It was a different kind of presentation at this year’s WWDC. Gone was the venue packed with thousands of developers and journalists, cheering at the announcements of new features, now relegated to memories with this year because of the coronavirus. Instead, Apple presented a really fast-paced pre-recorded keynote outlining in which the clients are going with this year’s os's. At the same time, Apple announced a big change to macOS, and also the biggest switch to the Mac in Fifteen years.

The end of OS X

It’s been twenty years because the first version of Mac OS X, and we’re currently at version 10.15. Now, Apple announced sweeping changes to the macOS interface, leading them to change the top-level name to macOS 11. macOS Big Sur will have a new design that's both radical and familiar. Radical because it eschews many of the interface elements that we’ve been gotten accustomed to since the first version of Mac OS X, as well as before; familiar, because it brings to the Mac the esthetic of iOS. Windows and buttons will look a lot more like those found on the iPad, yet they'll retain the specificities from the Mac interface. While it’s not really a total iOSification from the Mac, it’s a big step in that direction.

iOS elements like the User interface can come to the Mac, and Notification Center inherits a few of the widgets that the iPhone and iPad will be able to use. There are lots of other changes, notably to Messages, Safari, and Maps, that are shared by all three platforms, as well as a slew of recent privacy and security features.

Apple silicon

Beyond rethinking how a Mac looks, Apple has unveiled its plan for how the Mac will run for that near future. Over a two-year period, Apple will transition its computers to in-house chips, exactly the same kinds of processors they use in the iPhone, iPad, and other devices. Like the shift from PowerPC to Intel processors Fifteen years ago, this change will occur with an emulation tool, Rosetta 2, so older apps can continue to run, for a long time, on the new hardware.

This change allows Apple to have tighter control over their hardware, and never depend on Intel so that you can update their computers, but also to more firmly establish commonalities across their platforms. iPad apps will be able to operate on Macs, and that we are now able to make a day when all apps can operate on any Apple device, making the choice of device more one of convenience than one of capability.

iOS updates the house screen

iOS 14 will, the very first time, allow users to alter their home screens from the simple grid of icons and folders and add live, contextual information for them. You’ll be able to use widgets together with icons, showing information like the weather, status updates, and more. Different size widgets will be available, and the iPhone desltop could be more than just a launch pad; it will be a rich information tool too. To become fair, Android has long offered similar options, and Windows phones also had dynamic, contextual “tiles” on its interface. This is a welcome change, making it simpler to gain access to information on an apple iphone.

Many other changes are visiting iOS 14, including picture-in-picture video around the iPhone, a new 11-language Translate app, improvements towards the Home app, digital keys, and much more. And you may set your own default email apps and web browsers.

Write in your iPad

The biggest change visiting iPadOS 14 is the ability to make use of the Apple Pencil to write in notes and text fields. Such as the Newton long ago within the 1990s, or Inkwell, added to Mac OS X Jaguar in 2002, this feature allows converts handwriting to text, and allows you to manipulate handwritten texts in documents such as notes.

The sidebar is becoming a vital interface element in iPadOS 14, making many iPad apps look a lot more like their Mac equivalents. As mentioned above, both of these platforms are converging, and, with iPad apps in a position to run on the Mac, when Apple releases computers using their own chips, this focus on the sidebar can make them feel right at home on the Mac.

The iPad also inherits widgets in Today View, and a universal search feature that is similar to Spotlight around the Mac.

The Apple Watch gets sleep tracking

There’s lots of additional features in watchOS 7, only one of the most popular is sleep. Sleep tracking apps are popular around the Apple Watch, and Apple is including one which does more than just track your sleep. It's made to help you to get to rest at the right time, to wake you up gently, and also to integrate with the iPhone.

Other new Apple Watch features include a number of new watch faces, the ability to share faces – ones that you’ve configured, not new, custom face designs – new workout types, and a new feature that automatically detects when you’re washing your hands, to help you do so for 25 seconds, something we have learned to do in this duration of coronavirus.

Cross-platform updates

macOS, iOS, and iPadOS all see updates to a number of key apps. Messages will offer you pinned conversations, so that you can keep your important chats at the top of the list, and the ability to reply inline in conversations. Maps will have new features such as cycling directions, electric vehicle routing, and curated Guides, which will help you find restaurants, attractions, and much more.

A number of privacy features are available to any or all of Apple’s platforms; take a look at our detailed consider the new features for security and privacy:

This really is a big year for Apple’s software, especially with the company’s new plan to shift Macs to their own chips. This suggests that, despite the coronavirus, Apple will be offering an abundant offering of recent hardware later this year, and subsequently couple of years should begin to see the fruit of these changes across all of the company’s devices.

How can one find out more?

Don’t miss our related article covering the new security and privacy features in macOS Big Sur and iOS 14 that were announced this week.

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