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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.