WWDC 2020—iOS 14 with Siri improvements, macOS Big Sur, and more

For the first time in the history of Apple, WWDC 2020 is an all-online experience that's jam-packed with exciting reveals, inspiration, and new opportunities to continue creating the iOS apps we've enjoyed all these years. With the new iOS 14, iPadOS 14, watchOS 7, macOS Big Sur, and Apple Silicon transition, Apple is all set to make your existing devices work seamlessly like never before.

WWDC 2020—iOS 14 with Siri improvements, macOS Big Sur, and more
WWDC 2020 All Virtual Conference

While we are excited as usual for all the major updates, the Apple WWDC 2020 was more than just another tech event this year. When most of the other tech events were canceled, Apple chose to move forward with an all-online conference. Quite naturally, that made WWDC 2020 even more exciting. The show began with a sphere of Memojis that reeled us in. Yes, we missed the usual cacophony at the Steve Jobs Theater, but Tim Cook’s entry was nothing short of grand!

First, Tim Cook expressed the company’s support for two crucial social issues. He highlighted a $100 million investment in its Racial Equity and Justice Initiative as well as a new developer entrepreneur camp for Black developers. Then, Cook moved forward with the major tech announcements, which we’ve listed below.

iOS 14

1. App Library: The Home Screen for iOS 14 comes with an App Library that automatically organizes all of your apps in one simple view. The Search Bar for the App Library shows you the apps you use chronologically. You can arrange your apps based on specific categories, with apps you use the most on top. Getting to your apps will be easier than ever with just a tap.

The new iOS 14

The new iOS 14

2. Widgets: The widgets on iOS 14 are more beautiful and can be used in a way that suits your needs even more. Drag and drop them around to design your own Home Screen.


3. Picture in Picture: You can access apps from your iPhone while playing a video or taking a call. You can still access your video even while switching between applications.

4. Siri: A new compact design ensures Siri doesn’t take up the entire screen anymore. The new Siri has more answers from the internet to help it answer more complicated questions. Siri can also send audio messages as well as support translations.

5. Translate: This is a whole new app that works offline to keep your conversations private. You can turn the phone to landscape to view the conversation mode. This app is designed to make translating conversations offline as easy as can be.

6. Messages: You can now pin conversations to answer messages that are the most important to you. And the new Memojis are even more detailed than before. With Mentions, you can make your group messages more organized and also choose to get notified based on when you are mentioned. Group messages can also show icons of all the members with images of recently active participants displayed larger.


7. Maps: New Apple Maps will help you find great places with Guides, which shows you spots based on why you want to get there. The new Maps will help you reduce your carbon footprint with a cycling experience that shows dedicated directions for cycling. For environmentally conscious drivers, Maps will come with EV routing that automatically routes you to compatible stations on the way.

8. CarPlay: This new update comes with wallpaper options. Other new options include parking, EV charging, and fast-food ordering. The new CarKey will also allow you to unlock your car with your iPhone, and the 2021 BMW 5 series will be the first car to support it. You can also share your keys from wherever you are via iMessage. This feature will be available not only on iOS 14 but also in iOS 13. 

CarKey access on iOS 14 CarPlay

CarKey access on iOS 14 CarPlay

9. App Store: The new App Store comes with an app clip. An app clip is a small part of an app that’s light, fast, and easy to discover. The App Clips use Apple Pay and Sign in With Apple, so you won’t need accounts. You can launch them through Messages, Maps, NFC tags, or QR codes. The best way to launch them would be from an Apple-designed App Clip code. 

App Store on iOS 14

App Store on iOS 14

App Clips on iOS 14

App Clips on iOS 14

iPadOS 14

1. Redesigned Widgets: This is similar to the enhancements we saw in iOS 14. There’s an all-new sidebar for exploring Photos as well as organizing them. There are toolbars to make sorting apps and content even better.

Photo Sidebar on iPadOS 14

Photo Sidebar on iPadOS 14

iPad OS 14 widgets

iPad OS 14 widgets

2. Music: The sidebar in Music makes it easy to switch between views. The full screen for Music shows you the lyrics for songs in an even better way.

3. Siri: Siri on the iPad has a compact design that appears in the bottom right of the screen. The calls on the iPad now come in as a compact notification that you can easily tap to answer or flick away to dismiss. This feature is also going to be available for iOS 14. 

Siri on iPadOS 14

Siri on iPadOS 14

Taking a call on iPadOS 14

Taking a call on iPadOS 14

4. Search: Search on iPad is getting a compact redesign that can start from the home screen or any app. And it’s rebuilt from the ground up to be universal and better than ever as an app launcher. It’s also great for contacts, documents, and starting web searches.

Search on iPadOS 14

Search on iPadOS 14

5. Apple Pencil: A new feature called Scribble will let you handwrite into any text field and turn it into text. You can also draw a simple shape and pause at the end, and Scribble will clean it up for you.

