What the Apple transition to in-house components means for tech leaders

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Apple has announced new in-house components, most notably its CPUs. Here’s how this could change the IT landscape.

Image: Screenshot

As has been long-rumored, Apple recently announced a transition to in-house designs for all of its products, including its desktop processors. This marks the end of a 14-year partnership with Intel for its desktop and laptops and continues a trend that started with the iPhone and iPad adopting Apple-designed CPUs several generations ago. 

SEE: WWDC 2020: The biggest takeaways (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

While the CPU is the headliner, Apple is also bringing most other component-level designs in-house. This accomplishes several things for the company, from providing more control over product performance and power use, to reducing the ability of other companies to copy Apple features by using the same off-the-shelf components. The move is also somewhat intriguing as Tim Cook is broadly credited for designing Apple’s far-flung and complex supply chain, which will be dramatically overhauled as Apple brings the engineering portion of that supply chain in-house.

This is not the first time Apple has bucked the Intel-dominated desktop market, as prior to the Intel transition Apple used Motorola CPUs in its core products.

A return to the proprietary era?

The Intel-driven computing world has been with us for such a long time that it almost seems like an immutable law of the universe; however, the early days of computing, particularly in the enterprise, were largely based on end-to-end vendor platforms. If your company bought IBM, the CPUs, storage, and operating system were all from IBM. Similarly, a “DEC shop” has workstations, mainframes, networks, and software from the company.

The theory behind this integration is the same one that Apple has advanced as justification for its transition to Apple-designed components: If one company controls every aspect of the hardware and software, the performance will be optimized. This is an obvious benefit on mobile devices, where battery power is limited and users are demanding ever-increasing capabilities and performance.

SEE: WWDC 2020: iOS 14, iPadOS 14, watchOS 7, Apple Silicon chip and everything business pros need to know (TechRepublic)

While power constraints are less severe on desktops and laptops, the ability to “one up” competitors in an increasingly commoditized hardware market is even more compelling. Apple can theoretically introduce a new feature or function unique to its hardware design that remains unique, whereas Intel adding a feature to its processors makes it available for any hardware manufacturer who includes the new chip. Perhaps this is a recognition that other companies have caught up to Apple in their physical hardware designs, combined with a recognition that dwindling desktop and laptop sales are a sign that the Intel platform has grown “good enough” that enterprise and consumer buyers don’t see a need to purchase new machines with any regularity. What better way to compel Apple users to upgrade their machines than to create an entirely new hardware architecture that forces users to upgrade if they want the new stuff?

Winners and losers

Like any major technology shift, this is a bit of a gamble for Apple as there is really only one obvious winner and several losers in this transition. The winner is clearly Apple, which will gain more control over its ability to differentiate features and functions of its machines and set the stage to further blur the lines between its mobile and desktop/laptop platforms. If my iPhone, iPad, and MacBook all use the same core computing platform, it should be an easy matter to allow the same software to run on all platforms. It’s not difficult to envision an iPad-like device that works as my desktop when plugged into an Apple dock, and a highly-effective tablet/laptop hybrid that allows me to use iPad-like apps when needed, and full blown desktop apps when I need those. Apple also locks competitors out of its engineering advancements and is no longer constrained by Intel, who must factor in hundreds of demands and constraints as it designs its next CPUs.

The list of losers is far longer in the near term. Software developers will need a significant investment to transition to the new platform. While Apple has downplayed the difficulty of this transition in its announcements, at a minimum developers will need to rebuild their applications and retest them, while likely asking users to pay for an “upgrade” that will probably add minimal new features.

SEE: WWDC 2020: Apple announces Universal Quick Start program for developers (TechRepublic)

Similarly, companies and consumers will be forced to buy new hardware in the near term if they want access to new features, and in the longer term as Apple ends support for Intel-based machines. As someone with 10-year-old Intel hardware that’s still running fine as a workstation for the family, this creates premature obsolescence that presents a financial and waste-related burden.

Longer term, assuming Apple takes broad advantage of its new platform, developers and users will begin to see benefits from the transition. However, it’s unclear what happens to the rest of the computing industry, where there are only one or two players (Microsoft and perhaps Lenovo come to mind) that could support in-house component engineering at a similar scale to Apple. We could even see one of these companies acquire Intel or AMD and take broader control of the hardware design.

For tech leaders, while this may seem like a consumer-focused announcement, it could portend dramatic changes to computing as we know it, and it’s a space worth watching in the coming months.

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Apple to reclose 30 more US stores amid COVID-19 case spike in seven states

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On Thursday, Apple will shut down additional stores across Alabama, California, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada and Oklahoma, joining 16 other stores that have already been reclosed this week.

Image: anouchka / Getty Images

Apple is once again closing more of its retail stores as the COVID-19 pandemic is worsening in certain areas of the US. The tech giant had been
reopening stores in May

as coronavirus lockdowns were ending, but quickly began shutting them down again only weeks after opening some locations.  

It announced on Wednesday that it is reclosing an additional 30 stores in the US as several states continued to be rocked by a resurgence in COVID-19 infections, coming on the heels of a 16-store closure the day before in Florida, Mississippi, Texas and Utah. Last week, it closed 14 stores in Florida, and earlier in the month of June, it closed 18 stores in Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Arizona and Florida

“Due to current COVID-19 conditions in some of the communities we serve, we are temporarily closing stores in these areas,” Apple said in a statement shared with TechRepublic. “We take this step with an abundance of caution as we closely monitor the situation and we look forward to having our teams and customers back as soon as possible.”

