS 14 now feature a sidebar and pull-down menus for easier navigation. Apps with the new design include Photos and Files.
- Universal and compact search. Not only does search now feature a new compact design, but it’s now universal. That means you can now search for anything inside of apps, on the internet, apps on your device, and more.
- Scribble. With Scribble, you don’t have to put down the Apple Pencil to search or type. That’s because iPadOS 14 automatically converts your handwriting into text. As such, you can now write in any text field. You can also scratch off words to delete them and circle a word to select it.
- Notes. The Notes app now supports Smart Selection, which lets you select handwritten text and use the same gestures as you would with typed text. You can even copy handwritten text and paste it into documents as typed text. Notes can also recognize shapes, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and more.
- Augmented reality (AR). With iPadOS 14 comes ARKit 4, which offers more precise measurements. It also features Location Anchors, which use data from Apple Maps’ Look Around feature to place different AR experiences at specific points around the world.
MacOS Big Sur
- Streamlined apps. From full-height sidebars to refreshed toolbars, Apple’s built-in apps sport new designs across the board.
- Refreshed dock. Apple changed up the app icons in Big Sur, with all of them now sporting a unified shape. Interestingly, Apple moved away from a completely-flat design for some of the app icons, such as those for Messages, Mail, Maps, and FaceTime.
- Notification Center. Also getting a visual overhaul is Notification Center, which now looks much closer to what you see on iOS and iPadOS. That means notifications and widgets are now available in a single-view format, with notifications grouped by app.
- Safari. The Mac App Store now features a dedicated category for Safari extensions, which received a jolt in the way of the WebExtensions API and migration tools. As a result, developers will have an easier time bringing over extensions for other browsers to Safari. The updated web browser also supports instant page overviews for tabs, translation for supported websites, and more.
- Search. Search now organizes results into links and photos. It also highlights matching terms.
- Faster updates. With Big Sur, updates begin in the background and supposedly finish faster than before. It’s similar to how Chrome OS updates itself, which is good news for Mac OS owners.
- Watch Faces. WatchOS 7 includes two new watch faces: Chronograph Pro with a tachymeter and X-Large. Also, you can share your watch face via text, email, or a link you post online. You can also search for watch faces on the App Store and find watch faces on websites. Lastly, WatchOS 7 includes five new complications: Shortcuts, Sleep, Camera Remote, Moon Phase, and World Clock.
- Sleep app. WatchOS 7 adds a new app to your Apple Watch: Sleep. With the app, you can chart your sleeping patterns, track your sleep with the accelerometer, get bedtime reminders, and more. When you wake up, you get a report of the weather and battery level.
- Fitness. Four new workouts are available in WatchOS 7: Functional Strength Training, Core Training, Cooldown, and Dance. Also, the Activity app has been renamed to Fitness.
- Handwashing. The Center for Disease Control recommends everyone wash their hands for at least 20 seconds. WatchOS 7 makes sure you stick to the timing by automatically detecting when you’re washing your hands and showing a 20-second countdown timer. If you stop, the timer also stops until you resume.
- Hearing health. Included in WatchOS 7 are several features to protect your hearing. You can reduce the headphone volume to the level recommended by the World Health Organization, receive a weekly listening summary to see how you’ve listened to high-decibel sounds, and set a maximum headphone volume.
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Williams Pelegrin is a Managing Editor for Back to the Gaming. When he’s not writing up news, he’s talking a walk around the neighborhood with his wife and his dog. Either that, or drinking a cup of hot chocolate. Or both.