The Silicon-Mac Edition Tuesday, June 23, 2020

This Is Apple’s Roadmap For Moving The First Macs Away From Intel, by Samuel Axon and Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica

After 15 years, Apple will again transition the Mac to a new architecture. The company announced at its developer conference today that it will introduce Macs featuring Apple-designed, ARM-based processors similar to those already used in the iPhone and iPad.

Tim Cook pegged this switch as one of the four biggest transitions the mac has ever had. Alongside the more to PowerPC, the move to Intel, and the transition to Mac OS X, ARM will be one of the biggest mac changes ever. Apple is promising "a whole new level of performance" with a "Family of Mac SoCs."

Apple's Intel Breakup Will Reshape Macs—and Beyond, by Brian Barrett, Wired

A lot depends on the robustness of Rosetta 2, which remains unknown in practice. Still, the transition seems likely to be relatively seamless for consumers. Apple has every incentive to make this jump, but it’s also given developers every reason to make it with them. "It’s a big ask of developers to support a new chip,” says Maribel Lopez, founder of Lopez Research. “But when they think of it as laying the groundwork for working across multiple devices, it’s an easier sell.”

Which is really what an ARM-based future means for you: A world in which you don’t buy iPhone apps or iPad apps or Mac apps, but just Apple apps that work on whatever device you own.

Thoughts On WWDC 2020 Day One, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

The idealist in me says this is a terrible idea and that it will just lead to developers abandoning the Mac and just shoveling their iOS app onto the platform. If you think Mac Catalyst apps are weird, wait until you’re running pure iOS apps that have made no attempt to appear even remotely Mac-like.

The optimist in me says that there will always be good Mac apps, but there are also a lot of great iOS apps and being able to run them makes my Mac more useful and relevant.

The truth is probably that the future of the Mac is as a “pro” version of iOS and iPadOS. It’ll run more or less every app that’s available on the iPhone and iPad, but it’ll also run traditional Mac software. Over time, the distinction between iPad apps and Mac apps will begin to fade away entirely, and the Mac will just become a keyboard-and-trackpad mode of the iPad.


Big Sur Makes Changes To Many Apple Apps And Basic Features, by Glenn Fleishman, TidBITS

macOS will have a different overall look and feel in Big Sur, but Apple hasn’t ignored its key apps. Maps and Messages get long-overdue overhauls, while Safari adds privacy-reporting features and more locked-down extensions, and Photos and other apps receive minor tweaks. A grab bag of other changes will appear, too, such as facial recognition in the Home app that links the Photos app and home security cameras.

We assume Mail for Big Sur will change somewhat, too, based on details shown for Mail in the iPadOS preview. But Apple didn’t demonstrate Mail for macOS in the keynote or include it in the initial feature list.


Apple Takes The Wraps Off iOS 14 At WWDC 2020, by Samuel Axon and Jeff Dunn, Ars Technica

At the forefront of iOS 14 is a redesign for the home screen on iPhones. A new feature called "App Library" sits at the bottom of home screen pages and automatically organizes various apps into groups. The idea is to cut down on the amount of pages you need to scroll through to get to a specific app, instead making them all available from one screen. Apple says the App Library will know to curate your apps into specific categories, such as "Apple Arcade" for various games or "Social" for social media apps. There's a search field located at the top of the App Library, with all your apps organized alphabetically in a list view underneath it.

The update also brings the ability to resize widgets and drag them from their usual place in the iPhone's "Today" view over to the home screen, much like how you would with a dedicated app. You can also pull up list of widgets to quickly add and customize them to your home screen at your discretion. A "Smart Stack" feature, meanwhile, can automatically show apps relevant to the current time of day, so you could see Apple News briefing in the morning or a summary of your daily activity in the evening.

Apple iOS 14 Will Let You Change iPhone’s Default Email, Browser To Third-Party Apps, by Todd Spangler, Variety

In a major change for Apple’s iPhone, the next iteration of the operating system — iOS 14, coming this fall — will let users set third-party email and browser apps as the defaults, in place of Apple’s own mail and Safari browser apps.

iOS 14 Lets You Tap The Back Of Your iPhone To Launch Apps And A Whole Lot More, by James Vincent, The Verge

Yesterday at WWDC, Apple announced iOS 14, the latest version of its iPhone operating system. But, as is often the case with Apple, there were many features that didn’t get mentioned on stage. One of these is “Back Tap” — a new accessibility feature that lets you double tap or triple tap the back of your iPhone to perform a custom task.


iPadOS 14 Suddenly Makes The iPad Look A Lot Like A MacBook, by Henry T. Casey, Tom's Guide

When I first saw iPadOS 14, I felt like I was seeing a significant change in Apple's tablets. While many saw the Magic Keyboard as a step to make the iPad Pro more like a MacBook, these new software changes give an even stronger hint to how Apple's hardware is unifying.

