Apple’s WWDC 2020 just took place and it was unique before it even began.
WWDC stands for World Wide Developer's Conference. It’s the first time the 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.
Here are the biggest announcements.
Apple gave a first look at iOS 14, the new update coming to iPhones later this year. The most notable change comes in the form of widgets that you can place on the home screen. It’s like if Apple Watch apps invaded the iPhone home screen — it’s a really big deal that changes the look of the iOS software. Apple is debuting these new widgets in different shapes and sizes, and the idea is that you’ll be able to have more data-rich info on your home screen. If you want more, you’ll be able to get them through the Widget Gallery.
It is also adding App Library, a new feature that automatically organizes apps based on their categories. It seems great for quickly accessing apps that normally live outside of the first or second page.
Picture-in-picture is coming to iOS 14. If you swipe away while watching a full-screened video, the window will float on your home screen, allowing you to resize and move the video. PiP isn’t a super unique feature, but Apple is making it its own by letting you minimize the PiP into a small button on the side of the screen. That way, you don’t have to exit the video if you need to look at the whole screen for a moment.
Apple introduced a new way to unlock and start your car, well, just the BMW 5 Series for now. You can register a key in your Apple Wallet, and when you walk up to a supported car, you’ll unlock it via NFC, then start the engine once your phone is resting on a pad. The keys are stored on-device, and it can be deleted from the cloud if you need to. What’s also cool about this feature is that you can create unique driving profiles for other iPhone users, giving user-specific permissions for, say, your kid, or no restrictions at all for someone else, like a spouse or other trusted person.
APP CLIPS ARE COMING IN IOS 14
Apple has debuted App Clips, which are like its version of Android’s Instant Apps. The gist is that you won’t need to download a full app to be able to gain access to what it offers, in addition to being able to make a purchase through it via Apple Pay. It seems great if you’re someone who doesn’t want to download more apps than you really need.
Similar to iOS 14, widgets are coming to the next version of iPadOS. It’s not clear yet if you can bring those out of the today view and into the home screen, like you can on iPhone.
Apple is touting a new sidebar as its way of making it much easier to navigate apps. It showed it working on Apple Music and other apps. If you’re using your iPad as a laptop replacement, the sidebar should make it easier to do more without having to touch the screen.
Apple also redesigned search on iPad, and it looks almost exactly like Spotlight on macOS. It can help you find contacts, search on the web, or serve as a Launchpad-like function to launch apps.