WWDC 2019 Highlights: iOS 13, MacOS Catalina, watchOS 6, Mac Pro, Sidecar, and more

Image 1 of 3

Apple unveiled a host of new features and updates to its software platforms at WWDC 2019, its annual developer conference on Monday. The Cupertino-based tech giant announced features that make its devices and product offerings more robust and multi-functional. These announcements come at a time when it is pivoting to services, after facing declining sales of the iPhone. Apple is shipping 30 percent fewer iPhones than last year, according to IDC

On Monday, Apple took aim at Facebook and Google with a new privacy feature, and unveiled a beefed up Mac Pro. Here’s a recap of their top announcements, coming soon to an Apple device near you. 

Apple Watch gets its own app store 
The upcoming update to watchOS will bring an app store directly on the watch, making it independent of the iPhone. WatchOS 6 will also bundle apps for voice memos, audiobooks, and calculator. A feature called Activity trends will display nine key metrics (such as exercise, stand, walking pace, etc) tracked over 90 days. Among health-related features, Watch will also function as a decibel meter, and do cycle tracking – logging period activity and providing fertility window predictions. Cycle tracking will also be available on the Apple Health app on iOS. 

iOS 13: Dark Mode, swiping support, memoji, and more
First, the bad news - the iPhone 5s, and iPhone 6 or 6 Plus will not be getting iOS 13. Devices that came after them, such as the iPhone SE and iPhone 7 will be supported. iOS 13 will support Dark Mode, which can be configured to turn on automatically at night.  The Photos app comes with a bunch of new adjustments, like saturation, noise reduction, and the ability to rotate a video. 
Airpods will read out messages and let you respond to them with your voice. Another new feature - Audio Sharing – lets you share a song or movie with someone else. The Memoji app is even more detailed and granular, allowing users to create a more detailed avatar of themselves. The iOS keyboard adds swiping functionality.

iPad gets its own OS
Coming to iPad Air 2, 5th generation iPads and iPads that came after that this fall, iPadOS brings multi-window support with what its calling Split View, and Slide Over, which lets you tab between apps with a swipe. The iPad also gets a native Files app, which brings the equivalent of Finder on the Mac. iPadOS will also add the ability to connect thumb drives, cameras, and more. The update also brings some nifty three finger gestures for copy and paste, and lets you shrink the iPad's keyboard to enable one-handed typing.

Apple TV as a game console
Apple is adding support for Xbox One S and Sony’s PlayStation Dual Shock game controllers to the tvOS. This should make Apple’s upcoming Arcade offering more compelling for people who own an Apple TV. Multiuser support is also coming to tvOS, and Apple Music will show lyrics to songs in sync with the music. 

New privacy sign-in feature 
Apple is taking on Facebook and Google with a “Sign in with Apple” authentication feature, which lets users sign on to apps and websites without divulging any personal information. Users can choose to hide their emails from these services – Apple makes a random new address that forwards your email, and these random addresses can be disabled by the user. 

Use your iPad as a secondary display 
Sidecar, an upcoming feature on MacOS Catalina lets users double up an iPad as a secondary display. The Sidecar feature can also be used with an iPad pencil to illustrate and edit images in apps like Illustrator, Affinity Photo, and ZBrush. 

New Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR
Long time Apple fans have moaned about Macs not being powerful enough – and Apple pleased this crowd with the only hardware announcement from the event - the new Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR. Geared for professionals and power users, the Mac Pro is fitted with an Intel Xeon processor configurable with up to 28 cores, up to 1.5 terabytes of RAM, 8 PCIe slots, multiple graphics card options, including one for video editing. The Mac Pro will be available this fall starting at $5999. The 32-inch Retina 6K display, called the Pro Display XDR has to be purchased separately, and is priced at $4999. That does not include the Pro Stand, which is priced at $1000.