It's been an exciting week, iMorians, because we just wrapped up the very first all-digital WWDC! While there were no new hardware announcements, we are getting a ton of goodies in iOS 14, iPadOS 14, watchOS 7, tvOS 14, and macOS 11 Big Sur.
First off, I think I'm most excited for iOS 14. We're finally getting Home screen widgets, which is very similar to Microsoft's Live Tiles on Windows Phone. I've always thought that widgets should have been on the Home screen because it's the screen that I look at the most. Sure, the Today View is just a swipe away, but a lot of people may not know how to access their widgets. And widgets can give me bits of data in a quick glance. And it's not just being on the Home screen that is exciting to me, but the fact that we can now customize the size of the widgets as well — the possibilities are endless! Of course, right now with the betas, it seems that the usefulness of these new widgets depends on the developer, so we won't see the full potential until the public release in the fall.
Another thing that I'm eager to have on my iPhone (I only use an iPod touch for the iOS beta) is the App Library. On my primary iPhone, I have hundreds of apps, and let me tell you — aside from my first Home screen page, everything else is an absolute mess. With the new App Library feature, there seems to be a function that lets you hide entire pages from your Home screen. I can't wait to just yeet my Home screen pages full of folders and random app downloads off of my Home screen, and just have a single Home screen and search for everything else with App Library. Plus, it seems to automatically organize everything by category, and you can access an alphabetical list and search for apps, so I'm not worried about not finding anything. I only really care about the first page of the Home screen, and that's going to have some major tweaking with widgets once I have it on my iPhone.
Some other big features that I'm looking forward to in iOS 14 are Picture-in-Picture video, no more giant full-screen takeover for incoming phone calls, and App Clips. Oh, and those Messages improvements are especially nice — pinned conversations, mentions, and inline replies? Yes, please!
With all of the improvements to iOS 14, it's a little surprising that iPadOS 14 doesn't seem to get the same treatment, at least for now. What I mean by this is the fact that iPadOS 14 keeps the Home screen the same, so there aren't any Home screen widgets — they still stay in the sidebar, but you at least get the varying sizes. And for some reason, the App Library is missing, at least in its current state. But fret not, because iPadOS 14 is getting some amazing new features, like Scribble, which works very well from our testing so far.
Surprisingly, Apple will be releasing a public beta for watchOS 7 this year, unlike previous years. I'm most looking forward to the built-in sleep tracking because that's what I've been missing since I stopped using Fitbits. And even if Apple has its own native sleep tracking, I'm sure that third-party developers can improve upon it even more with their own apps. I'm also interested in the new Fitness app (more than just an Activity rebranding) with the streamlined design and interface. Plus, new workout modes!
Now, for macOS 11 Big Sur, I'm intrigued with how it seems that macOS is blending in with iOS and iPadOS, unifying all three. I think the biggest draw for me is that native apps will look more like each other across the board, and it is setting the stage for when Apple releases new Macs with Apple silicon at the end of the year.
There are some nice changes coming to tvOS 14, like multi-user Apple Arcade support, PiP for all content, 4K YouTube, and more. I personally don't have an Apple TV myself, but for those who do, these are great changes.
It's been an exciting week, and we can't wait to keep diving in the new betas for all the new goodies. If you want to check out all of our WWDC 2020 coverage, make sure to hit up this link!
- Christine Romero-Chan