Ryan is an editor for MacStories and co-hosts the Adapt podcast on Relay FM. He most commonly works and plays on his iPad Pro and bears no regrets about moving on from the Mac. He and his wife live in New York City.
Although much of the conversation around what Apple announced revolves around iPadOS and Project Catalyst, based on what I’m hearing on podcasts and seeing in my Twitter timeline, Voice Control definitely is a crown jewel too. Nearly everyone has praised not only the engineering that went into developing it, but also the fact that Apple continues to lead the industry at making accessibility a first-class citizen. Myke Hurley said it best on the Upgrade podcast following the event, the weekly show he co-hosts with Jason Snell, when he said Voice Control is something Apple doesn’t have to do. They do it, he said, because it’s the right thing to do for every user.
Aquino interviewed Sarah Herrlinger, Apple’s Director of Global Accessibility Policy & Initiatives, about three major new accessibility features: Voice Control, Hover Text, and pointing device support. While the iPad enthusiast in me is all about those pointing devices, Voice Control is a tremendously exciting technology that I hope has ramifications for the future of Siri.
iPad and iPhone users are in for a big treat this fall when iPadOS and iOS 13 launch. Each update is a major release that pushes Apple’s mobile platforms forward in big and small ways, making them more powerful for consumers and professionals alike.
If you haven’t read my iPadOS and iOS 13 overviews yet, the majority of details about each release are documented there. But I’ve been using the beta versions of both systems for a few days now, and while these are just an early look at what the finished releases will be, there are a lot of changes – some very significant, while others are relatively minor – that I’ve been excited to see.
On last week’s episode of Adapt I shared that automation for running shortcuts was one of my top two feature requests for iOS 13. And despite the Shortcuts app not receiving much stage time during the WWDC keynote, Apple has officially granted my wish in a big way.
The Shortcuts app in iOS 13 has a new Automation tab, in which you can configure shortcuts that automatically run based on a wide variety of triggers. Currently, certain automation actions require sending a notification first when the trigger is activated, and that alert contains the option to run the shortcut; other actions, however, include a toggle that determines whether the automation runs automatically in the background, or if you’d prefer an alert instead.
Here is the full list of current automation triggers in iOS 13 beta 1:
Apple’s truly transforming into a privacy-as-a-service company, which shows in the way that it’s implementing both the new single sign-on account service, as well as its camera and location services updates in iOS 13. The SSO play is especially clever, because it includes a mechanism that will allow developers to still have the relevant info they need to maintain a direct relationship with their users – provided users willingly sign-up to have that relationship, but opting in to either or both name and email sharing.
For years, a major point of debate in tech circles has been the friction between privacy and convenience, particularly as relates to web services offered by companies like Apple and Google. Apple’s privacy-sensitive approach has, in some people’s view, hamstrung it from offering the same level of convenience in its services that’s found in competing services from Google, Amazon, and others who rely on sending your data to the cloud for analyzing.
This year at WWDC, Apple’s new privacy-focused initiatives seem to be striking more of a balance between convenience and security. The company’s new Sign in with Apple feature is a great example: it provides developers a way to contact their users directly, while still protecting those users’ actual email addresses so they can’t be sold to third parties. In my view that’s a brilliant win-win, and the type of innovation I hope we see more of in future products.
The first half of 2019 has in many ways mitigated the Apple TV’s usefulness. Early in the year we learned that smart TVs would gain support for AirPlay 2 and HomeKit, which were formerly exclusive to Apple’s set-top device. Then more recently, Apple launched a brand new TV app which will also live on both smart TVs and third-party streaming sticks. Following these announcements, it was unclear whether Apple was content to let the Apple TV become even more of a niche product than before, or if the company would put renewed efforts into the product to help differentiate it from new competition. It turns out the latter was true – at least to a degree.
tvOS 13 is perhaps the most substantial update to the Apple TV’s software since the debut of tvOS in 2015. That’s not saying a lot, because past updates have been relatively lackluster, but it does say something about Apple’s commitment to the Apple TV platform. Taken in combination with the redesigned TV app that arrived last month, this latest version of tvOS makes a strong case for Apple finally taking television seriously – particularly as the launch of Apple TV+ draws nearer.
The latest version of tvOS starts with an updated Home screen, which includes a Control Center pane, and most notably adds multi-user functionality, as well as expanded game controller support, plus a few other upgrades.
The Mac is experiencing a new season of change. Following up on last year’s Mojave, which positioned the Mac as a productivity-first platform, this year macOS Catalina ushers in what’s sure to be a flood of new apps on the platform thanks to Project Catalyst. At the same time as the Mac welcomes an influx of new third-party apps, it says goodbye to iTunes in favor of dedicated apps for Music, Podcasts, and TV. From a user-facing standpoint Catalina isn’t a huge release – at least not until the other shoe drops and iPad apps hit the Mac this fall – but it is an important defining moment for macOS: with Catalina, old things are reimagined, and integration with the growing ecosystem of other Apple products and platforms propels the Mac to new heights.
Amid yesterday’s packed WWDC keynote, where iOS 13, iPadOS, the new Mac Pro, and more were announced, Apple also shared a few exciting updates coming this fall for its music-focused accessory products: HomePod and AirPods. The HomePod will soon support multiple users, a new Handoff feature, and radio apps, while AirPods will gain audio sharing and a special Siri feature for messaging.
Yesterday at Apple’s biggest developer event of the year, the company shared details on a project that was teased last WWDC, and has been the subject of endless speculation ever since. Codenamed Marzipan, but announced as Catalyst, the project promises a new, easier way for developers to bring iPad apps to the Mac.