Wednesday, July 1, 2020

What Happened at WWDC20?

Remember back in April when we were making predictions about what was going to be coming in iOS 14? Well I have good news, the wait is finally over! This past week, Apple held one of  their biggest events, the annual Worldwide Developers Conference, and as always the event was packed full of speakers and big announcements for what we can expect from Apple in the future.

iOS 14

I know it seems like there is constantly updates to iOS, and you might be getting annoyed with the push notifications you get every couple of weeks asking you to update your phone (and if you are like me you might be an update or five behind…), but you won’t want to miss out on iOS 14.

Redesigned Widgets

First up, iOS 14 is bringing newly designed widgets to the iPhone home screen. You can now change the size, making your most used apps bigger and others smaller. Widgets have also been redesigned to give you more information on the widget screen. For example, the weather app will show you the current temperature outside on the widget screen, and your calendar app will show you a preview of the day.

Compact Calls

The introduction of compact calls just made multitasking much easier. Instead of an incoming call taking up your whole screen, it will just appear as a banner notification at the top of your screen. FaceTime calls are also following suit and you can now continue seeing your FaceTime call while using another app. Think of it as a “picture inside of a picture” as Apple referred to it.

Messages

Messages are getting a major facelift with iOS 14. You can now add group photos to your group chats, pin up to nine conversations at the top of the messages app, mention (or call out 😉) other members of a group chat, and directly reply to a specific message in a chat. So overall, there will be tons of more options of what you can do in messages, and ways that you can better organize your chats.

Maps Goes Eco-Friendly

Maps newest upgrade focuses on finding environmentally friendly ways to get from point A to point B. In addition to traditional navigation, Maps will offer cycling directions that show bike paths, lanes, busy streets, elevation, and anything else you might need to know before setting off on your bike. Also, if you drive an electric car you can plan a route that has charging stations along the way.

There are many, many more features coming with iOS 14, but for the sake of time (I don’t want to make you read this post all day), let’s move on to some of the other big announcements. But you can read more about iOS 14 here!

App Clips

Personally, I think App Clips are pretty cool (maybe because they kind of resemble a Progressive Web App). App clips allow you to use a small part of an app that provides the user with a faster, lightweight experience. To use these app clips, you do not need to download them from the app store. Instead, the app clip code includes a URL and a Near-field Communication (NFC) tag. So they are discoverable through QR codes, message links, tapping an NFC tag, or on a Safari banner. When using the clip, you have the option to go and download the full app, but you do not need to.

macOS 11 Big Sur

The latest Mac operating system was also revealed at the conference. MacOS 11 Big Sur offers an all-new interface design that provides quicker access and updates to the control center design, and a redesigned notification center that combines notifications and widgets into a single-view for faster information. Widgets now come in different sizes, and are easier to make with the new WidgetKit framework. Safari now has more extensions that are discoverable through the app store, and they have made it easier for developers to bring iPad apps onto a Mac through Mac Catalyst. MacOS 11 Big Sur is said to be the most advanced operating system worldwide, so we will see if it lives up to the name once the operating system hits the market.

Apple Silicon

The conference concluded with the announcement Apple is going to shift from Intel processors in the Mac to its own ARM-based Apple Silicon. Now, this sounds like a huge change, but Apple ensured they have a roadmap for this transition, and provided more information on what this transition means. With the implementation of Apple Silicon, all Apple products will share common architecture which means iPhone and iPad apps will be able to run on Mac. They also ensured most apps will work without any changes being made, and developers will be able to have their apps up and running on Apple Silicon in a matter of days.

Whew! That was a lot of information, and believe it or not that is just the tip of the iceberg of what was announced at the WWDC. If you want to learn more about what went down at the WWDC, you can watch a recap of the event here.