Well, the first day of WWDC 2021 was interesting (in terms of the absence of major user visible features) – watching both the keynote and platform state of the union was a lot more subdued than when compared to last year but I think that has less to do with ‘we’re doing less with the platforms’ and more to do with much of what they’re working on aren’t exactly things that’ll get you show off on stage or get excited about (although I did love the Cloud+ Service which will offer customer domain support).
The best way to find out the under the hood changes is to check out the developer documentation and seeing the difference between Xcode 12.5 and Xcode 13.0 beta (link). There are a lot of ‘under the hood changes’ particularly in the area of frameworks to replace the kernel mode drivers, a big focus on concurrency because of large multi-core SoC’s becoming the norm not to mention the big push around Swift and SwiftUI. As I’ve speculated in the past, I can’t help but get the feeling that long term what Apple went to do is have SwiftUI as a replacement for AppKit, UIKit and Catalyst which probably explains why they put so much focus on it over the last few years (beyond just wanting to get developers interested in it).
For me the biggest thing that captured my attention was iCloud+, custom domain email addresses and iCloud private relay. It appears that Apple is finally making some big investments into their cloud service – moving it beyond just the basic of email, calendaring, notes etc. to also include services that average users and power users also want. For me the custom domain email will enable me to utilise the domain that I have but I’ve avoided using for custom email hosting due to the integration between the Apple ecosystem and the Google Workspace being pretty average.