Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 15 July 2020

Eight new innovative technologies and features unveiled at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference

The five-day event is being held online this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic

Tim Cook, chief executive of Apple, while delivering the keynote address during the WWDC. AP
Tim Cook, chief executive of Apple, while delivering the keynote address during the WWDC. AP

At its annual Worldwide Developer Conference 2020, Apple announced a strong line-up of new technologies to help its community of 23 million developers to design and build new apps.

These new tools will allow developers to provide more powerful app experiences to Apple’s platforms and help them better manage and grow their businesses, the company said.

“This WWDC, we have introduced innovative new frameworks and tools designed to help developers take their app experiences further and reach even more users,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing.

“The App Store ecosystem is more diverse and successful … but we know that to make it better for everyone, there is more we must do together.”

The five-day conference kick-started on Monday and is being held online this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Here, The National takes a look at eight new technologies and features unveiled at WWDC on Monday.

Phone-based car keys

Apple unveiled a new CarKey feature to let users unlock and start cars with their iPhones or Apple Watch. The new system will also let users share digital car keys with friends and family members through iMessages.

The company is currently working with German car maker BMW, which will be the first brand to support this function that will be compatible with the latest iOS14 iPhone operating software and also with the new version of the iOS13 operating system. The CarKey feature will be rolled out next month for BMW 5 Series vehicles and will be widely adopted by more car brands next year, Apple said.

The firm has also, in partnership with BMW and Ford, updated its mapping application with information about electric vehicle charging stations.

Meg Frost, director of product design for Apple Maps, speaks during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference seen on a laptop computer in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., on Monday, June 22, 2020. Apple will walk into its annual development conference facing one of the biggest backlashes from its giant community of creators since the App Store started almost 12 years ago. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
Meg Frost, director of product design for Apple Maps, speaks during the WWDC. Bloomberg

Hand-washing detection feature

The Cupertino-based company launched a new watchOS 7 for Apple Watch that provides enhanced customisation tools and new health and fitness features.

An Apple Watch illustration is displayed during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference seen on a laptop computer in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., on Monday, June 22, 2020. Apple will walk into its annual development conference facing one of the biggest backlashes from its giant community of creators since the App Store started almost 12 years ago. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
Apple introduces an automatic hand-washing detection feature. Bloomberg

Using motion sensors, microphone and machine learning, the new operating system contains an automatic hand-washing detection feature. It initiates a 20-second countdown timer and if the user finishes early, they will be prompted to keep washing.

The watch will also help users to monitor the amount of sleep, get to bed on time and create a pre-bedtime routine to meet their sleep goals. Through the detection of micro-movements from the watch’s accelerometer, which monitors respiration during sleep, the new system intelligently assesses users' sleep quality each night.

App Clip to avoid cluttering

A new feature called App Clip will allow consumers to use parts of an app without downloading the entire app. It is quick and shows only relevant information from the app, without cluttering the home screen.

“App Clips launch within a few seconds, immersing the user into a piece of the full app experience,” the company said.

When users scan a QR code or a dedicated App Clip code, the iPhone will launch the App Clip card and users can press ‘open’ to access the app without downloading it. They are compatible with Apple Pay so users do not need to create a new account with an app or provide their credit card details.

Industry analysts said the feature is a preview of the future with widespread 5G connectivity, when users will not need to wait for the full download of apps.

Siri gets smarter

Voice-activated virtual assistant Siri now knows over 20 times more facts than it did just three years ago, according to Apple.

Currently, when users engage Siri, the whole screen turns black. Apple has modified this slightly now to show only a small animation at the end of the screen when users open Siri, without affecting other parts of the display.

Another feature to be added to Siri is a new Translate app, which allows the virtual assistant to translate any text and dictation. It uses iPhone’s neural engine for translations so users do not need to be online to use this feature. Currently, it supports 11 languages including English, Arabic, French, German and Japanese.

Making the most of Apple Pencil

Apple also announced a new operating system for iPads – iPadOS 14 – that comes with new capabilities like improved search options and use of the Apple Pencil.

Apple iPadOS signage is displayed during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference seen on a laptop computer in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., on Monday, June 22, 2020. Apple will walk into its annual development conference facing one of the biggest backlashes from its giant community of creators since the App Store started almost 12 years ago. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
Apple iPadOS signage is displayed during the WWDC. Bloomberg

Using Apple Pencil, users can write in any text field and this will automatically be converted to typed text. It also offers better photo organisation and navigation tools.

Safari gets biggest update ever

Web browser Safari is getting its biggest update ever through new desktop operating software macOS Big Sur. It will allow desktops to perform faster, with enhanced security, while providing users options to further customise.

epa08502534 Handout video still image released by Apple showing Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi speaking in the WWDC video during the 2020 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) at Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, USA 22 June 2020. WWDC, in its 31st year and held virtually for the first time, runs through June 26. EPA/APPLE / HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY, NO SALES
Apple's senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi while disclosing details about the latest macOS Big Sur. EPA

Users can customise the new start page with a background image and add sections like their favourite reading list. The Mac App Store makes it easy to discover and download Safari extensions with a new category that includes editorial spotlights and top charts.

Adding more juice to Apple TV

Apple TV users can now access HomeKit-enabled video cameras and accessories by using Siri and receive doorbell notifications on a bigger screen with live feeds showing who is at the door.

HomeKit is software by the company that lets users control smart-home appliances using Apple devices.

It also expands multi-user capabilities to include Apple Arcade - a video game subscription service - and other games, so everyone in the house can instantly resume their favourite games exactly where they left off.

Privacy takes the precedence

Apple has also announced a slew of new features to beef up security.

All apps will now be required to obtain user permission before tracking. App Store product pages will also feature summaries of developers’ self-reported privacy practices as well.

"Privacy" is displayed during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference seen on a laptop computer in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., on Monday, June 22, 2020. Apple will walk into its annual development conference facing one of the biggest backlashes from its giant community of creators since the App Store started almost 12 years ago. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
Apple has announced a slew of new security features. Bloomberg

Health data will be encrypted on devices and will always be in users’ control. In addition, users can upgrade existing accounts to Sign in with Apple, choose to share their approximate, rather than precise, location with app developers and get even more transparency into an app’s use of a device's microphone and camera.

Updated: June 23, 2020 04:29 PM

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