Apple Pencil Updates

Apple Pencil Updates

AirPods Software

1. Automatic Switching: AirPods will switch between devices automatically without you having to do it yourself.

2. Spatial Audio: The same immersive experience from movie theaters is coming to AirPods Pro. The device will use motion tracking to remap the sound field as your head and iPhone move, so the sound stays in sync. Spatial Audio supports, 5.1, 7.1, and even Dolby Atmos.

AirPods Pro Automatic Switching

AirPods Pro Automatic Switching

AirPods Pro Spatial Audio

AirPods Pro Spatial Audio

watchOS 7

1. Multiple complications: You can now have multiple complications on a single face, and developers can build rich complications. You can also share watch faces between users. 


2. Face Sharing: You will be able to share curated watch faces through a website, apps, or even via social media.

3. Apple Maps: You can get cycling directions as well as view travel time. Maps can direct you to dismount and walk your bike.

4. Workouts: The Workout app is getting a new Dance workout type to better track calories burned while dancing. 

Dance workout on watchOS 7

Dance workout on watchOS 7

5. Fitness: The Activity app is being renamed Fitness. The new Health features in watchOS 7 include sleep tracking. The watch will help you go to bed on time and wake up at the right time. There are even shortcuts to help you sleep better. When it’s time to wake up, you can do receive haptic taps to avoid disturbing your partner.

6. Handwashing: Your watch will automatically detect when you start washing your hands. Through motion, it detects handwashing, and the microphone detects water. The countdown will tell you how long to keep washing. And you’ll receive audio and haptic notifications when you’re done.

Sign in with Apple

More than 200 million accounts have been created using Sign in with Apple since last year. And Kayak users are twice as likely to use it over any other sign-in provider. This feature now offers the option to share only your approximate location with apps.


In the interest of privacy, a new App Store policy will require apps to ask for permission to track you across apps and websites. And app developers will be required to self-report their data practices.

HomeKit

Amazon, Google, Apple, and other companies formed a home alliance, and open-sourced HomeKit to be part of the standard. You can control all of it from the Home app.

HomeKit on Apple TV

HomeKit on Apple TV

Open-source smart home standards by Apple

Open-source smart home standards by Apple

The light automation in iOS 14 comes with adaptive lighting that will allow your bulbs to change color as the day goes on. And face recognition will now work with HomePod to announce who is at the door and give you live views to Apple TV.

tvOS 14

You can now get multiuser support with tvOS 14. This update will also work with Xbox Elite 2 and Xbox Adaptive controllers. 

Xbox Elite 2 and Xbox Adaptive controller support on Apple TV

Xbox Elite 2 and Xbox Adaptive controller support on Apple TV

Picture in Picture (PIP) now works across the entire Apple TV experience, including AirPlay in PIP. What’s more, Apple TV+ will come to Sony and Vizio smart TVs later this summer. 

macOS Big Sur

1. Notifications: There is a unified space for notifications and widgets. 


2. Menu Bar: This area is now translucent and takes on the color of the desktop wallpaper.

3. Control Center: This is finally coming to Mac.

4. Widgets: The redesigned widgets come to the Mac.

5. Messages: The new Messages comes with powerful search, redesigned photo picker, Memoji creation, and editing on a Mac.

Messages on Mac Big Sur

Messages on Mac Big Sur

6. Maps: It’s an all-new version with a new design that looks like the iPad app.

7. Mac Catalyst: Developers can optimize apps to take total control of every pixel. There is a new menu and keyboard API as well as new checkboxes and date pickers. A new version of Apple Maps is a catalyst app, which is probably why it looks just like the iPad app.

MacOS Big Sur Control Center

MacOS Big Sur Control Center

8. Safari: It’s the biggest update to Safari since it was first introduced. The JavaScript performance is better, and it’s 50% faster than Chrome with industry-leading battery life. Safari extensions can be enabled per-site, per-day, and per-session. The new Safari home screen comes with a customizable start page. And a native translation feature is built into Safari. 


Apple Silicon

The Mac is transitioning to Apple’s own Silicon. This will add advanced power management, a secure enclave, and a high-performing GPU to every Mac. This change focuses on better performance and using less battery power in new Macs made with Apple chips. And Mac-specific SoCs will give unique features to Mac but provide common architecture across product lines.

Apple Silicon

Apple Silicon Demo

All Apple apps, including Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro, will run natively on ARM. What’s more, Microsoft and Adobe are working on running on Apple Silicon. Because macOS Big Sur will include Rosetta 2, it will automatically translate Intel apps to Apple Silicon at the time of install. If you’re excited about this update, customers will be able to get MacBooks with Apple Silicon by the end of this year.

The OS releases will be available from Fall 2020. The WWDC 2020 was all about software releases, and we’re so excited to see some of these in action soon.

The Gadget Flow Daily Digest highlights and explores the latest in tech trends to keep you informed. Want it straight to your inbox? Subscribe ➜

Meet Madhurima Nag

Madhurima Nag is the Head of Social Media at Gadget Flow. She side-hustles as a digital marketing lecturer/speaker and loves to voice her opinion on marketing, crowdfunding and gadgets (of course!) in general.
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