Summary of Announcements from WWDC 2019 Keynote

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Apple today kicked off its annual Worldwide Developer's Conference (WWDC) with the traditional keynote presentation.

WWDC is when the world gets a preview of the software coming out of Cupertino in the Fall. We traditionally see the next iterations of Apple's operating systems for all of its main platforms and maybe a new service or cloud-based offering. This year was no exception: iOS 13, macOS Catalina, watchOS 6, and tvOS 13 were all showcased on stage.

Amongst the highlights were a new accessibility feature that lets you control iOS and macOS with your voice; a system-wide dark mode for iOS; the iPad getting its own version of iOS; Apple making it easier for developers to transition existing iPad apps to the Mac; and Taptic chimes coming to Apple Watch.

Below we bring you a summary of today's announcements.

tvOS 13

Apple kicked off proceedings with a preview of “For All Mankind”, one of its upcoming TV shows. It's a sci-fi show that explores what would have happened had the space race never ended.

This led in to a very brief look at tvOS 13, which brings multi-user support to Apple TV. This will allow everyone in the home to have their own Up Next list and personalized recommendations and music listening thanks to the addition of profiles.

Other changes coming in tvOS 13 include:

  • New under the sea screen savers.
  • Addition of lyrics for Apple Music.
  • Support for Xbox One S and PlayStation Dualshock 4 controllers.

watchOS 6

Next up was watchOS 6. Although not given a significant amount of stage time today, this update brings a number of notable new features and changes to the Apple Watch.

One that's sure to be of particular interest to our community is Taptic Chimes, a new feature for the Apple Watch which will give you a discreet tap on the wrist on the hour, and an audible chime if the audio is turned on.

New apps are also coming to the Apple Watch.

These include a Noise app, which uses the Apple Watch microphone to measure the ambient sound around you and alert you if something is loud enough to impact your hearing. Apple stressed that audio is not recorded or saved, so you should have no concerns over privacy.

For women, there’s a new Cycle Tracking app for tracking menstrual cycles. It offers a simple, discreet way to visualize your cycle and can give you a notification when a period is about to begin.

There are additional new health and fitness capabilities coming in watchOS 6. For instance, the Activity app is getting a new Activity Trends feature so you can see your progress over time. It will compare trends over the last 90 days to the last 365 days so you can see if you’re keeping on track.

Elsewhere, there’s a new Summary view for health-related info that uses machine learning to identify and display highlights and the specific areas of data that you like to monitor.

Before we mention some more new apps coming to the Apple Watch, there's the big news that watchOS 6 will introduce an App Store to Apple Watch so you can download watch-only apps without the need for an iPhone. You will be able to read reviews, search for apps, get Apple editor recommendations, and download apps right on your wrist. Apple Watch apps will also no longer need to have a companion iPhone app, making them completely standalone.

Other new apps coming to the Apple Watch include Audiobooks, Voice Memos, and Calculator.

There are new Wind and Rain complications for Apple Watch faces, along with one for the Voice Memos app and a complication for the new Noise app which will display a decibel level meter.

And as no watchOS announcement is complete without the mention of new watch faces, we will be getting some of these too. In fact, Apple says that watchOS 6 will bring more new watch faces this year than since the first Apple Watch. New watch faces include a Gradient face that, animates with the time; Numerals face, Digital face, California dial, and the Solar face which visualizes the sun's 24 hour path around the dial.

watchOS 6 includes the streaming audio API, so you can stream podcasts, live sports games, and more all with just your watch.

The final piece of news for Apple Watch owners, was that Apple is adding an all new pride edition watch band and new Apple Watch bands in summer colors.

iOS 13

Top of the list for many in our community might be the news that Siri is getting a new voice in iOS 13.

Neural Text to Speech is a new voice that’s entirely generated by software with a more natural cadence. In its on stage demonstration of the new voice, Siri sounded much more natural, especially with longer sentences.

iOS 13 introduces a system-wide dark mode. There’s a dark appearance for notifications, widgets, calendar, photos, notes, and the keyboard.

