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The 10 most important announcements from WWDC 2019

Published Jun 3rd, 2019 3:26PM EDT
WWDC 2019 Announcements
Image: Apple Inc.

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WWDC 2019 kicked off on Monday morning and as is the case each and every year, Apple kicked things off with a huge keynote presentation showcasing the software that will power iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, Apple TVs, and Mac computer for the year to come. While Apple only showed off early beta versions of its new iOS 13, watchOS 6, macOS 10.15, and other platforms, it still unveiled tons of new features that will become available to developers beginning today and to end users starting in September. In fact, Apple even unveiled a (sort of) brand new platform called iPadOS. Whether you missed the WWDC 2019 keynote and you want to know all of the key announcements or you watched it live and want a good recap of all the most important details, you’ve come to the right place because we’ve rounded it all up right here in this post.

tvOS 13

Apple has completely redesigned the home screen in its new version of tvOS, which is definitely an upgrade. The biggest news is definitely added support for multiple user accounts. That’s right… finally! Users can log into their individual accounts and they’ll find personalized apps and

Gaming fans will be happy to learn that Apple is adding support to Apple TVs for Xbox and PlayStation controllers, which are both a huge upgrade compared to the controllers available now. Once Apple Arcade launches later this year, this new controller support will be greatly appreciated.

Learn more about tvOS 13 right here.

watchOS 6

Apple is adding a bunch of new watch faces in the new version of watchOS, from simple cases like the Gradient Face and Digital Face to more complex options like the new Solar Face and California Dial.

A new feature called Taptic Chimes lets users enable a quick tap and a chime each hour on the hour. New Audio Books, Voice Memos, and Calculator apps are being added to the Apple Watch in watchOS 6, and there are a bunch of new APIs available to developers.

Health is always a core focus of Apple Watch, and there are tons of new features in watchOS 6 that focus on health. The new Activity Trends feature in watchOS shows 90-day and 365-day trends to help users stay healthy. In the case trends are moving downward, the app new feature will provide coaching tips to help. The new Noise app in watchOS focuses on hearing health and notifies users if they’re in an environment that’s too loud and might damage their hearing. Finally, a new Cycle Tracking app lets women track their menstrual cycle. Of note, Cycle Tracking will also be available in the Health app on the iPhone so people can use it even if they don’t have an Apple Watch.

Finally, Apple is releasing a bunch of new Apple Watch bands in new colors for the summer season.

More information on watchOS 6 can be found here.

Apple Watch apps

The biggest watchOS news from WWDC 2019 is likely the fact that developers will now be able to create dedicated Apple Watch apps without having to tie them to iOS apps. On top of that, the App Store is coming to the Apple Watch for the first time ever. That’s right, users no longer need to search for and install apps on their iPhones — you can search and install right on the Apple Watch itself.

iOS 13

Apple’s new iOS 13 software was the star of the show this year. Speed was a big focus of course — Face ID unlocks are up to 30% faster and app launch speeds are up to twice as fast on the iPhone thanks to 60% smaller app file sizes.

Speed improvements are nice and all, but there’s one new feature that everyone was obviously waiting for: Dark Mode. Now that most of Apple’s new iPhones have OLED screens, UI elements that are heavy on true black means battery life is extended. Dark Mode flips the color scheme so that the background is black and text is light. Dark Mode is available across the main iOS UI as well as in each individual Apple app. Developers will get new guidelines and tools so they can create apps that adhere to the new Dark Mode theme.

Apple’s iOS keyboard now supports swipe typing, which is something that people have been begging for. Swiping on the Apple keyboard works just like it does in other popular keyboards.

The Reminders app has been rewritten from the ground up, and it’s so much better than it had been. A new quick type bar makes it easier than ever to create notes, and Smart Lists is a big improvement over standard lists.

Apple has rebuilt all of its maps with tons more details, and they’re accessible in the new version of Apple Maps in iOS 13, starting first in the US and then elsewhere. Apple drove over 4 million miles around the United States to add all the new detail to its maps. A new favorites section makes navigating to frequently visited placed much easier, and collections allow users to compile a bunch of nearby locations into a folder of sorts. There’s also a new “Look Around” feature that’s just like Google’s Street View in Google Maps.

