Craig Federighi Talks macOS Big Sur Redesign, Siri, Default Apps and More in New Interview

Apple's software chief Craig Federighi often does a series of interviews following WWDC events, and 2020 has been no exception. Federighi was on the The Talk Show with Daring Fireball's John Gruber, and he also spoke with tech YouTuber Marques Brownlee.


In a video published today, Federighi and Brownlee discussed some of the new features in iOS 14 and answered questions from Apple fans.

On New iOS Features

  • Default apps - Apple is letting users set third-party mail and browser apps as the default in iOS 14, but this doesn't extend to Maps and other app categories. Federighi said that when Apple looked at the top things people wanted to configure, "those two rose to the top," so it's where Apple started.
  • Siri - Siri has a new compact UI that leaves the background of the iPhone's display visible, but it can't be interacted with. This is intentional, according to Federighi. "We tried it both ways internally. We had prototypes where you would scroll behind the Siri answers as you brought them up. Initially, we thought that was going to be really great so we implemented it that way, and then what we found was that for most of the interactions we were having with Siri, it then created this extra heaviness to it." Apple will listen to people during the beta period, and this could change.
  • macOS Big Sur 11.0 - macOS Big Sur is macOS 11, rather than macOS 10.16. Federighi said that between the new design and Apple Silicon, macOS Big Sur serves as a "real renewal of the platform" and Apple is excited to "mark it as the next chapter."
  • macOS Big Sur design - macOS Big Sur brings the first major redesign the Mac has seen in years. Federighi says that after you get used to the change, "it feels natural, fresh and yet clearly, distinctly Mac." Federighi says he looks forward to hearing feedback from people who have used it for a few weeks. The rounding "may seem arbitrary" but it's "extremely consistent" throughout the OS. Curves feel more natural and organic compared to straight edges that feel more manufactured.

Fan Questions

  • iPad Calculator and Weather - Federighi was asked why there's no Calculator app or Weather app on the iPad. "There are some things we have not done because to do it, we would want to do something really distinctly great in that space." Apple wants to wait to do it well, and hasn't "gotten around to doing it great." Federighi said the day "may come."
  • Apple Watch for iPad - On the topic of why the Apple Watch doesn't work with the iPad (thereby requiring an iPhone), Federighi said it's a "sensible point" that some people would want that feature, but it's not something Apple has pursued yet. "I wouldn't rule it out," he said.

While we covered the highlights of the interview in this article, the full video up above is worth watching, as is the complete one hour and 20 minute podcast that features even more discussion about WWDC.

Top Rated Comments

ghostface147 Avatar
17 months ago
It's a calculator. What needs to be distinctly different? Animations?
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
robjulo Avatar
17 months ago
It's a freaking calculator app......it doesn't have to be "great".....it just has to do math.....my god.
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mr. Dee Avatar
17 months ago
I hope John Gruber is watching so he can sharpen his interview skills next time.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
zorinlynx Avatar
17 months ago
My main complaint so far is that the UI is a bit "bigger" for lack of a better term. Basically, it feels like you went into Display settings and set it to "scaled" one notch bigger on the "Larger Text" side. On my test 13" Macbook Pro, I set it one notch towards "More Space" and it feels normal again. I don't like this, though, because the scaled settings don't look quite as sharp and crisp as "Default" does.

I'm not sure why they felt the need to do this. It was fine before, and in my line of work you need all the screen real-estate you can get.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rogifan Avatar
17 months ago

Craig is not being honest here, but it’s hard to blame him as he represents Apple’s best interests.

The idea that the Calculator, Weather, and Watch apps are not ready for the iPad is ridiculous. The reason is the same as why there’s no Phone app either... the company needs to maintain an identity difference between the iPhone and iPad or people will simply buy an iPad and not both. That is the only thing stopping both products from simply being a screen size change from each other. So apps that are more mobile-centric (phone, camera, calculator, watch, weather) will remain linked to their mobile product... the iPhone... while the iPad gets trackpad support (and the phone never will).