SEE: Return to work: What the new normal will look like post-pandemic (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Apple stores closing on July 2

Alabama

  • The Summit

California

  • Glendale Galleria
  • Northridge
  • Pasadena
  • The Grove
  • Third St. Promenade
  • Century City
  • Manhattan Village
  • Beverly Center
  • Sherman Oaks
  • Topanga
  • Los Cerritos
  • The Americana at Brand
  • Valencia Town Center
  • Victoria Gardens
  • The Oaks

Georgia

  • Cumberland Mall
  • Perimeter
  • Lenox Square
  • Avalon
  • Mall of Georgia

Idaho

  • Boise Towne Square

Louisiana

  • Baton Rouge
  • Lakeside Shopping Center

Nevada

  • Fashion Show
  • The Forum Shops
  • Town Square
  • Summerlin

Oklahoma

  • Penn Square
  • Woodland Hills

Apple stores closing on July 1

Florida

  • St. Johns Town Center
  • University Town Center

Mississippi

  • Renaissance at Colony Park

Texas

  • Barton Creek
  • Domain Northside
  • La Cantera
  • North Star
  • Knox Street
  • Northpark Center
  • Galleria Dallas
  • Ciello Vista Mall
  • Southlake Town Square
  • University Park Village

Utah

  • Station Park
  • City Creek Center
  • Fashion Place

As COVID-19 cases have reappeared in several states, most notably in the South and Southwest but also in the West, Apple has been quick to reclose stores it had previously reopened. In March, Apple closed all of its stores outside of Greater China due to the virus and lockdown. As the number of new infections started to drop in certain regions during April and May, the company reopened stores in such countries as South Korea, Austria, and Australia.

Around mid-May, Apple began reopening stores in the US, starting with Idaho, South Carolina, Alabama, and Alaska. By the end of the month, more than 130 US stores had reopened. But the recent surge in COVID-19 infections has forced Apple to reverse direction.

On June 20, Apple reclosed 11 stores located across Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Arizona, all states that have been hit hard by new coronavirus cases. Shortly afterwards, the company reclosed seven stores in Texas, another state witnessing more infections as a result of the pandemic. Then on June 26, Apple reclosed an additional 14 stores in Florida.

Apple has also temporarily reclosed two stores outside the United States, including one in the UK and one in Australia.

In a letter posted by Apple on May 17, Deirdre O’Brien, the company’s senior vice president of retail and people, explained the criteria Apple uses to determine if it should reopen a store, and if it should keep it open.

“We look at every available piece of data—including local cases, near- and long‑term trends, and guidance from national and local health officials,” O’Brien said. “These are not decisions we rush into—and a store opening in no way means that we won’t take the preventative step of closing it again should local conditions warrant.”

Apple has posted an FAQ called Temporary Retail Store Closures with details on the social distancing and other requirements in effect for the stores that remain open.

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Apple reclosing 14 more stores in Florida amid spike in COVID-19 cases

apple-reclosing-14-more-stores-in-florida-amid-spike-in-covid-19-cases

The latest move follows Apple’s decision to reclose stores in Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Arizona.

Apple Store Retail Mall Location. Apple sells and services iPhones, iPads, iMacs and Macintosh computers III

Image: Jonathan Weiss / Getty Images

As a new wave of coronavirus infections hits several US states, Apple is temporarily reclosing an additional 14 of its retail stores, all of them in Florida. With the company’s previous move to reclose two stores in Florida, this means that 16 of the 18 Apple stores in the state are now temporarily closed again. The only two Florida stores still open are the ones in Sarasota and Jacksonville.

SEE: COVID-19: A guide and checklist for restarting your business (TechRepublic Premium)

The 14 store locations in Florida reclosed as of June 26 include the following:

  • Altamonte
  • Aventura
  • Boca Raton
  • Brandon
  • The Galleria
  • Lincoln Road
  • Brickell City Centre
  • Dadeland
  • The Falls
  • Florida Mall
  • Millenia
  • The Gardens Mall
  • International Plaza
  • Wellington Green

As coronavirus cases have spiked in several states, most notably in the South and Southwest, Apple has moved to reclose stores it had previous reopened. In March, Apple had
closed all of its stores outside of Greater China

due to the virus and resulting lockdown. In April and May as the number of new infections started to drop in certain regions, the company took the step of reopening stores in countries such as South Korea, Austria, and Australia.

Around mid-May, Apple began reopening stores in the US, starting with Idaho, South Carolina, Alabama, and Alaska. By the end of the month, more than 130 US stores had reopened. But the recent resurgence of COVID-19 infections prompted Apple to start reversing its previous course.

On June 20,
Apple reclosed 11 stores

located across Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Arizona, all states that have been hit hard by new coronavirus cases. Shortly afterwards, the company reclosed seven stores in Texas, another state witnessing more infections and deaths as a result of the pandemic.

In a letter posted by Apple on May 17, Deirdre O’Brien, the company’s senior vice president of retail and people, explained the criteria Apple uses to determine if it should reopen a store, and if it should keep it open.

“We look at every available piece of data—including local cases, near- and long‑term trends, and guidance from national and local health officials,” O’Brien said. “These are not decisions we rush into—and a store opening in no way means that we won’t take the preventative step of closing it again should local conditions warrant.”

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Amazon, Apple, Wells Fargo fueling tech hiring resurgence after coronavirus economic damage

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Tech career platform Dice highlighted how data engineers and cybersecurity experts are in high demand.

istock-530186607.jpg

Image: iStockphoto/zakokor

The US economy is slowly being building its way back up to where it once was earlier this year, according to technology career site Dice

John Sudekum, content strategist at Dice’s parent company DHI Group, held a webinar on hiring trends in the technology industry and showed that while there were steep drops in hiring across the country in April and May, things have begun to rebound.

“We’ve been digging into job posting data to understand the hiring trends amidst COVID-19. When we look through January 2019 through March 2020, we can see that there was a consistent increase in the number of job postings with very large increases in Q3, Q4 of 2019, and Q4 of 2020,” Sudekum said.

