WWDC 2020 is here but this time I decided not to watch it at 5am – sure, I got up, turned over to check the time on my iPhone but then couldn’t be bothered turning on my laptop so I went back to sleep again. I watched both the Keynote and the State of the Platform Union – the first gives a more top level view geared towards the public where as the later is still high level but goes into more technical details about key technology that they wish to talk about.
All the various operating systems have been given refinements rather than giant overhauls but I have a feeling that is probably the result of the focus being around under the hood improvements that are present but are pretty difficult to show off to customers. The refinement is where the various operating systems are at – no need for giant overhauls but instead reminding what exists and building upon it.
What really stood out to me was the fact that iOS 14 is still supporting devices as far back as iPhone 6s – think about that, a device that is over 5 years old is being supported whee Android vendors struggle to provide updates and upgrades to they own devices 1 year after shipping it. I can’t think of a single Android vendor that provides 5 years of support – and people wonder why big businesses decide to deploy iPhones within their organisation.
macOS has more refinement but the exciting part I found was the improvements made to Catalyst and Apple taking full advantage of the platform by bringing over iPadOS versions of Messages and Maps to Catalyst. I think in the long term the best possible experience will be to bring together all the bundled applications into a single code base that is made available on all platforms so that macOS users no longer trail behind iOS and iPoadOS when it comes to features missing in Messages on macOS.
Then there is the ability to run iOS and iPadOS applications natively on macOS when running on Apple’s SoC – this really is a game changer for game producers who want to expand their audience but unsure whether it is worth their while to make the investment into a macOS version.
The move to ARM is the highlight of the keynote for me, years of speculation has culminated with the announcement of moving the Mac platform to their own SoC. It will be interesting to see what happens when it comes to the GPU – whether they use their in house GPU for all Macs or will they use AMD GPU’s for the 15″ MacBook Pro, iMac and Mac Pro. From I have seen of both the Keynote and Platform state of the union, the absence of such a topic being discussed could mean one of two things, it could mean that it isn’t mentioned because it isn’t something that developers need to worry about or the alternative is that the long 2 year cycle is done because they’re scaling up their GPU design with Mac Pro being the last to migrate to the ARM based Apple SoC.
I’ll the following the the sessions during the week – I might wait until the en of the week before writing about them. It’ll be interesting to see how the technology world reacts and whether Apple embracing ARM starts a trend in the computer industry which one might see Qualcomm and other SoC companies seeing there being a future in investing R&D into delivering ARM based SoC’s for devices outside of the smartphone, tablet and embedded devices.