Apple 2019 WWDC Keynote: Key Takeaways

Apple just delivered it’s latest WWDC keynote for 2019, clocking in at just over 2.5 hours, and demonstrating all the cool stuff the company has had in development for the past year. If you were too busy to tune in, we’ve managed to condense all of the key highlights into bite sized chunks – jump in and bring yourself up to date!

Apple TV Now Compatible With Console Controllers

In the next few months, Apple will make moves to ensure that existing console controllers are now compatible with Apple TV. This means that Playstation Dualshock and Xbox One gaming controllers will now work in harmony with Apple’s soon to be launched subscription gaming service: Apple Arcade.

Apple TV Now Supports Multiple Users

If you’re fed up of getting Apple TV viewing recommendations based on what your kids are watching, because you share an account profile, this update is likely to be popular. Apple TV now enables you to create different individual profiles and switch between them accordingly. This means Apple TV can serve up targeted recommendations based on individual viewing patterns. OK, so this isn’t a quantum technological leap, but it’s a clever iteration, and a step in the right direction for Apple TV.

Updates To Apple Watch

There were a number of new updates to the Apple WatchOS, most of which are designed to enable the device to function without being tethered to the iPhone. Here’s a breakdown of the major enhancements Apple will be making to WatchOS:

  • A dedicated App Store for Apple Watch for buying and storing new apps straight to the Watch itself – without tethering to iPhone
  • Dedicated Apple Watch apps that can function seamlessly without a companion-equivalent on iPhone
  • Embedded support for Shazam
  • A ‘Noise’ function that enables the Watch to detect if surrounding noise levels are liable to damage the users hearing (Apple was keen to emphasise that the feature does not record or store any external audio)
  • Integrated ‘Audio Streaming API’s’ which enable Apple Watch users to stream live content, such as sports events, on the move
  • A menstrual cycle tracking feature which integrates with Health App for iOS
  • Custom designed calculator, voice memo and audiobook apps specifically for Watch

Updates To iOS13

Apple used the 2019 WWDC event to announce a plethora of new iterations to iOS13. If you’re a developer, the latest beta update is available to download now, with a public beta build becoming available in July and a full-production roll-out to the general public in September/October 2019. Here’s a quick round-up of all the iOS13 specific updates:

  • Sign-In With Apple: This is a major update for Apple and potentially a swipe at competitors such as Google and Facebook in terms of addressing user privacy concerns. Users can now nominate not to share personal email information when new apps are downloaded and installed. Apple has developed a sign-in solution that enables users to log-in to new apps and services using their Apple account, using FaceID to verify the authenticity of each login attempt. This is a super clever move from Apple in terms of addressing privacy concerns, and the system works because Apple can now generate a random email address so users don’t have to share personal details
  • App installs are now more economical – approximately 50% smaller upon install, and 60% lighter in terms of updates
  • Apps are now capable of launching at double the speed
  • Similar to OSX, Dark Mode is now available for iOS. This is a new style of interface for users who find the traditional colour scheme too bright.
  • The Apple Music app now supports time-synched lyrics, great news for Karaoke fans!
  • iOS13 arrives with Swipe Keyboard baked into the OS as standard, so no third party apps required
  • The Reminders app now integrates directly with iMessage
  • HomeKit Secure Video now leverages local devices rather than iCloud. This means that footage can be encrypted locally on the device before being sent to the cloud.
  • Memojis received a sizable overhaul, with the addition of new customisation options including new hats, different teeth, piercings, makeup and AirPods
  • Apple announced its intention to completely rebuild Apple Maps. Using its own street scanning vehicles, Apple is now serving up a direct competitor to Google Street View.

Updates to CarPlay, HomePod & AirPods

  • CarPlay is receiving an overhaul, and Siri will integrate directly with external third party apps like Waze and Pandora
  • AirPods can now dictate incoming messages to the user
  • iPhone can now stream content directly to the HomePod when in close proximity
  • Audio Sharing functionality now enables users to stream audio directly to multiple sets of AirPods

Updates to iPad OS

The iPad OS is a separate branch of iOS specifically for iPad, and received a bunch of new enhancements at WWDC 2019:

  • New gestures have been added, including a three-finger swipe to cut and paste content
  • A number of widgets can automatically be pinned to the home screen
  • The iPad Files App has received an overhaul with enhanced browsing capability, functionality for iCloud folder sharing, with the ability to support SD Cards and external drives

MacPro, Pro Display XDR and MacOS Catalina

Apple announced some interesting updates for the MacPro, the Pro Display XDR and the new MacOS Catalina:

  • The new standard model MacPro will be equipped with an 8-core Xeon with 32GB of memory and a 256GB SSD, and start at an eye-watering $5999.
  • The new Pro Display will cost an additional $5999 and for users looking to purchase the stand, that will cost an extra $999, not for the faint hearted!
  • The biggest update in regards to MacOS Catalina was the death of iTunes. All of the iTunes functionality has now been divided up and split into three separate apps: Apple TV, Apple Music and Apple Podcasts

Apple ARKit 3 and SwiftUI

For the Augmented Reality developers, ARKit 3 represents the latest iteration of Apple’s AR SDK. The SDK now contains embedded support for motion capture and ‘people occlusion’ which adds an extra layer of realism for AR developers to leverage when crafting new experiences.

SwiftUI also received a sizable update, providing an entirely new interface for crafting Swift apps. This will automatically support functionality such as ‘Dark Mode’ and dynamic screen rotation.

Conclusion

Apple’s more recent WWDC events are less about reinventing the wheel, and more about gentle iterations. Whereas historically, many Apple fans became accustomed to radical updates and surprise new product announcements, in recent years Apple has done a fantastic job of steadily introducing iterative enhancements across the board. It’s incredible to think how far iOS has advanced over the years and with exciting new updates to Watch OS and ARKit, we start to get a clear vision of where Apple might choose to go in the next three to five years, with heavy emphasis on untethered support for Apple Watch, and an increased focus on immersive AR experiences driven by ARKit.


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