wwdc 2020 Technology

Apple unveils new operating systems for its ecosystem at WWDC20

Missed the #WWDC20 keynote? Here is what you need to know, across all things OS, from iPhone to Watch to Mac:

“[Worldwide Developers Conference] is an incredibly important event to Apple, our developers and our users,” starts Tim Cook as he kicks off the virtual keynote event for WWDC 2020. In a pre-taped cinematic experience from Apple Park, California, Cook and his team unveiled the software developments to the ecosystem from iOS to macOS, as well as other verticals.

Public Beta versions will be available in July but mass release of the aforementioned OS will be in the autumn months of 2020. As per tradition, Craig Federighi, Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, moderates this part of the keynote event.

Cook states that WWDC will comprise more than 100 engineering-led video sessions, one-on-one consultations with Apple engineers, developer forums and more. The new virtual format, made so owing to the coronavirus pandemic, is available to the community of 23 million developers and anyone interested in the subject matter, for free.

Apple unveils new operating systems for its ecosystem at WWDC20

Here are some of the OS highlights from the keynote:

iOS 14 updates

Federighi states that iOS 14 will make iOS experience “more powerful and easier to use.” The Home screen, a central trademark to iOS will see a huge facelift with the introduction of App Library, a new space at the end of Home Screen pages that automatically organises your apps into one simple, easy-to-navigate view, and intelligently surfaces apps that may be helpful in the moment. Users can choose how many Home Screen pages to display and easily hide pages for quicker access to the App Library. One can also hide app pages.

Apple unveils new operating systems for its ecosystem at WWDC20

Widgets is revamped via the new Smart Stack, which uses on-device intelligence to surface the right widget based on time, location, and activity. The experience claims to be more data-rich and aesthetically pleasing.

Then there is App Clips, a new way to tap into the App Store. These are byte-sized versions of apps designed specifically for quick access. They are associated with a particular product or business, and load within seconds to complete a specific task, such as booking a table at a restaurant, purchasing a coffee, or more. They can be easily discovered and accessed by scanning a new Apple-designed App Clip code, or through NFC (Near Field Communication) tags and QR codes, or shared in Messages or from Safari.

Messages will also see a makeover; users will be able to pin conversations to the top of their messages list, easily keep up with lively group threads through mentions and inline replies, and further customise conversations by setting a group photo using an image or emoji. Apple also reveals Memoji diversity is expanding big time.

Apple unveils new operating systems for its ecosystem at WWDC20

Most notably, iOS 14 users will see a different experience when installing new apps. All apps will now be required to obtain user permission before tracking. One can expect summaries of developers’ self-reported privacy practices, displayed in a simple, easy-to-understand format.

 

Plus, users can upgrade existing accounts to ‘Sign In with Apple’, choose to share their approximate location with app developers rather than their precise location when granting an app location access. Finally, one can get even more transparency into an app’s use of the microphone and camera.

iPadOS 14 updates

In 2019, Apple announced iPadOS which “builds on all the amazing features of iOS while adding unique capabilities that deliver a distinct experience for iPad,” as described by Federighi. “With new compact designs for system interactions and new app designs specifically tailored to iPad, even better note-taking capabilities with Apple Pencil, and more powerful AR experiences, iPadOS 14 delivers an amazing experience that keeps it in a class of its own.”

Apple unveils new operating systems for its ecosystem at WWDC20

Delivery of notifications in iPadOS 14 aims to help users continue productivity. Incoming FaceTime and phone calls will appear as a lightweight banner so as not to take up the entire screen, making it easy to either quickly tap to answer the call or simply flick to dismiss and get right back to work. Plus, Siri now appears at the bottom of the screen when activated, allowing users to seamlessly reference information onscreen while making a request, and it quickly gets out of the way when launching other apps or controlling music. There is also a dedicated sidebar which should help the user stay in control of the device and the OS.

