On Monday, Apple glimpsed upcoming software changes designed to make the iPhone even more user-friendly, and announced underlying hardware changes for its range of Mac computers.
The preview of the next version of the iPhone operating system, known as iOS 14, highlighted Apple’s annual conference for computer programmers and mobile app makers. The event, which was delayed by three weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic, took place in a virtual form via a webcast from the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, California.
In recognition of the pandemic, Apple’s next iPhone operating system will include an option to put a face mask on a personalized emoji. Updated Apple Watch software detects when wearers wash their hands.
Apple CEO Tim Cook started the session with comments acknowledging the nationwide protests caused by George Floyd’s death last month by police, as well as the social and business challenges of the worst pandemic in a century.
But most of the presentation revolved around a series of micro-sized features that, for example, allowed iPhone users to better manage their apps, find new ones, and use their phones to remotely unlock and start their car. (Although the latter feature will initially only be available for a 2021 BMW model.) Apple pledged an upgraded version of its digital assistant Siri, intended to make it smarter and less cumbersome to fend off competing voice-controlled janitors from Google and Amazon .
The company has not indicated whether pandemic-induced disruptions to work in factories that manufacture iPhone components will delay the release of the next model. The company typically unveils its next iPhones just after Labor Day and starts selling them in late September.
Analysts believe that the iPhone 12 will be delayed for at least several weeks, but expect it to go on sale long before the crucial Christmas shopping season. Earlier this month, chip manufacturer Broadcom’s CEO, Hock Tan, told analysts that he expected a delay in the production of a product from a major North American smartphone maker. Broadcom is a major supplier to the iPhone.
Apple is expected to roll out as many as four different iPhone 12 models this year, including the first version that will be able to work on the next generation of ultrafast wireless networks known as 5G.
Investors strongly bet that Apple could emerge even more strongly from the pandemic and the associated recession. Business shares reached a new record high on Monday and have soared 22% this year to give the company a market value of $ 1.5 trillion.
Apple also said that its Mac computers will shift to the company’s proprietary processor chips and away from the Intel chips that have powered these computers for 15 years. Some Macs will have the Apple chips before the end of the year, but the full transition of Intel chips will not be complete until 2022.
Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed without permission.