“When we compared Q1 of 2019 and 2020, there was a 23% increase. For April and May of 2020, we can see that there was a decline. While April was still pretty consistent with earlier months, May dipped further. Yet, there were still 200,000 job postings that month. There was a steady decrease from April till May, yet amidst COVID-19, there were still more than 40,000 technology job postings per week, which is still pretty impressive. Job postings jumped dramatically in the first week of June.”

SEE: Virtual hiring tips for job seekers and recruiters (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Sudekum went through data they pulled from their site about national and more localized hiring trends, showing which jobs were in the highest demand, where they were hiring, and what companies were interested. 

The most widely sought-after positions revolved around cybersecurity and data management, two fields that are becoming extraordinarily important for almost every company. 

Due to the quarantines around the world, the increased usage of digital platforms has created a tsunami of additional data that companies now have to manage and protect, Sudekum added.

Tech companies like Amazon, Apple, Wells Fargo, Salesforce, and IBM have continued to hire in cities across the country despite the economic downturn.

Sudekum said Dice has been tracking job postings each week and has seen a steady decrease in April and May but still saw about 40,000 technology positions posted weekly. 

The first week of June saw a huge increase in postings due to more states beginning the reopening process, he noted, adding that the numbers have started to reach where they were at the beginning of April. 

When breaking the data down by city, Q1 of this year saw increases in job postings in every major tech hub outside of San Francisco and Seattle. Cities like Austin and Charlotte saw huge growth in the first three months of 2020 before the virus changed everything. 

In New York, job posting figures fell by 23% in April and 42% in May, yet the city had still had more tech job postings than any other US city. Systems architect, cybersecurity consultant, and software architect positions were the most in demand for New York City. 

One key trend Sudekum saw was that more businesses are prioritizing hiring outside contractors instead of bringing on in-house talent. Amazon, Deloitte, Bloomberg, and Wells Fargo were all hiring widely for tech positions in New York city. 

San Fransisco saw similarly steep drops in April and May of 26% and 51% respectively. Computer scientists, systems architects and vulnerability analysts are the most in-demand positions available in the city, with companies like Twitter and Salesforce “hiring considerably” according to Sudekum. 

Raleigh was another hot spot for tech job postings, showing a 45% increase in postings for the first quarter of 2020 compared to 2019. Raleigh was one of the only cities in the study that stayed flat or saw increases in job postings in April and May. 

Companies like Wells Fargo, IBM, and Deloitte have been hiring at high levels in the city, with positions like DevOps engineer, computer programmer, and database administrator seeing the most interest. 

Austin was another one of the few cities that never saw decreases in tech job posting numbers in April and May. Developers, security analysts, and Python developers are in high demand in the city at companies like Apple, Google, and eBay. 

Charlotte also saw high growth numbers and relatively flat figures for April and May, with companies like Wells Fargo, Microsoft, and Lowes looking for candidates for jobs like data engineer, developers, and UX designers. 

Atlanta is another major tech hub that saw decreases during the height of the pandemic, yet still had more than 3,000 tech job postings in May. Amazon is a huge employer in the city, with available roles ranging from network engineer to systems engineer. 

Chicago and Seattle both saw steep decreases in job posting numbers, with Seattle being one of the few cities that had negative numbers in the first quarter of 2020. 

Sudekum said iOS developers, DevOps engineers, and data engineers are highly sought after across the country, and even companies outside of the tech industry like Boeing, Starbucks, Lowes, the US Navy, and Wells Fargo. Many companies outside of the tech space have also been forced to hire cybersecurity teams to deal with the growth in attacks. 

“Cybercriminals are taking advantage of people working from home. Businesses have had to up their cybersecurity strategy and therefore their hiring. With this in mind, we can see that this occupation was at a 7% increase in Q1 and then showed a 19% increase in April which could suggest immediate demand,” Sudekum said. 

“Jobs postings for systems engineers rose 8% in Q1, showing increased focus on maintaining work and computer infrastructure. Companies big and small are figuring out how to keep their operations running smoothly and their services delivering without a hitch even when nearly all of their employees are working from home.”

Other companies that are hiring widely for tech positions are Accenture, Capital One, Facebook, and Northrop Grumman. 

The report also delves into how people applying for these jobs feel about their roles and work in general. According to Sudekum, many technologists have told Dice that their workload has increased as more companies use this time to beef up their e-commerce or digital offerings.

At least 30% are currently looking for jobs, or will in the next few weeks, with many looking particularly closely at how a company has managed their COVID-19 response and whether they are allowing employees to work from home. 

“A company’s COVID-19 response is important to technologists. Technologists believe remote work is more important now. For years, technologists looked for remote work and now COVID-19 forced it on companies. Technologists overwhelmingly enjoyed working from home,” he said.

“Technologists don’t think it is a detriment to company culture and find it easier to work from home. Saving time on commutes is beneficial to technologists and being able to have control of schedules is important to work-life balance.”

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Apple silicon: Why developers don’t need to worry about this transition

apple-silicon:-why-developers-don’t-need-to-worry-about-this-transition

Ditching Intel in favor of in-house chips is a big move, but Apple has already built tools to make the transition easier.

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2020 has kicked off with a bevy of announcements, none larger than the news it’s ditching Intel chips in favor of its own new architecture called Apple silicon. Apple silicon is an extension of the Arm-based chips used in the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch and finally brings Macs, the last component of Apple’s hardware ecosystem, under the same design umbrella. 

“This will also create a common architecture across all Apple products, making it far easier for developers to write and optimize software for the entire Apple ecosystem,” Apple said in a press release.