You can also finally share an ETA with friends and family with a single tap when you’re navigating, which is a welcome addition.

Privacy is always a big focus for Apple since it’s a hot talking point against Google. In iOS 13, you can share location access to an app just once, and then it’ll have to request access again if it wants to access in the future.

In iOS 13, Apple is introducing a new “Sign in with Apple” feature that allows users to sign into third-party services, just like you can do with Google and Facebook. The difference here is that there’s no tracking at all with Sign in with Apple. If services want to access your name and email, you can either allow them to have access or you can have the service create a fake email address that forwards to your email. Each app will get a unique fake email and they can be disabled at any time. Sign in with Apple will be available on all Apple platforms as well as on the web.

HomeKit is getting a big upgrade that ties into security cameras with HomeKit Secure Video, which can analyze security camera video for face recognition features. This new feature also can encrypt your video clips and store them to iCloud — 10 days of free storage are included with all iCloud accounts.

Messages is one of the most frequently used apps on iOS devices, and the app gets a big update in iOS 13. You can now set your name and picture (avatar or Memoji) and they’ll be sent to users when you message. This way, messages sent to new users don’t just appear under an unknown phone number. Where Memoji are concerned, there are tons of new style features available so you can further customize your Memoji. Memoji Stickers, as the name might suggest, creates a custom sticker pack that can be used in Messages, Mail, and elsewhere.

The Camera app in iOS 13 gives users tons of new features as well as portrait lighting effects available in Portrait Mode photos. RIP, Apollo. The Photos app has a new photo editor UI with controls that are easier to find and use. On top of that, videos can now be edited (and rotated!) using the same effects.

The Photos app is getting some other big updates beyond the new editor features, and machine learning will play a big role. Your photos will be intelligently organized into a diary of sorts, and the app will even automatically remove duplicate photos. A new Days tab in the Photos app drills down to show you photos captured on particular data, and videos and Live Photos will preview automatically as you scroll. The Months tab is similar, but it’s organized by month rather than day. Needless to say, the new Years tab is similar but it’s dynamic, so the previews you see will change based on the time, day, and situation you’re in. For example, if you open the Years tab on your birthday, it might highlight photos and videos captured on past birthdays.

AirPods integration in iOS 13 gets some nifty updates, like having Siri automatically read your messages to you as soon as they arrive. This cool feature works with Apple’s Messages app and third-party apps where it’s enabled. A new Audio Sharing feature lets you share your Bluetooth connection with other iPhones by simply tapping the two phones together (lightly, so they don’t break). HomePod gets a bunch of new features as well in iOS 13, such as Handoff support and a bunch of new Siri features.

CarPlay is getting a huge update in iOS 13. The new CarPlay Dashboard is a widget screen of sorts that can be configured however you want. Siri now works with third-party apps like Pandora and Waze, which is obviously a big deal.

iOS 13 now comes with the Shortcuts app pre-installed, and Siri Shortcuts also gets new features in iOS 13. Unfortunately, the Shortcuts system is still too overcomplicated for most people to find useful. A new Find My app replaces Find My Friends and adds in Find My iPhone features.

Apple also used neural text-to-speech to make Siri sound much more natural in iOS 13, which users will undoubtedly appreciate.

Check out more iOS 13 details in our earlier post.

Spam call filter

Apple zoomed right past this new iOS 13 feature during its WWDC 2019 keynote, but it’s something that we definitely wanted to highlight. A simple new feature in iOS 13 will allow users to send ALL unknown calls directly to voicemail. We don’t know about you, but we often get between 5 and 15 spam calls each day, so this is a huge deal.


iOS 13 is coming to the iPad in addition to the iPhone, of course, but it’s now being spun off into a new platform called iPadOS.

iPads get a ton of new features in iPadOS, like the ability to pin widgets to the home screen. That’s right, you can finally pin widgets to your home screen!

Split view gets new features like the ability to open multiple instances of the same app, so you can view two different notes side by side at the same time. This feature works with Apple apps as well as third-party apps. App Expose finally arrives on the iPad as well, and it works just like it does in macOS.