During the demonstration of dark mode, there was a very brief mention of a new swipe-based keyboard called the “QuickPath Keyboard”. Unfortunately, it was unclear from the demo how this works, so we are left to speculate for now over how this might work with VoiceOver.

With iOS 13, Apple builds on the performance improvements that were its focus in iOS 12, saying that unlocking with Face ID is 30% faster, downloads 50% smaller, updates 60% smaller, and apps will launch twice as fast.

There are a number of new privacy features coming in iOS 13: you can share your location to an app just once, and then require the app to ask you again next time it wants it; apps will no longer be permitted to scan your WiFi or Bluetooth to get your location; and Apple is going to add reports so you know what apps are up to.

Also related to privacy, iOS 13 will introduce “Sign In With Apple”, a new service which Apple says will be an easy way to sign in to an app or website without revealing personal information.

Each app or website will be given a unique and randomized email address which forwards to your main email address and can be disabled at any time.

Sign In With Apple will be available across all Apple products and on the web.

Other Miscellaneous iOS Changes

  • Notes has a new gallery view and support for folders.
  • Reminders has been entirely redesigned, is getting smart lists, and tagging people will show a notification next time you open a Messages thread with them.
  • Safari can change text sizing on a per-website basis.
  • Mail is getting Rich fonts.
  • Maps with more details will roll out to entire US by end of 2019.
  • Maps introduces “Collections”, which will enable you to create groups of destinations. You will also now be able to create favorites.
  • Roads, beaches, parks, and buildings will all be shown in more detail in the Maps app.
  • The Maps app gains a 3D street view with a new “Look Around” feature.
  • Other new Maps features and improvements include Junction View for China, real-time transit, Siri guidance, share ETA, and flight status.
  • HomeKit is getting a new “HomeKit Secure Video” feature. It uses your Apple devices to analyze videos and then an encrypted stream is sent to iCloud where no one, not even Apple can see it. You’ll be alerted to activity and can review what’s going on. 10 days worth of video is stored and it doesn’t count towards your iCloud storage space. It’s going to work with cameras from Logitech, Netatmo, and Eufy at launch.
  • Apple is adding HomeKit support to routers from Eero, Linksys, and internet service providers like charter spectrum to improve privacy.
  • The Messages app is getting profiles where you can add a name and a photo (including an animoji/memoji avatar). Your profile is only shared when you message someone.
  • Apple is adding new Memoji features like eyeshadow, lipstick options, piercings, teeth options (braces, gap tooth), earrings, new hair options, more hats, new glasses, and AirPods. Memoji stickers give you a new way to use Memoji. A sticker pack will be added for each of the Memoji you create. They’re available in Messages, but also through the keyboard in all apps. Memoji stickers will be supported on all devices with an A9 chip or later.
  • There’s a number of new tools and a new interface for photo and video editing.
  • Advanced machine learning techniques in Photos will show your best photos to create a diary of your life. There’s a new Photos tab where you can organize Photos by Years, Months, and Days. Days is the best way to get a close-up view of a given day. Months picks out meaningful events in your life by month.
  • There’s a new call spam filtering feature that’ can send unknown callers right to voice mail.

iPadOS

According to Apple, the time has come to recognize the iPad platform “in a special way”. The result is that iPads are now going to run iPadOS, a new version of iOS designed specifically for the iPad.

In addition to all of the changes coming in iOS 13. the iPad Home screen has been redesigned in iPadOS with a tighter grid, and you can pin widgets right on your home screen.

There’s a new multitasking feature that lets you switch between Slide Over windows with just a swipe up and a tap (no news yet on what the VoiceOver gesture will be); and multi-window capabilities that will allow you to open two instances of the same app side-by-side.

There’s a new App Expose feature on iPad so you can see all of your open apps and Split View interfaces for faster switching.

The Files app is getting a major overhaul in iPadOS that's going to potentially make the iPad a more viable laptop alternative. There’s a new Column View for easier file navigation, file previews, iCloud folder sharing, file services, and USB drive support. There's also built-in support for SMB file sharing.