But what about developers—surely they’ll feel a pinch from the change as the architecture behind Apple silicon is different from Intel’s? Luckily, Apple has thought of that and the latest versions of Xcode, 12, and macOS, Big Sur, will make the transition mostly invisible for those used to developing for Intel-based Macs. 

How Apple plans to transition 

There’s a fundamental difference between Apple silicon and Intel chips that means software built to run on one of them won’t run on the other without some form of cross-compatibility app. That’s why iOS and iPad and iPhone apps don’t run natively on macOS (because Macs use Intel), and why lots of Chromebooks can run Android apps natively (because many use Arm chips).

Apple is planning a two-year transition period to Apple silicon, during which time it plans to continue to produce Intel-based Macs, update Intel-based operating systems, and support Intel machines. 

SEE: 10 ways to prevent developer burnout (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

To avoid making millions of Macs obsolete at once Apple needs to support both Intel and Apple silicon, which it plans to do with familiar tools. Universal 2 will make updated apps automatically support both chipsets, and Rosetta 2 will allow nonupdated apps to run in Apple silicon environments. 

The process of updating apps to run on Apple silicon will be simple if it works properly: Xcode 12 is “universal app ready,” according to Apple. 

“When you open your project in Xcode 12, your app is automatically updated to produce release builds and archives as Universal apps,” Apple said. The process happens behind the scenes, with Xcode producing binary “slices” for both Intel and Apple silicon before recompiling them into a single app package for uploading to the Mac App Store. 

Apple said that most developers will be able to get their apps running on Apple silicon in a matter of days. Ideally, minimal troubleshooting will be required, but Xcode 12 has all of the necessary bug hunting tools baked right in.

Devs: Don’t worry about what lies beneath

Transitioning from Intel to Apple silicon is a lot like building a hose with two different types of materials: Wood or steel. Apple, the framers, are taking care of the skeleton, while developers are putting in the plumbing, hanging the drywall, and making the house livable. 

If things are done right, the material used to frame the house doesn’t matter to the plumber, drywaller, painter, roofer, or resident: It all ends up looking the same once things are finished. 

Members of the Apple Developer Program can get a jump start on the transition by applying for the Universal App Quick Start Program, which gives access to beta forums, an early version of Big Sur, a Mac Mini with all the tools needed to build and recompile apps for Apple silicon, and Universal app support from Apple. 

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Apple iOS 14: A cheat sheet

apple-ios-14:-a-cheat-sheet

Apple unveiled iOS 14 at its WWDC 2020 event which will bring many new features and enhancements to iPhone and iPod touch devices later in the year.

Apple, Inc.

Apple took to the stage at its Worldwide Developer Conference 2020 (WWDC) on Monday, June 22, 2020 to unveil the latest developer tools and platforms enhancements. Apple also unveiled the 14th iteration of its mobile operating system for iOS devices called iOS 14.

There are new things in iOS 14 for users and developers alike, including the redesigned Home Screen, App Clips, Car Play features, and more.

What is iOS 14 and will it work on my devices?

iOS is Apple’s mobile operating system that runs on iPhone and iPod touch hardware.

iOS 14 is the newest iteration of the operating system and is capable of running on most hardware that supported iOS 13, including the following Apple devices that are available at the time of this writing:

  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone SE (1st generation)
  • iPhone SE (2nd generation)
  • iPod touch (7th generation)

What are the key features of iOS 14?

iOS 14 focused on refining the user experience in Apple’s mobile operating system, adding some additional refinements and features to Siri, and making Apps even easier to find and use (even without installing them with App Clips). Below you will find a list of the major features as well as some additional smaller refinements and features.

Experience

Apple chose to highlight the changes to the user experience in iOS 14 in their keynote presentation. Among the key changes are Home Screen improvements, improved Widgets in the Today View and the ability to place them on the Home Screen, and the inclusion of Picture-in-Picture video mode on the iPhone for the first time.

Home Screen

On the Home Screen, many users have pages of apps devoted to apps that are rarely used. In iOS 14, you can now easily hide pages of apps except for ones that you explicitly want to be seen.

The App Library features a unique way to look at all of your apps by category and in one place with search to instantly find and launch an app on your device.

Image: Apple, Inc.

There’s also a new App Library feature that sits at the last page of the Home Screen that lets you see all of your apps automatically organized based on category. Tapping into a category folder of the App Library shows all the apps contained in that category. The App Library also allows for searching to quickly launch an app from any category and shows suggested apps based on usage or ones that have been recently installed.

Widgets

Widgets have long been a feature of the Today View on iOS, but Apple has revamped the way they look and feel in iOS 14. They are now able to be more data rich and can be sized differently and have a custom look and feel for the app they are designed for. More importantly, you can now drag a widget from the Today View and drop it onto the Home Screen to organize it alongside your apps. This will go a long way in helping users make their Home Screens uniquely theirs and has been a feature requested by iOS users for years.

Widgets can be dragged from the Today View and placed inline with app icons on the Home Screen for the first time in iOS 14.

Image: Apple, Inc.

Widgets also support a Smart Stack feature that can be scrolled on the Home Screen or in the Today View to highlight different widgets throughout the day; for example, the Calendar widget might appear in the Smart Stack whenever an upcoming appointment is approaching.

Picture-in-Picture

The Picture in Picture (PIP) video mode that has been available on iPad OS for years has now made its way to iPhone in iOS 14. Now you can enter PIP mode on iPhone and leave the video player app and continue watching the video. You can resize the video player PIP window or push it to the side to continue listening to the audio and not view the video.

Siri

Apple announced that Siri, the voice assistant on iOS, now processes over 25 billion requests per month. This is a staggering number. Apple is working to make Siri smarter, but also included a new compact design that’s available across all of the Apple platforms.

Compact Design

Siri’s compact mode makes it easy to use Siri unobtrusively from anywhere on your device.

