TheWWDC 2019keynote is over, and we’ve seen a lot of what we were expecting – along with plenty we weren’t. Apple’s big mid-year software event had a lot to show, and we wouldn’t blame you for missing an announcement here or there.
Now that the dust has settled, we’ve listed our ten favorite little things that Apple rattled off in its very long presentation. Kudos if you heard them all the first time around!
1. iTunes is now 3 apps (sort of)
As was rumored, Apple indeed retired iTunes. Don’t worry, its functionality has been split into three apps – Music, Podcasts, and TV – so all your existing media should be safe, and you’ll be able to enjoy media in more streamlined experiences.
Still, it’s a bit of a sad swan song for the software that single-handedly revolutionized the way consumers bought and experienced music. But, by the end of its bloated life, we’re glad to put the past behind us. Apple even made a joke at its own expense: “And when you plug in your iPhone, here’s what you’ll see…nothing!” Good night, sweet, annoying prince.
2. The Mac Pro has optional wheels!
The new Mac Pro has captivated everyone with its cheese grater-style and mind-boggling US$5,999 starting ask price (not including a monitor!). But at least it has one neat addition: wheels!
Yes, you can get optional wheels, which will probably be an additional charge. But at least you can yank your wildly expensive Mac-brand tower around the office smoothly.
3. Apple Watch now has its own App Store
This is pretty neat: you no longer need to run through your iPhone to get apps on your Apple Watch. The wearable has its own distinct, tiny version of the app store.
Of course, it’s a serious sea change moment, further divesting the Watch away from dependability on the iPhone – and given the former doesn’t work with Android phones, opens up Apple’s wearable to a much wider customer base.
4. You can use your iPad as a second screen for your MacBook
macOS Catalina is the next version of the Mac operating system, and one of its new features is Sidecar, which lets you use your iPad as a second screen. How cool!
Of course, third-party apps have enabled this for years, but it’s nice to see Apple finally release its own version. You know. Officially.
5. iPadOS lets you use thumb drives with your iPad
The newiPadOShas some cool additions that really harness the tablet real estate better than iOS ever did, but most of the new stuff is no-brainer support for things that should’ve been added years ago. Like being able to plug in USB thumb drives and SD cards to use within Files. So simple.
6. ‘Find My’ now lets you find lost MacBooks
There’s a new device-finding app in town: ‘Find My’ combines both of the old ‘Find My iPhone’ and ‘Find My Friends’ apps into one. But it doesn’t just find your devices that happen to be switched on – ‘Find My’ can locate devices, including MacBooks and other machines, that are unpowered.
How? By pinballing around other Apple devices’ Bluetooth beacons until it finds your device. Securely, of course.
7. HomePod’s getting access to 100,000 radio stations
Okay, there’s a couple actually cool things coming to HomePod, like Hand-off. But what’s even cooler? Over 100,000 radio stations coming to the smart speaker through iHeart Radio, TuneIn and Radio.com. Pretend you can’t just ask the speaker for the exact track you like and let destiny guide your tunes.
8. ‘Sign In with Apple’ protects you from spam… and is mandatory
‘Sign in with Apple’ is a new feature iniOS 13that lets Apple slide in to authenticate when sites or services ask to ‘Sign in with Google/Facebook.’ It prevents you from submitting personal details like email and creates individual hashed sub-email accounts that forward to your main account, which you can cancel at your leisure.
It seemingly proves Apple really wants you to be comfortable, at the expense of so many data-hungry companies. But as developer Ben Sandofskytweeted, it seems mandatory to sign up for (or will be upon updating to iOS 13). Hmm.
9. Maps’ 3D angle and street view are closing the gap with Google Maps
Apple showed off new Maps capabilities, but the nicest thing might just be how it looks. Currently, Maps looks flat compared to Google Maps’ endearing three-dimensional buildings that reach to the sky. But Apple seems to be catching up, and developing a more robust Street View-style perspective. Data is another story, but visually, Apple is catching up.
10. The year Machine Learning did everything
This was the WWDC where Apple used machine learning to head off questions we haven’t asked yet. What were the lyrics to that song? ML will parse the audio and show you (thanks, Shazam). Which podcast did I hear that phrase? ML in the Podcasts app will search through (all?) podcasts to find it. Too many photos to sift through? Pop in the Photos tab of the app and ML will arrange your photos in a tasteful tableau by day, month, or year – showing only representative photos. It’s wild.