It's Apple upgrade season yet again, be it for the new Apple Watch models, the new iPads, Apple's new Apple One subscription bundles, and also Apple's operating systems.
You can catch up on all the news from Apple's September 2020 keynote in my article here, which also contains the must-watch video of the keynote event, and which I've also embedded at the end of this article.
I'll have a more in-depth review of the new operating systems to come, but in short, the new OS upgrades bring fantastic new features that are very welcome, and a brief look at some of the features I've used is below.
Personally, I'll be updating immediately, but it's definitely always wise to take a cautious approach with any OS update. Also, if you have been on the beta programs, you can actually update immediately, which I'm doing as I type, and a great little gift for beta test users. Be sure to remove the Beta Profile from your devices if you don't want to continue getting future beta updates now that the major beta process is over.
iOS 14 brings widgets to the home screen, which I absolutely love using. The widget I have taking up the top of my screen is the medium sized battery widget, showing me my iPhone's battery life, that of my Apple Watch, and that of the AirPods I'm using, with a fourth spot for another device.
I also have the weather widget in its smallest size that gives me a weather update at a glance.
There's a new App Library on the last page of my home pages, alongside the ability to switch of all of the pages full of apps I don't really use as much as those on the first two pages.
I've often used the pull down search feature to get to those other apps that are buried somewhere on the other pages, but now the App Library automatically groups apps into a range of categories, while finally allowing an A-Z vertical list of all the apps I own - which is fantastic.
Incoming call notifications now work like regular notifications and don't take up the entire screen, which is a refreshing change and very welcome. Android has had this capability for some time and it's fantastic to see Apple incorporating it too.
Siri also no longer takes up the entire screen when invoked - you see Siri at the bottom of the screen, no longer obscuring your view. There are lots of great features inside iOS 14 and you will definitely love using them on the iPhone SE, 6S and above - it's a must-have upgrade.
You can see lots more info about iOS 14 here.
iPadOS has virtually all of the features of iOS 14, although for some reason, widgets can still only appear on the first page and not on other pages as with iOS 14, and there's no App Library. It seems logical that these features will come to iPadOS 14 too when Apple deems it is time
iPadOS 14 finally allows you to use the Apple Pencil to write into any box that you can type into, as well as powerful new handwriting recognition modes and capabilities that will make using a Pencil with your iPad that much more productive and enjoyable.
Chinese speakers will also be able to write English words and Chinese characters in the same line of text, with iPadOS able to distinguish both. Hopefully this will be switched on for other languages in the future, too, but it's a great first step.
You can see lots more info about iPadOS 14 here.
I grew up in a digital world, where none of the VCRs I ever came across in every house I went to ever flashed 12:00 for long, something that would happen after power outages.
Although analogue watch faces were everywhere when I grew up, I had every digital watch you can imagine, although about 10 years before the Apple Watch arrived, I grew extremely disappointed with the severe lack of innovation Casio was showing in its calculator watch range, and for about 10 years, I stopped wearing a watch.
This all changed with the Apple Watch from the very first version, and the Apple Watch today has well and truly exceeded my expectations of where I had hoped Casio digital watches would evolve to.
I even had - and still have - a Apple Watch-esque square touch screen calculator watch from Casio. The screen got scratched well over 20 years ago and stopped working, but Casio was on the right track before more or less giving up, and today they have an endless range of G-Shock watches that get more obsolete by the day.
Sadly it is probably only a few years before Casio folds completely from its products just ending up on the digital scrapheap of history, as Apple continues improving Apple Watch by leaps and bounds.
There are so many features of watchOS 7 that I haven't scratched the surface of, but the new automatic hand washing app that you need to switch on in the settings is great - and fun! It provides a cool countdown for your 20 second hand washing routine, and if you stop washing, the countdown timer stops too, so you can't trick it.
You can also turn on a setting that reminds you to wash your hands when you get home, which in today's COVID era is a very welcome notification.
I mean, I wear masks and use lots of hand sanitiser, but you certainly do notice a layer of hand sanitiser being washed off when you get home and can wash properly, that's for sure.
I'm also using the Infograph watch face with its incredible set of nine complications, not including the analogue watch face itself, and I have been forcing myself to read analogue time, and it is getting easier and easier.
Other watch faces - of which I have several set up - are just a right or left swipe away, and if I'm ever wanting instant confirmation of the time in a digital format, I can just swipe.
I can also have a digital time complication on the analogue watch face, but it's way too easy to cheat and look at that, so I simply don't have it there, which forces me to read analogue time, and of course, I'm getting better and better at it.
The nine complications I have are Shazam in the top left hand corner and the sound meter in the top right. The top part of the analogue watch face is the weather forecast with the weather graphic below that. The left complication inside the watch face is the date, while on the right is battery life. The bottom complication inside the watch face is my Fitness rings.
On the bottom left I have the stopwatch complication, and on the bottom right, I have the calculator complication, which is my tribute to the Casio days of old when I had just about every single version of the Data Bank calculator watch that Casio ever made.
Of course I have plenty of other complications available in other watch faces, from heart rate to the compass and many, many more.
You can see lots more info about watchOS 7 here.
tvOS 14 and Apple TV
The tvOS 14 for Apple TV is one I haven't run the beta of, but will definitely be upgrading tomorrow. You can see some more detail about Apple TV here.
Personally, I'll be upgrading immediately, but again, you might wish to wait for a few days at least to see what reaction there is.
And for those that still haven't seen the hour-long September 2020 keynote for the new iPads, new Apple Watches and new Apple One subscription bundles, here is they keynote - it's a definite must-watch!