Although Apple’s 2020 WWDC was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, its latest operating system launches aren’t being pushed back: As promised at yesterday’s Time Flies media event, the company has just released final versions of iOS 14 and related operating systems for its mobile devices. The beta versions first became available on June 22, less than three months ago.
Users can download versions 14 of iOS, iPadOS, and tvOS as over-the-air system updates for the same iPhones, iPads, and Apple TVs that were capable of running last year’s versions 13. watchOS 7 will also be available for the Apple Watch Series 3, 4, and 5, leaving behind the Series 1 and 2 devices that will continue to run watchOS 6.
Apple Watch Series 6 and SE models will include watchOS 7 when they hit stores on Friday. Eighth-generation iPads and fourth-generation iPad Airs will include iPadOS 14 when they hit stores this week and in October, respectively.
While the iOS and iPadOS updates are fairly significant, including upgraded Home Screen widgets, a variety of improvements to the Safari browser, and on-device translation features, the marquee tvOS and watchOS updates are smaller: tvOS gains enhanced picture-in-picture functionality, and watchOS adds sleep tracking and a hand washing timer.
During its Time Flies event yesterday, Apple also revealed a collection of new watch faces that work across supported devices, including a highly customizable “Stripes” analog clock that can show off a sports team’s colors, and Memoji, which automatically displays animated 3D avatar faces created in iMessage. A new Memoji app was surprisingly added to watchOS, enabling users to create new avatars from the device’s tiny screen.
Alternately listed as macOS 11 or 10.16, Apple’s newest Mac operating system Big Sur is likely to be released in October or November. Big Sur features a substantially redesigned Finder with new icons and windows, an updated Safari browser with enhanced user privacy protections, and an increasing number of overlapping iPad/Mac apps. It’s also the first version of macOS built to run on “Apple Silicon,” ARM processors custom-designed by Apple to deliver a superior balance of power and performance compared with Intel’s chips.