Apple Unveils Software Updates at WWDC 2020

April’s iPad refresh breathed new life into its portfolio of tablets, and Apple’s third-generation “Air” will make its debut in less than a month. A refreshed version of the tablet — later nicknamed the “iPad Air 2” — is set to go on sale in June, Apple revealed today.

The new tablet will be just as thin as the company’s previous models, coming in at just 6.1 mm. Apple is offering something for power users with the latest version, too: a fast-charging Wireless charging display, for a total of 42 hours of juice between charges. Battery life has been an issue with iPad, and Apple has been struggling to keep up with tablet manufacturers.

The larger of the two tablets will be both smaller and slower than the outgoing models, which have not yet been updated. It features the same LCD screen as its smaller sister, but will offer better performance, graphics performance, and image quality, according to Apple.

Apple Watch has shown that wearables aren’t going anywhere. Today, Apple was expected to reveal a new Watch series — a Series 4 — which takes up Apple’s usual range of colors. But Apple’s new watch-design man, Susan Prescott, laid bare some surprises — namely that the display will now wrap around the side of the device, around the edges. It is reminiscent of Samsung’s trend-setting Gear.

Apple says the design means Apple Watch can now be worn completely unencumbered, and will allow for more customization, making it more like a piece of jewelry.

More wearable technology

Apple will also be moving forward with more wearable tech.

Someday, everybody will have a smartwatch, Apple exec Phil Schiller promised, but not today. That’s all well and good, but Apple is positioning the new watch series not so much as an intelligent bracelet, but as a way to automatically detect things like accidents, heart rate, and even medical uses — as if you were walking with a defibrillator under your arm. Apple Watch will use its four sensing components to interpret vital signs. If someone steps into a rut, Apple Watch will be able to snap a photo and send it straight to 911 — and that’s how it will detect you’re having an A.I. heart attack.

These developments have an obvious connection to the Apple Health app, which has remained untouched since 2007.

Classified as a “Works with HomeKit” device, the Watch Series 4 “Works with IOTKit” so that Siri and HomeKit developers can build new smart home features into their apps. Siri Assist for Health is a new feature that lets Siri directly contact an ambulance, a doctor, a neighbor, or a hotel in the event of an emergency.

Apple has made a huge effort to sell health and fitness apps to people who already own an Apple Watch — but whether the company’s wearable devices will be enough to convince people to buy a smartwatch in the era of cheaper fitness trackers and long-lasting phones remains to be seen.

For new investors, the basic news this morning didn’t break any new ground — but that’s not surprising. Just like Apple has in the past, the company used its press event to make official its biggest rumors. In many ways, that’s a new trend.

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