As Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, told me, Apple doesn’t give users more control over their privacy every year just to one-up its competitors. Rather, he says, “We think we’re showing the way to the industry, to the customer, that they can demand more–they should expect more–about the protection of their privacy, and that we can help move the industry into building things that better protect privacy.”
Now that’s a bold statement. Federighi makes a strong case for it, and not just by detailing Apple’s upcoming privacy enhancements. During our conversation, he delved deep into the company’s history with privacy. He even looked centuries into its future, revealing what he believes will be one of the company’s most important lasting legacies.
It’s clear now that Apple’s long-term vision for its computing platforms is that they’ll all share the same development environment. While the Mac will still be able to run traditionally developed Mac apps, the near future is going to be apps brought over from iOS with the help of Mac Catalyst, and apps brought over from iOS with no modification. Further out, Apple hopes that SwiftUI allows developers to build native software for any of its platforms, morphing from Apple Watch to Apple TV to iPhone to iPad to Mac.
If that’s true, though, does the Mac really still exist? The answer is yes—at least, until it doesn’t matter either way.
Could Apple, whose slickly staged events have set a high bar for product unveilings, pull off a virtual keynote with the flourish and flair of its in-person extravaganzas and without the clapping crowds? Could Apple come up with a model for delivering product news that the rest of the industry might copy while we're in lockdown? Would reporters, investors and partners tune in and find something interesting to watch, without first being plied with gourmet pastries, vegan snacks and high-octane espressos brewed by Cafe Mac baristas?
The answer, judging by the reaction I've heard from developers, industry analysts, users and even many of us journalists who've also rushed for seats: Yep. And the virtual event may be the start of more to come.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected nearly every facet of our lives, so it’s only natural that it would impact more than one of Apple’s product announcements at yesterday’s WWDC. Whether it’s the Apple Watch’s handwashing feature or the new face mask options for Memoji, the pandemic’s presence was repeatedly felt during Apple’s presentation. And let’s not forget, its entire prerecorded streaming format was driven by the pandemic in the first place.
The first beta of iOS 14 includes the ability to set up notifications that trigger if the iPhone hears specific sounds, an accessibility feature that could help alert hearing-impaired users to fire alarms or dogs barking nearby.
The list of sounds it can pick up include animals like cats and dogs, household sounds including running water and appliances, and doorbells and door knocks. The system is also sophisticated enough to listen out for people shouting and baby cries, and can even distinguish between alarm sounds for fires, smoke, and sirens.
Apple’s new App Clip technology lets people load transient mini-apps without installing through the App Store. Users don’t have to authenticate or authorize the mini-app. It just downloads and works. Whether scanning a code (think QR code) or detecting an NFC tag, iOS users can download and run these pre-vetted packages that represent a light, typically transactional, view of a larger app experience. I went through some writeups and video today and thought I’d share a mental dump of my thoughts.
Mac users who rely on Windows virtualization software might be left in the lurch when Apple transitions to its own custom ARM processors later this year, as the company's Rosetta Intel-to-ARM translator does not support virtual machine apps.
Apple outlined Rosetta's — technically Rosetta 2's — limitations in a developer document posted to its website this week, noting that while it can translate "most" Intel-based apps, it is unable to do the same for virtual machine apps that virtualize x86_64 computer platforms. Popular x86_64 virtualization apps include products from Parallels and VMWare that virtualize Windows environments.
macOS Big Sur, the newest version of Apple’s operating system designed for Macs, brings back the classic startup chime that was eliminated from the MacBook lineup in 2016.
During Apple’s “State of the Union” developer session that immediately followed the WWDC Keynote, Apple announced that it’s opening up its “Find My” technology to create a new “Find My network” that third-party developers will be able to plug into and take advantage of.
In other words, Apple is letting companies like Tile leverage the power of Apple’s background wireless device location technology through a set of APIs that will be baked into iOS 14.
Apple has announced that it is opening up its U1 chip to developers with a new “Nearby Interaction” framework for iOS 14. This framework can stream distance and relative direction between U1-equipped devices, paving the way for some interesting new spatial-related user experiences.
Apple has released a firmware update for the AirPods Pro. The update upgrades firmware version 2D15, to the new firmware, 2D27.
So far it isn’t known what the new firmware fixes, or if it adds any new features. However, there have been complaints from AirPods Pro users about issues with Active Noise Cancellation and crackling or popping sounds.
The world’s most valuable tech companies are still predominantly white and male, according to a Bloomberg News analysis of diversity reports published by Google, Facebook, Microsoft Corp., Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. Photos of Black workers feature prominently in these reports but remain mostly absent from management ranks and are underrepresented in technical roles.
"This personal touch is missing," said Laura Dudley, an associate clinical professor at Northeastern University and expert in behavior analysis and body language. "We're hungering for that human interaction, that friendliness, so we're starting to do things like waving to say goodbye. It feels a little nicer than just clicking off."
In person, there are subtle (and not-so-subtle) social cues, such as closing a notebook, checking your watch, putting things in a bag or getting ready to stand up, that show an interaction is winding down. But those same signals don't translate on video calls, so experts say people are trying new behaviors that better suit virtual communication, such as waving and smiling, even in an otherwise professional setting.
Firstly, there are all the WWDC videos that Apple puts out that I am interested to watch. Then, there are all these podcast episodes about WWDC that I am also interested to listen. Where do I find all that time?
Thanks for reading.