Safari on iPad will now display the desktop versions of websites and also support downloads.

There are a number of new gestures coming to the iPad with iPadOS. These include new gestures for cursor control, dragging, copying, pasting, and undoing actions.

macOS Catalina

The new version of macOS is called macOS Catalina.

The most significant news for our community from this part of the keynote is that Apple announced a new accessibility feature called Voice Control, allowing users to control their Mac and iOS devices entirely using vocal commands.

Full details of how Voice Control is implemented are still to be confirmed, but it appears to support dictation and editing on both platforms, along with comprehensive menu navigation.

We understand that on iOS, the feature utilizes attention awareness to know when a user with physical motor limitations is interacting with their device.

Apple says that none of the audio processed by Voice Control can be accessed by anyone else, including Apple, thanks to built-in anonymity and encryption.

Developers can now make use of “Project Catalyst” to create apps for Mac based on their existing iPad apps. Simply checking a box in the existing app project should do much of the ‘heavy lifting’ in regard to what's required for transitioning the app to Mac.

Apple has already been working with a number of developers using Project Catalyst, with Twitter reportedly saying it was super easy to create a Mac app.

Elsewhere in macOS Catalina, iTunes is to be replaced with three apps - Apple Music, Apple Podcasts, and TV.

The new TV app supports 4K HDR playback and Dolby Atmos on the Mac.

Synchronizing your iOS devices will now be handled in a new section of Finder.

There’s a new app called Sidecar that lets you use your iPad as a second display for your Mac.

Other new features and changes in macOS Catalina include:

  • New "Find My" app combines Find my iPhone with Find my Friends and now supports Mac. Can now locate Apple devices that are offline via Bluetooth beacons that leverage other people’s nearby devices.
  • Activation Lock available on T2-equipped Macs to disable stolen Macs.
  • There's a new Screen Time app for the Mac.
  • The Reminders app has been heavily redesigned and includes more features.
  • Updated Safari start page.
  • Gallery view in Notes.

Other Miscellaneous Announcements

  • HomePod will learn to recognize who in your family is talking and personalize the response so you can play different playlists, favorites, and more.
  • Handoff is coming to HomePod. When you walk through the door, just bring your iPhone close to HomePod to transfer podcasts, music, and more.
  • Live radio is coming to Siri from iHeartRadio and TuneIn, with over 100,000 stations available.
  • When you’re using AirPods, Siri will now read your messages to you and you can instantly respond to them. If you’re working out, for example, and you get a message (from Messages or any third-party app), Siri will read it to you and then send your response to the person messaging you.
  • There’s a new sharing feature for AirPods that’s going to let you share your audio with another AirPods user.
  • CarPlay is getting overhauled with what Apple said is the biggest update since its launch. There’s a new Calendar app, Music is redesigned, Siri now works with third-party apps like Pandora and Waze.
  • Apple News+ Expanding to United Kingdom and Australia in iOS 13.
  • ARKit is getting some major improvements. It has people occlusion, can layer virtual content in front and behind them. Motion capture lets you capture motion from users and feed it into the AR experience.
  • New SwiftUI framework designed to help devs build apps with less code. It offers immediate preview updates; drag and drop support; dark mode support; and right to left language support.

Hardware News

Apple today gave us a first look at the new modular Mac Pro and 32-inch 6K Retina display coming later this year.

The new Mac Pro has a stainless steel frame that allows for modules to be mounted. It uses Intel Xeon processors with up to 28 cores, supports 300W power, up to 1.5TB of RAM, and has 8 internal PCI slots.

The base specification Mac Pro comes with 8-core XEON, 32GB memory, 256GB SSD, costs $5999 and it’s coming this fall. The Apple Display XDR is $4999 or $5999 - $999 for the Pro Stand.

In Closing

In many instances, we were given very little information today on how new features have been implemented and how they will work. Fortunately,, more details of what to expect from this Fall's software releases will become available over the next few days as WWDC continues and people get their hands on the first betas. However, it's already clear that there's lots for us to look forward to.

