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Here are the top iOS 14 announcements by Apple as seen at WWDC 2020

By Liu Hongzuo - on 27 Jun 2020, 11:04am

Here are the top iOS 14 announcements by Apple as seen at WWDC 2020

Note: This article was first published on 23 June 2020.

Image source: Apple.

Apple pushes out a flurry of iOS 14 features to excite Apple and iPhone users at their online-only WWDC 2020, so here's all you need to know about the upcoming mobile operating system in one place. 

App Library.

A new Home Screen feature is App Library. It's similar to Android OS app drawer, but on steroids. App Library automatically organises apps, and users can hide entire categories of apps they hardly use. Searching for the app you need would only require you to recall its category, but their search feature also has predictive suggestions based on what you'd use next.

Redesigned Widgets.

Apple also had a rethink on how Widgets can be more meaningful. Widgets can now come in different sizes, and they can be placed directly onto the Home Screen among your apps if they are especially crucial to the user.

Smart Stack is featured in the second display from the left.

Another widget enhancement is Smart Stack, a feature that shows multiple widgets as a scrolling menu that automatically changes throughout the day.

Example of picture-in-picture videos on iOS 14.

iOS 14 also brings an iPad feature to the phone operating system with "picture in picture videos", letting the user continue watching a video while working or interacting with other apps.

Siri no longer takes up a full screen when in-use!

Voice command assistant Siri got a redesign, becoming a futuristic icon at the bottom of the display. Siri is now more compact and less intrusive when you're working on another app. It makes it easier for users to refer to what's on-screen while commanding Siri with their voices to run some tasks.

iOS 14 comes with built-in translation features, right from their Translate app.

Siri is also expanding the number of languages it can understand, allowing translation between different languages in conversations. It does so with an all-new Translate app. It can translate on-the-go, going from audio to text, and back to audio to enable real-time spoken conversations. It also has side-by-side windows showing both languages for easy reference. Currently, Translate supports up to 11 languages, with more coming over time. 

Pinning important messages is now easier in iOS 14.

Example of Inline Replies.

In the communications space, Messages also got a slight rework with Pinned Messages to help people prioritise their top conversations. Memojis also got new several new additions, with three new expressions, more age options, and 20 new headwear or hairstyles. Group Conversations get inline replies, making it easier to follow chaotic conversations. Also coming to Group are @-mentions to tag specific folks for replies. Group conversations can now get a group photo for identity, and it shows users that have been recently active in said group chats.

Apple Maps now makes it easier to find interesting or great places of interest with Guides.

Apple Maps got more detail and accuracy, on top of more features, starting with the UK, Ireland, and Canada. A new trick in Apple Maps called Guides helps users find great places for food, visiting, and other recommendations by third-party providers.

Cyclists on the iOS ecosystem, rejoice!

The navigation feature in Apple Maps now includes green transport alternatives such as Cycling, and it contains details like elevation and whether the routes are along quiet or busy roads. EV Routing is another handy function for electric vehicle users. It identifies suitable routes that are not only energy-efficient but also charts a path that has compatible electric car chargers based on your electric vehicle's current battery charge.

Unlock your car with your iPhone, beginning with iOS 13 and 14.

In the CarPlay department, iOS 14 brings new wallpapers, alongside new app categories such as Parking and EV Charging and Food Ordering. What's significant in the new CarPlay is digital car keys that work via NFC. Starting with the 2021 BMW 5 series vehicles, you can use your iPhone to unlock your vehicle. Apple assures that the e-key is stored in the secure element component (U1 chip) of the iPhone and can be disabled via iCloud when the phone is misplaced or lost. Users can even quickly share these keys with folks sharing the vehicle. It's also coming to iOS 13, and Apple said they are hard at work trying to make this an industry standard. 

App Clips are lite versions of apps you might not have, making it handy to gain real-world access to goods and services without needing to grab the full digital app on-the-spot.

Over in the App Store, a new feature called App Clip quickly pulls up a mini-version of the app you don't have. It's made to be super convenient for viewing and access an important part of an app you might not have at the moment (e.g. parking payment, getting reward points when paying for food, etc.).

App Clip Code is Apple's proprietary QR code for App Clips, but QR codes also work just fine, too.

App Clips are less than 10MB in size and work with Sign In With Apple and Apple Pay. It can work with both QR codes or Apple's proprietary App Clip Code, which is Apple's very own QR code for App Clip pop-ups.

iOS 14 will be available to registered developers after the launch, and the public beta will be up by this summer. For users, iOS 14 comes in Fall 2020.


Read some of our other WWDC 2020 coverage:

Find out why Apple is saying bye-bye to Intel here

Read the updates to watchOS7 here.

Read about the new iPadOS 14 here.

Read about macOS Big Sur here.

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