iOS 14, watchOS 7 and iPadOS 14: The best features at a glance

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Behind closed doors, Apple is already working on new versions of its operating systems for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Meanwhile, more and more information about new features and improvements in Apple’s software products are appearing. What new features will iOS 14, watchOS 7 and iPadOS 14 will bring in the year 2020?

Shortcuts:

If you use an iPhone with iOS 13, you will probably use the App Switcher every day to quit apps completely or to switch back and forth between the individual windows. The problem is that the apps are arranged linearly next to each other and depending on the number of open apps, searching and tapping may take some time. Many users don’t even select apps from within the App Switch, but quickly swipe down on the iPhone to enter the name of the app in the search window. This works much faster. Apple probably wants to give the App Switcher more importance again under iOS 14. Below, in the video, you can see how multitasking under iOS 14 might look like in the future. According to this, the apps no longer slide close together on the screen when swiping up, but appear tile-like. They can then be selected or swiped away. In addition, this view should allow you to move the apps to a new multitasking overview. Apple could enable users to separate really important apps that are changed often from apps that are running in the background.

First hints of Apple’s studio headphones appear

It does indeed seem to be true: Apple will release over-ear headphones later this year, which will complement the wireless AirPods and AirPods Pro headphones. Concrete clues are provided by the code of iOS 14, which is partly circulating on the net and reveals some Apple secrets. The Apple site 9to5mac was able to find new headphone symbols that are displayed under iOS 14, for example in the Bluetooth section or when the headphones are switched on and are near the iPhone or iPad. Thus, the presumed Apple Studio Headphones will probably have similar pairing features to the AirPods Pro. The emerging logos also prove that Apple will release the new headphones in two colors, black and white.

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Apparently Apple’s new over-ear headphones will appear in black and white. / © 9to5mac

That Apple’s wearable is becoming more and more of a home lab and lifesaver should be clear thanks to the ECG function and fall detection. But the Californian company is probably working more and more on the expansion of medical functions under watchOS 7, like measuring the oxygen content in the blood (SpO2). Again it was 9to5mac who found references to this feature in the code of iOS 14. With the measured values diseases can be detected early and cardiovascular problems can be avoided. Fitbit already offers this feature to users of its fitness wristbands. On the Apple Watch, users could have the oxygen content of their blood measured regularly. If the measured value falls below a certain threshold, users are asked to consult a doctor. This could be done by using the infrared sensor of the heart rate monitor already installed in many Apple Watch models. However, it is quite possible that Apple will develop a separate SpO2 sensor that can provide accurate readings. Thus, this feature would probably be exclusively reserved for the latest Apple Watch generation.

Further improvements to ECG measurement

Another medical function, which is currently possible with the Apple Watch Series 4 and Series 5, will be improved with watchOS 7. While the wristwatch already provides good results in the area of ECG measurement, many users have complained in the past about ambiguous measurement data at heart rates between 100 and 120 beats per minute. Apple claims to have worked with doctors and scientists to improve this situation.

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The Apple Watch is already capable of taking an ECG reading. / © Apple (screenshot)

The long-awaited sleep tracker

Third-party providers have long been represented in the App Store with any applications. Sleep trackers are often used on the Apple Watch. But for a long time, users of the Apple Watch have wondered why the probably simplest function for wearables on Apple’s watch hasn’t found its way into it yet. This should change with watchOS 7. Because as was discovered again in the code of iOS 14, Apple is working on a sleep tracker for the Apple Watch. With this sleep tracker, it should be possible to measure the quality of your sleep, to get insight into the different sleep phases like REM-sleep or deep sleep and to set smart wake-up times.

Thus, most sleep trackers allow you to set a wake-up period that doesn’t wake the user in deep sleep, but in a light sleep phase. To avoid the problem of the Apple Watch dying overnight, users should be reminded in the evening to charge the watch before going to bed. All sleep data will probably be clearly summarized within the health app in the sleep section.

Besides the new features, Apple will probably roll out numerous new watch faces for its Apple Watch. In addition, Apple Watch users will finally be able to exchange their own watch faces with each other. Parents whose children use an Apple Watch should benefit from the new Kids Watch interface. With its help, the watch can be configured manually and in a child-friendly manner on the wrist of the child.

We have already reported that Apple will also add more features to the iPad and the new iPad Pro. Thus, Apple’s tablet is moving closer to the Mac sector on its tenth birthday and is thus moving further away from the shadow of the iPhone.

With iPadOS 13, Apple had already given the tablet an independent operating system. Now new features could follow. So it is believed that Apple has developed a new keyboard that not only has buttons integrated, but also a trackpad. Apple’s Magic Trackpad is built into all MacBooks and is also available as a mouse replacement for iMac. With the compatibility between iPad and trackpad, the Apple tablet would finally get mouse pointer support. This is very practical, since Bluetooth keyboards could be used so far. But the full computer experience was rather missing due to the touch operation.

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The iPad is moving closer and closer to the MacBook. / © Apple

When all these innovations for Apple’s mobile product line will be rolled out can only be estimated from experience. We expect a first insight into Apple’s software developments at the end of March at the ‘Ghost Keynote’ for WWDC 2020, which – as long as Apple is planning the presentation without an audience – also has some hardware surprises in store, such as the introduction of the new iPad Pro or iPhone SE 2. The new operating systems will probably be rolled out as usual in autumn after the presentation of the new high-end devices.

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