Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference kicks off on June 22nd, with the event keynote set for 1PM ET. But this year’s conference is much different than previous years: instead of a packed in-person conference, the show will be all-virtual due to the pandemic.
That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t expect some big news out of the event, though. Apple is expected to reveal the next versions of iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS, so there should be lots of interesting updates to look forward to. The planned macOS updates could be particularly intriguing, as Apple is heavily rumored to announce a shift from Intel processors to ARM chips at WWDC. And there’s always the chance that Apple takes the wraps off some new hardware.
We’ll be covering all of the news from the event, and you can catch up on everything right here.
Jun 6, 2022
Apple will no longer require you to have an Apple Watch to use the Fitness app on iPhone starting with iOS 16. At WWDC 2022, the company announced that the app will be included with Apple’s upcoming major software update.Read Article >
On an iPhone, the Fitness app will use your iPhone’s motion sensors to track things like steps. What your iPhone tracks can be put toward closing your rings. It’s a big change for the Fitness app, and as my colleague David Pierce said in our liveblog, “now you can have the pleasure / torture of having to close your rings every day, even if you don’t have a watch.”
Jun 25, 2020
Apple’s new operating systems — like iOS 14 and tvOS 14, which are due to be released later this year — include numerous features that should make them easier to use by people with disabilities. Apple announced the new features as part of its Worldwide Developers Conference this week, and Forbes and CNET have rounded many of them up.Read Article >
These improvements range from new features like sound recognition to improvements to Apple’s existing accessibility features like its VoiceOver screen reader. It’s a substantial list that should make Apple’s products easier to use by those with hearing, sight, motor disabilities, or others.
Jun 25, 2020
AI has become an integral part of every tech company’s pitch to consumers. Fail to hype up machine learning or neural networks when unveiling a new product, and you might as well be hawking hand-cranked calculators. This can lead to overpromising. But judging by its recent WWDC performance, Apple has adopted a smarter and quieter approach.Read Article >
Sprinkled throughout Apple’s announcements about iOS, iPadOS, and macOS were a number of features and updates that have machine learning at their heart. Some weren’t announced onstage, and some features that almost certainly use AI weren’t identified as such, but here’s a quick recap of the more prominent mentions that we spotted:
Apple announced at WWDC this week that you’ll be able to add a digital car key to your iPhone or Apple Watch to wirelessly unlock and start your car. The feature is part of the newly revealed iOS 14, and it will work over NFC, Apple says. The first car supported will be the new 2021 BMW 5 Series, which comes out next month, and Apple says it’s working on an industry-wide standard that would use its new U1 ultra wideband chip instead of relying solely on NFC.Read Article >
Once you’ve paired your iPhone or Apple Watch with a car that supports the digital car keys, if you want to unlock your car, you’ll just need to hold your Apple device near an NFC reader that’s in your car (for example, in the car’s door handle). You won’t be asked to confirm your identity with Face ID or a passcode by default, but you can turn off the so-called “Express Mode” for additional security. Apple says the feature will support the older iOS 13 as well.
Apple will start switching its Macs to its own ARM-based processors later this year, but you won’t be able to run Windows in Boot Camp mode on them. Microsoft only licenses Windows 10 on ARM to PC makers to preinstall on new hardware, and the company hasn’t made copies of the operating system available for anyone to license or freely install.Read Article >
“Microsoft only licenses Windows 10 on ARM to OEMs,” says a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement to The Verge. We asked Microsoft if it plans to change this policy to allow Windows 10 on ARM-based Macs, and the company says “we have nothing further to share at this time.”
Apple made a quiet and significant change to iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 this week, allowing users to set default email and browser apps. It’s a move that means iPhone and iPad owners will be able to click on web links or email addresses in any app and have them open in their favorite browser or email client. But that’s as far as Apple’s default apps choices go. Apple will still force everyone to use its own apps for photos, maps, music, messaging, calendars, and more.Read Article >
Apple’s built-in camera app is great for the basics, but there are so many better alternatives that offer advanced RAW shooting and other powerful tools that you might want to open from the lock screen shortcut or just appear automatically within apps that leverage the camera. Apple could improve the camera situation by opening it up to third parties as others have in the past.
Jun 23, 2020
For years, Apple has steadily revealed how the ARM-based chips in its mobile phones were catching up in performance to the beefier silicon you’d find inside a laptop or desktop — in 2018, the company claimed its new iPad Pro was faster than 92 percent of portable PCs. At some point, it seemed inevitable that Apple would turn the more efficient chips into the primary processors for its Mac computers, too.Read Article >
Now, it’s official: Apple is migrating the Mac to its own homegrown silicon, starting later this year.
