WWDC 2020, my condensed thoughts
I’ll keep this shortish, I promise! It’s not going to be a rundown or even a list of all new features, just some of them.
iOS & ipadOS
First of all: Seems pretty worrying that they didn’t talk about performance and reliability improvements, I had really hoped they’d do that. They also didn’t directly address which devices will get the updates. Device compatibility is nothing I care too much about this time, my iPad is new enough to be included in any case and my iPhone is old and broken enough to be replaces this fall. But saying which ones are included are giving hints to performance. Glancing at the website for iOS 14 sheds light on the issue: Compatible with all devices which run iOS 13, that is: Anything since the iPhone 6s from 2015.
Widgets look cool, they feel like a natural improvement over their currently existing versions. Different sizes too, neat! Especially the smart stacks look super cool
PiP finally arrives on iPhones. Not for me, but I know people have been pushing for it, so good for them.
App Library has the chance of being pretty nice, but I personally keep a lot of apps stuffed in folders, so I have only a single page anyways. Muscle memory helps with finding apps! So I personally have no use for hiding home screen pages, but I’m not going to complain about the ability.
Siri has gained some much needed visual improvements and the on device dictation has been on my Wishlist for a while now. Especially with how slow it sometimes is. Now mention of the even much more needed reliability improvements though, so Siri is basically a sexy lamp now. (Damn, that would’ve been a nice transition to the HomeKit updates. But be patient!)
The Translate App looks useful as well, although I still think it would be awkward to do it actually in person and in public.
The Messages updates bring it closer to modern instant messaging apps with inline replies, mentions and chat pinning. Glad to have that. I’m also looking forward to some of the new Memoji styles, I’m not 100% happy with my avatar, mostly due to the available hair and beard options.
Maps announcements are as depressing as always: Cool new features, but nothing where I live. Going to be years until I’ll see the improvements. Yay. Still, glad to see they care about Maps, it’s an actually good app! I really want the bike directions though, been wanting that for ages now, and falling back to using walking directions suck, because these are awful.
Nice CarPlay updates too, even though I don’t own a car. I still love the idea of CarPlay, mainly because I think that a car should live longer that the tech used in its entertainment system. Not sure how useful unlocking your car via NFC is though, if you can’t do it from far away. Might be neat with the Apple Watch.
App Clips look interesting. I hope they won’t screw up data usage too much (or be useless with less than ideal mobile reception), but they’re at least trying to limit that damage by limiting them to <10MB
The App Store has improved its search (I’ll believe it when I see it…) but finally allows family sharing for subscriptions. Finally!
Looks in general more mac-like, especially with the sidebar and the new spotlight search. I’m digging it, make the iPad more like a regular computer please.
The new now playing screen in Music looks better than before, which is not that hard, to be honest.
The update to the new incoming calls notification has been long awaited too, let’s hope it’s not only on iPadOS, but finds its way onto phones too. Glad that they made it for all calls, including third party apps.
They briefly showed that you can set default mail and browser apps on iPadOS now (maybe even on good old iOS too, who knows). YES! YES! YES!
The handwriting updates seem really cool, both the input and recognition. I’ll have to try it with my Logitech Crayon and hope it’s not Apple Pencil exclusive, since they only talked about that one during the keynote.
Honestly, I’m super afraid that barely any of these features will make it to my Series 3. The newly added watch faces of the past have been excluded, so has the noise detection.
This year’s New faces look… eh? Not that great, so no loss for me. The rich complications are cool (but likely not compatible).
Sleep tracking is huge, but also likely not running on anything older than a Series 4. (Despite being perfectly capable, as I’m actually using mine for that). Luckily, it sounded like the iPhone by itself can do it without the watch. Yay!
Handwashing tracking made me laugh, but if it helps people continuing to be clean even after the pandemic I’m all for it. Sounds like I won’t get it either though.
The new workouts (Dance, Core, and Functional strength) will probably find their way to older hardware, and I can’t wait to try the dance tracking in BeatSaber. “Fitness Games” works well, but maybe this is even better!
And I might be able to share watch faces with mine too.
Open Sourcing HomeKit is huge, especially when working together with Google and Amazon on a new standard. The
sexy lamps adaptive lightning is nice too, so are the new camera features like face detection and Apple TV doorbell PiP.
Speaking of Apple TV. Foundation ♥. Time for a re-read of Asimov’s books, they’re some of my favourite SciFi. (Yes, I know he’s a problematic person…)
Okay, where do I start? Again, no mention of speed and bug fixes. My MacBook is the oldest supported model by this release, so I’m super worried about performance. I don’t like that trend.
The redesign? I think it looks cool, but it seems like a lot that usability is suffering. Please, don’t auto-hide controls and make the window title bar a massive chonker. I hate the touchification of Windows in Windows 8 and 10 and this is not better. So. Much. Whitespace. My poor little 13” display is crying! Don’t “simplify” toolbars by removing crap and shoving it somewhere. Don’t screw up the text contrast and therefore accessibility. The new slider controls look cool, but are clearly touch controls not mouse/trackpad controls. Yikes!
At least we finally get grouped notifications, about time. Speaking about notifications and time. Whose idea was it to click on the time to open the Notification Center? Like, seriously? The fucking time‽ That totally makes sense…
Anyways, Control Center is somewhat cool.
I’m also super glad that they seem to be making Catalyst better, but I still don’t trust it until I see it behaving like a good Mac app by default.
Holy mother hell this is cool. I was pretty sceptical about the ARM transition, fearing they might lock the OS down even further. But for now it looks like they’ve made all the right choices!
Universal 2, so fat binaries, are making an unsurprising comeback. But I am very, very glad to see Rosetta 2, especially the improvements they made. Translations at install time, the performance, and so on. The Maya and Shadow of the Tomb Raider demo looked absolutely fantastic, and my gaming rig is struggling to run SOTR well! (Ageing rig, playing in 4K, but still, it’s perfectly capable of running Borderlands 3 at 60FPS and 4K).
The A12Z chip is truly insane, I can’t wait for more advanced ones with a larger thermal budget!
Their promise to support Intel chips for “years to come” is nice, in a year or two I’ll have to decide between “get an Intel one while I still can” or “juicy ARM chips!”. We’ll see.
Worrying to me, is that they mentioned only Linux with their virtualisation efforts, and not Windows (or Bootcamp). Linux runs pretty well on ARM, Windows sort-of runs on ARM. Just, please don’t screw this up? My dream machine is a Mac with a powerful external GPU and dual booting into Windows for gaming. A dream I don’t want to give up just yet.
Neat, AirPods now do auto-device switching! I’ve been having some issues with them connecting to devices, but honestly, it might be just my iPhone’s hardware slowly failing.
Just a sidetone: Tim’s final words felt very “Tim out, micdrop-esque”, I loved it. Gotta be careful about telling people “can’t innovate my ass” though, it didn’t end well the last time…