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It’s that time of year again! The rumour mill thinks ARM Macs will finally happen, but we’ve heard that plenty of times before, haven’t we?

I’ll try to provide as-the-minute coverage when it starts.

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      • Stream starting.

      • Tim Cook on stage. Empty theatres. Remote developers, developers, developers! Tim addresses BLM and social issues. For developers, this includes an entrepreneurship program for new black developers. Also talking the ‘rona, because that’s unavoidably a part of this. Because of the pandemic, this means the talks and workshops will be delivered remotely for free.

      • Craig on stage to talk about platforms. iOS 14. Homescreen changes? Looks like widgets (that expand?), expandable folders, and picture in picture on iPhone. App library at the end of home screen. Shows all apps in 2x2 buckets of automatic categories. Because of the app library showing all apps, you can modify home screen pages to be hidden to simplify your list. There’s also contextual suggestions, recently added, and search. In a category bucket, it’ll show most used apps. Widgets. Today view is shown. Multiple sizes including 2x4 and 2x2. Widgets can be dragged out of today view or inserted from home screen widget gallery. Smart stack has multiple widgets in a chunk and can automatically pick what widget to display. Picture in picture on iPhone, which is movable/resizable, can play while switching apps, and can be hidden away while playing audio. Siri is no longer a modal dialog and takes less time, popping up notifications or apps instead.

      • Yael to talk more about Siri. 25b requests each month. Handles more complex natural language questions. Audio messages supported. Dictation is now run on device for privacy. Translation app, which can handle conversations (special case UI to make it easier for two people) and runs offline w/ neural engine devices.

      • Craig back to talk about iMessage. 2x increase in group messaging.

      • Stacey on stage to talk about iMessage. Pinning messages and animated display of notification. More memoji. Threaded conversations with mentions (and group chat messages can only appear with a mention if you want). Group chat avatars or avatar cloud display.

      • Craig back to talk about maps and such. Maps. It’s a lot better than its infamous old reputation. UK/Ireland/Canada next. Discovery/routing features?

      • Meg to talk about maps. Guide feature for recommending POIs. Environment-prioritizing routing options, including cycling. Cycling routing can pick bick lanes and considers stairs/hills/busy roads, and avoid those kinds of things all together. EV routing that tracks in charging location, current charge level, station cable compatibility, and hypermiling. Green zones/congested areas shown. Chinese license plate numbers can be entered in case you’re in the PRC.

      • Craig back. CarPlay. 97% US availability, 80% worldwide. Wallpaper? Parking, EV charging, food ordering apps available on it. Car keys suck.

      • Emily on stage to talk about how your car keys suck - buy an iPhone instead. New BMW 5-series will support unlocking it with your phone via NFC. The key is in the secure element and can be disabled remotely, or shared by iMessage (including restricting access with that provided key).

      • Craig back. It’ll be available on iOS 13 too. They’re going to standardize it. Apparently that’s what the U1 ultra-wideband chip was for. App store. Contextual app store prompting for “app clips” (sounds like that instant app thing on Android?). They can use Apple Pay and Sign in with Apple. Clips go to a section of an app are ephemeral and used only for the context used, or available in recent used apps. Apps can be launched via geofencing, web, maps, NFC, QR, messages, custom circular 2D barcode, etc. Larger apps can create clips for clients. 10 MB or less, native SDK. Can download full apps. That’s it for iOS.

      • iPad OS. Trackpad and markup/pencil stuff and AR recap from last year. iPad OS 14. Designed for iPad stuff? It was kinda about bigger iPhone apps, but now it’s turned into iPad-focused stuff.

      • Josh to talk about iPad OS. It also gets widgets. Photos app has a sidebar now, which doubles as a drag container. Other apps are also getting sidebar drag/nav improvements. Toolbar dropdowns (for old Mac OS purists, they can also be hold to select). Music app gets the same changes too for basically a new iPad oriented app vocabulary.

      • Craig back. The Siri UI change also affects iPad, and other apps like calling get discrete non-modal popups. Search changes. It’s also non-modal too and can be done from any app. Universal search can search across things (including app launching), Siri questions, web search, mail/contact search, etc. Pencil improvements. Scribble? Handwrite into text fields.

      • Jenny to demo it. Pausing a simple shape drawn at the end will make a more formal version of the shape with same size and angle. Handwriting can be selected like typed text. This is done with on-device ML. Space can be inserted in between canvases. HWR can be inputted directly into system text fields. Handles CJK mixed in with Latin text. Like typed text, it can recognize addresses and phone numbers with data detectors. Can copy HWR as text to paste.