The Files app in iPadOS gets a new column view so it’s more akin to Finder on the Mac. On top of that, iPadOS 13 supports thumb drives and external hard drives in the Files app.

Safari gets much more capable in iPadOS 13, and the big news is desktop-class browsing. The iPad will now load desktop sites instead of mobile sites, and it will automatically reformat pages to better suit the iPad, and it’ll optimize sites for tap input. On top of that, Safari finally gets a download manager in iPadOS 13.

The iPad gets new copy, paste, and undo gestures across all apps in iPadOS. A tree-finger pinch copies, a three-finger reverse pinch pastes, and a three-finger swipe is the new undo/redo gesture — swipe left for undo or right for redo. Also cool is the new floating keyboard on the iPad that now supports swipe typing, just like the iPhone.

Check out more iPadOS details over here.

Mac Pro

After all these years, Apple has finally unveiled a new Mac Pro… and it’s a beast! It’s also absolutely hideous as far as the design is concerned, but let’s focus on performance.

The Intel Xeon processor has up to 28 cores. It supports up to 1.5 TB of RAM — that’s right, terabytes — and the architecture is fully expandable thanks to the computer’s design. There are eight different PCI slots inside, including one that has a preinstalled card with Thunderbolt ports and USB ports.

The Mac Pro includes all new graphics that Apple calls an MPX Module, and it comes with a few different graphics card options including the Radeon Pro Vega II… or TWO Radeon Pro Vega II cards! OR……….. two of these modules for a total of FOUR Radeon Pro Vega II cards!! Apple’s Mac Pro includes a new hardware accelerator card that Apple calls an Afterburner card, which takes the computer’s graphics performance to an entirely new level. It can support up to 12 simultaneous 4K streams.

Apple’s new Mac Pro will be released this fall, and it starts at $5,999. You can expect pricing to top out well into the 5-figure range.

More Mac Pro info can be found here.

Pro Display XDR

According to Apple, the company’s new Pro Display XDR packs all of the features of a reference monitor and also adds features from standard displays. It’s a 32-inch monitor with 6K resolution, P3 wide color, 10-bit reference mode, contrast that’s 25 times better than a standard LCD screen, an etched anti-reflective matte option that doesn’t impact contrast, and a brand new backlighting system that’s unlike anything else currently available. It also touts a 1,000,000:1  contrast ratio.

The Pro Display XDR will cost $4,999 and will launch this fall.

macOS 10.15 Catalina

macOS Catalina is a big update, but the biggest news is what this new version of Apple’s desktop operating system doesn’t have: iTunes. That’s right, iTunes is being put out to pasture and its features are being split out into three new apps: Apple Music, Apple Podcasts, and Apple TV.

Apple Music takes on the bulk of the features from iTunes. It’s basically an “iTunes Lite” that handles music. Apple Podcasts sports a similar user interface, but it focuses on discovering, organizing, subscribing to, and playing podcasts. Finally, Apple TV takes on all of the video content from iTunes, including all of the movies and TV shows you might have already purchased in iTunes.

Sidecar is a new macOS feature that allows people to use the iPad as a second display for a Mac laptop. You can also use the iPad and Apple Pencil as a drawing tablet with Sidecar.

Voice Control lets you control your Mac entirely with your voice, and it’ll also be coming to iPhones and iPads in iOS 13. It’s an accessibility feature that takes voice commands to an entirely new level. It includes rich dictation and editing features, comprehensive navigation, and all processing happens right on the device.

Find My is a new app that combines Find My iPhone, Find My Friends, and a new function that lets you find your Mac computers. On top of the normal features you’re used to, Find My can also find devices that are off or sleeping because they’ll now broadcast a Bluetooth beacon.

Photos, Safari, Notes, and Reminders have all gotten big updates, and Screentime is coming to macOS as well. You can learn more about all the new features in macOS 10.15 Catalina right here.

iTunes is dead!

Yeah, we covered it already, but we’re going to say it again just to make sure no one missed it… iTunes is dead!

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.