Image: Apple, Inc.

Siri now launches in a smaller bubble at the bottom of the screen instead of taking up the full screen. This means that you can now continue to view the screen while interacting with Siri, instead of having Siri take up the entire screen, blocking your view.

Smarter and with Translation Support

Apple announced that they’re working on making Siri smarter and being able to process even more types of requests. With iOS 14, Siri now has the ability to send audio messages via iMessage and has also been upgraded to allow dictation processing on the device for greater privacy and control. 

The Siri Translate app makes it easy to carry on a conversation with someone speaking a different language.

Image: Apple, Inc.

Apple has also added a conversation feature to Siri through a new Translate app that lets you easily translate multiple languages as you talk with someone in a different language. This feature also works on-device and doesn’t rely on server-based relay, so you can easily translate between languages while traveling without a data plan on your device.

Messages

Messages, and particularly the iMessage service, is a huge benefit of being an Apple user. Apple is working to upgrade the Messages app across their platforms, but particularly on iOS, Messages gets a huge bump in iOS 14.

Conversations

How many times have you opened the Messages app only to not be able to find the conversation with a friend or co-worker that you were looking for? Well, with the new Pinning feature, you can now swipe right on a particular conversation to pin it to the top of the Messages app. You can use this with your favorite coworkers or friends to ensure that you always can find them to quickly create or reply to a message. You can pin up to nine conversations.

Memoji

Memoji has become extremely popular amongst iOS users and now in iOS 14, you can customize Memoji with over a trillion different customization combinations. They’ve added even more age options, face covering options, and new Memoji sticker options.

Groups

Group messages in the Messages app has been completely rethought in iOS 14 and now features in-line replies lets you reply to a message in a thread style display so you can keep on track on a specific topic without interrupting the entire group’s conversation.

Mentions let you directly call out a user in a group message and you can be notified only when you’re directly mentioned in a conversation so that you’re not pinged for every message on the group chat.

Groups can also be customized using a group photo or customize the group logo with an emoji instead.

Maps

Apple has been using their own maps since iOS 6 and this year, they’re adding even more features to the Maps app to make it one of the best experiences for users on the platform.

Finding great places

Maps guides can be used to get recommendations for places to visit or try for various destinations on your next trip.

Image: Apple, Inc.

Apple started adding curation options for Maps in iOS 13 with their Maps Collections feature, but they’re taking it a step further in iOS 14 by working with various prestigious brands to create guides for cities or destinations that you can follow to get recommendations for places to visit. 

New ways to get to places

Maps is now providing environmentally-friendly transportation options like the ability to get detailed cycling directions to and from a destination in select cities. This new cycling direction feature gives users access to detailed information about bike lane access on roads, paths with bike access, and will also include incline data and if stairs or heavy traffic might be encountered on the trip. This will be initially available in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Shanghai, and Beijing when iOS 14 launches.

Another environmentally green feature that has been added to iOS 14 Maps is the ability to get directions routed for electric vehicles. This will automatically figure in the range using weather, elevation, and current charge to plan out charging stops along the route. It will also take into account your particular vehicle to only show stops that have compatible chargers.

CarPlay

CarPlay is an iOS feature that’s important to many users as it brings the iOS experience into the vehicle in a positive way that allows for inter:action with Siri and well-loved iOS features and apps.

Apple’s CarPlay support has been upgraded with a lot of new features in iOS 14, including the ability to set a custom wallpaper.

Image: Apple, Inc.

Apple announced that CarPlay is available in 80% of the vehicles currently sold. Some new features available in CarPlay is the ability to assign new custom wallpapers to the Home Screen background and new app categories, including apps that support mobile ordering in electric vehicles.

One of the biggest features announced for iOS 14 and CarPlay was the ability to use your iPhone as a key for the vehicle.

Car Keys

You can easily share Car Keys from the wallet app via iMessage and even set restrictions for the key.

Image: Apple, Inc.

Apple is unveiling their new project for CarPlay called Car Keys. The 2021 BMW 5 series will be the first vehicle supported, but more vehicles will be coming later in the year and next year.

Keys are stored in the Secure Element on your iPhone (the same chip that stores Apple Pay and biometric unlock data) and you can remotely disable keys should your iPhone become lost. You can also share keys via iMessage and enable features such as restricted driving profiles for teenagers.

Initially, this feature will work with the NFC chip on the iPhone to allow unlocking when tapping the iPhone on the vehicle, but later vehicle support will include the ability to automatically unlock the vehicle when approaching and lock when walking away using the U1 low-powered wireless chip available on most recent iPhones.

The best part is that you can still use this feature for up to five hours after your iPhone’s battery has died thanks to the Power Reserve feature of iOS that was introduced in iOS 13 for transit cards in the Wallet app.

App Store

The App Store is now 12 years old and new features introduced in iOS 14 will radically change the way that apps are discovered, run, and installed with App Clip.

AppClip

App Clips are smaller versions of the full app that can be instantly downloaded and launched when the user taps their device on an NFC tap point or scans a QR code.

Image: Apple, Inc.

AppClip is Apple’s answer to being able to use a smaller version of an app to do specific tasks, such as using mobile ordering at a restaurant or bringing up a loyalty card at a store.

App Clips are small apps that can be instantly downloaded and run on the device with little user interaction. Simply tap your device to an NFC tap point or scan a QR code and the app will launch in a card interface at the bottom of the screen. The app will let you do a specific task, such as placing a mobile order, then when done, will disappear and not take up any space on your device.

App Clips can use Apple Pay for payments and take advantage of “Sign in with Apple” for account creation. They only stay on your device as long as you need them, then get removed. In the App Library, you can easily download the full app from an App Clip if you decide you’d like to keep the full app on your device.