Jun 23, 2020
Apple is bringing back the Mac’s iconic startup chime in macOS Big Sur. The company hinted it might return by playing the chime very prominently during yesterday’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, and people who have installed the first Big Sur developer beta have reported that it’s back. You can see a Mac on Big Sur play the chime while booting up in the video at the top of this post.Read Article >
The startup chime was first removed from Macs in 2016 with the redesigned MacBook Pros released that year, and Macs released since then (with the exception of the 2017 13-inch MacBook Air) didn’t play the chime when you turned them on.
Jun 23, 2020
Microsoft showed off the future of mobile home screens a decade ago with Windows Phone. The key to the vibrant interface was Live Tiles, animated widgets that felt alive. Nothing has lived up to it ever since.Read Article >
I’ve always wanted Apple to bring these Live Tiles to the iPhone. Apple’s overhauled iOS 14 home screen finally does that, enabling lively widgets for apps that sit on the home screen. It’s the final addition to the iPhone that I’ve been missing from Windows Phone, 10 years after Microsoft first introduced Live Tiles to the world.
Jun 23, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected nearly every facet of our lives, so it’s only natural that it would impact more than one of Apple’s product announcements at yesterday’s WWDC. Whether it’s the Apple Watch’s handwashing feature or the new face mask options for Memoji, the pandemic’s presence was repeatedly felt during Apple’s presentation. And let’s not forget, its entire prerecorded streaming format was driven by the pandemic in the first place.Read Article >
In some cases, Apple’s announcements seemed to come in direct response to the pandemic, but others, like bicycle directions for Maps, were almost certainly in development prior to COVID-19. They just happen to be releasing at a time they’re needed most.
Jun 23, 2020
Yesterday at WWDC, Apple announced iOS 14, the latest version of its iPhone operating system. But, as is often the case with Apple, there were many features that didn’t get mentioned on stage. One of these is “Back Tap” — a new accessibility feature that lets you double tap or triple tap the back of your iPhone to perform a custom task.Read Article >
Back Tap looks to be extremely useful. It seems you can link the double or triple tap options to a range of system tasks, including taking a screenshot, locking or muting your phone, changing the volume, and even launching certain apps like Google Assistant.
Jun 23, 2020
The most famous Apple keynote slide in recent memory is one giant, single word with a period that slammed down with a little puff of dust in 2018: “No.” It was software and engineering SVP Craig Federighi’s answer to the question of whether or not the Mac and the iPad would merge. He used that slide as the introduction to a “multi-year project” that would eventually become known as Catalyst, a way to port iPad apps to the Mac.Read Article >
Now, in 2020, Apple is taking an even bigger step: it has announced that iPhone and iPad apps will run “natively” on upcoming Macs that use Apple’s own silicon. So while it’s still true that macOS and iPadOS are not merging, there’s another metaphor that Nilay Patel has been using that feels really salient right now: they’re on a “collision course.”
Jun 22, 2020
Apple plans to extend its Find My network for locating real-world devices to third-party companies, the iPhone maker announced this afternoon during its State of the Union developer address following today’s WWDC keynote. Soon, Apple says compatible devices — including those without internet connectivity — will be able to sync to the network and become locatable when you open the Find My app. The most obvious candidate here is Tile, the popular maker of square Bluetooth trackers you can attach to your wallet or keys.Read Article >
“Introducing a new program that will let customers locate your products using the power of the vast Find My network,” reads a developer page for the new feature, which Apple detailed today with a documentation preview. “With hundreds of millions of Apple devices around the world, advanced end-to-end encryption, and industry-leading security, users can locate their items within the Find My app with the peace of mind that their privacy is protected.”
Apple is finally allowing iPhone and iPad owners to alter default email and browser apps in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14. The company briefly revealed the major change during a slide in the WWDC keynote today, noting that the updates allow users to “set default email and browser apps.”Read Article >
Apple didn’t detail this change fully during its keynote, but a section of the iOS 14 preview page says you can “set a default web browser and email app that launch when you click a link or want to compose a new mail message.” The company confirmed to The Verge that developers will have to update their apps in order to support the feature.
One of the biggest upgrades coming to tvOS 14 is one that Apple didn’t mention during today’s WWDC presentation. Buried on the preview page for the update (coming this fall) is news that YouTube content will finally be able to be viewed in 4K starting with tvOS 14.Read Article >
Currently, YouTube’s app has a maximum resolution of 1080p on Apple’s 4K streaming box — even for UHD videos. That’s because Apple has so far refused to support the VP9 codec that’s the foundation of YouTube’s 4K library.
Jun 22, 2020
iOS 14 will finally let you search for emoji right from the emoji keyboard, according to Apple’s site listing all of the new iOS 14 features.Read Article >
Right now, finding the exact emoji you want across the hundreds of emoji available on the iOS keyboard can be a frustrating experience. If I don’t already know where to find a specific emoji, I often default to “searching” by typing a word and hoping that iOS’ keyboard will auto-suggest the correct emoji equivalent.
