Introducing its biggest update ever in iOS 14 for iPhones and other major updates across product portfolio like iPad, Watch and Mac, Apple CEO Tim Cook kicked off the virtual WWDC 20 developer conference with addressing two major events that are shaping our lives: The Black Lives Matter movement and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Cook said: “Our mission has always been to make the world a better place. And we’re committed to being a force for change.” He added that it’s time for the nation to “aim higher to build a future that lives up to our ideals” of equality.
The next major version of iOS is set to be released later this year and the most visual change is that the home screen will now have widgets.
With this, Cook announced iOS 14, the biggest update ever to Home Screen pages with beautifully redesigned widgets and the App Library, a new way to tap into the App Store with App Clips, powerful updates to Messages, and more.
Home Screen pages can display widgets that are customised for work, travel, sports, entertainment, and other areas of interest.
At the end of the Home Screen pages is the App Library, a new space that automatically organises all of a user’s apps into one simple, easy-to-navigate view.
With iOS 14, incoming FaceTime and phone calls and Siri interactions take on an all-new compact design that enables users to stay in the context of what they are doing. With Picture-in-Picture support, iPhone users can now watch a video or take a FaceTime call while using another app.
“iOS 14 transforms the most iconic elements of the iPhone experience, starting with the biggest update we’ve ever made to the Home Screen,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering.
iPhone users will be able to pin conversations to the top of their messages list.
Apple also previewed iPadOS 14, with new features and designs that take advantage of the unique capabilities of iPad and its large Multi-Touch display.
iPadOS 14 introduces an all-new compact design for incoming FaceTime and phone calls, Siri interactions, and Search to help users stay focused on the task at hand.
iPadOS 14 brings Scribble to iPad with Apple Pencil, allowing users to write in any text field – where it will automatically be converted to typed text – making actions like replying to an iMessage or searching in Safari fast and easy.
The company also announced new watchOS 7 that delivers enhanced customisation tools and powerful new health and fitness features to Apple Watch.
The Apple Watch will have new watch face configurations and health features like sleep tracking, automatic hand washing detection, additional workout types including dance, and a new hearing health feature.
Conveniently on the wrist, Maps is updated with cycling directions and Siri now offers language translation, said Apple.
“watchOS 7 brings sleep tracking, automatic hand washing detection, and new workout types together with a whole new way to discover and use watch faces, helping our users stay healthy, active, and connected,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer.
With watchOS 7, Apple Watch introduces sleep tracking, taking a holistic approach to sleep by providing valuable tools to help users get the desired amount of sleep, get to bed on time, and create a pre-bedtime routine to meet their sleep goals.
Apple Watch now uses the motion sensors, microphone, and on-device machine learning to automatically detect handwashing motions and sounds. It then initiates a 20-second countdown timer, and if the user finishes early, they will be prompted to keep washing.
Apple also previewed macOS Big Sur, the latest version of the world’s most advanced desktop operating system.
Safari is packed with new features, including a customisable start page, elegantly designed and more powerful tabs, quick and easy translation, and a new Privacy Report.
The updated Messages app lets Mac users send and receive more personal and expressive messages, and easily keep track of and interact within group messages.
“macOS Big Sur is a major update that advances the legendary combination of the power of UNIX with the ease of use of the Mac, and delivers our biggest update to design in more than a decade,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering.