WWDC worldwide developer conference is largely dedicated to developers however the opening keynotes provides a glimpse into what’s coming for customers. The showcase event on 22nd June 2020 was very different to any predecessors. You can watch the full keynote
here from the Apple site.
There was great drone footage of Apple HQ in Cupertino California used to transition across speakers. It was strange watching the show without all the signature clapping and Wooos from the audience however very well put together with social distancing in
mind as the end credits showed.
Tim Cook opened by addressing 2 key topics of 2020. First racism, equality and social injustice and Apples Racial Equity and Justice Initiative with a commitment of $100 million to challenge systemic barriers and drive more diversity by providing more opportunities
for people of ethnical backgrounds. Secondly the Corona Virus, Tim thanked all health workers for their efforts so far and how Apple is enabling connectivity keeping people together in a socially distance world. Then came all the announcements.
First there was the unveiling of IOS 14. I am sure some of you can relate to this, on a long flight sitting for hours putting all your apps into relevant titled folder and then not using 80% of the apps ever again. Apple launched App library in IOS14, finally
all apps can be automatically grouped and arranged into folders. App library allows you to hide apps and folder as well so you can keep a nice clean home screen with only the most relevant apps. The upgrade to the home screen now allows users to add widgets
of different sizes. Some may say this is a copy of what Android have had for many years and they are probably right! However in true Apple way their attention to design and detail means they have perfected the interaction to make it fluid and intuitive with
smart stack so relevant widgets will only appear when you need them. Widgets will give the opportunity for some effortless experiences for customers. Imagine going to the gym and your Spotify widget and health widget appears on yours screen ready for your
work out. I am looking forward to what developers can do here with the new capability.
There was also upgrades to bring picture in picture on the iPhone allowing you to watch a video as well as writing some notes etc. SIRI has had a revamp finally. First and foremost no more SIRI taking over the whole screen in an intrusive way. A compact
subtle design where SIRI icon appears on the iPhone dock. Siri also provides privacy preserving dictation and translation leveraging on device providing speed accuracy and privacy a complete offline conversation.
Messages had an uplift, you could call it the whats app catchup with more Memojis, audio messages, Pin most important conversations on the top, Memoji stickers, groups inline replies (just like whats app) including Mentions where you only get an alert when
you are mentioned. I think Apple are on the march with messages. If they can crack the code for across platform messaging with Android I would switch from whats app. Again there was an emphasis on privacy here.
Maps upgrade included guides within maps so you can use guides for places you visit a really neat feature if you want to prep all the things you want to see before you get there. Apple also included Environmental aspects to maps including cycling, transport
option including elevation and busy and quiet roads. They have added EV routing for electric cars to reduce range anxiety, which means your route include charging ports compatible with your car on your route. Maps has come along way since it was launched and
somewhat bombed initially. I will be using maps again when we can explore the real world and see how it holds up in comparison to google.
Car Play has had an upgrade, making it even easier to access your apps in a driving environment. This was a big one Apple have teamed up with manufactures to build a U1 standard for ultra local locality enabling customers to be able to store their car keys
on the device. Using your phone to open start your car. I was excited to see that you can share keys as well all through your phone. There are plenty of use cases this will help especially when renting cars. Apple have teamed up with BMW to include this into
the new BMW out later this year. I think this will be another game changer for Apple enabling the ability to access physical space via your phone connecting the physical and digital world in a seamless way.
App Store updates included the introduction of App clips. A small app that can run real time via the internet without having to download an app onto your device. Plenty of use cases for this especially in the travel and information industry. Imagine being
able to tap order and pay with NFC for your food without having to download a food app. The app size will be light about 10mb and include access to login with apple, NFC and Apple Pay making it super quick and convenient especially in the new paradigm of non
iPad OS updates include a unified extension of the design language. Design is everything here with the ability for the iPad to utilise the extra real estate of the screen in a iPhone familiar way. It will also include widgets, home screen, side bars and
update to how search works. There was also firmware updates for the iPad pencil extending its uses even further from scribbles to on device handwriting recognition focusing on privacy once again.
The AirPods firmware update includes the ability for them to be connected and pass audio control over multiple device. My Bose QC 2 headphones have had this for years however nice that I can now use my AirPods seamlessly across devices including the Mac
without going to settings bluetooth and connecting them manually each time. The AirPod Pro also had an uplift to include spacial audio so you get real 3D sound from 2 very small speakers in your ears.
WATCH OS will include Watch OS7 which enables further accuracy in your health monitoring and including a dance mode taking calculations of your hand and relative body movement. Apple now enable apps to include more than one compilation on the watch face
from a single app, you can then share them custom watch faces with your contacts. Given Covid 19 pandemic, I put my bets that the next watch release will include track and trace and temperature monitoring to give the wearer earlier indication that they might
When I went to MWC last year there was a huge focus on home automation and Apple have also pushed this with new interoperability standards across multiple vendors to drive automation all controlled via your device. I quite liked how facial recognition could
be used to identify who is at your front door and even automatically letting them in. I await how that would work from a privacy perspective however watch this space.
TV OS will now include picture in picture so you can get your work out on your Apple TV while watching something else at the same time. Apple have partnered with Sony to launch Apple TV on the sony TV without the need for extra peripherals. Apple have made
a switch to their strategic approach over the last few years focusing on partnering than doing it all themselves.
MAC OS has a new version and its called BIG SUR! The name does sound very American, however it’s easy to remember and say so I am not complaining! Building on the unified design language across all devices from icons to interaction design, Apple are striving
to reduce visual complexity. In design simplicity is one of the hardest things to do. That consistent and fluid experience across the ecosystem and devices will open up some exciting experiences for sure syncing all devices across everywhere.
Safari updates focused on privacy and transparency where customers can see what a sites are collecting and what data is being tracked (Cookie tracking, intelligence tracking, Privacy report) and blocking anything they want. This is going to be pain for
digital marketing and advertising industry who rely on tracking data to target relevant adverts. Apple have also decided to allow safari to be extended with extensions. 3rd party developers can build extensions for Safari and put on the App Store, again another
move towards partnerships vs in-house.
Finally the Mac chip set is moving from Intel to Apples own Silicon chips. This doesn’t sound like a big deal but it is. Apple now finally have control of the trilogy of systems. The interface, the hardware and the software. They can drive performance
whilst preserving battery usage and optimise systems to give the customer the fastest and most realisable experience possible. Tim mentioned our friends at Microsoft and Adobe. Again another indication that Apples strategy is changing to partnering vs doing
it all themselves. With the Apple chip set customers can for the first time run app made for IOS and IPAD OS apps directly on their macs. It will interesting to see how banking apps react to this on one hand you now have potentially increased your threat vector
of the apps running on a Mac vs a iPhone. On the other hand you can now enable your app to be accessible by Mac users so you can potentially reduce the use of websites access over time.
data collection using on device intelligence, updates on locations to prevent apps getting exact locations and allow customers to give general location approximations. Visual indications when applications are using mics and cameras on device. Apple will also
be enforcing app developers self report what their apps are doing on the App Store, similar to a nutrition card on a tin of soup including what data the app will be collecting and for what purpose.
In conclusions overall Apple has changed it strategy moving towards partnering, they have focused on design as they always do especially unifying experience across platforms. Privacy is a big theme for Apple and I think it will be a key differentiator for
why customers will choose their service over others. I am looking forward to all the great digital products and experiences people will be able to curate with the new building blocks that come with the OS updates.
Thank you for reading
My views are my own, delightfully dyslexic so please forgive the typos!