Each year Apple holds it’s WWDC conference giving developers a peek at what’s coming in tech for the next year. This week Apple unveiling iOS 14, the next version of Mac, watch OS, and more.
DubDub is a fantastic event for enthusiasts and entrepnours because it gives us a peek at upcoming trends that we can expect to see over the coming year. There are three trends that I think are particularly interesting…
The first trend is the proliferation of apps.
- iOS introduced widgets – they allow more information without opening apps
- Organization – if you have many pages of apps you can quickly find them.
- App Clips – an easy and lightweight way to install quick use apps like when you need to pay for a parking spot or cafe but don’t need to keep the app around.
- Many improvements to Siri making it able to answer more informational questions and perform more tasks. Siri also doesn’t take up the entire screen, making it easier to invoke anytime without loosing context.
All of these features recognize that there are too many apps and bouncing in and out of apps isn’t great. Widgets bring you the information you want without opening an app, the organization makes it easier to find apps, and app clips allow you easy access to app powers without the download and clutter.
The second trend I spotted was around transportation.
- Apple introduced features in its map product for bike routes making it easy to see elevation and get bike-friendly directions.
- It introduced EV charging routes to give better directions for electric cars that need to charge-up while en-route.
- They also introduced digital keys for the upcoming BMW with other cars in the works.
All of these features point to a macro trend around the evolution of transportation away from traditional cars. From bikes to the application of App-Clips for scooter rentals to sharing keys, Apple is painting a future where how we get around is changed.
They also hinted at Augmented Reality with technologies like spatial audio and more detailed perspective maps.
The third trend is really around the evolution of the computer.
Apple announced that they are producing their own computer “Systems on a Chip” or SOCs. This means that the chip that runs your iPhone, iPad and Mac will finally be made on the same architecture and that means that Apps from your iPad will now be able to run on your Mac.
- The Apple UI got updated in a number of areas from Siri, Icons and Notifications. There’s been a lot of consolidation and the look and feel of the platforms is starting to align.
- The Apple UI for the Mac is starting to look touch-friendly and that’s hinting at a future where Mac’s have touch screens.
- Earlier this year Apple’s new iPad proclaimed that the new computer is your iPad and with the mature Mac operating system making the shift, this could become very true.
- Additional focus on virtualization and compatibility technology imply that more cross iPad/Mac/Phone work is in-play and we’re likely to see iPad apps on the Mac and perhaps the inverse too.
There were a lot of features in iMessage for replies and animoji making iMessage almost like a twitter/slack client. The iPad introduced many features for pencil based interactions and there are a lot of subtle UI tweaks and improvements and I’m sure a ton under the covers.
Companies that want to get ahead should look to see if they can lean into some of the future trends. Being an early adopter of a new technology can give startups a distinct advantage.
So iOS 14 looks like a nice update, it doesn’t feel major but there are lots of little improvements throughout. App Clips are particularly interesting and I think it will aid in on-the-spot discovery.
Widgets are cute but I’ve never found widgets particularly useful. I think it’s a nice progression and a good departure from the grid we’ve had for the last decade. It’s also nice that this functionality isn’t buried in the today view.
Lastly, I do think that the migration of Mac to a common architecture will be a key change for the next decade of Apple. We can expect more shared features and more touch capabilities on the Mac. I think we’ll also see more powerful apps move to the iPad as a result. Xcode, FinalCut, Office, Photoshop and more are likely to become full-featured apps providing a consistent experience across touch, pen and computer.