      • Craig back. Things in iOS will apply to iPad OS… of course. AirPods.

      • Mary-Ann to talk AirPods. They’ll automatically switch between devices without manually changing with context. Spatial audio. 5.1/7.1/Atmos and beyond emulation? On my wireless earbuds? They’ve apparently got the algorithms for that, that accommodates for flawed real world problems like “people moving their heads/iPad” (using a gyro) so the spatial space reorients it around devices.

      • Kevin to talk about watchOS. watchOS 7. Multiple complications for apps. Chronograph with tach complication. Customization overhaul. SwiftUI complications. Sharing watch faces, including curated faces, and can pull missing apps from a face. Apps can have readymade faces. Maps on watch. Cycling applies here too. Fitness.

      • Julz to talk about fitness. Dance workout category. Accelerometer/gyro can be used to determine what part of the body is moving. More including cooldowns, full training, etc. App renamed to fitness to reflect intent. Health. Sleep tracking.

      • Vera to talk about that. Can help goals, and does it across devices. Wind down will help create a sleep ceremony (experts say it helps?) and “wind down” will calm you down (with DND) before sleep and provide shortcuts for whatever ceremony you need. Haptic alarm for gentle wakeup. ML model? ML model. Uses things like breathing to determine sleep. Most of the sleep stuff is available on iPhone too. It can tell how long you actually wash your hands and if you do it properly and for how long (with gyro/accel/mic to determine). Translation available too.

      • Craig back to talk about privacy. They apparently take it seriously! Minimize data gathered. Do it on the device as much as possible. Transparency and control about data. Sign-in with Apple is popular and likelier for developers. Now developers can allow users to convert their accounts to sign in with Apple.

      • Katie on stage for privacy stuff. Approximate location. Erik talking about mic/camera usage in apps and indication of it. Tracking control extended to apps. tl;dr of privacy policy (inspired by nutrition fact labels) of an app on the store for all devices.

      • Craig back. Home stuff. Devices should be easy to set up, don’t compromise privacy, and enrich other devices.

      • Yah to talk about HomeKit. Amazon, Google, and others have came together with Apple to come up with standards. HomeKit open sourcing. Home app can suggest events/rules for new devices. Adaptive lighting. Activity zones for cameras (regions). Face recognition using data you already have. Notifies who rings the bell. Apple TV integration.

      • Cindy talking about Apple TV. Gaming improvements. Multiuser support for games. Xbox Elite/Adaptive controller support. Fitness integration. Picture in picture on TV. AirPlay improvements. TV+ has one 1billion supported devices out there? New Asimov’s Foundation adaption on TV+ for next year.

      • Craig to talk about Mac OS. Crack marketing team decides the name Big Sur. Design changes? Alan on video to talk about that. Depth, shading, transluency for hierarchy. Symbol library. Content focus, simplify appearance of other things. Changes to control appearance. New sounds. It’s not as flat! Craig will demo it. Looks kinda like iPad OS superficially. Menu and (rounded) dock is translucent. CSD-like toolbars and sidebars. Glazed sidebars. Finder, iWork, Photos, Calendars, Podcasts, etc get changes. Menu padding changes. Menu bar applets are visually tweaked. Control centre on Mac. Applets can be dragged from the control centre to the menu bar. Notification centre is less modal. Grouping. Widgets are on Mac too. Messages on Mac OS improvements, including search, stickers, effects, synced pings, groups, and photo pickers. Maps improvements, including street view and everything else mentioned. Catalyst. Playgrounds on Mac. More control over Mac UI. Menu and keyboard APIs. Updated system controls. System apps are Catalyst, (attempting to) providing a Mac experience, just with UIKit instead. Lots of third party apps! Safari improvements. JS performance improvements. Page load improvements. Battery life remains good. Privacy protection and tracking visibility with privacy reporting. Password breach detections. Extensions via WebExtensions available in MAS. Extensions have privacy repercussions in other privacies, so Safari can provide ephemeral/per-site enabling.

      • Beth on stage to talk about Safari. Customizable start page. Extensions can be enabled from Prefences. As an example, the recipe filter extension will just focus on the recipe on a page. It can’t do anything yet because it has no permissions though. She allows it to run for one day, and it’s disabled after that. Trackers are shown with privacy report. Tab improvements. Yes, there’s icons again, with tooltip previews! Close all tabs to the right! Translation support.

      • Back to Craig. Back to Tim. Red letter day for the Mac! TRANSITIONS? They did it! ARM Mac with Apple’s own CPU!

