Six things we learned at WWDC20 about fu­ture Ap­ple prod­ucts

We now know a bit more about the next iPhones, Ap­ple Watch, iPad and AirPods.

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS - Michael Si­mon re­ports

Ap­ple might not have re­leased any new hard­ware at WWDC, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t on dis­play. The soft­ware up­dates it showed off all point to big changes on the hori­zon for Ap­ple as it revs up for a huge slate of re­leases. And there are quite a few things we can learn from what Ap­ple showed us.

1. The Ap­ple Pen­cil is more im­por­tant than the Magic Key­board

Per­haps most sur­pris­ing about iPadOS 14 is what it doesn’t have: new track­pad ges­tures or mul­ti­task­ing im­prove­ments. When the Magic Key­board ar­rived for the iPad Pro ear­lier this year, we thought for sure that a large part of iPadOS 14 would build on the new cur­sor and track­pad. But from what we’ve seen so far, iPadOS 14 does no such thing.

Ap­ple Pen­cil was mainly geared to il­lus­tra­tors, but Ap­ple has el­e­vated it to a full-on in­put de­vice. In iPadOS 14, Ap­ple Pen­cil will be used for far more than just draw­ing, as Ap­ple en­hanced its tablet OS to rec­og­nize hand­writ­ing in any text field, so you won’t need to bring up the key­board at all while us­ing one. And more im­por­tantly, you won’t need to put the Ap­ple Pen­cil down to start typ­ing.

All iPads al­ready sup­port Ap­ple Pen­cil, but as it takes on more promi­nence, I wouldn’t be sur­prised to see it bun­dled with fu­ture mod­els. Ap­ple Pen­cil is sold as an ac­ces­sory now, but with the changes com­ing to iPadOS, it could quickly be­come an in­dis­pens­able tool for Ap­ple’s tablet.

2. We’re never get­ting an Ap­ple Car

Ap­ple sur­pris­ingly had a lot to say about au­to­mo­biles at WWDC this year. There’s Car Key, which turns your iPhone into a wire­less re­mote for your ve­hi­cle (as long as you own an ex­pen­sive BMW), new app categories for CarPlay, and elec­tric ve­hi­cle rout­ing so you’ll never run out of juice, and well as speed cam­eras and Siri ETA shar­ing. But the un­der­ly­ing mes­sage we heard was that an Ap­ple Car is off the ta­ble.

To be fair, we’re scep­ti­cal that Ap­ple was ever se­ri­ous about build­ing a car, but af­ter ex­plor­ing the fea­tures in iOS 14, we’re con­fi­dent in say­ing Ap­ple is never go­ing to sell a car. Rather, Ap­ple will take over the parts of the car that mat­ter through CarPlay, Car Keys, Siri,and Maps, us­ing your iPhone and Ap­ple Watch as the, er, key.

3. Ap­ple Glasses are to­tally a thing

If you didn’t be­lieve Ap­ple Glasses were a real thing be­fore, WWDC should to­tally con­vince you. There are im­por­tant un­der-the-hood en­hance­ments in ARKit 4 that bring pre­cise depth mea­sure­ments, ex­tended face track­ing and im­proved ob­ject oc­clu­sion for seam­lessly in­te­grat­ing the real and vir­tual worlds. More im­por­tantly, many of the new fea­tures are geared

towards quick, on-the-go in­ter­ac­tions. Imag­ine a world where you can slide on a pair of Ap­ple Glasses and get cy­cling di­rec­tions, browse city guides, scan QR codes to get an App Clip, even un­lock your car with a ges­ture. Ap­ple might not have shown off any­thing as rad­i­cal as a set of lenses, but it’s never been clearer that Ap­ple is think­ing of a mo­bile world be­yond the lim­i­ta­tions of the iPhone.

4. Ap­ple Watch 6 will have bet­ter bat­tery life

It might have been over­shad­owed by all of the cool iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur an­nounce­ments, but Ap­ple Watch picked up a most sought-af­ter fea­ture: sleep track­ing. In watchOS 7, your Ap­ple Watch will track how long you’ve slept dur­ing your ‘bed­time’, which can be set in the app. That’s a big im­prove­ment over watchOS 6, which needed a third-party app to track sleep, but it’s

still a far cry from what more ad­vanced track­ers from Fit­bit can do.

The is­sue is likely bat­tery life. The Ap­ple Watch has stuck with 18-hour bat­tery life through ev­ery it­er­a­tion, which is just short enough so it won’t last all day and night. The Fit­bit Versa, on the other hand, has four­day bat­tery life, mak­ing sleep track­ing a worry-free en­deav­our. We’re not sure Ap­ple Watch will quite reach that high, but it’s pos­si­ble that it could dou­ble in bat­tery life, which would also en­able more ad­vanced track­ing func­tions.

5. AirPods are the next al­ways-on wear­able

Ap­ple took a few mo­ments out of its WWDC key­note to talk about some cool new AirPods en­hance­ments, in­clud­ing spa­tial au­dio and au­to­matic de­vice switch­ing,

but it was the things Ap­ple didn’t talk about that were most in­trigu­ing.

Dur­ing the demo of the Trans­late app, I kept wait­ing for Ap­ple to talk about how it would in­te­grate with AirPods to al­low for hands-free trans­la­tion and con­ver­sa­tions, but it never came. But I have no doubt that it’s in the works, as Ap­ple con­tin­ues to trans­form AirPods into some­thing we wear as of­ten as we do an Ap­ple Watch.

6. The next iPhone will have a faster screen

We didn’t ex­pect Ap­ple to tell us any­thing about the up­com­ing iPhone 12 at WWDC, but we did get some clues as to what the highly an­tic­i­pated hand­set will bring. Ben Ge­skin spot­ted an in­ter­est­ing new tog­gle in the iOS 14 Ac­ces­si­bil­ity set­tings called Limit Frame Rate. As its name sug­gests, turn­ing it on will set the max­i­mum frame rate of the dis­play to 60fps, which would only be nec­es­sary if the iPhone could be set to a higher frame rate, which it can’t. At least not yet. We’ve heard ru­mours that the iPhone 12 Pro will have a 120Hz screen, and this tog­gle ap­pears to con­firm that.

The Ap­ple Pen­cil is the new mouse

The ru­mours are true (we think)

Ap­ple Watch Se­ries 5 will likely be able to stay on your wrist longer

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