Apple WWDC 2019 Highlights

Christian runs us through his favourite announcements from the latest Apple keynote.
Christian Aranda
Christian Aranda
June 13, 2019

The hype levels in the iOS developer community reached stratospheric heights last week thanks to Apple’s two-hour WWDC 2019 keynote in California. Whilst I’m still processing the content that Apple have released this year, in this post I’ll be sharing my WWDC 2019 highlights.

Apple have set the bar high for another year of designing, developing and deploying innovative user experiences across a range of devices!

Let’s take a look at some of my favourite announcements…

iPadOS

Like many users, I’ve always used my iPad as a secondary spare time kind of device as opposed to a primary computer. The introduction of iPadOS however, the first operating system for the device, aims to make it more powerful and capable of acting in more of a laptop-like capacity.

From the new and improved Safari which leans towards desktop-style browsing to the ability to run multi-windows of the same iPad app, Apple are making huge efforts to improve iPad software so that it can eventually hold its own against PCs. iPads will also now also support USB drives, SD cards and camera imports – making them a more viable device for those that like to work on the go.

They’re also making improvements to the UX. For instance, iPadOS allows users to pin widgets to the home screen for ease and apps can now slide over from the sidebar enabling easier app switching. Users can also expect to find brand new text editing gestures which further adds to the charm; it would seem that Apple are doing all that they can to push the iPad into the hands of professionals.

The developer Beta is out now, and the public release follows next month.

ipadOS apple
Pinned Widgets
Slide over

iOS 13

Apple are continuing to refine performance, security and design with the arrival of iOS 13.

From re-vamped Reminders to totally rebuilt Maps, iOS13 aims to improve the functionality of many useful features. Alongside performance boosts that ensure apps/features load faster, iOS13 introduces Dark Mode – a long-awaited feature that allows you to invert brash white-screen backgrounds and my favourite feature of this new OS.

Siri also has a new voice! Your trusty pocket voice assistant now uses neural text-to-speech technology and it can deliver messages to your AirPods so you don’t even have to pick up your phone.

dark mode ios 13
Dark Mode

With the introduction of Project Catalyst, millions of iPad apps should work natively on the Mac in a way that’s effectively indistinguishable from existing Mac software. This is expected to fuel iPad-optimized apps as developers can simply check a box in Xcode to turn an iPad app into a Mac app. Magic!

In terms of privacy, users can now expect to have more control over location-sharing. The new ‘Sign In with Apple’ feature will limit the amount of user data that’s shared with third-party apps by allowing users to log-in using their Apple ID. Marrying convenience with higher levels of security.  

In doing so, users can also choose whether or not to reveal their email address; alternatively, users can ask Sign In with Apple to generate a unique email address and password when logging in to avoid the use of single passwords across multiple platforms and apps. Users can even log-in using Face ID without revealing any additional personal information!

We’ll explore the iOS 13 security protections in greater detail in a future blog post.

iOS13 certainly gives developers a large scope of things to experiment with and unpack following its release.

The beta for developers is out now with the full release likely coming this autumn.

macOS Catalina

macOS Catalina focuses on entertainment.

iTunes is set to be replaced by dedicated apps: Music, Apple Podcasts and Apple TV. Furthermore, Macs will now support iPads as a second display thanks to Sidercar. Exciting news for those users who want touchscreen/drawing tablet capabilities!

Apple are also paying much-needed attention to accessibility and assistive technologies. Both iOS 13 and macOS offer voice control that let users verbally control everything from the volume to opening apps.

macos catalina

tvOS 13

Users will be getting a new-look Home screen complete with full-screen previews of TV shows and films. tvOS will also gain multi-user support allowing users access to personalised recommendations based on the content they consume which is great news if you live with people that have questionable taste!

There was also welcome news for gamers at the WWDC 2019 keynote. Users will no longer have to shell out for a specific controller to play games. It’s now compatible with both the XBOX One controller and the DualShock 4 controller! This is extremely good news for those of you who are excited for Apple Arcade – Apple’s gaming subscription service coming this autumn.

Apple are certainly making bold moves to take on the existing giants of home entertainment.

apple tvos

watchOS 6

The upcoming version of watchos software will make the device even more independent.

Users can access a dedicated watchOS app store where they’ll be able to download first-party apps – from a calculator to help you split the bill and voice memos for capturing spontaneous ideas. The update will also cater to the health-conscious with the introduction of a menstrual tracking app and an update that monitors your long-term activity trends.

Developers are also now able to create apps that don’t need an iPhone nearby. I imagine that has given many developers grand ideas!

watchOS apple

ARKit 3

ARKit 3 features a brand new ‘People Occlusion’ feature that allows developers to place content behind users, making the experience all the more immersive and unlocking a wealth of new potential.  

Creating AR content also just got much easier thanks to the introduction of Reality Composer. Developers can build interactive and animated scenes thanks to the the full AR support and extensive library of virtual objects.

If that wasn’t enough, RealityKit also allows developers to easily blend these virtual objects with real-world environments thanks to advancements in photo-realistic and physics-based rendering.

So impressive!

(If you’re interested in ARKit, check out our blog post on ARKit and Augmented Reality).

swift ui wwdc 2019

SwiftUI

With the introduction of both the SwiftUI framework and its reactive data partner Combine, Apple has announced the next generation of multi-platform developer tools.

Swift UI will make it easy for developers to build native apps across all Apple platforms, providing intuitive new user interface framework to help build sophisticated and innovative UI experiences. Apple’s senior VP of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, said of SwiftUI, ‘SwiftUI truly transforms user interface creation by automating large portions of the process and providing real-time previews of how UI code looks and behaves in-app. We think developers are going to love it’.

If you’re anxious to get started, Apple already offer a hands-on introduction to Swift UI.

I’ll be writing about it soon so stick around and follow us on all relevant platforms.

In conclusion…

It has been a week full of exciting announcements, from fresh developer API to hardware like the PRO Display XDR and the Mac Pro.

WWDC 2019, in my personal opinion, saw Apple deliver bigger opportunities for developers than it did for your average user. I’m excited to start experimenting with the many features that were announced!

If you’re yet to catch up, be sure to check out the amazing session videos which are now available on the Apple developer site.  

I hope you were equally impressed by the announcements made at WWDC 2019. Time to use the inspiration to start building exciting new apps and software!

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What were your highlights from the 2019 WWDC conference? Tweet us and we’ll be sure to retweet the responses!

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