At Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference this week, the company unveiled the next versions of all its operating systems—macOS 10.15 Catalina, iOS 13 (and a new iPadOS), watchOS 6, and tvOS 13–along with the much-anticipated new Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR. These updates are not anticipated to ship until September. Here is a summary of the announcement and our thoughts.
Catalina (macOS 10.15) is the beginning of a new phase for macOS. It will replace iTunes with several new apps mirroring the iOS apps: Music, Apple Podcasts and Apple TV. (No, iTunes is NOT dead! All of your music will still be available.)
Project Catalyst, an Apple technology that makes it easy for developers to convert iOS apps to the Mac, makes this technology possible. The Catalyst project is an important development. It will easily allow tens of thousands of existing iOS apps to be used on macOS. This move foreshadows a processor migration from Intel to ARM chips designed and produced by Apple, the same type of chips used in all of Apple’s other hardware products, including iPhone, iPad, Watch and TV. Once complete, this migration will forever change Mac hardware for the better.
With iOS 13, Apple promises improved Face ID recognition, smaller app downloadsand updates with faster app launches. It also brings the long overdue Dark Mode and MeMoji customization. Both features illustrate Apple’s playfulness and commitment to customization.
Another surprising, yet welcome change is separating iOS and iPadOS. The iPad is not a giant iPhone and is finally not treated like one. The ability to read and write to an external USB drive immensely increases the functionality of the device. Being able to see and use a finder style file system allows the user to finally access files without going through an app first. Just recently, I encountered a situation this update resolves. I was trying to move photos from my camera to Lightroom on the iPad. It was not possible, as the iPad couldn’t read compressed RAW files; there was no way to copy them into Lightroom. With iPadOS, I will be able to connect the SD card and open the files directly in Lightroom. This will make a big difference in how quickly people will be able to work!
The evolution of watchOS continues with the new update. Its focus on health data is encouraging and indicative of where the device is heading. There is even a Noise app that will warn you when sounds are louder than safe levels. I think we can expect both additional and more accurate sensors in the future.
tvOS and HomePod changes are also welcome additions for customers. One awesome feature is the ability to continue playing audio from your iPhone on the HomePod just by bringing the iPhone near the HomePod. Another simple, but important improvement for ease of use that highlights individual preferences is the more personalized experience on the Apple TV. Going forward, different family members will see only the shows they like in the Watch Now app,
In addition, something that will really improve the upcoming Apple Arcade game subscription service: both tvOS and iOS will support the Xbox One S and PlayStation DualShock 4 game controllers. Time will tell how much adoption Arcade will get. The support of Xbox and PlayStation controllers certainly helps.
Last, but not least, the biggest announcement of the day: the Mac Pro. This is an unapologetic product built for only the most Pro of Pro users. The new Mac will be powerful, flexible and have a display that is unbeatable. Odds are, if you are complaining about the high price tag, this tool is not something you need. The Mac Pro is meant for only those whose time is worth more than almost any amount of money. It is reminiscent of the machines Apple used to create almost 10 years ago. Glad it is back.
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