Everything has its first time and the same goes for Apple’s developer conference that was streamed online. The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference(WWDC 2020) was a no in-person event this year owing to Covid-19. That did not stop Apple from making big announcements though!
Apple introduced its biggest-ever update in iOS 14 for iPhones and other considerable updates across its product portfolio such as iPad, watches, and Mac. Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of the announcements.
Will iOS 14 be a gamechanger?
Apple provided the first insight at iOS 14 which will be launched later this year. The most significant change is the widgets that can be placed on the home screen. It will be a transformational update that will change the traditional look of the iOS software. Apple is introducing the new widgets in several sizes and shapes and it will facilitate the users to have rich information on their home screens.
Drawing inspiration from Android’s app drawer, the home-screen will now incorporate organized folders based on the app categories. It will aid in accessing apps fast by segregating them in different categories.
Android users have been utilizing floating windows for quite some time now. The yet-to-be-released iOS 14 will provide a similar functionality now for iOS videos. The video player can now be overlaid by the users on any screen and be resized according to requirements. The floating window can also be moved to the side and audio can be played while users interact with other apps.
Limited modification of default apps
For the first time ever, iOS will give users the choice to modify the default apps. However, it is limited only to the browser and mail apps. Android users already have the right to choose default apps for several categories.
Just like Android’s instant app feature, Apple is introducing App Clips with iOS 14 that will allow users to interact with stripped-down versions of an app for specific purposes. It is faster and allows a user to navigate through the basic features of the app.
iOS 14 has incorporated the translation feature. Safari can now translate entire web pages with ease. It can also inform if the stored passwords have been compromised in a leak/hack and thus allowing the users to change passwords for protection.
Apple has announced many updates to iOS 14 for the Maps feature. Many of these are similar to Google Maps. Apple Maps are finally introducing cycling directions along with details about changes in elevation and stairs where one needs to carry the bike.
Apple has shared the list of compatible iPhone and iPad models for the latest updates. Unsurprisingly, the list is long!
If we take a closer look, iOS 14 will blend itself with smartphones as old as iPhone SE and iPhone 6s. To give some perspective, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus were launched 5 years back! The entire list includes iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max, 7 Plus, SE 1st gen, XS, XS Max, XR, X, 8, 8 Plus, 7, SE 2nd gen, 6s, and 6s Plus. In addition to that, the new update will also run on iPod touch 7th generation.
The list of compatible iPad devices with iPadOS 14 is also impressive. The latest version is adaptable with all the iPad Pro devices. Other devices include iPad 5trh gen, 6th gen, 7th gen, iPad mini 4th and 5th gen, and iPad Air 2nd and 3rd gen. The iPad Air 2 was launched way back in 2014.
The iPadOS 14 will get some iOS perks for itself along with more features that take advantage of tablet screens, like ‘sidebars’ filled with useful shortcuts and more robust menu choices. WatchOS 7 finally gets sleep tracking, as well as more workout modes and better customization of watch faces. Heck, it’ll even monitor how long you’re washing your hands.
The New ARM Mac chips!
In WWDC 2020, Apple has announced that it will use its own silicon chips for several of its Mac hardware. The ARM-powered silicon in Macs is a big move! Apple is going to release the first Mac with Apple silicon in the year-end and the complete transition of its devices might take two years.
The Intel-powered Macs will still be there and it can be said that Apple will not move exclusively to ARM-based Macs just yet. The shift to ARM-powered chips will allow the iPadOS and iOS apps to run natively on macOS in the future.
Apple has promised a high degree of performance with less power consumption with its processors.
As Apple designs, an array of SoCs keeping in mind the unique features of Mac, the uniform ARM-based architecture in Apple’s products will make it easy for iPhone app developers to write & optimize apps across all devices.
Boost To Privacy
The WWDC 2020 saw Apple trying to introduce a slew of measures to address privacy concerns. It has brought tracking detection to Safari that allows the users to check privacy reports just by tapping on the address bar. The privacy report will inform the kind of trackers a specific website is using and the number of trackers the browser has blocked. It will also notify the user if he/she is using a weak password to login to a service. If there is a data breach with any of the passwords, a notification is issued instantly. A user can also utilize the in-built password generator of Safari to create new credentials.
On the location tracking front, Apple has fined-tuned its location tracking permission. The new version of the operating system(iOS 14) will share the approximate location and not the precise location. This will help when apps want to know in which area or city you are without needing to know your exact location. Also, iOS 14 has introduced a new feature- microphone and recording indicator. Whenever an app is utilizing a microphone or camera you can see an indicator at the top of the network bar: green is for video and yellow is for audio.
The new introductions in the iOS 14 and the changes in the processor will definitely impact the way applications are developed. In fact, the new changes have brought the iOS 14 closer to its counterpart(Android) and also a certain degree of uniformity for all devices running on this operating system. Only time will tell if the ARM Mac chips can be a success for Apple but it is definitely a new beginning!