Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) kicked off on Monday, June 3 in San Jose, with a keynote presentation from Apple executives announcing a number of new software and hardware updates.
Apple CEO Tim Cook and other executives announced significant feature updates and new versions of the company’s operating systems to developers at WWDC, including iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS, and also introduced iPadOS. As usual, Apple left device announcements like new iPhones for its fall event.
SEE: Apple macOS Mojave: An insider’s guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
Here are all of the announcements made at WWDC 2019, and what businesses need to know about them:
Apple is making tvOS “more entertaining and personal,” Cook said. The OS will include a redesigned home screen, and full screen previews of TV shows and movies. It also added multi-user support for tvOS, so each user in a household or office receives their own “up next” list and personalized recommendations, similar to Netflix.
2. watch OS
With watchOS 6, the no. 1 smartwatch in the world added new features to increase power and personalization, Kevin Lynch, vice president of technology at Apple, said during the WWDC keynote. These include:
New watch faces, on which you can add more complications/information
Taptic chimes on the hour
More Apple apps, including Audiobooks, Voice Memos, Calculator (with the ability to do tip calculations and bill splitting)
Apple also announced new tools and APIs to build apps that run independently on watchOS, and no longer require a companion iPhone app. The App Store is coming to Apple Watch, so users can purchase and install apps directly on their watch. New developer tools and a new native UI framework are coming this year, Lynch said.
In terms of health features, watchOS 6 includes:
Activity Trends, offering a more complete picture of what you can do to stay active
Noise app, to warn you when noises in your environment may hurt your hearing
Cycle Tracking app, allowing women to track their period and fertility
SEE: Apple iOS 12: An insider’s guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
Apple announced the next version of its mobile operating system, iOS 13. Cook touted iOS 12’s high customer satisfaction rate (97%), and 85% of all iOS users are on the latest version.
iOS 13 will have several performance upgrades, Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, said during the keynote, including:
30% faster face ID unlock
50% smaller app downloads
60% smaller app updates
Up to 2x faster app launch speed
It will also have Dark Mode for night viewing, and the ability to swipe to type.
Other updates to iOS 13 include:
Safari: New options to change text sizes
Mail: Desktop-class formatting controls and support for rich fonts
Notes: Gallery view and support for shared folders
Reminders: Apple reinvented this app to make it more intelligent and powerful, making it easier to create reminders
Maps: Updates that make it easier to set frequent locations, and create groups of such locations
Security: Users will be able to share their location with an app just once, not permanently. It will also offer background tracking alerts.
Sign in with Apple: To reduce shared logins, iOS 13 introduces Sign in with Apple, allowing for fast, easy sign in without tracking. Developers can use a simple API to put a Sign in with apple button in the app to authenticate with FaceID without revealing any new personal information. It will also include the ability to create a unique random email address for accounts that gets forwarded to your email address.
Messages: Users can share their name and photo with the contacts of their choice. Apple also introduced Memoji Stickers.
Camera, Photos, and Videos: Upgrades to portrait lighting and editing capabilities. Users can also apply all photo effects to videos now, including flipping from portrait to landscape. Apple is also using machine learning to organize photos and reduce photo clutter to find the best shots.
AirPods: Siri can now read incoming messages as soon as they arrive, and you can instantly respond. Audio Sharing allows users to share a song with another iPhone user with just a tap. With Handoff for Homepod, users can instantly hand off whatever they are listening to your HomePod seamlessly by moving their phone close to the device when they walk in the room or leave.
HomePod: Personalized responses for every user
Siri: Siri works with third-party apps on CarPlay like Waze and Pandora. The Shortcuts app is built into iOS 13. Siri’s voice is now created with Neural text-to-speech, so the voice you hear is entirely generated by software, has more natural cadence.
Apple is already working on iOS 14 for 2020, which is expected to support 5G wireless network speeds, Bloomberg reported.
While the iPad was built on the technical foundations of iOS, Apple announced iPadOS at WWDC to take further advantage of the iPad’s giant canvas and powerful features, Federighi said.
iPadOS allows iPad users to pin widgets to their home screen, and more easily multi-task by sliding over to pick up different apps like Messages and Reminders, and easily toggle between them. A split view allows users to essentially view two screens at once side by side.
In terms of Files, Apple is adding Column view along with Icon and List view for easier searching. iCloud Drive now supports folder sharing. It also includes built-in support for SMB file sharing, so you can share files from work and home PCs. iPadOS also allows for USB drives and SD cards.
A Safari update will be bring desktop-class browsing to Safari on iPad, optimizing web browsing for the device. Apple Pencil latency will drop from 20ms to 9 ms.
This all marks a move toward the iPad becoming more like a desktop, which could benefit enterprise users who want to use their iPad for work purposes.
5. Mac Pro
In hardware news, Cook announced the new Mac Pro, “the most powerful Mac we’ve ever created.”
The Mac Pro is modular and flexible, with stainless steel handles, said John Turnus, Apple’s vice president of hardware engineering, during the keynote. It has an up to 28-core Intel Xeon processor, and over 300 watts of power. The Mac Pro has 2933MhZ ECC memory, and 1.5 terabytes of system memory. It also includes 8 internal PCIe slots, and two 10 GB ethernet cords. It also boasts a 1.4 kW power supply.
This update to Apple’s flagship desktop computer has been long awaited, as the Mac Pro had not been significantly updated since 2013, and executives had previously said that a new version would come sometime in 2019.
Alongside the Mac Pro, Apple also announced a new monitor called the Pro Display XDR with a 32″ LCD Retina 6K display and 20 million pixels, making it the largest retina display Apple has ever made.
The new Mac Pro will be available this fall, starting at $5,999. The Pro Display XDR will cost $4,999. The Pro Stand will cost an additional $999.
With a feature called Sidecar, Mac users can use their iPad as a second display for their Mac. It works both wired and wirelessly, and works across all Mac apps that support tablets.
To improve accessibility, voice control allows users to control their Mac entirely with their voice. This is also coming to iOS.
A Find My iPhone update can locate devices that are offline, which is especially useful for finding MacBooks that might be sleeping, Federighi said. It sends out a secure bluetooth beacon to help you find a device, even if it is sleeping. The whole interaction is end-to-end encrypted and anonymous, so there is no need to worry about battery life, data usage, or privacy, he added.
Catalina also includes an activation lock for Macs, making them less attractive to thieves as they can’t install or boot the device without credentials. Screen Time will also be available on macOS.
For developers, Apple announced Catalyst—the project previously codenamed Marzipan, which makes it easier for app developers to create apps that run on both iOS and macOS devices. With Catalyst, development team can build one app that can span from iPhone to iPad to Mac, Federighi said.
7. ARKit 3
Apple announced ARKit 3, which includes RealityKit, for developers who want to incorporate 3D and augmented reality (AR) capabilities into their apps, but lack experience in those areas. It offers photorealistic rendering and effects, with a native Swift API. It is available on iOS.
ARKit 3 also includes people occlusion updates that allow developers to place people in an AR scene in real time, as well as motion capture in real time.
Apple announced a new framework for its Swift programming language: SwiftUI. SwiftUI is built in Swift, for Swift, and makes code easier to write and understand. It is designed to help developers build better apps with far less code.
All software announced at WWDC will be available in the fall.
For more on the WWDC keynote, check out Apple WWDC 2019: iOS 13, a new Mac Pro and everything announced so far on CNET.