WWDC 2019: What to Expect from Monday’s Keynote

Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) takes place next week at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. Between Monday, June 3 and Friday, June 7, thousands of developers attend workshops, chat with Apple engineers and their peers, and hone their skills in creating powerful and useful apps for Apple’s hardware. Starting off the week on Monday morning is the WWDC keynote, where major announcements will be made and the direction of Apple’s strategy in the next year is revealed to all. In this article, we’ll tell you what to expect from Monday’s keynote.

iOS 13

Each year, Apple announces the details of the next generation of iOS – the mobile operating system for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. iOS 13 (codenamed “Yukon”) is next in line and is expected to have some new features that will be of interest to iOS fans.

First up, dark mode — which was introduced on macOS in Mojave at WWDC 2018 — should be available in iOS 13. Along with dark mode, a new sleep mode that darkens the Lock screen and mutes incoming notifications is expected.

Speed boosts and bug fixes are in the works for Messages, Mail, Maps, Reminders, and the increasingly important Health app. Expect the entire OS to feel more responsive. There’s always a chance that some older devices will not be able to upgrade to iOS 13; that information generally appears at some point during WWDC.

In an attempt to make the iPad Pro even more useful, Apple is rumored to be adding a feature for displaying multiple windows in a single iPad app using a tab view, similar to what the Safari browser now lets users do. In addition, it’s expected that iPad apps will gain the ability to support multiple stackable and movable “cards”. 

One of the more useful features added to iOS over the past few years was the Files app, and it’s expected to be revamped to provide more features and easier searching. 

One oddity of iOS is how users can undo something that was accidentally done – it’s done by shaking the device. That gesture is out of place for devices like the iPad Pro, so it’s expected that new gestures for both undo and redo are coming. The gestures used to select multiple items in tables or collections (Photos, for example) are likely to be revamped as well to make them easier to perform and remember.

Word has it that Find My iPhone (iPad/iPod touch) and Find My Friends may be merged so that one app handles all of the location-oriented features. A peer-to-peer tracking app that doesn’t require Wi-Fi may also debut, simply using the proximity to other devices in the area.

Don’t expect support for 5G wireless networks to be built into iOS 13; rumor has it that Apple is waiting for chipsets for future devices as well as the deployment of actual 5G wireless networks. Expect 2020 to be the year of 5G for Apple.

A revised Health app is expected to feature a new homepage that shows daily activity, adds a section on hearing health (by tracking how loud your external environment is and the volume you use while listening to headphones), and more comprehensive tracking of menstrual cycles.

Do you use a third-party app like Duet Display or Luna Display to use your iPad as a second Mac screen? Apple is expected to build that capability into iOS 13 and include the ability to expand the viewing area, get Mac notifications, and draw with an Apple Pencil.

The Reminders app that has been part of both iOS and macOS has been neglected over the years, but in 2019 it is expected to get a major revamp. The revised app will have a main screen with four default sections in a grid: All tasks, tasks to be done today, scheduled tasks, and flagged tasks. Each section is a different color and expands to a page that users can add items too.

The Home app is also on tap to get a revamp, adding further integration with something that many people want in their smart homes – security cameras. The ability to look at past recordings made by HomeKit-enabled cameras will be foremost in the update.

macOS 10.15

A major change for macOS 10.15 is that it will no longer support 32-bit apps. macOS 10.14 Mojave has been warning users since it arrived in beta form a year ago, and we have several articles to show Rocket Yard readers how to check for 32-bit apps that will no longer run.

We’re sure to hear more about “Marzipan” at WWDC 2019. It’s a universal apps feature that should allow developers to design single apps that work with a touchscreen in iOS or a mouse/trackpad and keyboard on macOS. This project is important to both Apple and developers for two reasons: first, it will vastly increase the number of apps available for Macs on the Mac App Store. The second reason? It cuts down on the amount of development time to create cross-platform apps.

Expect to see new Books, Music, and Podcasts apps announced for macOS 10.15, as well as a new TV app that Apple has already confirmed.

The Screen Time capability that has been part of iOS for the last year will make it to macOS this year, as well as integration with the Siri Shortcuts app.

What will be the nickname for the latest macOS? That’s a great question! Apple has trademarked a number of California-themed names, including Big Sur, California, Condor, Diablo, Farallon, Grizzly, Mammoth, Miramar, Monterey, Pacific, Rincon, Redtail, Redwood, Sequoia, Shasta, Skyline, Sonoma, Tiburon, and Ventura. It could be any one of these… or something completely different!

 

tvOS 13 and watchOS 6

All of Apple’s operating systems are scheduled for an annual update, including tvOS and watchOS. Don’t expect to see much of a change for tvOS 13, but the Apple Watch line should gain some new capabilities thanks to watchOS 6.

One of the most impressive changes coming to watchOS 6 will be the addition of a Watch App Store that runs on the device itself, letting users download apps on-the-go. Watch app development has stagnated recently, so this could jump-start developer interest in the platform by opening a new window of opportunity.

Do you like making Voice Memos on your iPhone, iPad or Mac? You’ll now have a Voice Memos app on your Apple Watch. More watch face complications are expected to appear, with one showing progress in audiobooks, another showing battery life of connected hearing aids, and others to show rain data and measure external noise.

While Apple isn’t expected to give developers the ability to create their own watch faces, the company will show several new faces: a gradient face that takes any color selected by a user and turns it into a gradient watch face, two “Extra Large” faces showing large time numbers in a variety of fonts and colors, a “Solar Analog” watch face that looks like a sundial, and one called the “Infograph Subdial” that can include large complication views for the weather or a stock market chart.

On the Health front, the Watch will gain a “Dose” app for pill reminders and a “Cycles” app for tracking menstrual cycles.

Hardware

Occasionally, Apple uses WWDC to make a major hardware announcement. One that has been long overdue is the release of a new, more powerful and modular Mac Pro. What better time to make the announcement than to a group of developers who often want the fastest possible hardware on which to compile and test their apps? A companion to the Mac Pro, if announced, could be the new larger external monitor with the codename of J290 that includes HDR (high dynamic range) support.


All or none of these conjectures could be correct. What’s more likely is that some of our expectations will be met, while others (like the Mac Pro) may be delayed until another time. What announcements would you like to see at the WWDC keynote?



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