Personal Tech | June 23, 2020 6:00 am

The Most Important Announcements From Apple's WWDC Event

To start: Enhanced privacy, a more useful iPhone home screen and near-instant translation

New widgets and organization highlight iOS updates

In lieu of an in-person event, Apple held its annual Worldwide Developers Conference virtually starting on Monday. Among the big announcements (note: most of these updates are coming this fall) …

iOS 14: Your home screen is going to show you more and more for you. Widgets (calendar, weather, news) will soon show up with more detail and information at first glance; you’ll also be able to resize them, arrange them wherever you want and even create a “Smart Stack” of widgets so they’ll show up at different times during the day.

Your apps will now be also automatically sorted by category.

Finally, calls from your phone or other apps (like FaceTime) now will take up much less territory on your screen; thanks to the compact design, you’ll also be able to use other apps while you’re on a video chat or watching a video.

Messages: You can now “pin” up to nine of the most important conversations you have going at the top of your messages. Much like a social-media service, you can now “mention” people in group chats, make inline replies to specific messages in a group conversation and utilize more than a dozen new, more culturally diverse Memoji.

Maps: Cycling directions, electric-vehicle routing (for charging stations) and curated “Guides” are now part of your mapping options.


Translate: Turn your app to landscape; this new app will then transcribe the audio you’re hearing and provide translated text and audio.

Meanwhile, the iPadOS is allowing pull-down menus and sidebars, macOS Big Sur is offering refinements and Safari extensions for your office computer, and WatchOS will allow more customization and a sleep-tracking app.

Apple sleep
The new Apple Sleep app

A few other software additions across the OS board include a more powerful and compact Siri, a more integrated Home app (for your HomeKit-compatible smart appliances), privacy reports at the press of a button to monitor what websites do with your info (as long as you’re using the Safari web browser) … and your iPhone can now be used to unlock certain cars.

AirPods: If you switch devices (say, from an iPhone to an iPad) while watching a movie, your earbuds can now calibrate this instantly. As well, a new Spatial Audio feature for the AirPods Pro means your sound will alter accordingly if you move your device or even tilt your head.

Privacy: An indicator now appears at the top of your home screen whenever an app is using your microphone or camera. You also now have the option to only share your “approximate location” rather than your exact location (ideal for news and weather).

App Clips: Basically, you’ll be able to quickly find and use some third-party apps without downloading them, especially helpful for payment apps.

Intel: Apple is moving away from its long-time chip partner to make their own. The switch should take a few years, but it’ll eventually mean more powerful processors and better integration between devices.