Post a comment below to let us know what in particular you will be looking forward to or what you were disappointed not to hear during today's event.

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26 Comments

#1 Apple forgot to include

I thought that the WWDC keynote was a great success. However, Apple forgot to include the iPod Touch (6th generation) on the compatible devices list which will support iOS 13. I don't want to miss out on the new features. Why won't the iPod Touch (6th generation) run iOS 13? Does it not have an A9 chip? That device was developed in 2015. So, it should be able to run the new software. I liked learning about the new features in WatchOS 6. The hourly haptic chimes sounds like a great feature.

#2 several questions

Will I be able to buy music still or will I have to pay for apple music?
will I still be able to listen to music I already purchased? especially enterested in this as I have music in ! cloud.
also will Usb. flash drive support come to the ipad mini 4? how will I get it?

#3 "quite about iTunes

Is iTunes going away? Will I have to find another music source?

#4 backing up from Itunes on windows

Thanks for the round up here. If they're getting rid of Itunes I wonder how I am going to to do a backup equivalent to a Itunes on the PC.

#5 Unable to Listen But...

I was not able to listen in today, but as always thank you for providing another great round-up of the event. I'm excited about the new voice, although tbh I never had a problem with any of the voices on my Mac and I like the ones currently on my iPhone. Hopefully the iOS government alerts will be fixed. I'm told this might be why I've had voicemail issues as of late when accessing it from my iPhone. But anyway, I hope to catch Apple's event or some of it later in the week.

#6 Voice control

I'm looking forward to trying out Voice Control. that's one feature I'm looking forward to testing.

#7 replaced with Apple Music

Hi,
to answer your question, it'll be replaced with Apple Music, it's default music player, just like iOS. the iTunes Store, on the other hand, is not going away anytime soon, it'll still be available, but as a separate app, just like all other apps. hope that answered your question.

#8 iTunes is not going

Hello,
iTunes is not going away forever. iTunes will be replaced by 3 apps on the Mac: Apple Music, Apple Podcasts and Apple TV. However, iTunes on windows will stay in it's current state.

#9 siri and iTunes

It is nice about the quality of the voice for siri. However if siri does not work well when you ask a question or to do something what is the point? They need to fix siri taking forever to respond and sometimes you have to ask the same question several times. iTunes hope that apple releases the 3 apps for windows. I have over 3000 songs and my audible books which are over 300 books. I will cross my finger regarding iTunes and windos because without iTunes audible will be hard to play them. The audible manager player is garbage.

#10 So much to unpack

As apples list of devices and services keeps growing longer, so too does the complexity of all these use cases. It is interesting about the music app replacing itunes on the mac, I'd assume you'd still be able to access your library and to point the app at local files. They'll have thought of this.

I wonder what voiceover specific changes there will be. I'd like to see better keyboard control on ipad os with shortcut keys and quicker ways of skipping through dense menu options like typing the first letter. Also, there is still too much disparity between voiceover on mac and voiceover on ios. Part of this is just the system being set up differently, but some of the controls are just weird, especially when it comes to interacting with forms, having to select or not, quick nav on or off... It still puzzles me. It could certainly do with some simplification, so fingers cross that is the case.

I'm kinda excited about the prospect of the controllers actually. I've heard that it's kinda possible for us blind folk to play fighting games. I wonder if the haptec feedback will open up any other gaming options for us... Remember sega bass fishing? *Looks whistfully into the distance*... But it would mean we have a games machine already without having to fork out on a chance with something like a playstation... And if there is a gaming console in more blind hands, then there is a market... Take note app developers.

Finally, the apple watch, I really hope they allow for the speaker to play audio rather than having to connect to bluetooth headphones all the time... Though it is interesting that it might actually become a complete stand alone device, at least for out and about use. You're not going to be browsing the internet on it.

#11 Swipe keyboard

From what I understand about swipe keyboards, I believe that instead of tapping on each key, you slide your finger between them, never taking it off the screen. Swipe keyboards are apparently quite popular with sighted people, and the only way to use one on iOS up until now has been to use a third-party keyboard.

