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Apple WWDC 2020: iOS 14 brings home-screen widgets, app library, iPadOS brings system-wide search

The company also announced the launch of developer preview versions for both the operating systems right now. Digging in, let’s check out everything new regarding the Apple iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 from WWDC 2020 here.

  • Updated: June 23, 2020 10:03 AM IST
Apple WWDC 2020

Apple has just announced the latest version of its in-house operating system for mobile devices. These new versions include the Apple iOS 14 and the iPadOS 14. As part of the announcement, it shared details regarding all the changes that one can expect from the new versions. These changes include UI tweaks, changes and improvements, new features, and more. Some of the changes are uniform across iOS and iPadOS especially when it comes to cosmetic changes. The company also announced the launch of developer preview versions for both the operating systems right now. Digging in, let’s check out everything new regarding the Apple iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 from WWDC 2020 here. Also Read - Apple WWDC 2020: watchOS 7, macOS 11, tvOS 14 announced

Apple WWDC 2020 announcements: iOS 14

First up, the company has finally introduced some significant UI tweaks to the home screen experience on iOS 14. As part of the changes, the company has finally introduced home-screen widgets to make app screens more dynamic and useful. Users can pin different sizes of widgets on any home screen depending on their needs. They can also use on-device AI to create “Smart Stacks” for widgets. Also Read - Apple iPhone 12 series' A14 Bionic chipset production to start soon: Report

Apple iOS 14 redesigned home screen

Apple iOS 14 redesigned home screen

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It also launched the “App Library” that behaves as quick collections or groups of similar apps on one single screen. These collections get rid of multi-page app lists to simplify things. The company uses AI to create dynamic libraries such as “Suggestions” as well as “Recently Added” apps. In addition to App Library, the company also introduced a list view for apps in the search function. Also Read - Apple MacBook Pro, Air 2020 users face USB connectivity issues

Apple iOS 14 app library

Apple iOS 14 app library

As part of the changes, the company also redesigned the Siri UI to make it more compact and useful. The new Siri UI will no longer take up the full screen distracting users from their work. Instead, one can see a dynamic, small, card-like UI interface for results. Similarly, the company has also introduced a compact calling card to notify about upcoming calls. This ensures that the call screen does not take the entire screen. Users can also flick the calling card up to dismiss.

Apple iOS 14 Redesigned Siri

Picture in Picture (PiP) on iOS 14

The smartphone giant also introduced the much-coveted PiP feature on the upcoming feature. Users can navigate away from the video app and the media playback will continue in a small floating window. The feature works in a somewhat similar manner to what we have seen on Android for a couple of years.

New apps, changes to native apps

Apple iOS 14 Translate app

Beyond this, the company also added a new “Translate” app to quickly translate real-world conversations. Apple claims that the app will use on-device translation This is similar to the features that we have seen on Google Translate and Microsoft Translator apps. Moving forward, the company also made some improvements to the native “Messages” app with several changes. These include improved memoji, ability to pin conversations on the top of the main screen, and better group conversations. The group conversation improvements include in-line replies to any of the messages, mentions, improved, dynamic group chat logo.

Apple has also added improvements to its existing Maps app with support for three more countries. We also get “Guides” on Maps to cater to our needs around shopping, exploring, or trying to find noteworthy places. The company also added dedicated “Cycling directions” in the app to offer “greener ways to explore”. These ways extend to EV routing with compatible charging stations for your car, congestion alerts, and air-quality index information.


Beyond this, the company also introduced improvements to CarPlay on iOS with the introduction of “Digital Car Keys”. The company uses NFC technology to allow users to unlock their car with their iPhone or Apple Watch. They can also share these digital keys with their friends and family through Apple Messenger. One can also disable these car keys in case they lose their NFC-enabled device. Apple will bring more features to this feature with the help of a U1 chip for “spatial awareness”.

It also shared some information about the future of “Find My” with the help of upcoming features to find third-part products. The company will use a new Find My network accessory program to kickstart things. Apple introduced more changes to its Home app along with Spatial audio on AirPods and Safari.

App Store updates, privacy improvements, and more

Apple iOS 14 app clips

One of the major updates that we noticed in iOS 14 was the introduction of App Clips. App Clips are small parts of the app that allows users to quickly experience the app without downloading it. This feature is especially helpful in public places where users can either use NFC or a QR code to deliver these snippets. This means that the user does not need to download the full app to place that order in a restaurant and more.

Apple also shared some privacy-focused updates along with new features for better control and transparency. As part of the new features, the company will start asking app developers to self-report privacy practices. It will display this data in all the App Store listings under the “App Privacy” section. The company will divide the information in “Data Used to Track You”, “Data Linked to You”, and “Data Not Linked to You”.

Users can also update their account to share “approximate location” with app developers instead of a “precise location”. iOS 14 will also highlight when an app is using the camera or the microphone. As part of this feature, it will show a small indicator on the top right corner of the screen about the camera and microphone activity. Other changes include accessibility improvements, better Weather app, automatic audio device switching, and routing on AirPods Pro, and more.

iPadOS 14: New features

Similar to iOS 14, the iPadOS 14 also features a lot of so similar design changes. These include home screen widgets, compact cards for calls and Siri, and more. The company has also reinforced iPad focused apps with the “Designed for iPad” moniker. As part of the changes, it also redesigned its core iPadOS apps with a new design for the full screen along with a consolidated UI. These freshly designed apps include Photos, Files, Notes, Calendar, Apple Music, and more.

Apple iPadOS 14 redesigned home screen

System-wide redesigned search

iPadOS 14 also comes with a system-wide redesigned search that looks somewhat similar to Spotlight. Like Spotlight, this search also works as an app launcher to quickly open apps, open contacts, files, or more. Users can also make web queries directly from the universal search without leaving the current app.

Apple iPadOS 14 universal search

Better Apple Pencil support, Scribble, AR, and more

Taking about new features, Apple seems to have made significant improvements to its current Apple Pencil support. iPadOS 14 is set to bring “scribble”, a powerful feature that can automatically detect handwriting and convert it into text. The company has also added smart selections to tap and select individual handwritten letters, convert them to text on the device. Users can also use it to write in any system UI field to type in commands. We also get a powerful, shape recognition feature that allows users to refine their diagrams and illustrations.

Apple iPadOS 14 Scribble

Beyond this, Scribble also comes with automatic data type detection from the handwriting. This means that it can detect that phone number or address that you just wrote in the notes app. You can quickly tap on the hand-written number to make calls or the address to locate it on the map. This feature will support English, Traditional and Simplified Chinese, and a mix of Chinese and English words at launch.

Apple also launched ARKit 4 along with a new “Depth API” for better depth information with the LiDAR scanner on iPad Pro. Users can also use this information to create better and more realistic AR experiences with the new Location anchors. Other features including privacy, Messages, Siri, Maps, Home app, Safari, and accessibility remain like what we saw on the iOS 14. The company revealed that the final versions of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 will launch in “Fall”.

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  • Published Date: June 23, 2020 1:01 AM IST
  • Updated Date: June 23, 2020 10:03 AM IST



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