      • Johny to talk about silicon. They started with iPhone, and have ten generations of their own design. 100X CPU perf improvement. Then iPad. 1000X GPU improvement over ten years. They think because of that, it could scale to Mac. Then they go lower with Watch SoC design. 2b SoCs shipped. Performance/power/thermal balance. Desktops/notebooks have different consideration. Apple thinks they can ship the best balance. It’s not just the CPU, but things like uncore and coprocessors, as well as how good you can make it. ML/neureal coproc. More stuff along those lines. Mac SoCs with unique featureset but common architecture. Tight HW/SW integration.

      • Craig back to talk about integration and the transition for dev/users. Native apps, baybee! Everything in the stock OS and first-party (including pro apps) will be native on release. Xcode of course can target this with the next version. Just recompile! Universal 2 for fat binaries. Microsoft is porting Office, and so will Adobe. The Apple Development Platform has an A12Z as an iPad would. The previous demos were ARM based too. Word runs on ARM. So does Excel. And PowerPoint (with Metal rendering). Lightroom. Photoshop. It handles big files fine. FCPX runs on ARM with full real-time effects. FCPX also uses the ML chip, and uses it for some effects. Multi-core 4K ProRes running on A12Z. Same optimizations apply. Users should be able to run all apps on day 1, right? Rosetta was available before, and now it’s translating x86 to ARM and apparently fast. Translation happens at install time, as well as handles JITs. Virtualization is supported on ARM Macs, including Linux/Docker (a Debian with Gnome 3 VM was shown).

      • Andreas talking about the transition and tooling. Maya running on Apple silicon with Rosetta? Games are supported; Shadow of the Tomb Raider with Metal is shown emulated while remaining performant. Parallels shown with Linux. You can run iOS/iPad apps unmodified in a window.

      • Craig back. Most apps should “just work” and they’ve prepared for this. Porting should be just a few days. Quickstart program. Forums, labs, DTKs, DTS supports, and docs for transition. The new DTK is a Mini with A12Z, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD, with beta Mac OS and Xcode. HW ships this week?

      • Back to Tim. Courage! Timeline? Devs start this week. Users will get a system at the end of the year and transition will finish in two years. Intel Macs will be supported, and new ones are still in the pipeline. OS betas available today. Public beta (including Watch) in July. RTM in Fall. Consultations and videos available for remote WWDC.

      • Fin? They did the proper pandemic things making all this too. Fin.

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        Awesome summary, and I appreciate that you included each presenter’s name.

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        Thanks for the summary. A couple of interesting things:

        Rosetta was available before, and now it’s translating x86 to ARM and apparently fast

        ‘It’ probably isn’t. Rosetta was Apple’s brand for a dynamic binary translator from a Manchester spin-out called Transitive Technology. The company was bought by IBM (who, at the time, wanted a SPARC-to-PowerPC translator to help people who bought expensive hardware to migrate to buying IBM’s expensive hardware). According to rumour, Apple had a separate license for each version of OS X that they bundled Rosetta with and expected to be able to negotiate better terms over time because fewer people would care. After the IBM acquisition, IBM (still annoyed with Apple over the anti-IBM commentary from Jobs over the Intel switch) refused to license Rosetta at all.

        So it seems quite unlikely that this is the same Rosetta as the previous version, so I wonder what the lineage is. Somewhat amusingly, the x86 on ARM emulator that ships in Windows is descended from VirtualPC for Mac, an x86-on-PowerPC emulator that Microsoft ended up owning when they bought Connectix (which they bought for VirtualPC for Windows, a mostly unrelated x86 hypervisor product.

        I presume that, given how much code is shared between iOS and macOS, Apple has been testing all of their userspace stuff on both platforms for quite a while and most third-party stuff doesn’t include any assembly code and so will be a straight recompile. I’m curious to know how much the ARM Windows port of Office helped with the ARM macOS port.

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          I doubt there’s much of a substantial (direct or indirect) lineage between old-time Rosetta and this one, but it makes sense that they’d choose the same name, considering how unexpectedly smooth the last transition went. I remember reading about it and self-assuredly smirking and thinking this was going to fail so badly it’ll almost be funny. Running PowerPC binaries on top of the register-sarved x86, at a time when hand-rolled assembly still popped up pretty often in commercial (and lots of non-commercial) code? Hah. But I could get games to run, on a Hackintosh no less (a leaked vmware image popped up at some point and, with some trickery, you could eventually get that on a physical disk and have it boot, which I did, a testament not so much to my m4d h4x0r sk1llz bot to how much free time I had fifteen years ago…)

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        Thanks! Though I feel there’s not enough “amazing’s” and “incredible’s” in your summary :D

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      It is only me, or were they trying too hard to imitate Steve Jobs when he introduced the PowerPC->Intel switch, like when the “confessed” to have been using the new architecture “before”, even though that looses all meaning in a recorded environment?