I would imagine that the only way it impacts VoiceOver users would be if VoiceOver users chose to use direct touch typing.

#12 Which iPhones will be compatible with IOS 13?

Hi! I heard some of the WWDC Keynote, yesterday evening French time, but I missed almost everything concerning iPhones. For this reason, I have one important question: which iPhones will support IOS 13? I read in the pre-WWDC rumours that no iPhones older than the 7 will be able to use IOS 13, and I would expect my iPhone 6 not to be compatible as it will soon be five years old. Thanks in advance for confirmation of which iPhones will be compatible with IOS 13, from anyone who heard the whole presentation.

#13 iPhone support

Clare, it will support the 6S as well, I've recently read an article about it.

#14 Supported iPhones

iOS 13 will be available to iPhone devices (starting with the iPhone 6S, meaning that iPhone 5S and iPhone 6 users will be left behind).

#15 backing up from Itunes on windows

Ok Itunes on windows is sticking around. thanks for answering.

#16 supported iPads?

Good afternoon all. What Ipads will be supported by the new Ipad OS? I have an iPad minny four that is running the latest iOS without a problem.

#17 The iPad Mini 4 is included

The new iPadOS will support the iPad Mini 4, but not the 3 or 2.

#18 iTunes

I do not think they will create updates to it. For how long it will last. I am sad because I like iTunes in my Windows 10. Hope apple releases the 3 apps for windows.

#19 What about the iPod

What about the iPod Touch (6th generation)? Will it still be running iOS 13? Apple forgot to include that device on the compatible devices list. The iPod Touch (6th generation) was developed in 2015. So, it should be able to run the new software.

#20 iTunes for windows will stay

According to an article I red on macrumors, iTunes for windows will stay around. only Mac will be getting the 3 apps as mentioned, music, podcasts, and TV.

#21 About the iPod Touch

The iPod touch 6th generation has been dropped from the supported devices. The 7th generation is the only iPod touch that will get iOS 13.

#22 are the iTunes replacement apps really new

I'm a bit confused about the 3 apps that will be replacing iTunes. Are they going to be added to only the Mac?, or do we all get them? Also, my iPhone already has apps for music, tv, and news. Do these currently not exist on a Mac? I am a Windows user, so don't know.

#23 iTunes

Are they going to release updates for it? They will probably not.

#24 I was expecting to be

I was expecting to be disappointed, but there are a few things that excited me. I'm stoked for homepod handoff, and the live radio stations with Siri will be neat too. The improved Siri voice sounds nice on paper, but I didn't notice much of a difference from the short demo. I might be surprised though once I play with it as I'm currently using the Siri voice with VO, so improvements to the waa she says things will be welcome. There are a few accessibility-focused sessions at WWDC, so I'll be interested to see if they talk about anything new, instead of the usual basics of including accessibility in apps. A Couple years ago they had a session that covered that, but also showed the then new custom rotor actions, but I don't think I've seen that in any apps, outside of maybe Pages.

#25 Very Cool!

I've been listening to last week's keynote and I'm really liking it. The new TTS sounds very nice, and I'm excited to use it. Granted I'm not quite a power user yet, but I have done a lot of creative writing as time permits. My only question about this year's WWDC is this: Is it really true that over 90% of people use Apple products these days? Not trying to discount anyone here, nor trying to discount Apple. They have been truly innovative over the years, and I think it's fair to say that this innovation is reflected in their products. But for some reason this statistic sounds a bit exaggerated to me. Or perhaps I'm just being rather naive or something, lol. In any case, I think this is the best WWDC keynote I've heard and I've only heard a small handful of them.

#26 I don't know about itunes for

I don't know about itunes for windows. i know it's still going to be around, but will it be updated? that's something you'll just have to wait and see. I'm excited for the macOS Music TV and podcasts apps. And to answer Charles' question, No these apps are only on the mac side. We already have these on iOS, but they're comming to the mac, finally.