This year Apple went fully virtual with its signature yearly event Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), choreographing the entire keynote session into one immersive experience for viewers amid lockdowns induced by the global coronavirus pandemic.
The company had a lot to show but they flaunted more than their innovations -- the keynote had bird's eye shots of the entire 175 acres of Apple Park, fancy rooms, and lights that we would otherwise never see at a WWDC presentation.
And that transition to what seemed like Apple's underground labs? Oof! You wouldn't be faulted for thinking they were taking you to some top-secret facility with mad scientists.
Out with Intel, in with Apple Silicon
Apple introduced their own silicon chipsets for the Mac just like the ones in other Apple devices, a transition from Intel processors that has been rumored to be in the making for a long time.
Tim Cook referred to this transition as a huge milestone for Apple, one that will bump up the efficiency of the Mac and move away from the company's reliance on Intel's update cycles. With this, Apple can bring their custom-designed neural engines to Macs to further boost computer task management that increasingly relies on machine learning.
Introducing native Silicon chipsets to the Mac will likely pave the way for laptops and computers for developers of Apple's largest pool of third-party iOS apps. Apple expects the transition to Silicon to take about two years, but promises that they will continue supporting Intel-based Macs for years to come. Tim Cook even said there are some Intel-powered Macs in the pipeline that he's really excited about.
Apple showed off the technologies within the new MacOS Big Sur, including the new Xcode, Univeral 2, Rosetta 2, and Virtualization. The company built every app to run native on the new Apple Silicon Macs and are doing their best so that the developers can get started on building new apps using the Xcode as soon as possible. After all, even a powerful device like the Mac won't be able to rev its engines properly if there aren't enough apps to explore.
Apps like Adobe's Photoshop and Lightroom, Microsoft's Word and Excel are already up and running natively, among others, on the new Silicon-powered Macs, and Creative Cloud is to follow. And boy, everything looks as smooth as silk.
If that doesn't cut it for you, Rosetta 2 will automatically translate old Mac apps to run on new ones with Apple Silicon, even powerful animation software like Maya.
The new iOS 14
Apple's new mobile operating system has a number of new features and looks.
There's the App Library, which functions similarly to an app drawer but will automatically categorise and organise your apps. This will help you to see everything in one place instead of constantly swiping.
Widgets can be now be placed anywhere on the home screen and come with a lot of customisation.
So, an app drawer, widgets, and a customizable home screen – sound familiar? Even the new Siri UI and Translate app seems to function a lot like Google Assistant and Google Translate, respectively. But don't worry, there are some fresh new features and apps as well, including the Picture in Picture feature, which lets you continue to watch videos while multitasking on your iPhone screen.
iPads becoming more convenient
The iPadOS was inaugurated last year and gave the iPad a lot of functionalities similar to those on a computer. A lot of the updates to this year's iPadOS translates from the iOS 14. But the most exciting update comes to the iPad's Pencil. The new Scribble feature lets you handwrite in any text field and even your notes will be automatically converted to text which you can copy-paste into anywhere you want.
AirPods can now transition seamlessly
AirPods will soon get an update where you will be able to change your audio between devices seamlessly, without ever having to re-pair your pods. This update is much appreciated and will even be able to reroute audio to your phone if you're getting a phone call.
Another new feature is spatial audio, which will allow Apple's devices to create a faux-3D soundscape. Apple says the headphones will even be able to simulate Dolby-Atmos surround sound!
Apple will double down on data protection in its upcoming iOS 14, macOS Big Sur, and Safari releases. The improvements largely focus on who can access and share your data, when, and why. Your information will largely be processed on your own devices now, rather than being sent to a server. You now even get the option to share your approximate location with a third-party app instead of your exact one. Apple also pushes against the tracking of ads by making it mandatory for apps to ask permission for tracking your activity across apps and websites.
Apple also allied with Amazon, Google, and other industry leaders to define a new standard of interoperability for smart home devices so that privacy can be held in high regard.
Car Keys, Apple tv+ and watchOS
Apple loves to innovate and now, they are reimagining iPhones as car keys. It will use the NFC functionality of the phone to unlock the car, a feature that will be available starting with the 2021 BMW M5 high-performance sedan. You'll also be able to quickly share your car keys through iMessage and turn off your car key in iCloud. On the flip side, if you lose your phone now, you'll lose your car keys as well. Good luck with that.
Apple tv+ already has an up and running library of shows and movies. The company introduced a new series called Foundation, which is based on Isaac Asimov's critically acclaimed science fiction series of the same name.
WatchOs 7 will finally bring sleep monitoring features to the Apple Watch like other fitness wearables including monitoring of "micromovements" as you breathe, wake-up alarms, and a Sleep Mode which dims the screen at night. There is also a handwashing detector befitting of the times which will initiate a countdown to make sure you are washing your hands properly.
Yep, it could not get more 2020 than this.