These changes feel like they add up to a substantial shift where iPadOS better fits the larger iPad display than it used to. While the Apple Pencil changes will make for neat new ways to use the iPad, the refined interface is why I'm most excited to get the iPadOS beta installed.

The iPad Isn’t Getting iOS 14’s Best Feature, by Michael Simon, Macworld

Even though iPadOS 14 brings the same redesigned widgets complete with different sizes and smart functionality, it stops short at delivering the full App Library. So your widgets will still exist in the cramped Today View at the left of the main Home screen just like they are on iOS 13. You can’t even move them between apps like you can on the iPhone.


Apple’s New watchOS Is Coming This Year With New Health Tracking Features, by Samuel Axon and Corey Gaskin, Ars Technica

Sleep tracking includes new options like "Wind Down" which will enable shortcuts and routines like opening apps and turning on Do Not Disturb before bedtime. All of this will be accessible through the iOS app, as well.

Details on the sleep tracking method itself are scarce, but Apple says it will track breathing and movement in "Sleep Mode."

Apple Drops Force Touch Gesture In watchOS 7, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Force Touch can be used in ‌watchOS 6‌ to reveal hidden menus on ‌Apple Watch‌, such as options to clear notifications and customize the current Watch Face. These options will no longer be accessed using the Force Touch gesture when watchOS 7 is released.

Audio Visual

AirPods Updated With Automatic Switching And A New ‘Spatial Audio’ Feature, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

The new automatic switching feature is coming to both regular AirPods and AirPods Pro in a firmware update, and will automatically switch audio inputs based on which Apple device you’re using. For example, if you’re listening to something on your iPhone and then start playing a video on your laptop, the audio feed will automatically switch over to your computer. Or if you answer a phone call on your iPhone, your AirPods will automatically switch from your computer.

Apple Updates tvOS With Home Support And Picture-in-picture, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

Apple has announced a variety of new features for its tvOS platform, adding better support for Apple’s HomeKit accessories, a new picture-in-picture mode, and support for Microsoft’s Elite 2 and Adaptive Xbox One controllers.

tvOS will also allow for direct control of HomeKit accessories through a new Control Center UI, which looks similar to the menu found on iOS and iPadOS. As part of that new UI, Apple is also offering multi-user support for the Apple TV, although the company has only said that it’ll be used for resuming gameplay on Apple Arcade games for now.

Developer Relationship

Apple Says It Will Let Developers Challenge App Store Rules, by Todd Spangler, Variety

The tech giant, as part of its 2020 Worldwide Developers Conference, on Monday announced to two changes that it will roll out this summer for the app review process. First, Apple said, developers will “not only be able to appeal decisions about whether an app violates a given guideline of the App Store Review Guidelines, but will also have a mechanism to challenge the guideline itself.”

In a second change, Apple said, for apps that are already on the App Store, “bug fixes will no longer be delayed over guideline violations except for those related to legal issues.” Instead, the company said, developers will “be able to address the issue in their next submission.”

Following App Store Rejection Drama, Apple Approves Hey Email App As Company Adds Time-limited Free Accounts, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple today approved the Hey email app, following a week of drama over Apple’s decision to reject the app because it did not adopt in-app purchases. In a letter last week, Apple SVP Phil Schiller suggested Hey could offer In-App Purchases as an option or add some basic functionality accessible to all users, with the login paywall unlocking the full app.

In response, Hey has now added a free tier. With the 1.0.3 update, users can now try Hey for 14 days using a temporary email address. These ‘burner’ accounts reset every two weeks. Hey wants people to get attached to the app and then sign up to the $99/year subscription in order to secure a permanent email address.

Bottom of the Page

Watching the WWDC Keynote in the Apple TV app on my Mac was so much better than watching the WWDC Keynote in the Developer app on my Mac, that one can definitely wonder whether these two different apps were built by the same company.


Thanks for reading.