- Apple’s WWDC keynote on Monday was the best event it’s held in years.
- Over the course of over two hours, Apple executives unveiled exciting software and experiences for all its various devices, with something for everyone.
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Apple’s WWDC keynote was basically Christmas for Apple fans.
Almost every single device Apple makes – from the iPhone and iPad, to the HomePod and AirPods – got some love during Apple’s two-hour marathon keynote where it made dozens upon dozens of announcements.
Most importantly, some of Apple’s announcements specifically addressed fans’ complaints and wishes from over the years, like the need for flexibility in a Mac Pro, or the desire to have dark mode on the iPhone for easier reading.
Whether or not you watched the big keynote on Monday, here’s how Apple delivered its best event in years.
If you’re an iPad fan, WWDC 2019 may have been your best day ever.
The iPad got some real love at the WWDC 2019 keynote.
It’s officially splitting with iOS, and will now run on software called “iPadOS,” which feels like a blend of mobile and desktop environments.
The iPad also got new useful gestures to manipulate text, the ability to add and customize home screen widgets, and more.
Best of all: The iPad can also now be natively used as a second display for Mac computers (you could do this before, but would need to buy a third-party accessory), and the iPad is finally getting mouse support! People repeatedly lifting their wrists to navigate the iPad, rejoice!
If you’re an iPhone fan, you got some features you’ve been wanting for a long time.
iOS 13 introduces Dark Mode, which is not very noticeable from the home screen, but will make a huge difference in all of your favorite Apple apps.
Music, Reminders, Mail, Photos, and more can all be affected by Apple’s system-wide Dark Mode, which should make it easier to read your phone at night.
iOS 13 also introduces two heavily desired features: the ability to swipe across the keyboard to type, and a new volume UI that doesn’t take up the whole screen when you raise or lower the volume.
Apple’s most popular apps all got huge updates.
Maps, Photos, Notes, and Reminders are Apple’s biggest applications that work across iPhone, iPad, and Mac – and they all got love at WWDC 2019.
The new Maps app is way more detailed, has a new Street View-esque mode, and the ability to favorite locations and share them à la Google Maps. Photos looks different, and now curates your best moments from each day, month, and year. Notes now has a gallery view, and lets you create checklists and shared folders. And Reminders, Apple’s best app, has been completely overhauled to be smarter and more organized.
Mac fans saw their dreams come true: The iTunes problem was solved, and Apple made a pro desktop computer and monitor that will knock your socks off.
iTunes, which suffered from too many products in a single app, has now been split into three apps (Music, TV, and Podcasts) to make everyone’s lives easier.
Mac fans also benefit from the redesigned apps in iOS 13, like Reminders and Photos, and a bunch of new iPad-related abilities. iPad apps can be ported to the Mac more easily in the new “Catalina” software, and a feature called Sidecar turns your iPad into a secondary display for your Mac.
But more importantly, Mac fans got what they’ve always wanted: a pro computer that’s upgradeable and features top-of-the-line specs, and a gorgeous pro monitor to go with it. Sure, the computer and monitor aren’t cheap (they start at $6,000 and $5,000, respectively), and the monitor stand costs an extra $1,000 by itself (really, Apple?), but you don’t have to buy it. If you do need a pro-level workstation, however, some people say Apple’s new offering stacks up favorably to the competition.
Apple Watch fans got more of what they love: more health-tracking features, and more stylish watch faces.
Apple added a ton of new Watch faces in WatchOS 6, coming later this year, including new styles and complications.
More importantly, the Watch is also getting crucial health features like cycle tracking for women, and even a new noise app that can detect if ambient sound levels can be damaging to your hearing, then warn you about it.
The Apple Watch is also getting a new feature called Activity Trends, which gives you long-term analysis of your health and fitness – something the Watch doesn’t do currently.
The Apple Watch also got a full-featured App Store, independent applications that don’t require an iPhone to work, the calculator and Voice Memos apps on your wrist, and much more.
The Apple TV got some great new features, including support for a proper gaming experience.
The Apple TV will soon be able to support multiple users, which is a nice touch, but it will also crucially support game controllers – notably the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One controllers – to play games.
This is a huge boost for anyone who’s wanted to play games on the Apple TV, especially considering how Apple’s upcoming premium “Arcade” service works on the Apple TV as well as iPhone and iPad.
A new service called “Sign in with Apple” solves a problem that most people probably don’t think about.
Apple cares a lot about privacy, so it introduced a new service that lets you sign into apps and services without relying on social networks that sell your data.
Later this year, the “Sign in with Apple” button will appear inside apps and websites in the same way you see “Sign in with Google” and “Sign in with Facebook” buttons. It will similarly let you access new apps, websites, and services without needing to create new login information for each individual site.
Unlike Facebook and Google, which share personal information behind the scenes that can be used to track you, Apple says all of your information will stay private. It will even create dummy email addresses in case an app or website requires one, and will forward you any messages it receives so your real email isn’t shared with anyone.
Even the HomePod and AirPods got some love.
Your HomePod can now recognize the voices of family members, and create a personalized experience for each person. And it will also support hand-offs: Just bring your iOS device nearby the HomePod and it will let you continue listening to your music, or even finish your phone call, from the speaker.
AirPods also got a couple of new features, including the ability to have Siri read your incoming messages to you, and the ability to link two pairs of AirPods to one iPhone to listen to music or watch movies together.
Most importantly, developers — yes, this was a developers conference — got some significant tools to help build applications.
Apple created new tools for developers to help them build augmented-reality experiences, including realistic rendering and environment effects. Apple also showed off two cool AR features that devs can build into their apps, including people occlusion (where 3D objects can go behind people) and real-time motion capture.
The biggest announcement, though, was a new framework called SwiftUI, which was built for Apple’s Swift programming language. SwiftUI can take actions that normally require hundreds of lines of code and make it work in about 10 lines or so. You’ll even be able to see live previews of your apps in XCode, Apple’s development environment.
WWDC 2019 had something for everyone.
- Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
After Apple’s somewhat confusing March event to talk about “services” and Apple TV, WWDC was a return to form for the company.
Apple took years of complaints from users and addressed everything the best it could.
It really had everything: We got jabs at Android, Google, and Facebook. Apple Maps is looking better. The iPad is finally getting treated like a standalone device, with its own operating system. Mac users got a real workhorse desktop from Apple that’s actually upgradeable. iPhone users are getting dark mode. Apple TV users are getting support for multiple users and game controllers. The messiness of iTunes has been solved once and for all. “Sign in with Apple” is making it safer to sign into new applications. No albums were automatically uploaded to people’s phones.
Take all that into account and WWDC 2019 was a rousing success.