Due to the ongoing global health crisis, Apple held its first-ever digital WWDC Conference in June of 2020. While Apple's WWDC Conference is nothing new (with 2020 marking its 31st anniversary), the event unveiled great leaps and strides for their operating systems and software updates across all Apple Platforms. In addition, it revealed more APIs for developers with both SwiftUI 2.0 and Xcode 12.
Big Updates From Apple at WWDC2020
WWDC2020's keynote speaker introduced iOS 14, iPadOS 14, MacOS Big Sur, WatchOS 7, tvOS 14 and a number of software updates for their popular AirPods and AirPods Pro products. One notable update includes a dynamic surround sound system. Apple also announced their plan to transition from Intel processors to their own Apple Silicon within the next few years.
- App Library, will allow for smart organization of all user apps into folders. These default folders have easy names like Productivity, Social, Creativity, Reading, Health & Fitness, Entertainment, Education, Lifestyle, Games, and more.
- 'Suggestions' is an another default folder in the App Library that prioritizes apps and makes suggestions based on user engagements and most recently opened apps.
- The “Recently Added” folder makes it easy to access most recently downloaded apps.
- App Notifications can be accessed in App Library Folders.
- Widgets, One of the biggest updates announced with the new iOS 14 operating system, has an all-new home screen experience. This is the most notable UI change for iOS since it was first introduced in 2007.
- Widgets shows more information at glance and comes in different sizes. They can also be added to the home screen. The icons / folders arrange automatically with respect to the widget sizes.
- The concept of widgets is not new and it’s been a main feature on Google’s Android since its introduction in 2008. Widgets, In iOS 13, appear in the 'Today' View page to the left of the home screen. Now in iOS 14, Widgets can easily be pinned directly in the home screen.
- Widget Gallery popups by pressing and holding on the home screen.
- One of the coolest and most intuitive customizations on the home screen is a Smart Stack. You can create your own smart stack widgets by dragging widgets with the same size on top of each other, maxing out at 10 widgets.
- Note: These widgets are also available on iPad Os 14, but are limited to the 'Today' View screen.
- App Clips, Apple introduced another new feature called App Clips. App Clips displays the information from the relevant apps without the user needing to download the entire app.
- Think of App Clips like mini apps. It has very little functionality defined by the developer. These are most similar to Android's Instant Apps.
- Apple defines the size of the App Clip as smaller than 10 MB. They show up in App Library with a little dotted line around them so users can differentiate between full apps and mini apps.
- App Clips are temporary apps on the device and will be gone after 30 days unless they are converted into complete apps.
- Picture-in-Picture Mode, has already been noted as one of the most exciting updates for both users and iPhone app developers with iOS 14.
- This feature has existed on the iPad for the last few years, but with iOS 14 it the iPhone can also do Picture-in-Picture mode. Users can multi-task, and view video in a movable frame all the while checking other things on their phone.
- Picture-in-Picture mode allows the frame to be moved to the side completely. It even seems video is completely hidden, but the audio will continue to play. This also works for FaceTime calls.
- Translate App, Apple's new Translate app works both online and offline. It can translate and can already translate conversations in 11 different languages. Apple plans to support more languages over time.
- Translate is similar to the Google Translate app. Languages currently supported include: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.
- The app uses iPhone’s onboard Neural Engine, meaning that you don't need to be online to take advantage of it. Because of this, the app provide additional privacy for its users.
- The app can be accessed by Siri or through Landscape mode. This triggers conversation mode on the the iPhone and each side of the screen displays the translation from the other person.
- iMessage updates, Apple announced several new features to iMessage in iOS 14 including Pinned conversations, inline replies in conversations, mentions, new Memoji styles & Stickers, and group photos.
- Pinned conversations: Users can pin up to nine conversations to the top of their conversation list for quick access.
- Inline replies: With iOS 14, users can reply directly to a specific message in a group conversation, without having to message a person in the group separately.
- Group photos: Users can add a photo or Memoji to their group conversation for personalization and easy identification in their group.
- New Memoji styles and stickers: New age and face covering options, plus over 20 new hair and headwear styles.
- Mentions: iOS 14 allows users to type a name to direct message someone. When mentioned, your name is highlighted in the group conversation. You can also easily customize the group notifications so that you will receive the notification when you are mentioned, without having to get notified of every new message. This is similar to Slack's popular mention feature.
- Siri, Apple announced a major update to Siri in terms of its design; a new, compact UI.
- With iOS 14, Siri's design is more subtle. The app no longer takes over the entire screen when a user is asking a question. In addition, Apple claims that Siri has gotten even smarter! The have expanded its knowledge so it can find answers from across the internet.
- Siri is now able to send an audio message both on the iPhone and CarPlay.
Phone & FaceTime
- Phone & FaceTime Calls, Similar to Siri's new compact and subtle UI, FaceTime also will no longer take up the entire screen when a user places or is on a FaceTime call.
- iOS 14 Compatible, iOS 14 OS is compatible with iPhones that are a few years older including iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, 6s plus, and of course, all the newer phones. Apple’s list of compatible devices confirms that iOS 14 is compatible with the following devices:
—iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max
— iPhone XS, XS Max, XR, X
— iPhone 8, 8 Plus
— iPhone 7, 7 Plus
— iPhone SE
— iPhone 6s, 6s Plus
— iPod touch (7th-generation)
The new version of iPadOS is also compatible with a wide range of older devices:
— All iPad Pros
— iPad 5th, 6th, 7th generations
— iPad mini 4, 5
— iPad Air (3rd generation)
— iPad Air 2
- Privacy Updates, Apple has made privacy updates to their Photos, locations, and mic usage. Several new privacy changes in iOS 14 for iPhones will visually notify users when apps are accessing the device’s microphone, camera, clipboard, or other sensitive data.
- Whenever an iPhone app is using the microphone or camera, a physical light will turn on.
- Users can also share specific photos with apps, instead of giving them access to their entire camera roll. When an app is using the:
- Camera, a small green light will be turned on in iOS 14. iOS 14 also limits access to a user's entire camera roll. Users no longer have to give an app access to its entire camera roll. You can give an app access only to specific photos or albums.
- Microphone, an orange indicator light will automatically turn on. The light indicators are part of built in software and show on main display when a user is utilizing a specific feature in an app.
- Location permissions will allow sharing of approximate locations, but no longer exact locations. Users will be prompted to share an approximate location rather than their precise location. This creates enough helpful information for users to without violating their privacy.
- App Store Product Pages include summaries of developers’ self-reported privacy practices in an easy-to-read format. An example includes disclosing the details of the data which will be collected by the app before downloading the app.
- Maps may look the same, but the apps new features include cycling directions and directions for those who have electric vehicles.m
- Apple also has added support to more countries including Canada, Ireland, and UK. The updated Maps app includes more detailed roads, buildings, parks, marinas, beaches, airports, and more.
- Maps in iOS 14 provides important cycling information like bike lanes, bike paths, and bike-friendly roads. It even shares elevation and how much traffic there is for bikers.
- For electric vehicles, directions include useful resources like charging stops along the route.When an electric vehicle is added to an iPhone, Maps can keep track of a car's current charge and even it's charger type to provide the best route options for a particular vehicle.
- As a bonus, Maps also lets you know when you’re approaching a speed camera or red-light camera. This is a huge user perk!
Defaulting Third Party Apps
- With iOS 14 and iPad OS 14, third party apps like Chrome or Firefox can be set as the default browser and Gmail as default email app.
Check out everything Apple announced for iPadOS 14, here
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