Fresh off its annual WWDC event (a virtual one this year), Apple is on track for some significant changes. The conference came at a significant time amid a backlash from some developers frustrated over the company’s App Store practice of collecting 30% of app sales.
Apple drops Intel for Macs
Big news. Apple drops Intel for in-house chips in makeover for Mac computers in favor of more efficient integrated chips designed by Apple’s silicon engineers.
This is a significant move by Apple in tightening control over its own products.
“At Apple, integrating hardware and software is fundamental to everything we do. That’s what makes our products so great, and silicon is at the heart of our hardware,” says CEO Tim Cook.
The Intel partnership has been established since 2005, and since then, Apple now boasts a market value six times larger than its longtime supplier.
Apple will remain an Intel customer, using its technology to power servers that handle its cloud-computing services.
All about widgets
It’s also bringing the biggest change to the iOS home screen in years: widgets.
Your iPhone screen is going to be more interactive, bouncy and slightly more fun with these new widgets that will be available with iOS14. Apple will allow widgets to be added to the main Home screen to live right alongside your apps.
To add them, there’s a new “widget gallery” where users can easily add and customize widgets. There’s also a new “Smart Stack” that will showcase relevant apps depending on the time of day.
App Library, pop-ups & more
For the super organized iPhone user, Apple is launching an “App Library” that will automatically organizes apps into groups and lists. Users will also be able to hide apps on the home screen.
Also coming in iOS 14: the long-requested option to users to set their own default email and browsers. What else? phone calls and Facetime calls will no longer take over your whole screen, there’ll be a pop-up option.
There will also be an Apple Translate feature; think of it as Google Translate for your iPhone.
Apple Maps facelift & Car keys
Aside from new curated guides by the likes of Zagat and AllTrails for new places recommendations, Apple Maps is also diving into cycling support. Dedicated directions for bike-riding will factor in elevation, bike paths, stairs, and roads. Cycling will launch in NYC, LA, San Fransisco’s Bay Area, Shanghai, and Beijing.
What else? Unlock your car with your iPhone. BMW 5 Series will be the first to do so. We can imagine some security glitches with this one, though.
AirPods, Apple Watches reimagined:
AirPods, will now automatically switch from your iPhone to your computer when needed. We’ll no longer have to fumble between the iPhone and MacBook whilst activating the bluetooth feature. AirPods Pro will also support virtual surround sound.
Apple Watch will be able to track and analyze your sleep patterns and assess sleep quality.
All in all, this year’s virtual WWDC marked an important step for Apple. No, not because it was virtual (who here is already bored of virtual conferences?), they did a good job with the capacity. The significant step in our view, is that Apple let the company’s most important product, the iPhone take a back seat this year. The focus on services, accessories and hardware reflects Apple’s shift in strategy at a time where iPhone sales are decreasing annually.