Apple’s 2021 Worldwide Developers’ Conference – Our Summary

The first day of Apple’s 2021 Worldwide Developers’ Conference is winding down, and the two main presentations of the day – the Keynote and the Platforms State of the Union – are finished. Once again, Apple did not fail to astound and surprise us. From my perspective, the things that were the most interesting were: 

I have been fortunate enough to attend many earlier WWDCs in person and have had the privilege to speak at these events at several previous WWDCs. Of course, last year and this year were online events, but this means that many more developers could attend. In-person attendance is usually limited to around 5000 developers, but last year 20 million watched online. 

macOS Monterey 

The Parallels engineering team will begin working right away with macOS Monterey and testing it as both a host OS for Parallels® Desktop for Mac and other Parallels’ products, and a guest OS in a VM in Parallels Desktop. Our goal is for macOS Monterey to be fully supported when it is released by Apple in the second half of this year. 

I am downloading the first developer beta of macOS 12 Monterey as I write this blog post. I will let you know in a later post if I was successful in installing it in a VM. (This is the first thing I try in a new OS, either from Apple or Microsoft.) The macOS Monterey download is 11.78 GB, so this is going to take a while! 

Swift Playgrounds in iPadOS 15 

Apple announced that in iPadOS 15, the Swift Playgrounds app will now be able to develop complete iOS apps and upload them to the App Store. This is a major development and will enable many more developers to create and ship iOS apps. Availability Is anticipated later this year. 

TestFlight in macOS 

For years now, developers have had an easy way to deliver beta iOS apps to their beta testers around the world with the app TestFlight. TestFlight is now coming to the Mac, and this will be a great way to increase the number of people who can test a Mac app while it is in development. 

Universal Control across all Apple Products 

A few years ago Apple introduced Sidecar which gave Mac users the ability to easily use an iPad as a secondary display for the Mac. Parallels Desktop added support for Sidecar, and it has proven to be a popular way to use a Windows VM on the iPad, with the accompanying support for the Apple Pencil. The new Universal Control in macOS Monterey is the next evolution of the Sidecar functionality and it looks even easier to set up and use, and I am looking forward to seeing if Parallels Desktop can really leverage this new Monterey feature. 

xCode Cloud 

Apple announced a major update to the main tool used by developers, xCode. Along with many other new features, with xCode Cloud developers can run tests on different versions of macOS all simultaneously running the cloud. In a major change for Apple, xCode Cloud will not be free, although pricing has not been released. 

Multitasking in iPadOS 15 

I have found the multitasking support on the iPad to be a little cumbersome and sometimes inadvertently invoked by a seemingly innocent finger gesture. From the demo today, the new multitasking support in iPadOS 15 seems simpler to use and more powerful. I am looking forward to trying it out. 

Well, these are just my main takeaways from day one of the weeklong WWDC 2021. There is a lot more detail to come in the remainder of the week. Stay tuned in to the Parallels Blog for updates!