WWDC 2020: Apple launches iOS 14, aims for Siri overhaul, better app organization

Apple outlines iOS 14 changes that will include a Siri overhaul and better app organizational tools.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Apple rolled out its updates to iOS 14 and the widgets, app organization, Maps additions, and Siri enhancements rhymed with Google's approach to Android

At WWDC 2020, Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, outlined iOS 14 updates that make it easier to organize apps, add widgets and create "smart stacks" based on the time of day. Siri is also getting a redesign with a compact approach.

Also: iOS 14 kills the biggest iPhone annoyance

Picture-in-picture was another addition to iOS 14.

Apple CEO Tim Cook kicked off the company's WWDC digitally in a live stream that lacked a crowd, but presentations fared well relative to other recent tech conferences. Cook opened his keynote by addressing inequality and the Black Lives Matter movement, and by expressing his admiration for the people who stood up and demanded change. Cook also acknowledged the COVID-19 pandemic's impact and how WWDC has gone digital with forums, engineering talks, and free sessions for all.

After those introductory comments, Apple jumped right into iOS 14. 


Perhaps most notable is that Siri is also getting an overhaul so it's not as jarring. Siri is more contextual and intelligent as it handles more than 25 billion requests a month. Siri will get translation enhancements, dictation tools, and integration with apps via on-device machine learning.

Apple also said it was providing the ability to pin important conversations and messaging. Emojis will also get more age options and the ability to wear masks. 

Other key updates:

Apple Maps gets more navigation enhancements, features, and detailed maps. Apple Maps will get updates to enable customers to find locations. Obviously, Apple Maps is aiming to compete with Google Maps via its privacy policy, UI, and guides to places that include routes to reduce carbon footprint like cycling.


CarPlay has new wallpaper options and support for parking, EV charging, and food ordering. Apple iOS 14 will support digital car keys using NFC. Automakers will need to offer support going forward but given CarPlay is widely adopted digital car keys will likely be available in new autos starting next year. Digital car keys will be available in iOS 13 too. 

App Clips will be added. These are snippets of apps that will launch quickly and will be included in the App Library. App Clips, which can launch from the Web, resemble Android's approach to its hybrid apps. "App Clips will be great for businesses that already have apps," said Federighi. 

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