The Apple show — dazzling software enhancements

A summary of Apple’s Monday product announcements

Apple’s announcements are well covered in the press, but here is a quick read:

  • Future laptops and desktops will run on Apple’s processor, not on Intel’s. Apple says this will enable better performance.
  • iOS14 (iPhone) software enables a person to customize their home screen and choose other email and browser apps as defaults (instead of Apple Mail and Safari). AI automation helps determine when a user wants to see which data and widgets, perhaps making the experience less “cluttered.” Message interfaces and features are enhanced, and a video window can float on top of other apps while multitasking. Siri has a new interface, and maps are enhanced by tips from partners such as Zagat.
  • Apple Translate is a new language translation app that, running on an iPhone, can be placed between two different language speakers and can translate in real time.
  • CarPlay updates include the ability to send an electronic car key through text messaging, enabling your friend to borrow your car when you text the key. Currently this feature only works on BMW 5-series, but will expand soon.
  • AppClips are small, lightweight apps that can be downloaded via QR code or textx message. These clips take the place of a store’s promotional app — increasing the chance that people will use them on impulse since one no longer has to go to the App Store.
  • iOS14 (iPad) is designed to look and feel more like a MacBook, with improved search and with a new stylus (Pencil) that can enter text by handwriting anywhere there is an input field.
  • AirPods will automatically switch between iPhone and computer — without requiring a manual Bluetooth switchover.
  • Apple Watch has enhanced sleep tracking features that will help nudge people out of bed in the morning. A new app includes a hand washing timer to make sure you are practicing healthy living habits.
  • Home App, the app designed to control smart home devices that comply with Apple’s standard, uses the iPhone camera’s facial recognition technology with external security cameras.
  • Apple TV now supports picture-in-picture, and allows multiple accounts per device.
  • MacOS Big Sur — the computer operating system, includes bigger, better interfaces, a messaging app that mimics the iPhone, and enhanced Safari that automatically reveals the security features of websites and automatically translates websites.

dis-rup-shun: Apple continues to enhance its customers’ experiences across the product line and continues its march into more proprietary avenues, eschewing the chipset made by the world’s largest silicon vendor, Intel. But the company is clearly capable of delivering on its promises, and seems now stronger than ever. Of some concern is that most enhancements are software based, suggesting that it is now extremely difficult to conceive, invent, build, launch and market new devices — the very thing that Apple is so good at doing. Hopefully Apple will invent a few new cool devices, along with its outstanding software.

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