April 14, 2021

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Top Stories Without The Fluff

New iOS, macOS, iPadOS software expected

Tim Cook at WWDC 2020


Apple’s developer conference started on Monday afternoon. It’s announcing a bunch of new software, including the latest version of iOS, the iPhone operating system. 

Apple CEO Tim Cook started the event in a pre-recorded video from Apple’s campus by addressing racism and the Covid-19 pandemic. He mentioned Apple’s $100 million program to fight racial injustice and noted that the company is holding the conference during a global public health event. 

“We’re committed to being a force for change,” Cook said. 

Here’s what has happened so far:

iOS 14

The latest version of the iPhone operating system includes a big change to the iOS home screen, including the ability to set default email and browser apps for the first time. 

In iOS 14, users can pin widgets with updating information on the home screen, Apple said on Monday, including calendar and maps mini-programs. Previously, users could only include apps on an iPhone’s home screen. Users can drag a widget onto the iPhone home screen, where it will persist. Users can download new widgets from a widget gallery. Apple has also introduced a widget that uses artificial intelligence to predict which data the user wants to see. 

Apple also introduced a new feature called “App Library” that automatically organizes apps. Users can also delete entire pages of apps in one tap as well. 

Apple also added several new features to the Messages app, including mentions, new Memoji features including an avatar wearing a face mask, and a new interface for group texts that enables threads to be pinned to the top of the app. 

iOS 14 also introduces a picture-in-picture feature that enables a video to float on top of other apps while watching video.

The update also includes a redesign of the Siri interface. Siri has 20 times more facts than a few years ago, Apple said. 

Guides from partners, including Zagat, will be included inside Apple’s Maps app, which adds content about restaurants or attractions into the app. Apple will also add cycling maps in certain cities including New York and San Francisco. 

Incoming calls can also be displayed as a banner notification for the first time, Apple said.

Translate app

Apple has also introduced a new translation app, called Translate, that enables real-time translation between two different languages. 

An iPhone with the Translate app can be put in between two people speaking different languages and can translate what they are saying in real time. 

Apple CarPlay and digital car keys

iOS 14 (and iOS 13) will allow you to unlock certain cars with your iPhone.


Apple announced new updates to CarPlay, its software that enables an iPhone to pair with a supported head unit so users can control their iPhone while driving. 

The biggest update is digital car keys in iOS 14 and iOS 13, which enables users to unlock and start their car from their phone. The first supported car is the 2021 BMW 5-series, which will be released next month, Apple said.

The keys can be shared through an iMessage, and users can deactivate keys remotely through iCloud.

iOS 14 will let you share your digital car key with others (on cars that will support it.)


Apple said it was working on standards with industry groups to bring the feature to more cars, and expects to see a new standard using Apple’s ultra-wideband chip next year. 

App Clips

Apple introduced a new lightweight form of software it calls App Clips that can be launched through the web or a text messages. App Clips are less than 10 megabytes in size. 

Users can also scan a QR-code like image to pull up an App Clip at participating business. Users can sign into an App Clip using Apple’s sign-in method and pay through Apple Pay. 

iPad OS

Many Apple-developed iPad apps, including Photos, Music and Notes, have gotten iPad user interface updates with side bars and tool bars, Apple said on Monday. 

Photos in iPadOS 14 has a new sidebar for moving between photo albums.


Apple’s Siri feature is now included in a little button on the bottom right corner in the newest version of iOS 14. Apple also redesigned its search feature to look more like the search function on a Mac desktop.

The new universal search can be used launch apps, search the web, or find contacts, Apple said.

Scribble lets you write in search fields with an Apple Pencil and your iPad will convert it to text.


Apple announced new improvements to its iPad stylus, called Pencil. The Pencil can now be used to input text all over the iPad user interface, a feature Apple calls Scribble. For example, users can write directly in the Safari URL bar, which is automatically converted into text. If users scratch something out using the Pencil, it will be deleted. 


Apple said that its wireless earbuds, AirPods, will now automatically switch from your iPhone to your computer when needed.

AirPods will auto-switch between your devices.


AirPods Pro will also support virtual surround sound, like at a movie theater, by measuring whether your head or device is moving. 

AirPods Pro will get a new surround-sounds spatial audio experience.


Apple Watch

The newest version of Apple Watch software will enable users to share their watch face.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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