He would be forgiven for missing every change to iOS, macOS, and more that Apple executives spoke quickly during the keynote address at Monday’s World Developers Conference. But even after catching up on all the announcements, there are more useful features for iPhones, Macs, Apple Watches, and more, and some major changes that Apple didn’t even mention.
Developers are already discovering minor changes to the developer beta releases released Monday, and we’ve also reviewed Apple’s official documentation to see what changes the company didn’t highlight, but they will make a significant difference in the way it uses its devices.
Boot Camp is dead on Apple Silicon
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Apple is creating a family of ARM-based custom processors for Mac, which is a huge change that brings rippling effects. One change some might not be too happy about is that Boot Camp, the free utility that lets you boot Windows and macOS with dual boot, will disappear on Apple’s new silicon-powered Macs.
Intel-based Macs running Big Sur will still support Boot Camp, and Apple chips will still allow it to run virtualization technology like Parallels for using Windows and macOS, but Parallels is not free and runs on the operating system, while Boot Camp costs nothing and allows you to dual boot, and even triple, on a Mac. QEPD
HomePod supports other streaming services
In a move that could stifle antitrust charges and To make HomePod more attractive, Apple will open its speaker to third-party music streaming services like Spotify with an update this fall. HomePod was basically limited to Apple Music subscribers, which inhibited its usefulness. Spotify and the like have yet to choose to support HomePod, and it’s unclear if they will, but at least the option exists.
Change default iPhone and iPad browser
This fall, you’ll finally be able to change your default web browser and email client to apps that are not Safari and Apple Mail. This announcement almost overlooked those of us who saw the WWDC keynote live, because it appeared on the slide that concluded the iPadOS 14 presentation without mentioning it.
Apple later noted in its IOS 14 preview The feature will also come to iPhones, so when you click on a link to compose an email or open a new page, you will directly access the application of your choice.
Apple TV 4K will stream 4K YouTube videos
A good reason to buy Apple’s 4K set-top box is to stream 4K content. tvOS 14 is bringing 4K YouTube video support to Apple TV. It is unclear if the change was something on the Apple side or if YouTube is adapting to Apple TV, but either way, it will now have more videos to stream in glorious 4K resolution.
Back Tap for iOS is a useful feature with a wonderful name
I love everything about Back Tap, an iOS 14 feature that acts as a shortcut to a custom set of actions when you touch the back of your iPhone. It doesn’t have as many options, just a double tap and a triple tap, but you can configure them as shortcuts to, say, open an app, or even as a shortcut to Shortcuts. According to the developers, the feature even works with a phone case.
FaceTime recognizes sign language
In a big move for accessibility, FaceTime will now recognize when a person in a group video call is signing in American Sign Language and will emphasize the caller’s window for everyone else to pay attention. It would be great if FaceTime could translate ASL to text as part of this feature to make it even more accessible, but this is a solid step.
Force Touch for Apple Watch is disappearing
According to Apple’s documentation, watchOS 7 is no longer supported by Force Touch, an Apple Watch mechanism used to dismiss notifications, unlock menu items within an app, and other tasks. That means the Apple Watch Series 6 will probably abandon Force Touch, which is … kind of weird! It has been a feature of the watch from day one, and I use it to interact with the device multiple times a day. I am curious to see if the firm press will simply be replaced by a long one.
IPad games support keyboards and mice
It was only a matter of time before the new iPad support for trackpads and mice was rolled out to gaming, and that comes on iPadOS 14. You will no longer be limited to using touch screen controls or Bluetooth controllers to play on the iPad, bringing the tablet closer to a Mac, at least when it comes to games.
Optimized charging of AirPods
Apple promoted a handful of new AirPods features, including spatial audio for AirPods Pro and smart device swapping for all models, but did not mention that this fall it will begin optimizing the battery of its AirPods as it does with its iPhone. Your AirPods will learn their charging routine and then wait to finish squeezing more than 80% to prevent battery aging.