Yesterday, Apple kicked off its yearly worldwide developers conference (WWDC), which, this year, took place in the form of an online event. Here are some of the most interesting information that the Cupertino firm announced:
Many of us have tons of apps. So many that we often tend to search for those through the search option. Apple thinks it has a fix for that, with App Library. This new feature will provide an automated way to sort your apps and hopefully helps you getting faster to the content you want. Meanwhile, thanks to this new feature, users will be able to hide some app pages.
One other welcome change will be the picture in picture feature, letting iOS users watch a video while working on other tasks at the same time – a feature already available in iPadOS for some time.
But the biggest change to iOS will be surely widgets, a feature that pushes iOS towards more customization, proving again that Apple takes its time to do things right instead of being the first to create an obstructive user interface. Up until now, widget were available by swiping the home screen to the left, but many would simply not use those. Starting this fall, iPhone users will be able embed their favorite widgets directly within their app pages, a drastic change for a user interface that stayed quite similar since the introduction of the original iPhone, 14 years ago.
- Siri: The interface of Siri has been completed revamped on both iOS and iPadOS. The user interface will be less intrusive and won't cover the entire device, as it was the case before – a move that will hopefully make Siri even closer to the user and more human than ever before.
- The outdated iMessages app will get a slight update and will look a bit more modern, learning the lessons from the outstanding Telegram app, which is still clearly the more innovative chat application on the market today. Users will be able to pin persistent chats and more.
- Apple will try to digitize your car key and let you open your car with your iPhone.
- The CarPlay interface will let you add your own wallpaper for the very first time.
- Toped at 10MB, App Clips will be a new way for apps to show small portion of their full version, in order to bring limited features without having to download the entire app.
- AirPods will be able to easily switch from one device to another, without having the user to manually perform any operation.
- AirPod Pros will feature spatial audio, particularly efficient when watching movies.
- The Apple Watch will feature a new X-Large watchface. Apps and websites will also be able to share their custom-made watchfaces.
- The Apple Watch will feature the number one requirement from the Apple community: sleep analysis! You'll be able to wear your smartwatch during the night and get relevant information to help you track your sleep.
But beyond the usual incremental software updates, the most important announcement was without any doubt the breaking news about the future of the Mac product line. For years, Mac computers have defined the standard for modern computing. Released 12 years ago, the MacBook Air was a sharp contrast to the bulky laptops of that time. Over the subsequent years, Apple made some choices that vastly paid off, such as introducing Touch ID to the Mac or adding Force Touch to the trackpad and increasing its size. Unfortunately, Apple also introduced the infamous butterfly keyboard mechanism, suddenly making most of their Mac products completely unusable for many Mac owners. This led to a replacement program and the switch to scissor keyboards, which Apple recently completed, retiring all butterfly keyboards across its product line.
And one more negative was performance. Trying to play a modern video game with a standard MacBook Air is almost an impossible task. The fan quickly kicks off and keep your laptop on your lap will instantly make you feel you are in the middle of the Mojave desert. It was quite ironic that the iPad Pro with its custom-made processor was far more powerful than some Macs. This was a clear conundrum, as pro applications are clearly not fully available to the iPad yet.
Which brings us to the announcement. Tim Cook and his team shared their vision for the Mac, officially announcing that they would ditch the Intel processors in favor of custom made CPUs. The upside in terms of performance and power consumption will be gigantic. Expect the humble MacBook Air to suddenly be able to perform tasks that were virtually impossible before.
In order to help with the transition, Apple is resuscitating its Rosetta application, which they used years ago when they made the transition from PowerPC to Intel. While developers will be obviously able to update their apps, this will enable all applications to run on both platform.
Apple expects the transition to take two years. Their first Mac featuring the Apple silicon should be available later this year.