Apple‘s annual worldwide developer conference (WWDC), which is happening indoors this year due to covid-19, kickstarted today. The five day event will involve multiple online sessions involving developers from around the world.
Apple’s focus this year was to offer greater customisation to iPhone users and for that they have taken inspiration from Google’s Android.
The iOS 14 will include an app library, which seems a lot like app drawer on Android. It will automatically organise and show all apps on the device at one place. In addition to that, users will get options like app suggestions and recent apps.
The widget experience has been improved too. It now lets users create a smart stack of widgets that will automatically switch places to show the most relevant ones on top based on the time, location, and activity of the user.
Picture in picture mode is going to be integrated into iOS, allowing users to watch a video or take a FaceTime call while using another app.
In addition to the improvements in iOS, Apple has also added a new discover feature called App Clip, which will allow users to experience the features of an app without even installing the actual app.
Clip will show a small part of an app experience associated with a particular product or business. Users can access them by scanning an App Clip code, QR code, or through NFC tags or via Messages. Clips load in seconds and are meant to help users discover new apps.
For the privacy enthusiasts, Apple is
adding summaries of developers’ self-reported privacy practices on
App Store product pages. They will be displayed in a simple format so users can understand them.
Users can upgrade their existing accounts to Sign in with Apple and choose to share their approximate location instead of their precise location with developers.
App developers will now have to be more transparent on how they are using microphone and camera.
The big announcement at the keynote is the decision to step away from Intel’s SoCs for mac PCs and gradually migrate to ARM based SOCs.
This will make a common architecture available on all Apple products, allowing developers to write and optimise their apps for the entire ecosystem more easily.
This means macOS will be compatible with native iOS apps allowing users to access them and Mac OS apps on the same mac desktops and Macbook laptops. The first gen of Mac PCs running ARM based Apple SoCs will roll out at the end of the year.
The iPadOS 14 will bring a new design for apps so they can take advantage of the larger screen. Photos and music apps will get a new sidebar allowing users to switch between various sections in the app more easily.
Apple has added a new universal search option to find contacts, documents, or search content within apps. The feature also seems inspired by the universal search option found in many custom Android UIs.
iPadOS also gets a new feature called Scribble that will let users write something with the Apple Pencil and then copy-paste it to other apps such as web browser to search, message apps to send a message. The copied text will show as typed text after they are pasted to other apps.
Apple Watch users will get a new handwash detection feature that would tell them of they are washing their hand long enough. This would encourage users to wash hands properly, a key precaution prescribed by doctors to avoid covid-19.
Apple Watch will use motion sensors and on device ML algorithms to detect hand movements made at the time of washing hands, then use the microphones to detect sound of flowing water. The watch will then trigger a countdown timer of 20 seconds and if the users finishes before it will alert and urge them to keep on washing.