WWDC 2020, the Apple World Wide developer’s conference, starts today (June 22) and runs through the week. While it focuses largely on software, and new capabilities in the next version of Apple’s operating systems, people have grown accustomed to watching it for new devices as well. Here’s what you can expect.
- ARM Macs.
This rumor has been around for years. Apple makes the ARM-based A-series processors found in iPhones, iPads, and AppleTV. They out-perform Intel processors at single-threaded tasks. Apple has begun incorporating them into Macs starting in 2016, as T-series chips that run the Touch Bar on MacBook Pro. This seems reasonable from the standpoint that Apple has never liked being reliant on anyone else as a single supplier.
A Developer Transition Kit could be an iPad Pro, which would run a modified macOS and allow developers to prepare applications so they’d be ready on day one. Past DTKs were Intel 915 boards in a Power Mac G5 case. Previously, when Apple moved from PowerPC to Intel, developers who didn’t prepare for the Intel transition had apps that ran in an emulation layer called Rosetta. It’s possible that Intel binaries could be emulated on ARM as well.
Air Tags are little location devices that can attach to and help track physical objects. They’re also potentially able to change the behavior of an iOS device based on geolocation presence. In other platforms, this sort of thing is enabled with Bluetooth beacons. Here, this uses the U1 UWB chip for hyper-location, so you know exactly in a building or room where a thing is, specifically which direction, rather than 10 feet in proximity in every direction.
- iOS 14
Obviously iOS 14 will be announced and the changes detailed for developers to begin taking advantage of them. Possible changes might be
- a new, redesigned home screen
- support for widgets in the home screen
- incoming calls might not force taking over the whole screen
- redesigned Sidecar with improved handwriting input
- tvOS to monitor HomeKit (sort of already possible through Aaron Pearce’s HomeCam app)
- sleep tracking
- hand washing tracking
- breaking down the 1-iPhone-to-1-watch rule – formerly, you had to have an iPhone for an Apple Watch to be activated and set up. But what if you wanted to equip a child with a watch? This may further separate the watch from the phone, turning it into more of an independent platform.
- Expect to see Messages able to retract a message rather than just delete it off of the local device.
- Expect to see Messages on macOS gain feature parity with the iOS version for emojis, animated text effects, and more. This is due to the Mac version becoming a Catalyst app using the same codebase as the iOS version
- Shortcuts – for quite a long time, people have hoped Shortcuts would cross over to Mac. It’s not at all certain that they will, but I remain hopeful.