As for Maps on iOS... they worked hard on the new version. They’re not ready to flip the switch letting you change it as the default. And yes, it is just a switch.
I‘m sorry but there is no one not buying an iPad because it doesn’t have a native calculator or weather app.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Professor Rucy Avatar
17 months ago
Will someone buy Craig a different colored shirt?
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Kuo: iPhone 13 to Feature LEO Satellite Communications to Make Calls and Texts Without Cellular Coverage

Sunday August 29, 2021 7:39 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 will feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication connectivity to allow users to make calls and send messages in areas without 4G or 5G coverage, according to the reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained that the iPhone 13 lineup will feature hardware that is able to connect to LEO satellites. If enabled with the relevant...
General Apps Messages

Android iMessage Competitor Puts Pressure on Apple

Friday July 30, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
Google and the three major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will all support a new communications protocol on Android smartphones starting in 2022, a move that puts pressure on Apple to adopt a new cross-platform messaging standard and may present a challenge to iMessage. Verizon recently announced that it is planning to adopt Messages by Google as its default messaging...
os x mountain lion macs 16x9 2

Apple Makes OS X Lion and Mountain Lion Free to Download

Wednesday June 30, 2021 12:19 pm PDT by
Apple recently dropped the $19.99 fee for OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, making the older Mac updates free to download, reports Macworld. Apple has kept OS X 10.7 Lion and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion available for customers who have machines limited to the older software, but until recently, Apple was charging $19.99 to get download codes for the updates. As of last week, these updates no...
bluetti eb70 main

MacRumors Giveaway: Win a Bluetti EB70 Portable Power Station and 200W Solar Panel

Friday September 3, 2021 11:13 am PDT by
For this week's giveaway, we've teamed up with MAXOAK to offer MacRumors readers a chance to win a Bluetti portable power station and an accompanying solar panel. Bluetti makes a range of portable power station options that are useful for camping, emergencies, power outages, off-grid living, and similar situations. The Bluetti EB70 is a solid middle of the road option that offers 716Wh and...
apple privacy

Apple Publishes FAQ to Address Concerns About CSAM Detection and Messages Scanning

Monday August 9, 2021 1:50 am PDT by
Apple has published a FAQ titled "Expanded Protections for Children" which aims to allay users' privacy concerns about the new CSAM detection in iCloud Photos and communication safety for Messages features that the company announced last week. "Since we announced these features, many stakeholders including privacy organizations and child safety organizations have expressed their support of...
General Spotify Feature

Spotify Pauses Plans to Add AirPlay 2 Support to iOS App [Update: Spotify Clarifies]

Friday August 6, 2021 9:07 am PDT by
See update at bottom of article Spotify this week confirmed that its plans to add AirPlay 2 support to its iOS app have been placed on indefinite hiatus. In an online discussion forum post, a Spotify representative said the streaming music service had been working on supporting AirPlay 2, but the company has paused the efforts "for now" due to "audio driver compatibility issues." The...
iphone 13 teal with text

Apple Begins Preparation for iPhone 13 Production Ahead of Fall Launch

Monday June 28, 2021 3:29 am PDT by
We're just a few months away from when Apple is expected to reveal the 2021 iPhone, dubbed the "iPhone 13." In preparation for its launch, it has been pulling in shipments of different components needed to produce the new iPhones, according to a report from DigiTimes. In years past, Apple released its latest iPhone lineup, alongside a new Apple Watch, during a September event at Apple Park....
General Spotify Feature

Spotify Partners With Delta to Provide Free In-Flight Music and Podcasts Service

Thursday September 2, 2021 12:59 am PDT by
Spotify has announced a new partnership with Delta that will see the streaming service take over the "audio" section of Delta's in-flight seatback entertainment, making select playlists and podcasts freely available to all passengers. You are now free to roam about the cabin—and get the music and podcasts you love at 30,000 feet. Beginning today, we're taking off in a new partnership with...
iphone 12 colors 2021

iPhone 12 Colors: Deciding on The Right Color

Thursday November 5, 2020 8:35 am PST by
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro arrived in October 2020 in a range of color options, with entirely new hues available on both devices, as well as some popular classics. The 12 and 12 Pro have different color choices, so if you have your heart set on a particular shade, you might not be able to get your preferred model in that color. iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 The iPhone 12 mini and iPhone...