Updated: Aug 19, 2021
This year’s WWDC opened a floodgate of announcements from Apple, so let’s take a look at the 10 most exciting takeaways, from iOS 13’s Dark Mode, to the new Sidecar feature on OS Catalina and the ability to now download apps directly on the Apple Watch.
1. iOS 13 (and dark mode)
It feels like Apple users have been begging Apple to introduce a dark mode for forever. Well, Apple’s finally listened and promised that there will be a system-wide dark mode setting available when iOS 13 rolls out.
Not only that, the new iOS is set to make your phone feel even snappier by promising 30% faster Face ID unlocking and apps that launch twice as fast as they currently do.
First-party apps are also getting a revamp, with Maps getting a huge improvement by adding more details and a street view option. Apple also mentioned they’re adding more granular privacy settings regarding location sharing; users can now set it so that their location is only shared with an app one time, and the app will have to request to access the device’s location each time it requires it.
I particularly like the addition of smart organising in the Photos app, with duplicate photos being deleted and only the best shots being kept. Photos will now be automatically organised by year, month and date for easy finding.
If you value your privacy and hate receiving spam mail, Apple’s new Sign-in with Apple feature is a godsend. Instead of using your Facebook or Google accounts to log in, you can use your iPhone or iPad’s to authenticate your credentials when you log in.
In addition, Apple can even create new random emails if you want to be subscribed to email lists, with the emails being forwarded to your actual email address, thus keeping your identity safe while ensuring your email address doesn’t get added to spam mail lists.
2. OS Catalina
With this new OS coming in fall, Mac users will have a whole bunch of exciting things to look forward to.
The one that I personally am looking forward to most is the removal of iTunes. Apple is now splitting it into three separate apps; Apple Music, Apple Podcasts and Apple TV. This development means Apple device backups should be all stored in iCloud now, which is great.
Not only that, iPad apps are now able to be ported over to Mac computers thanks to the new Project Catalyst development tool. Apps like Jira Cloud, Twitter and Asphalt 9 are amongst the apps that will be available when the new OS rolls out.
But if you’re heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem and have an iPad, you’ll find the last one the most useful. With a new feature called Sidecar, you’ll now be able to use an iPad as a second screen for Macs. So if you’re a designer, you’ll be pleased to hear Sidecar offers support for Apple Pencil as well.
Breaking away from using iOS, iPads now run on their own distinct operating system, iPadOS. It’s trying even harder than before to be a desktop replacement, with MacOS features like the app expose view, desktop browsing on safari and more now available on iPads.
But the best part has to be the ability to plug a thumb drive into an iPad now and immediately access the files inside like you would on a Mac or PC.
Apple Pencil support has been beefed up as well, with the latency reduced to 9ms from 20ms previously. Split View is also updated so now you can open two instances of the same app and have them side by side; the Calculator app, for example, if you’re looking to count bills for two different meals at the same time.
Tired of having to reach for your phone to add an app onto your Apple Watch? That’s a thing of the past now. Apple has finally brought the App Store to Apple Watches, so users can now search for apps and download them right from the watch instead of having to go through their phones while developers are now free to create watch-only apps.
The Health app is also redesigned, with noise and period tracking functions added. The noise tracking feature might be a privacy concern but Apple has come out to say that while the microphone on the watch samples environmental sound periodically, the app doesn’t record or save any audio data.
Personally, Apple’s past WWDCs have always had at least one announcement that wasn’t completely satisfying or seemed somewhat illogical to me, but all the updates this time around were well planned out and surprisingly thoughtful with consumers in mind. It’s definitely an incentive for me to dive back into the Apple ecosystem if the company manages to keep this up.
All software updates mentioned above will be available to the general public in Fall 2019.