Apple hosted the company’s World Wide Developers Conference on Monday afternoon, showing off a long list of features for Apple Watch, iPhones, iPads, and the newest Apple TV. Since most Apple users have iPhones and iPads, most of the updates and features announced today are found on those devices. Apple outlined iOS 13 during the event, which introduces the user requested Dark Mode setting. Apple fans will also find new ways to browse and edit photos; sign in to apps and websites; and navigate through an all-new Apple Maps design. The company stated that the new operating system is “faster and more responsive” than previous versions, with optimizations across the system that “improve app launch, reduce app download sizes and make Face ID even faster.”
“iOS 13 brings new capabilities to the apps you use every day, with rich updates to Photos and Maps, and privacy-protecting features like Sign In with Apple, all while delivering faster performance,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “We’re excited for customers to experience what’s coming to iPhone this fall and can’t wait for them to see how great everything looks in Dark Mode.”
The new Dark Mode setting will work system-wide and across all native apps when enabled. The new system is available to third-party app developers for integration into their own apps and can be scheduled to turn on automatically at sunset or at a certain time. In Photo Editing, Apple is using on-device machine learning to curate your photos that you have stored. Apple hopes to scour your photo library to highlight the best images you have on file, then automatically hide clutter and similar photos to make finding the best shots easier than before. According to Apple, preview photos and videos are intelligently organized, so you can browse, discover, or auto play videos. Another update to photo editing includes a swipe gesture. Users can use a swipe to increased or decreased effects on the fly. In iOS 13, most photo editing tools are now available for Video Editing as well, making it possible to rotate, crop or apply filters right within the Photos app. You can also adjust Portrait Lighting and effects right in the Camera app. Users can virtually move the light closer to sharpen eyes and brighten and smooth facial features or push the light farther away to create a subtle, refined look. Apple is also introducing a High-Key Mono effect for a monochromatic look within Portrait Mode.
The Reminders on your phone are also getting a new look, and there are better ways to create, organize, and edit them. A quick toolbar makes it easier to add times, dates, locations and flags, or add attachments to the reminders right on your phone. With deeper integration with Messages, it’s easy to tag someone in a reminder so that it surfaces when the user messages with that person. The Messages app can now automatically share a user’s name and photo, or customized Memoji or Animoji, to easily identify who is in the Messages thread. Memoji are automatically made into sticker packs built into the iOS keyboard, so they can be used in Messages, Mail and other apps. Memoji also feature new hairstyles, headwear, makeup, piercings and accessories.
Siri features a more natural voice with the upgrade, and Siri Shortcuts now supports Suggested Automations that provide personalized routines for things like heading to work or going to the gym. If you use CarPlay, you’ll notice a new Dashboard to view music, maps and more in a single view. There’s also a new Calendar app and Siri support for third-party navigation and audio apps. HomePod also received new features and updates. Apple stated that HomePod can distinguish voices from anyone in the home to deliver personal requests, including messages, music and more. Live radio gives Siri access to over 100,000 radio stations from iHeartRadio, radio.com and TuneIn, and a new sleep timer turns off music after a set amount of time. Handoff enables users to easily move music, podcasts or a phone call to HomePod when they arrive home. Siri can also read incoming messages as soon as they arrive through AirPods, from Messages or any SiriKit-enabled messaging app. A new audio sharing feature makes it easy to watch a movie or share a song with a friend by simply bringing a second pair close to iPhone or iPad. The new operating system also enables users to operate their iPhone, iPad or Mac entirely by their voice. Using the latest Siri speech recognition technology, Voice Control gets even more accurate text transcription and editing.
A few of the small upgrades include a new Notes Gallery View; QuickPath‘s swipable native keyboard; enhanced Text Editing; and the Files app can share folders with iCloud Drive and access files from external storage devices like SD cards and USB flash drives.
Don’t forget about the iPad, which is also getting a new operating system. Called iPadOS, the new system hopes to make it easier to run apps in multiple windows; offers a redesigned Home screen; and creates more natural ways to use Apple Pencil.
“iPad transforms how people work and express their creativity, and with iPadOS, we’re taking it even further by delivering exciting capabilities that take advantage of its large canvas and versatility,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “iPadOS delivers exciting features, including a new Home screen with widgets, more powerful multitasking and new tools that make using Apple Pencil even more natural.”
The new Home Screen can offer Today View, which allows users quick access to widgets for at-a-glance information. These can include headlines, weather, calendar, events, tips and more. The OS also allows users to work with multiple files and documents from the same app simultaneously. This is done with updates to Split View. Users can quickly view and switch between multiple apps in Slide Over as well. For example, customers can compose an email while viewing another email side by side or access multiple apps like Messages or Calendar with just a swipe. App Exposé provides a quick view of just the open windows for any one app with a simple tap.
