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4 things that got us excited at WWDC 2020

New Apple silicon, redesigned UIs and more — here's what we picked out from the WWDC 2020 keynote

It’s that time of year again. WWDC kicked off yesterday with the customary keynote and software announcements. And while this year we were obviously unable to attend in person (or be at the Layers conference across the street from the San Jose Convention Center), there was still plenty of exciting things to talk about.

The big news was the confirmation that Macs will soon be moving to Apple’s own custom silicon, plus a major redesign for macOS. But there were plenty of other things to be excited about in the keynote. Here are our four top picks — including some input from our founder, Pieter Omvlee, on what they mean for Sketch.

1. The move to Apple silicon

We were expecting it, but it was great to finally get a little more detail about Apple’s new chips coming to Macs later this year. “I’m super excited for the ARM transition!” says Pieter. “I’m curious to see Sketch run on proper Apple silicon hardware, and even more curious to see what it allows Apple to do with upcoming hardware releases.” And while the internal changes are obviously large, it seems that Apple has been working hard to make sure everything runs smoothly.

“I’m impressed by how well the entire transition seems to have been prepared and I can’t wait to get my hands on a dev kit,” says Pieter. “I don’t expect it’ll be hard to get Sketch to run natively on the new silicon. We always try to stick quite close to Apple’s recommended ways of doing things and their frameworks.”

We’re already eager to get our hands on Apple’s hardware kits, and over the next few months we’ll be working hard to get Sketch running at its best on the new processors. Stay tuned for more updates soon.

2. A new look for macOS Big Sur

We were ready for new processors. But the announcement of a complete UI redesign in macOS 11 Big Sur was barely rumored. The sleek new look is a huge overhaul for the Mac, and our design team are already having big conversations about what it means for Sketch.

“I’m really digging the new look in macOS 11,” says Pieter. “And as a side note, I’m happy to see that version number finally bumped to 11. We plan to be there on day one with an updated UI and we’ll start working immediately to get Sketch running smoothly on the new OS. And I’m eager to learn this week about the less-visible improvements to Apple’s frameworks, such as SwiftUI”

From details like icons and colors, to more noticeable changes like toolbars and alerts and sheets, our team are already hard at work discussing how we should reflect Apple’s new design language in Sketch. Stay tuned — we’ll have some more details to share on this soon.

3. Improvements to Messages

While we carry on work developing Sketch’s collaboration features, we were paying particular attention to Apple’s new Messages updates. The way that they handle threaded conversations and in-line replies was inventive, and the team’s approach to mentions is an interesting one.

We’ve been waiting for improvements like these in Messages for a little while now (especially on Mac), so it’s great they’ve made it into iOS 14. We’ll be taking a closer look at how it works in the developer betas, and exploring how similar techniques might benefit teams who want to collaborate in Sketch.

4. Privacy is still king

Last year’s introduction of Sign in with Apple and HomeKit improvements were the latest in a long line of privacy commitments made during Tim Cook’s tenure at Apple. And this year the team improved things again with privacy summaries for every app.

Apps will soon need your permission before they can turn on any tracking features, you’ll be able to grant apps only approximate location data rather than precise data, and apps will also need to self-report all the privacy data they collect before you download.

We’re big fans of Apple’s approach to privacy, and it’s great to see a company with so much influence trying to improve the practices of others in their industry.

There were plenty of other things that grabbed our attention — including AirPods’ awesome new spacial audio features, on-device translation, and dance workouts (our company meetups just got interesting).

Our teams will be working away behind the scenes for the next few months to make sure Sketch is running perfectly in time for macOS Big Sur’s launch this fall — and for Apple’s new ARM-based Macs later this year and beyond. For now, we’ve got some WWDC workshops to get back to. Enjoy WWDC week! 😎

P.S. Apple are in the process updating their resources page right now to add the new design elements for macOS Big Sur and iOS 14. Head over there to download the latest templates as Sketch files and Libraries. 👍

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