Easy to Discover

App Clips can be launched from a website, an iMessage, Maps, NFC tags, and QR codes. There’s also a new Apple-designed App Clip code that has both NFC and camera-based scanning functionality that can be placed at retail locations or other areas to allow quick scanning to open the App Clip.

Apps like Yelp can integrate their own tags using App Clip codes that can be placed at multiple businesses or locations.

How it works

App Clips will use the native iOS SDK and will include a small feature of the full app. The App Clips will need to be 10MB or less so that they can be quickly downloaded to the device and launched quickly. 

Other iOS 14 changes and features

  • The Compact UI of Siri has made its way to the incoming phone call UI and FaceTime UI. Incoming calls will now use a new banner UI instead of taking up the full screen and interrupting your workflow
  • You can now assign default apps for your web browser and email client. If you use an app other than Safari and Mail for web browsing and email, this means that your favorite apps can now be launched in their place when tapping a link or email address
  • Search now has a quick launcher that can more quickly open apps by typing just the first few characters of an app name
  • Siri can now answer questions that require a web search
  • Safari can now translate entire webpages that are in a different language than the iOS user’s default language
  • Safari will automatically monitor your passwords and alert you when a password for a particular website has been involved in a data breach
  • AirPods can now be more seamlessly transitioned from one device to another by automatically switching to the device currently being used.
  • AirPods will automatically notify you whenever the battery is getting low through audio and push notifications on your connected device
  • iOS 14 now features a dot in the status bar of your device whenever the microphone or camera is in use by an app.
  • You can now choose to only share an approximate location with an app instead of your specific location. This will allow your device to provide a larger GPS area than your precise pinpoint location with apps that you don’t trust with your data.
  • Photo access can now be limited with apps and you can choose to share a specific photo, album, or the entire library
  • When downloading an app, the App Store listing will now show exactly which permissions the app will request when you download and install it
  • App Store subscriptions can now be used with the Family Sharing feature if allowed by the developer to allow one IAP Subscription purchase to be shared amongst all family members
  • FaceTime now supports Picture-in-Picture (PIP) mode so that you can leave the app and continue to see someone a floating FaceTime PIP window
  • The Files app now supports APFS-encrypted drive support for connected drives or network storage drives
  • Notes now features shape recognition for drawing lines, arcs, and shapes, including hearts, stars, and arrows. Pause slightly at the end, and your imperfect shape snaps into a perfect one
  • The Weather app now features next-hour precipitation, severe weather alerts for supported areas, and multi-day precipitation forecast

Additional Resources

When will iOS 14 be released?

Apple released a developer beta of the iOS 14 operating system at the conclusion of the WWDC 2020 keynote and developers can install the closed beta from the Apple Developer website.

Apple plans to release iOS 14 in Fall 2020, along with expected new hardware, such as new iPhones as they typically do, though it’s unclear if COVID-19 and the current pandemic situation will change Apple’s hardware release cycle this year.

Apple plans to release a public beta of iOS 14 to non-developer users in July through the AppleSeed program.

Additional Resources

How can I download and install iOS 14?

At the present time, iOS 14 is available in beta form only and can only be installed by registered Apple developers through the Apple Developer Website.

If you have an Apple developer account, you can download iOS 14 by doing the following:

  1. Log in to the Apple Developer Download website on the device you wish to install iOS 14 on.
  2. Select Download beside of the device type that you wish to install iOS 14 on and follow the prompts to install the beta profile (this profile will enable beta software updates on your iOS device).
  3. Once installed, restart the device.
  4. After restarting has completed, navigate to the Settings app | General | Software Updates and allow the device to check for updates. You will see the ability to update to the iOS 14 beta and can complete the update process as you normally would for any iOS update.

Just like in previous years, Apple will also begin offering a staggered release of public betas for non-developers to install on their iOS-compatible devices in July 2020. This is done through the AppleSeed website and you will need to apply for access to the beta program once it’s available. Check back regularly on that website for more information on when the beta program is available.

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WWDC 2020: Apple announces Universal Quick Start program for developers

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Apple announced a wide spectrum of new updates at its annual WWDC kickoff event. One of the more interesting announcements included Apple’s Universal Quick Start program.

apple-wwdc-2020.jpg

IMAGE: Apple

Today, Apple kicked off its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) for the first time virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic. Over the years, Apple has used the event to unveil a vast spectrum of new products, updates, and features. Today was no different. There was plenty of speculation about product announcements leading up to the event, and we now have definitive answers and clearer insights into Apple’s vision for the future.

“From the beginning, the Mac has always embraced big changes to stay at the forefront of personal computing. Today we’re announcing our transition to Apple Silicon, making this a historic day for the Mac,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “With its powerful features and industry-leading performance, Apple Silicon will make the Mac stronger and more capable than ever. I’ve never been more excited about the future of the Mac.”

SEE: Hiring Kit: Python developer (TechRepublic Premium)

The Tim Cook announcement marks a momentous occasion for Apple moving forward. By creating a standard architecture traversing the spectrum of Apple products, the company believes the move will empower developers to more readily create and optimize apps across the ecosystem. To assist with the transition, Apple announced the Universal App Quick Start Program.

The program will provide developers with all of the resources, tools, support, and more required to construct, test, and optimize macOS Big Sur Universal apps. Overall, the program will give developers access to forums support, documentation as well as Xcode 12 and macOS Big Sur beta versions. Additionally, developers will have limited access to the Developer Transition Kit (DTK).