Apple’s WWDC 2020 was unique before it even began. It’s the first time Apple’s developer conference has been streamed exclusively online with no in-person event. Regardless, there were some big announcements, including some you might have been expecting and others that might catch you by surprise.Read Article >
We walked through each moment in our live blog, featuring commentary by Nilay Patel, Dieter Bohn, and none other than Walt Mossberg, and I suggest you read that if you want the play-by-play analysis on the conference. But if you just want the skinny on what you need to know about from WWDC 2020, here are the biggest announcements.
After it confirmed that future Macs will be powered by Apple Silicon, the company also announced that developers will soon have access to a Developer Transition Kit that will take the form of a Mac mini.Read Article >
The mini will run on Apple’s A12Z chip — the same one found in the 2020 iPad Pro — and includes 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. It will come preloaded with a beta versions of macOS Big Sur and Xcode to help developers ready their apps for consumer Macs when they launch starting later this year. The DTK also has “a variety of Mac I/O ports.”
Jun 22, 2020
At the Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, Apple announced a range of new privacy features that will be bundled into iOS 14, including new protections against user tracking on apps and websites, as well as incremental updates to a range of pre-existing systems.Read Article >
One of the most significant changes is in how iOS 14 will handle location tracking. iOS already lets you block specific apps from collecting data about where you are, but the new version will also allow you to share approximate location data. That might allow a maps program to show you the right general region, without knowing the specific building you’re in.
Apple has announced that its new Macs that are powered by the company’s newly-announced Apple-built chips will be able to natively run iPhone and iPad apps, thanks to the shared architecture. Apps demoed during the keynote include Monument Valley 2, Calm, and the Fender Play app.Read Article >
The new apps will be installed directly from the Mac App Store, with multiple iOS apps able to run side-by-side alongside macOS apps. Apple says that the new feature will be available at launch alongside the new Macs with Apple chips, which are set to launch as early as the end of the year.
Apple unveiled macOS Big Sur, its next major desktop software update, and its Safari browser is getting a long-awaited, much-needed improvement: tab management. When things get crowded, as they usually do whether you’re a power user or just got a little carried away, you’ll be able to hover over a tab in the new Safari and it will show a live preview of that tab so you don’t have to click into it.Read Article >
If that doesn’t help you sort through things as well as you’d like, right-clicking on a tab will give you the option to close all tabs to the right. Currently, Safari simply shows the name of your tab’s site, and it will cut off other information that might help you identify it. With the new update, it will show an icon.
Apple is officially moving to its own silicon chips for some of its Mac hardware. Calling it a “historic day for the Mac,” Apple CEO Tim Cook detailed the transitions to PowerPC, Mac OS X, and the move to Intel chips before unveiling its plans to use Apple’s own ARM-powered silicon in Macs in the future. It’s a big move that means macOS will support native iOS apps and macOS apps side by side on these new machines in the future.Read Article >
Apple will release the first Mac with Apple silicon at the end of this year, and it expects the transition to take two years. New Intel-powered Macs are still in the pipeline, so Apple isn’t moving exclusively to ARM-based Macs just yet. Still, this is a big shift for Apple to move away from Intel-based silicon in Macs.
Apple has announced a variety of new features for its tvOS platform, adding better support for Apple’s HomeKit accessories, a new picture-in-picture mode, and Microsoft’s Elite 2 and Adaptive Xbox One controllers.Read Article >
tvOS will also allow for direct control of HomeKit accessories through a new Control Center UI, which looks similar to the menu found on iOS and iPadOS. As part of that new UI, Apple is also offering multiuser support for the Apple TV, although the company has only said that it’ll be used for resuming gameplay on Apple Arcade games for now.
Jun 22, 2020
It’s been a big day for Apple so far, with the announcements of iOS 14, iPadOS 14, watchOS 7, and tvOS 14. But for MacBook users, the exciting part of the day is just beginning. Apple has unveiled the next version of macOS: Big Sur.Read Article >
The biggest change is the new look. Big Sur brings the biggest redesign since the introduction of macOS 10, according to Apple. The new operating system borrows a number of elements from Apple’s iOS, including a customizable Control Center, where you can toggle brightness, Do Not Disturb, and other settings of your choice; and a new notification center, which keeps all of your notifications and widgets (also redesigned, and available in the App Store) in one column, sorts alerts by most recent, and groups related notifications together. Both interfaces are translucent, like their iOS counterparts.
Jun 22, 2020
Apple used part of its Worldwide Developers Conference today to show a brief look at Foundation, its new sci-fi series coming to Apple TV Plus in 2021.Read Article >
Based on Isaac Asimov’s popular book series of the same name, Foundation follows a “band of exiles who discover that the only way to save the Galactic Empire from destruction is to defy it,” according to Deadline. The show was announced by Apple in 2018 and was forced to pause production earlier this year because of COVID-19 restrictions.