The Apple Worldwide Developer Conference 2020 keynote took place yesterday virtually through a livestream and I must say I liked the setup. Clean, to the point, and no unnecessary clapping. I am a fan of these virtual events, both locally and internationally, mostly because of the time saving factor.

For those of you who don’t know, WWDC is a mid-year event where Apple announces software only; so you won’t see the unveiling of new phones or laptops. The company showcases what to expect in its new software for iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, tvOS and macOS that typically gets released in September, after the new iPhones etc get announced.

What I love about Apple is that it will support handsets from the 6S onwards, including the original iPhone SE, which will receive the iOS 14 update through a global rollout. This is excellent news for people who keep their handsets for longer and will still get the latest security updates and features.

This is a quick post on my top 5 highlights; what I’m most looking forward to. A full list of what was announced is available on the Apple website and numerous tech websites.

1. App Permissions

The App Store will require developers to state upfront what permissions are required on its apps, so users understand how their data will be collected and tracked outside the app. You will have a choice on whether you want to be tracked or not; this transparency is so important – and not good for the ad industry but I’m not a fan of ads. As someone who reads Tc&Cs before signing up to stuff and very aware of what info I give up – and choose not to be a part of – it will definitely help before downloading apps.

2. Default browser and mail apps

It’s only taken forever to get here but this bit of info was just casually sitting on a screenshot up on the screen.  iOS14 will let you select a default email and browser app. We won’t be subjected to using Mail and Safari. That said, I love Safari but use Mail because it’s there. I’ve had issues with other apps before but perhaps this move will bring new options.

3. Digital car key

Apple will allow the iPhone to unlock cars on iOS14 (including iOS13) and its first partner is with BMW on the 5 Series with the 540i. It will allow drivers to unlock their vehicles using the NFC on the iPhone, and then start your vehicle once the phone is placed on a pad inside the car. The key will be stored on Apple Wallet alongside your other digital cards, and can be shared. But before you think the worst, it can be shared with specific permissions for each person, such as giving full access to your spouse or limited access to your kids.

4. Homekit open standard

Last year Apple, Google and Amazon said it will work together to create an open-source smart home standard so all your smart devices can talk to each other on one platform. I have loads of Google Home Mini smart speakers scattered around my house, an Amazon Echo speaker, and other smart stuff connected on these apps that are voice controlled, paired to whichever app can access it. I am most looking forward to Homekit in iOS14 to merge everything so it can be controlled from one place. Features in Homekit will include scheduling stuff like your lights, accessing your security cameras, etc. I wonder if it will work with my coffee machine, which has an app of its own.

5. macOS Big Sur

I loved what the preview of macOS Big Sur looked like during the Apple keynote. More user-friendly, clean with widgets that will all look similar to the iPhone and iPad; and it’s overall similarity with iOS. Yes, widgets are finally here but it’s about time. I like that Safari’s home page will be customisable and let me access iCloud tabs cos it’s a pain to AirDrop links to myself when the copy paste function doesn’t work immediately. Also shortcut and quick access to tools on the toolbar is very welcome. I hate digging deep into individual menus just to customise stuff. Oh and you can edit Memojis on Mac, which now also supports a mask!