The program includes developer labs providing developers with guidance, best practices, and technical insights to enhance their final products. Private forums give users the opportunity to communicate with Apple experts and engineers and pose questions to enhance development. Documentation and video resources provide greater insights associated with Universal app development and testing. Developers can request to have technical support team members troubleshoot their code. Apple notes that the program includes three technical support incidents.

apple-silicon.jpg

IMAGE: Apple

SEE: 10 ways to prevent developer burnout (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The company estimates the transition to Apple silicon products will take about two years with the first product containing these elements to ship before 2021. This Universal Quick Start program will enable developers to proactively design and test Universal apps prior to Apple making Apple Silicon Macs available to the public. Apple is now accepting applications online. Availability is limited and Apple notes that priority will be “given to applicants with an existing macOS application.”

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Apple iPadOS: A cheat sheet

apple-ipados:-a-cheat-sheet

Apple’s OS for iPad includes several features that make it easier to use the iPad as a laptop replacement. Here’s what you need to know about iPadOS.

Since the launch of the first-generation iPad in 2010, Apple has dominated the tablet market. Originally launching with iPhone OS 3.2, the first-generation 9.7″ iPad was architecturally akin to a large iPhone. With successive models, Apple has differentiated the iPad from the iPhone by adding support for input methods such as the Apple Pencil, and different screen sizes, such as the 7.9″ iPad Mini, and the 11″, and 12.9″ iPad Pro.

As the iPad lineup has expanded into a wholly separate product category, Apple announced at its 2019 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) that it has rebranded iOS for iPad as “iPadOS” (starting with iOS 13) to highlight and target the features that differentiate the iPad from other devices. This follows Apple’s naming trend of watchOS for Apple Watch, and tvOS for Apple TV.

TechRepublic’s cheat sheet for iPadOS is a quick overview to how iPadOS differs from iOS, as well as a “living” guide that will be updated periodically as new information becomes available. It is also available as a download, Apple iPadOS: A cheat sheet (free PDF).

SEE: Mobile device security policy (TechRepublic Premium)

What is iPadOS?

For the release of iOS 13, Apple is rebranding the variant of iOS for the iPad as iPadOS, effectively making it a superset of the phone-oriented iOS. iPadOS inherits all of the improvements coming to iOS 13, and includes new features and optimizations specific to the iPad.

“It’s become a truly distinct experience,” Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering, told CNET in an exclusive interview about iPadOS. “It’s not an iPhone experience. It’s not a Mac experience. The name is a recognition of that.”

Additional resources

SEE: All of TechRepublic’s cheat sheets and smart person’s guides

How is iPadOS different from iOS?

iPadOS brings the iPad closer to feature parity with the entry-level MacBook, making it more possible to use as a laptop replacement.

iPadOS includes the following features:

  1. Tablet-oriented home screen — The iPadOS home screen now supports persistent widgets, similar to widgets on Android tablets since Android 3.0 (Honeycomb).

  2. Improved multitasking — Users can move between Slide Over apps by swiping along the bottom, or swiping up to see all the apps in the Slide Over view. Slide Over apps can be moved to full screen by dragging them to the top, or closed by opening to the app switcher and flicking the app upward.

  3. Desktop Safari — Safari now loads the desktop version of web pages, optimized for touchscreens, as well as better support for Google Docs and WordPress editor. Some 30 new keyboard shortcuts were added to Safari.

  4. External drive support — USB drives and SD cards are now supported in Files, making it possible to plug in to an iPad directly without needing third-party program or an intermediary Mac for file management.

  5. Improvements to Files app — Files adds a column view similar to Finder on Mac OS, as well as support for SMB shares.

  6. Camera support — Cameras can be connected directly to the iPad, and photos can be imported for editing on iPad apps, such as Adobe Lightroom.

  7. Font support — Fonts can be downloaded from the App Store, for use in various apps.

  8. New gestures for faster editing — Copy, paste, and undo can now be performed using three-finger gestures, with three-finger pinch to copy, three-finger spread to paste, and three-finger swipe to undo, available for first-party and third-party apps.

  9. Apple Pencil improvements — Swiping from the corner of the screen with Apple Pencil opens the markup view, allowing users to annotate anything on the screen, and export it. Latency for Apple Pencil was decreased from 20ms to 9ms.

  10. Sidecar — Users can extend their Mac OS desktop onto the iPad as a second display, or mirror content between both displays. When used in conjunction with the Apple Pencil, Sidecar can make the iPad usable as a drawing tablet. Sidecar works via a wired connection, or wirelessly within 10 meters.

  11. Trackpad support — There is support for Apple’s Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse 2, Magic Trackpad 2, as well as third-party accessories connected over Bluetooth or USB. According to ZDNet’s Jason Cipriani, “mouse support is an AssistiveTouch feature and also works when a Magic Trackpad is connected to the iPad,” and that it provides “a circular cursor that moves across the screen, acting as a finger would when touching the screen. It’s unclear how multi-touch gestures would work with a mouse pointer.”

  12. Scribble — This feature in iPadOS 14 for Apple Pencil will allow Pencil owners to handwrite in any text field and have it automatically translated from handwriting to type. On launch, it will support English and traditional and simplified Chinese, and can even distinguish between the two when used together in the same text field.

Additional resources

What devices can use iPadOS?

iPadOS is available for the 12.9″, 11″, 10.5″, and 9.7″ iPad Pro, the 5th, 6th, and 7th generation iPad, the 4th and 5th generation iPad mini, and 2nd and 3rd generation iPad Air. The Apple iPad Pro 2020 ships with iPadOS 13.4 preinstalled.

Additional resources

When was iPadOS released?

Apple first announced iPadOS at WWDC 2019; the company announced iPadOS 14 at WWDC 2020. Developer betas were made available on June 22, 2020, the day of the announcement. The public beta for iPadOS 14 is scheduled for some time in July, and final release for Fall 2020.

Additional resources

How do I get iPadOS?

