Like most of the folks who marginally to maximally care about Apple stuff, I watched WWDC today from my house on my TV. Our work chat was going wild throughout, especially during the bits about the ARM transition over the next few years. Overall, I felt like this was an excellent set of announcements, handled in a fun and entertaining way despite the remote nature. Also shout out to Craig’s bold chest-hair revealing sartorial choice.
iOS and iPad OS
The biggest UI update in a while brings homescreen widgets. I’m excited to see what third-party developers do with this feature, as right now it’s mostly just Stocks or Music on my screen. Also the delightful App Library means I can finally remove most of my homescreen apps, though for whatever reason it’s not possible to remove Fitness or Watch.
Global search feels faster, and more consistent, with a nice non-fullscreen view on iPad that makes cmd+space feel like the best bits of Alfred. As far as I can tell, there aren’t any major changes to apps like Mail though, and unfortunately the announced ability to change default apps isn’t in the first beta.
Mac OS 11
They finally did it! We have progressed past 10.xx.xx to the wonderful world of 11. I worried we’d just keep going endlessly in Mac OS 10, so I’m thrilled they moved forward. The visual differences between 10 and 11 thus far feel significant enough to warrant an entire number shift, with cool transparency and just a general modern vibe to the whole OS.
Gone is the strange slide-over menu that had notifications and widgets, and in it’s place is a widget-only view that has stock Apple apps currently. There’s also a control center similar to iPad or iPhone that makes it possible to dismiss Bluetooth and Wifi, as well as battery icons, Airplay, and brightness, making for a more streamlined menu bar.
Default error and trash sounds all changed, which is interesting. It’s initially confusing, as someone who’s used the Mac since the start of OS X, but I think I like the new sounds a bit better. I’ll keep my audio unmuted for a few weeks and report back.
In the “I dunno about this” column: all of the icons for widgets as well as apps got awkwardly skeuomorphic again. I’m curious to see if the design of these apps and icons changes at all before this fall.
It’s hard to say how the ARM transition will shake out, since it’s largely going to take place over the course of the next two years, but personally, I can’t wait to buy an ARM MacBook or MacBook Pro. I’m typing this on my 2018 MacBook 12" that I dearly love, and I don’t plan to replace my personal Mac until I can also ditch Intel outside of work. I think transitions like these are cool opportunities for smaller developers to really shake things up, so I sincerely hope that Indies do a great job of unseating some of the incumbent software makers. The idea of running iPad software on my Mac is kind of exciting, especially for things like Overcast, where it makes little to no sense for a single developer to make an app for 3 platforms. I remain optimistic, but skeptical.
I think today’s event checked all the boxes I had for “fun stuff”, and even surprised me with a few little bits and pieces. The next big event should be in the fall, and that’s likely when Mr. Cook and company get a lot of my money for their shiny new hardware. It was also pretty neat to watch this virtually with a bunch of folks from work—it almost felt like we were in the same place again for an hour and a half.