If you love the Apple Pencil, then you’ll be happy to know that you can now mark up and send entire webpages, documents or emails on iPad by swiping Apple Pencil from the corner of the screen. A redesigned tool palette gives quick access to tools, color palettes, shapes, object eraser, a new pixel eraser for removing any part of a stroke, and a ruler for drawing perfectly straight lines.
Apple Watch is getting the watch0S 6 update soon. The new operating system introduces a Cycle Tracking app that gives women the ability to log important information related to their menstrual cycles and see predicted timing for their next period and fertile window. The daily log function enables the quick addition of information related to the menstrual cycle, including current period, flow, symptoms, results from ovulation prediction kits and other elements of fertility tracking. Another feature protects your hearing. The Noise app helps users understand the sound levels in environments such as concerts and sporting events that could negatively impact hearing. As the sound levels change, the app’s decibel meter moves in real time. The watch can send a notification if the decibel level reaches 90 decibels, which can begin to impact hearing after four hours per week of exposure at this level, according to the World Health Organization.
A new Trends tab in the Activity app on iPhone now gives users a long-term view of their activity behavior to help them understand their progress. At a glance, the tab shows whether the trends are up or down for key metrics such as active calories, exercise minutes, walking pace and others. If the last 90 days of activity shows a downward trend relative to the last 365 days, the Activity app offers coaching to help the user get back on track. The Apple Watch is also introducing the App Store directly on the Apple Watch. Users can easily install third-party apps, search for apps using Siri, dictation or Scribble and view app product pages designed for the watch screen right from the wrist.
“Apple Watch has become an indispensable part of our customers’ everyday lives, from helping users stay connected to the people and information they care about, to inspiring them to live a better and more active day,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. “watchOS 6 extends our commitment to helping users better manage their health and fitness with powerful and personal new tools.”
Smaller updates to the Apple Watch include dynamic new Watch Faces and customization options, like Modular Compact, Solar Dial, California, Gradient, and Numerals faces. Users will also find a new Voice Memos app; audiobooks purchased on Apple Books; a new Calculator app for tips and splitting the check; and Siri search queries can display webpage results in full on Apple Watch. The Apple GymKit compatibility is now available to manufacturers Octane Fitness, TRUE Fitness, and Woodway.
On the Apple TV front, users can look forward to several upgrades and new features. The new operating system goes by the name tvOS 13, and the Apple TV 4K gets a new Home screen; multi-user support; the new Apple Arcade service; controller support for the Xbox One 1 and PS4 controllers; and new 4K HDR screen savers filmed under the sea.
“tvOS powers the Apple TV 4K experience and continues to set the standard for home entertainment,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of Product Marketing. “With more personalized features to enjoy your favorite TV shows, movies, photos and music, expanded gaming support and stunning new screen savers, tvOS 13 delivers the most complete entertainment experience to everyone in the home.”
The new Home Screen makes it easier to find new content, and preview suggested content from Apple. Just like Hulu, users can now have multiple profiles stored on the device, so each user in a shared home can have their own settings and personalized content settings. The new profile system allows each user to save playlists from Apple Music as well. In the new Control Center, users can quickly access the song that is currently playing, or follow on-screen lyrics to sing along. As we mentioned earlier, Apple Arcade is launching on Apple TV 4K. The single subscription service allows a family of six will have unlimited access to over 100 new and exclusive games. These games are ad-free and won’t require additional purchases. Apple stated that many of the games will offer support for game controllers, which now include Xbox and PS4. Customers will be able to play Apple Arcade games across iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac and Apple TV with the same subscription.
Apple also stated that the new tvOS 13 features the all-new Apple TV app. The Apple TV app offers Apple TV channels, personalized recommendations and over 100,000 iTunes movies and TV shows to browse, buy or rent. This fall, Apple TV+, Apple’s original video subscription service, will be available in the Apple TV app. The Apple TV app is also available on other Apple devices and select third-party platforms.
With a focus on privacy, Apple also introduced a Sign In button for apps and websites. Similar to what Google, Facebook, Amazon, and other apps have to offer, the main difference is how the button tracks you. Customers can simply use their Apple ID to authenticate and Apple will protect users’ privacy by providing developers with a unique random ID. Even in cases where developers choose to ask for a name and email address, users have the option to keep their email address private and share a unique random email address instead. Sign In with Apple also makes it easy for users to authenticate with Face ID or Touch ID and has two-factor authentication built in for an added layer of security.
Apple stated that the company does not use Sign In with Apple to profile users or their activity in apps.
The Apple Maps application also made a rare appearance this afternoon. The company stated the company drove over 4M miles to rebuild the basemap from the ground up. Apple stated that the new map offers “broader road coverage, better pedestrian data, more precise addresses and more detailed landcover.” The new map is available now in select cities and states, and will roll out across the US by the end of 2019 and to more countries in 2020.