Starting on a somber note and accelerating to a breakneck pace, Apple turned its ecosystem upside down today at WWDC. First came the announcement that it’s transitioning the Mac away from Intel and making the most radical design changes to macOS since Mac OS X. With iOS 14, Apple is reimagining the Home screen, while borrowing plenty from Google’s Android. iPadOS 14 carries over those features and adds a level of handwriting recognition not seen since the Newton. Meanwhile, watchOS 7 brings sleep tracking, sharable watch faces, and handwashing guidance to the Apple Watch. Notable Mac app releases this week include DEVONthink 3.5.1, Lightroom Classic CC 9.3, Fantastical 3.1, Nisus Writer Pro 3.1, Microsoft Office for Mac 16.38, PDFpen and PDFpenPro 12.1, and Carbon Copy Cloner 5.1.19.
The rumors finally came true. At the WWDC keynote, Apple announced that the Mac would be transitioning to custom-designed Apple processors along the lines of those that power the iPad Pro. The first such Mac should be available by the end of this year, with the full transition taking about two years.
Described as being the biggest update to macOS since OS X, macOS Big Sur features streamlined design, more customizable controls, privacy enhancements, and increased interoperability with iPadOS and iOS. X hasn’t marked the spot for several years, but we’re now in Spinal Tap territory: it’s macOS 11.0 Big Sur, for those who are keeping score.
Apple unveiled macOS 11.0 Big Sur during the WWDC keynote, showing off overhauls of Messages and Maps, while improving Safari, Photos, and other apps. Mail was conspicuously absent for now.
iOS 14 promises a tight package of new features, many of which have existed in Google’s Android for years, while iPadOS 14 takes those features and mixes in a bit of Newton handwriting recognition. Egg freckles, anyone?
Updates in Apple’s just-announced watchOS are substantive if not groundbreaking. They include sleep tracking, a handwashing-detection feature suitable for the COVID-19 pandemic, and “dance” as one of several new workouts. Other improvements include watch face sharing, language translation, bicycling directions and earphone-volume detection.
Maintenance update with many detail enhancements and fixes for the information management app. ($99/$199/$499 new, free update, 97.6 MB)
Boosts performance and brings an updated look and feel to the Sync, Tone Curve, and Color tools. ($9.99/$19.99/$52.99 monthly Creative Cloud subscription, free update)
Update with a work-from-home focus adds automatic conference call detection and timed calendar sets. ($39.99 annual subscription, free update, 22.3 MB)
Significant update improves compatibility with macOS 10.15 Catalina and restores non-English localizations. ($65 new, free update, 244 MB)
Adds the new Data from Picture feature to Excel for creating table data from images. ($149.99 new for one-time purchase, $99.99/$69.99 annual subscription options, free update)
Adds support for page labels with a mixture of different page numbering formats. ($79.95/$129.95 new, $35 upgrade, free update from version 12, 86/133 MB)
Addresses a handful of failure conditions with Apple's APFS replication utility. ($39.99 new, free update, 14.6 MB)