The update is now available on compatible iPad models. To update, open the Settings app, and go to General > Software Update. For users of LTE-capable iPads, connecting to Wi-Fi is advisable to avoid overages or throttling as a result of downloading the update. ZDNet has additional advice on preparing your iPad for software updates.

Additional resources

Editor’s note: This article was updated by Brandon Vigliorolo to include iPadOS 14 details.

Image: Apple

WWDC 2020: iOS 14, iPadOS 14, Apple Watch and everything business pros need to know

wwdc-2020:-ios-14,-ipados-14,-apple-watch-and-everything-business-pros-need-to-know

Apple announced iOS 14, iPadOS 14 and updates to everything from Siri and Messages at the virtual version of the Worldwide Developers Conference.

Apple CEO Tim Cook kicking off the WWDC 2020 keynote at Apple Park.

Image: Screenshot

Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) kicked off on Monday, June 22 in a new all-digital format. Rather than being hosted in its usual location of San Jose, the conference is one of many moved online due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Instead of greeting a crowd from the main stage, Apple CEO Tim Cook welcomed viewers via the small screen during the opening keynote Monday morning at 10 am PT. 

The five-day event will be entirely online from June 22, 2020 to June 26, 2020, lifting the typical limit of around 5,000 developer attendees and allowing for millions of developers to engage virtually. Best of all, techies experience the entire conference free of charge, lifting the hefty $1,599 price tag usually required to attend.

The conference will feature two big events, the keynote and the Platforms State of the Union, as well as more than 100 engineering sessions, developer forums, and 1-on-1 developer labs by appointment.  

SEE: Apple iPadOS: A cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

WWDC typically focuses on software updates, with some new hardware versions. This year was no different, with Apple executives announcing new editions of iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, watchOS 7, and macOS 10.16. New devices such as iPhones and iPads are typically left for Apple’s annual Special Event hosted in the fall. 

Here are all of the announcements made at WWDC 2020, and what businesses need to know about them: 

This is a working list, and will be updated as announcements are made. 

1. iOS 

Cook invited Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering at Apple, to introduce iOS 14. 

“iOS is central to how we navigate our life and remain connected,” Federighi said. 

The three core updates to iOS: App Library, updated Widgets, and Picture in Picture. 

Currently, apps can take up pages and pages of your home screen, but the App Library automatically organizes apps for you. Users can even hide pages of apps they don’t use often, Federighi said. 

With widgets, they still help you get info at a glance, but they are now completely reimagined and data rich. All widgets can be different sizes and seen in “Today View” shows all your widgets in one place, but the new iOS also allows you to drag a widget out of Today View and onto your home screen. 

Picture in Picture was the other foundational update in iOS 14. With this feature, users can continue viewing videos when navigating to other apps. The video simply turns into a small window at the bottom of the screen. Users can even just keep the audio up on the side, Federighi said. 

Other updates to iOS 13 include: 

  • Messages: Pin favorite messages at top of message list. 
  • Group messages: Reply inline to specific messages, and mention specific people in the group. 

  • Memoji: Adds face masks and more than 20 new hairstyles and head coverings.

  • Maps: Rebuilt maps added cycling and EV routing for electric cars.

  • Carplay: In most new cars, allows users to add new wallpapers. Developing tech to unlock your car from iPhone.

  • App store: App clips lets you access features in apps without downloading the full app.

2. iPadOS

Josh Shaffer, Apple engineering director, took the screen to introduce iPadOS 14. The new operating system has the same redesigned widgets as iOS, as well as the updated Siri. 

iPadOS is unique, however, in its revamped sidebar, which allows users to drag and drop photos, similar to the functionality on a Mac. The OS also has universal search, which allow users to search within apps, find contacts, start web searches, or locate documents. 

With the new call experiences, phone calls won’t take up your entire screen, instead allowing you to view who is calling with a small phone symbol, limiting disruption, Shaffer said. 

Major updates to iPad’s Apple Pencil were also announced. Scribble completely revolutionizes how Apple Pencil is used. With on-device machine learning, users can write words into any text field with the Apple Pencil, and it will be converted directly into text. 

3. WatchOS

One of the most exciting and prolific announcements at WWDC 2020 was WatchOS 7, which has a bevy of new features. 

“Apple Watch has been an intelligent guardian of your health,” said Kevin Lynch, vice president of technology at Apple. And the updates are taking it to the next level.

In WatchOS  7, complications are richer, allowing for more detailed watch faces. Developers can build rich complications with Swift UI, and all users can easily share watch faces. With Face Sharing, users can look through various watch faces, click “Add Apple Watch face” to the desired design, and immediately have access.  

Maps on WatchOS 7 has also been optimized for cyclists, allowing cyclists to get directions on their wrists, Lynch said. 

Julz Arney, senior project manager for fitness experiences at Apple, joined the screen to discuss the significant updates to fitness and health on Apple Watch. 

WatchOS 7 is adding Dance to Apple workouts, with the ability to track hip hop, Bollywood, cardio dancing, and more. Core workouts are now accurately tracked, and functional training and cool down have been added as workouts. 

The Apple Activity App also received a brand new name: Fitness. The summary tab in Fitness has been redesigned, allowing for an easy, seamless way to see all of your workout history. 

Perhaps the biggest addition to WatchOS 7 is sleep tracking, a feature competitor Fitbit has had for years. Users can choose when they would like to go to bed and when they would like to wake up. When it’s time to go to bed,  your phone will see a Wind Down screen, helping to minimize distractions by enabling Do Not Disturb mode. Your watch will also have a dimmed Wind Down screen, with Do Not Disturb enabled. 

Using a machine learning model, the watch tracks your micro movements based on the rise and fall of your breath. When it’s time to wake up, users can chose between a sound alarm or haptic alert from the watch. 

For more, check out Apple’s online-only WWDC 2020: What to expect and how to watch on TechRepublic. 

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