ARKit 4 delivers a brand new Depth API that allows developers to access even more precise depth information captured by the new LiDAR Scanner on iPad Pro. Developers can use the Depth API to drive powerful new features in their apps, like taking body measurements for more accurate virtual try-on, or testing how paint colours will look before painting a room.

AirPods updates

AirPods, Apple’s earbuds, will see Automatic Switching, helping users move between devices within a given ecosystem, i.e. from iPhone, to MacBook, to iPad.

Spatial Audio is a new boost to come with AirPods Pro; it claims to offer a cinematic surround sound experience, even as the user moves. This feature has been developed with AirPods-specific algorithms.

watchOS 7 updates

Apple Watch has become the world’s best-selling watch, according to Apple. Kevin Lynch, Vice President of Technology, states, “Apple Watch has become an intelligent guardian of your health. There are over 20,000 watchOS apps available as of now.

Soon, watchOS 7 will enable users to have a more diverse Apple Watch face, thanks to infinitely customisable and personalised faces, inclusive of Complications. The detailed and ultra-precise Chronograph Pro includes a tachymeter to calculate speed based on time traveled over a fixed distance, the Photos face offers colour filters, and the bold X-Large face now has an option to add a rich complication.

Apple unveils new operating systems for its ecosystem at WWDC20

Most notably, watchOS 7 will introduce sleep tracking, which provides valuable tools to help users get the desired amount of sleep, get to bed on time, and create a pre-bedtime routine to meet their sleep goals. Through the detection of micro-movements from the watch’s accelerometer, which signals respiration during sleep, Apple Watch intelligently captures when the wearer is sleeping and how much sleep they get each night. In the morning, the wearer will see a visualisation of their previous night’s sleep, including periods of wake and sleep. They will also see a chart showing their weekly sleep trend. To help users wake up, Apple Watch offers a silent haptic alarm or gentle sounds.

Owing to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the WHO has advised washing hands properly for at least 20 seconds to help prevent the spread of illness. For watchOS 7, Apple Watch will use the motion sensors, microphone, and on-device machine learning to automatically detect handwashing motions and sounds. It then initiates a 20-second countdown timer, and if the user finishes early, they will be prompted to keep washing. Apple Watch can also conveniently remind the user to wash their hands when they return home.

macOS Big Sur

“macOS Big Sur is a major update that advances the legendary combination of the power of UNIX with the ease of use of the Mac, and delivers our biggest update to design in more than a decade,” says Federighi.

Apple unveils new operating systems for its ecosystem at WWDC20

In a move to reduce visual complexity, a spacious new design that makes navigation easier, while putting more controls at users’ fingertips; the curvature of window corners to the palette of colors and materials has been refined, and new features provide even more information and power. Icons in the Dock have been thoughtfully designed to be more consistent with icons across the Apple ecosystem while retaining their Mac personality. Buttons and controls appear when needed, and recede when they’re not.

Apple unveils new operating systems for its ecosystem at WWDC20

Safari also will see a major renovation, the biggest since its launch in 2003. Aside from a personalised experience, Safari’s JavaScript engine helps it outperform other browsers on Mac and PC, and Safari loads frequently visited sites an average of 50% faster than Chrome. Tabs have been entirely redesigned to make navigating with Safari faster and more powerful by showing more tabs onscreen, displaying favicons by default to easily identify open tabs, and giving users a quick preview of a page by simply hovering over the tab.

To keep in spirit of WWDC20, macOS Big Sur will offer unique developer tools including SwiftUI which gets a major upgrade so that developers can write entire apps with shared code across all Apple platforms, while easily adding custom Mac features like Preferences windows. Mac Catalyst apps also automatically inherit the new look, while giving developers powerful new APIs and total control over the look and behaviour of their apps.

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jul 10, 2020 12:08:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/highlights-from-wwdc-2020-keynote-tim-cook-craig-federighi-all-new-os-for-watch-mac-iphone-ipad/article31894463.ece

Next Story