7 huge changes for Apple users from WWDC 2020

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Tim Cook opened and closed WWDC 2020
CEO Tim Cook and other Apple executives handled the tough job of a WWDC 2020 keynote without an in-person audience.
Screenshot: Apple

WWDC 2020 Apple rose to the challenge of holding a keynote for its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in an empty auditorium Monday. A range of executives took the wraps off operating system upgrades for Mac, iPhone, iPad … the whole swath of Cupertino’s devices.

The presentation went surprisingly well, considering that the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the presence of the usual odd mix of highly enthusiastic Apple employees and professionally skeptical journalists.

tvOS 14 gets picture-in-picture support, deeper HomeKit integration

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tvOS picture
TvOS 14 brings some impressive new features to Apple TV.
Photo: Apple

WWDC 2020 Apple showed off improvements coming to Apple TV during the WWDC keynote Monday, as execs detailed changes coming in tvOS 14.

The biggest tweak in the next-gen Apple TV operating system is platform-wide picture-in-picture. This means that users can continue playing Apple TV games or using fitness apps while also screening a movie, watching live sports or keeping tabs on the news.

Apple Events app is now part of Apple TV app

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Apple Events
The change comes just ahead of WWDC.
Photo: Apple

Days before WWDC kicks off, Apple had shuttered its Apple Events app on tvOS, instead folding it into the Apple TV app, streamlining the process of finding and watching Monday’s keynote event.

The wording on the app confirms that, “Apple Events is now part of the Apple TV app.” Using the app, you can watch both current and past Apple special events.

Apple drops new trailer for Dads documentary headed to Apple TV+

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Dads documentary for Apple TV+
Streaming from June 19.
Photo: Apple

Apple on Friday dropped its first trailer for Dads, a new documentary headed to Apple TV+ ahead of Father’s Day.

Described as a “joyful exploration of contemporary fatherhood,” the film features the likes of Will Smith, Judd Apatow, and Conan O’Brien. It promises rare home-movie footage, hilarious anecdotes, and more.

Apple Card users could get interest-free payment plans for iPad, Mac

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Apple Card
Apple hopes the service will boost sales.
Photo: Apple

Apple Card users could soon be offered interest-free payment plans for iPad, Mac, AirPods, and more, one report claims.

Sources say Apple is planning to roll out the new service, which will make many of its pricey products more accessible, in the coming weeks. Users will be able to spread the cost of their purchase over as many as 12 months.

YouTube Kids is now available for Apple TV

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YouTube Kids app restrictions
YouTube Kids is no longer limited to tablets and smartphones.
Photo: YouTube

The YouTube Kids app, a special child-friendly version of the YouTube app with additional parental controls, has landed on Apple TV.

The app was launched on iOS and Android in early 2015. However, while users could previously use AirPlay to stream content from their iPhone or iPad to Apple TV, this is the first time YouTube has created a native Apple TV app for the service.

Second- and third-gen Apple TVs can no longer play HBO Now

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apple tv
Users can no longer access HBO Now in this way.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

HBO discontinued support for its HBO Now app on second- and third-generation Apple TV models. The app allows HBO subscribers to access on-demand content from the cable channel’s library of original movies and shows.

The discontinuation means the HBO Now app will no longer be updated on these older devices. It will be removed entirely — so that it’s not possible to access the content anymore from those Apple TV models.

Apple TV reigns with best picture quality among streaming devices in pandemic’s early days

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Apple TV Siri Remote
Streaming video quality during early 2020 was above par using Apple TV devices.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

While it might be far down the pecking order of best selling streaming boxes, the Apple TV and Apple TV 4K got high marks in the first quarter of this year for best picture quality speed and shortest lag time in starting videos, according to data collected from billions of sensors embedded into video applications.

The results are a clear sign of how well streaming devices and services performed in a period where more people around the world were homebound due to the coronavirus pandemic and turned to watching television en masse.