WWDC 2020: here’s what caught my attention

New processors and a new design for the Mac, default apps on iOS 14‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ 

Hello! Apple just wrapped its WWDC keynote and while I intend to deliver you a fuller set of thoughts in this newsletter tomorrow, I wanted to get some quick impressions out to you right now. Of course, we'll have analysis on the website sooner than that, so head over to The Verge often today. :)

The big news, as expected, is that Apple will be transitioning the Mac to its own silicon. I've written quite a lot about this, and my first impression after the keynote is that Apple is handling it very well. Some apps will be easy to transition and others will apparently run pretty well using the Rosetta 2 translation layer — if you believe Apple's demo.

Surprisingly, macOS is also getting a wholesale redesign that takes dozens of elements from iOS and brings them to the Mac. Elements that, well, sure do look like they want to be touched with your finger instead of clicked with your mouse pointer. Just saying.

iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 got smaller updates, if we're being honest, but some of them are quite important. I'll drop some brief commentary on everything in the links below.

Oh, and by the way, Microsoft tried to bury the news that it is shutting down Mixer and partnering with Facebook Gaming. That didn't really work — it's one of the top stories on our site today.

If you want to see just the biggest announcements from today's keynote — and a video showing you the highlights — we've got that for you.

See you tomorrow!

- Dieter


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Mac news

┏ Apple announces macOS Big Sur with a brand-new design. As I mentioned above, this is a much bigger change to the Mac than I was expecting. Instead of trying to make Catalyst iPad apps more Mac-like, it sure looks like Apple is going to try to make the Mac a little more iPad-like. That said, I like some of the ideas here: a customizable Control Center that lets you drag items into the menu bar. A single area for showing both widgets and notifications so you don't have to toggle between them.

┏ Apple announces it will switch to its own processors for future Macs. Apple says the full transition will take two years, which is the right timeline. Apple also says that the first ARM-based Macs will ship this year, which is much earlier than I expected!

┏ Apple announces Mac mini powered by its own chips for developers.

┏ Macs with new Apple-built chips will natively run iPhone and iPad apps. I honestly had a hard time following this section, because the idea of "natively" running iPad and iPhone apps is good insofar as Catalyst apps will feel faster. But does it mean that Apple will just let those kinds of apps appear on the Mac?

Believe it or not, I say bring it on. It will be a mixed UI nightmare, yes, but on the other hand, I'll take that along with the ability to use a bunch of my favorite iPhone apps on my Mac directly.

┏ Safari is getting better tab management in macOS Big Sur.


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iOS and iPadOS news

┏ iOS 14 has a new home screen with widgets, a redesigned Siri view, and more. The widgets were to be expected, but I think Apple has done a good job with them. I especially love the idea of the widget carousel. It lets me get quick access to a few widgets on my main home screen.

┏ iOS 14 includes a major Siri redesign with new translation features. This is long overdue, as everything with Siri feels like it's long overdue. The idea of making Siri a little chat head-style bubble overlay is potentially interesting, as it could allow Siri to interact more directly with the apps on which it appears.

┏ Apple announces CarKey for wirelessly unlocking your car with an iPhone.

┏ iPadOS 14 comes with redesigned apps and Universal Search. This seems like a small thing, but I am over the moon about the fact that Universal Search (which, yes, was on webOS first) includes real web results now. Every platform I use, except for the iPad and iPhone, makes it fast and easy to search the web with a shortcut. Now they will, too.

┏ iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 will let you set default email and browser apps. It's so, so hilarious to me that Apple didn't mention this at all, it just put it at the end on the "here are all the features" slide.

WWDC-adjacent news

┏ Apple closes Chinese App Store loophole, causing thousands of games to be removed. Jon Porter on another way Apple is tightening up enforcement of App Store rules:

Chinese regulators can reportedly take months to approve games, giving developers the chance to profit from titles that otherwise risk being banned. Bloomberg says that Rockstar Games has relied on the loophole to sell titles from the Grand Theft Auto franchise in the country, for example. However, back in February, Apple began reminding developers that they would need to obtain licenses by June 30th or risk their games being banned and removed.

┏ Apple approves Hey email app, but the fight's not over. Nilay Patel on the wild workaround Hey has submitted to the App Store:

The company has submitted a new version of Hey that meets the strict letter of Apple's rules but clearly defies their spirit: the company will now offer iOS users a free temporary Hey email account with a randomized address, just so the app is functional when it is first opened. These burner accounts will expire after 14 days. Hey is also now able to work with enterprise customers, as Apple initially took issue with the app's consumer focus.

You are reading Processor, a newsletter about computers by Dieter Bohn. Dieter writes about consumer tech, software, and the most important news of the day from The Verge. This newsletter delivers about four times a week, at least a couple of which include longer essays.

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