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        This is intentional. They named things as successors of previous iterations of the same technologies – universal 2 and rosetta 2 – while making a reveal presentation that feels just like the same as the Intel reveal in the past. This is an emotional trick to show old-time Apple users that just like that previous transition, this new one will be successful and OK.

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          It’s obviously intentional, that’s what I’m going after – it’s forcefully obvious, even if (as mentioned above) their re-enactment doesn’t make sense.

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      My laptop (running Linux) died the other day. My boss has been pressuring me to get a Mac for forever and since I needed a new machine right now (in the middle of a big project) and Apple could courier a Mac to me in two hours (I’d prefer to not go to a store what with COVID-19 and all)…I got a Mac.

      So far so good, since it’s UNIX under the hood. My only complaint is that when I hook up an external display it gets real hot and real loud…way hotter and louder than it has any right to be for a mostly-idle system. Apparently this is a known issue with the MacBook Pro 16”…

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        It’s depressing how macOS is worse at power management and external monitors than Linux these days.

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          I know what you mean, but macOS still does mixed-DPI way better than Linux, which is important. Wayland is making significant improvements in this space. I hope that the ARM transition helps with MacBook Pro thermals (the real issue in this particular case).

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            Are they going to drop Nvidia for their home grown GPUs?

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              They haven’t been using NVIDIA for years now. I’m guessing that they will be dropping AMD graphics for their home-grown ones on most of the Mac line. We’ll have to wait and see whether this holds true for the Mac Pro.

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        Try using the right-hand ports. Seriously.

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          Not that I want to turn lobste.rs into a support forum, but for the record, I’ve got just the external display plugged in and nothing else (not even the power supply); it’s plugged in on the right-hand side. The system is 96-99% idle. With the external display plugged in, the CPU temperature bounces between 60 and 75 degrees C. From what I’ve been able to find, at idle it should be no more than about 45 degrees C. Doing anything even moderately intense (e.g. listening to music) gets the machine hot enough that the fans are blasting and the CPU is getting throttled.

          Searching around online, this is apparently a universal problem: using an external display with the MBP 16” causes huge power draw and heat problems, regardless of the resolutions/refresh rates/whatever involved. It’s kinda to the point that I feel like I was lied to. I don’t feel like this Mac is truly capable of being used with an external display. It feels like false advertising.

          I’m very strongly considering returning the machine. I might consider getting the 13” model (which doesn’t have the Radeon GPU that is apparently the source of the problem) if it turns out it doesn’t have the same thermal problems…

          Anyway, rant over. Sorry.

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            Oh, no worries. I just discovered the right hand side thing myself.

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        MacBooks have bad thermal issues when plugging in a monitor and a charge cable both on the left-hand side. Consider putting the two cables on opposite sides of the machine.


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        Apparently there is a possible work around if your monitor supports displayport. Maybe worth a shot? Apparently that uses the igpu, and runs much cooler – presumably a bad bug with the dedicated gpu and an external display.

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        Apple seems to always let things get hotter than I would like.

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      In fact, it may be the only OS they’ll be allowed to run

      Well, at least you’ll have virtualization I guess (seems like both aarch64 native and amd64 JITed??)

      But as a big fan of running FreeBSD directly on any hardware I touch, I do wonder what the firmware stack looks like. It’s probably iBoot, isn’t it. They have not said “Boot Camp” once so we probably shouldn’t hope for UEFI+ACPI.

      Even if there is a way to boot your custom OS (well there is on the iPhone 7), there would still be the big GPU question. The custom (PowerVR-derived?) GPU is a huge obstacle here. And even when they make MacBook Pros with custom SoC + AMD GPU.. the display output would probably still go through the custom Apple hardware.

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        But as a big fan of running FreeBSD directly on any hardware I touch, I do wonder what the firmware stack looks like. It’s probably iBoot, isn’t it. They have not said “Boot Camp” once so we probably shouldn’t hope for UEFI+ACPI.

        There’s a line in the Platform State of the Union video at about 15 minutes in: “ARM Macs […] will let users create multiple volumes on disks boot with different operating system versions, and boot from external drives”

        So, I’m cautiously optimistic that it’ll be a UEFI implementation. I think the only reason they haven’t mentioned Boot Camp is because Windows on ARM is a bit of a mess at the moment, and they don’t want to mislead people into think that they can run x86_64 Windows apps.

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