Highlights from Apple’s WWDC 2020

Apple held its all-online Worldwide Developers Conference between 22 Jun – 26 Jun bringing together millions of developers and fans from across the globe for the Special Event Keynote and Platforms State of the Union. The day was filled with announcements and innovations that will push the experience of Apple platforms and products even further. From macOS Big Sur, featuring the biggest design upgrade since the introduction of Mac OS X, to watchOS 7, the new App Library in iOS 14, and enhanced handwriting capabilities with Apple Pencil in iPadOS 14, here are some of the most groundbreaking features and app development tools unveiled at WWDC20.

macOS Big Sur

Safari, already the world’s fastest desktop browser, gets its biggest update ever, bringing even faster performance and new features, all while protecting user privacy. Users can customise the new start page with a background image and sections like their Reading List and iCloud Tabs, and further personalise their experience with improved support for extensions. The Mac App Store makes it easy to discover and download great Safari extensions with a new category that includes editorial spotlights and top charts.

The new Safari start page displayed on MacBook Pro.

Mac Catalyst, which debuted with macOS Catalina last year, has made it easy for developers to bring their iPad apps to the Mac. In macOS Big Sur, Mac Catalyst apps automatically inherit the modern new look, while giving developers powerful new APIs and more control over the look and behaviour of their apps.

Mac Catalyst makes it easy to bring iPad apps to the Mac and have them automatically inherit the new look of MacOS Big Sur.

iOS 14

The App Library automatically organises all of a user’s apps into one simple, easy-to-navigate view, and intelligently surfaces apps that may be helpful in the moment.

The App Library displayed on iPhone 11 Pro.

App Clips,designed to be discovered the moment it is needed, load a small part of an app experience within seconds to complete a specific task, such as renting a scooter, purchasing a coffee, or filling a parking meter.

An App Clip displayed on iPhone 11 Pro.

Pinned conversations in Messages enable users to easily keep up with lively group threads through mentions and inline replies.

New Pinned conversations feature in Messages displayed on iPhone 11 Pro.

New cycling directions in Maps take into account elevation, how busy a street is, and whether there are stairs along the route.

Cycling directions displayed on iPhone 11 Pro.

iPadOS 14

Scribble with Apple Pencil allows users to write in any text field where it will automatically be converted to typed text, making actions like replying to an iMessage or searching in Safari fast and easy.

A moving graphic demonstrating handwritten notes in iPadOS 14 displayed on iPad Pro.

Search on iPad has been rebuilt from the ground up with a new compact design, enabling users to start a search from anywhere, without having to leave the app they are in.

Universal Search displayed on iPad Pro.

watchOS 7

In a first-of-its-kind innovation for a wearable, Apple Watch automatically detects handwashing to initiate a 20-second countdown timer. If the wearer finishes early, they’ll be prompted to keep washing.

The handwashing detection feature displayed on Apple Watch Series 5.

Apple Watch introduces sleep tracking, taking a holistic approach to sleep by providing valuable tools to help users get the desired amount of sleep, get to bed on time, and create a pre-bedtime routine to meet their sleep goals.

Sleep tracking displayed on Apple Watch Series 5.

In watchOS 7, Apple Watch wearers can now share watch faces that are infinitely customisable and personalised, inclusive of complications, through Messages or Mail, and discovered through the App Store or even from links through websites and social media channels.

The Meridian watch face side by side with a shared face in Messages displayed on Apple Watch Series 5.

tvOS 14

Apple TV users can now access HomeKit-enabled video cameras and accessories by using Siri or Control Centre, and receive doorbell notifications on the big screen with live feeds showing who is there.

The Home app with video doorbell.

tvOS 14 expands multi-user capabilities to include Apple Arcade and other games, so everyone in the house can instantly resume their favourite games exactly where they left off. Through Control Center, players can easily switch between users, their game progress, Game Center achievements, leaderboards, and friends.