Info-tech

Apple WWDC: Apple switches to its own custom 'Apple Silicon' processors for future Mac computers

BL Internet Desk Reuters June 22 | Updated on June 23, 2020 Published on June 23, 2020

Apple CEO Tim Cook delivers the keynote address during the 2020 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) at Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California   -  Handout via Reuters

The silicon switch brings the Mac into line with the company's iPhone and iPads, which already use Apple-designed chips.

Apple Inc on Monday announced the switch to its own custom processor called 'Apple Silicon' for its future Mac computers, signalling the transition away from a nearly 15-year hardware alliance with Intel for Mac computer processors.

'Apple Silicon' macOS devices are coming to developers by the end of the week, to users by the end of the year and the complete transition to the Apple Silicon is going to take place in the next two years, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced during the keynote address of Apple's annual developer conference WWDC.

Cook said that Apple expects the transition to take about two years and that Apple still has some Intel-based computers in its pipeline that it will support for 'many years.'

Tim Cook mentioned the three milestones along Apple's journey - being its transition to Power PC, Mac OS, and Intel processors over the years before mentioning the transition to Apple's in-house processor- 'Apple Silicon'.

macOS software like Apple's own Final Cut Pro X and third-party applications like Adobe's creative suite and games like Shadow of the Tomb Raider were shown working on macOS 'Big Sur' OS on an 'Apple Silicon' A12Z bionic chip-based mac device.

The processor-switch will now bring Mac devices in line with Apple's iPhone and iPads, which already use its own custom-designed ARM processors.

This is the first time in 31 years that Apple is holding the event virtually, due to the coronavirus Pandemic.

The event started with live Apple memoji's across the globe signifying the many developers logged in and finished at the Apple Park where Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage, taking a stand against racism, inequality and injustice, before moving into the various aspects of the keynote address.

Here are some of the other announcements at WWDC:

macOS 'Big Sur'

The macOS 'Big Sur' is bringing some major design changes while retaining some iconic elements with elegant icons for the dock as well as new app icons and redesigns each app interface bringing control center from their iOS / iPad to Mac which helps users access commonly used functions easily.

Mac Catalyst will help developers to build seamless experiences among various apps. To help developers get started with Apple silicon, Apple is also launching the Universal App Quick Start Program, which provides access to documentation, forums support, beta versions of macOS Big Sur and Xcode 12, and the limited use of a Developer Transition Kit (DTK), a Mac development system based on Apple’s A12Z Bionic System on a Chip (SoC).

Apple said that it will continue to support and release new versions of macOS for Intel-based Macs for years to come and has exciting new Intel-based Macs in development.

iOS 14

Craig Federighi, Senior Vice President, Software Engineering, Apple announced that they would be rethinking core elements around iOS starting with the home screen through a feature called App library which helps collate Apps of certain categories together, besides search feature in App library as well as hide less frequently used app pages.

Redesigning widgets in iOS with a data-rich view with user customisation of what data they want to watch and smart stacks for widgets on the home screen and is updated.

Apple virtual assistant Siri's visual interface is going to change with a compact design and when a Siri command is called used, it will display without interfering with the current screen. Siri is becoming more intelligent with the help of a neural engine to send voice messages.

A new app called 'translate' can help translate up to 11 languages and translate the entire conversations, side-by-side through conversation mode.

Messages are getting conversations by letting users pin the most important messages at the top of messages and more options for emojis besides inline replies mentions as part of the conversation in a group.

Maps earlier this year got updates and will get more presence to UK, Italy, and Canada along with new features help people navigate while reducing their carbon footprint with a cycling mode in New York City and few besides EV routing which helps adapt and route EV vehicles to charging stations.

App Store is to become more accessible with App clip which is a small part of an app and will directly launch a feature of an app and sign in and pay using Apple pay using visual app codes and NFC at places. An App Clip is a small part of an app experience designed to be discovered the moment it is needed. App Clips are associated with a particular product or business and load within seconds to complete a specific task, such as renting a scooter, purchasing a coffee, or filling a parking meter.

iPadOS

Building on the features of the iPadOS 13, iPadOS 14 brings more apps designed for iPad first -design-wise and power.

For starters, there are photos and a few other visual changes like the sidebar which allows for streamlining contents and quick access to app functionality.

The other features include:

1. A more compact design for Siri, calls and search in the iPadOS, allowing people to make queries, receive calls, and go about searching without losing out on the screen they are currently in

2. The 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.

The Airpods software is going to see automatic switching between Apple devices along with Spatial Audio with Airpods Pro to give user 5.1, 7.1, and Dolby Atmos experience.

WatchOS 7

Developers can create personalised experiences for their apple watch faces according to places etc, user-shareable watch face along with Cycling options in maps like in the case of the iOS.

Apple Watch Workout gets dance mode which allows fitness tracking for various popular dance forms using the various sensors on the watch.

Sleep tracking is coming to WatchOS 7 and has a winddown mode across apple devices which will help ease users into sleep.

Automatic hand-washing detection through AI is another feature that is coming on WatchOS 7. Apple Watch automatically detects handwashing to initiate a 20-second countdown timer. If the wearer finishes early, they’ll be prompted to keep washing.

Privacy

Users will get to see a more granular look at how their data is being used by apps across Apple products.

tvOS

The tvOS 14 will see the multi-user support being added to Apple arcade and other games and better homekit integration.

Reuters adds

At the event, Apple announced a new system that lets users share digital car keys with friends and family members via the company's iMessage system, will work with BMW 5 Series vehicles.

The system will work with phones running the current iOS 13 operating system so that owners can start using it when BMW vehicles arrive. Apple said more cars that work with the system will come to market next year.

Apple also updated its mapping application with information about electric vehicle charging stations, working with BMW and Ford Motor Co to show stations compatible with the user's vehicle.

Apple also added new privacy protections, saying it would let users only share their approximate location with app developers and that it would require those developers to seek permission before sharing user data with other apps and websites. Apple also said it would require a privacy and security label, akin to a food nutrition label, to be shown to users before they download apps.

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Published on June 23, 2020
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