Yesterday, Apple kicked off the first day of the annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) event at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, CA. The week-long event provides a space where developers can attend sessions and meet with over 1,000 Apple engineers. And for some, the WWDC can be even more exciting than the company’s highly anticipated fall hardware announcement event, where the tech giant showcases their newest devices. Here’s a glimpse of everything that was announced during the opening keynote at WWDC 2019.
iPhone and iPad
As many had expected, Apple officially unveiled iOS 13 for iPhone and iPod Touch, with enhancements such as improved Face ID recognition and an all-new Dark Mode. Apple Maps will be adopting Lookaround, a competitive feature to the Google Street View.
But one of the key takeaways from the event was that Apple is also going all-in to position itself as a privacy-first company by adding features such as “allow just once” location-sharing for apps, and a tracking-free Apple Sign In option. The privacy theme was echoed in the smart home software framework known as HomeKit. Here Apple showcased several privacy features, such as HomeKit Secure Video, which analyzes videos from home security cameras and other domestic IoT devices locally before encrypting them and uploading to iCloud. The company also debuted new HomeKit-enabled routers from third-party manufacturers, which silo off devices to prevent entire networks from being compromised.
However, perhaps the biggest surprise of the day, relating to Apple’s mobile devices at least, was that iPad will now have its own dedicated operating system (OS), which will be known as iPadOS. The OS is rumored to have notable multitasking improvements, revamped home screen, dark screen option, improved Reminders apps, and more.
Updates to the Mac
As many had speculated, Apple lifted the lid on the next iteration of its OS for Mac computers. MacOS Catalina, or macOS 10.15, sports a number of updates, including Sidecar, which will allow Mac machines to use an iPad with Apple Pencil as a secondary display for apps such as Adobe Illustrator and Final Cut Pro X. And there will be new voice control smarts to help with accessibility, a feature that is also landing in the new versions of iOS and iPadOS.
And as previously reported, Apple is bringing third-party iOS apps to the Mac, starting with iPad apps. Catalyst, as the feature is called, makes it easier for developers to port their mobile apps over to the desktop.
iTunes has been on the way out for a considerable period of time, and Apple used WWDC 2019 to reveal it is finally pulling the plug. When Catalina rolls out, iTunes will make way for separate apps covering music, podcasts, and TV.
Though WWDC is a developer-focused event, Apple has a track record of introducing hardware at the event. As such, Apple unveiled a new modular Mac Pro, which starts at $5,999 and features an Intel Xeon processor with up to 28 cores.
Apple Watch and Apple TV
Apple used WWDC 2019 to showcase watchOS 6, which should reduce the Apple Watch’s reliance on the iPhone. The upcoming Apple Watch OS update will usher in new standalone apps for Voice Memos, Calculator, and Audiobooks.
Apple also introduced the next version of its TV-focused operating system, tvOS 13. Apple TV users will soon be able to enjoy multi-user support, meaning everyone in the family gets their own tailored recommendations and “up next” lists. The upgrade will also usher in support for PlayStation and Xbox controllers.
Augmented Reality (AR) and Artificial Intelligence
Augmented reality (AR) also got some love at WWDC 2019. First up, Apple unveiled ARKit 3, the next incarnation of its AR software development kit (SDK), with support for new features, such as automatic real-time occlusion of people viewed by the host device’s camera, and real-time motion capture.
Apple also unveiled RealityKit, a framework that enables developers to blend virtual objects with real-world environments, and Reality Composer, which makes it easier for developers to build interactive scenes with full AR support.
Apple made a number of other notable announcements at WWDC 2019. In the artificial intelligence (AI) sphere, news emerged that Siri will be getting a more natural-sounding voice, while HomePod will soon deliver personalized music based on a user’s play history, and AirPods will work with Siri to read incoming messages as soon as they arrive.
Additionally, Apple introduced Core ML 3, the latest incarnation of its machine learning model framework designed to help iOS developers embed AI smarts into their apps. For the first time, developers will be able to offer on-device machine learning for their mobile apps.