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Highlights from WWDC 2019

Posted Jun 4, 2019

This week Apple kicked off their Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) 2019 with a two-hour keynote announcing updates for several of their major product lines, including iOS, Mac, macOS, Apple TV, iPad, and Apple Watch. We’ve gathered some highlights from the keynote announcements that are getting us excited in the mobile space.

More Speed and Space
Apple’s senior VP of software engineering Craig Federighi kicked off the company’s keynote at WWDC 2019 with exciting announcements about iOS 13. The updated OS will offer improvements on speed with all apps said to launch twice as fast and Face ID unlocking 30% faster. Space will also be optimized as app files will be 50% smaller, while updates will be reduced in size by 60%.

iOS Joins the Dark Side
After much anticipation, iOS 13 is finally bringing Dark Mode to the iPhone. The dark interface can be applied system-wide including widgets, apps, and the keyboard. During a video presenting Dark Mode, the new swipeable keyboard feature was showcased, finally catching up to Android which has had it for a few years now.

For Apps, It’s All in the Details
Several built-in apps will be getting some notable upgrades including Reminders, Maps, and Photos. The Reminders app will have a new home layout with more ways to organize them and to-do lists can have top-level reminders. Furthermore, Reminders has a new integration with iMessage, where you can easily tag a contact in a reminder so that it appears when you message that person.

Maps is also getting a major update that includes more visual details and more precise addresses. The interface is getting an upgrade that will make it much easier to save favorite locations. Its’ new Look Around feature is their version of Google’s Street View where you can enlarge the location’s image and look around in a 360-degree view.

The popularity of the iPhone camera’s portrait mode has prompted a software update to the Photos app. It will now include a portrait lighting feature that will allow you to better control the intensity of lighting on a subject. Editing images in the app will also change with added effects like white balance and vignette that can also be applied to videos.

Accessibility Through Voice Control
Apple introduced Voice Control, assistive technology that allows users to control devices entirely using their voice using on-device Siri speech recognition technology. Apple says it will be functional for virtually any app and in a demonstration, it was used in Photos, iMessage, and Maps. The feature is now available for iOS and iPadOS so users can control gestures like tapping, swiping, and scrolling.

Don’t Forget About Tablets!
One of the biggest announcements at the keynote was that the iPad is getting its own OS. iPadOS was built with productivity in mind, for an experience akin to working on a laptop. The new home screen will feature widgets that were previously only visible in the Notification Center. The new OS has some features focused on multi-tasking including easy toggling between apps and a new split-screen mode. Files will look a bit more like the Finder app on macOS, with ways to browse through column view and share folders on iCloud.

Addressing the Privacy Issue
Having faced recent criticisms and scrutiny, Apple made some announcements regarding privacy at this year’s WWDC keynote. The most significant one was the new login service touted to provide protection in ways that Google and Facebook don’t. The new tool, Sign in with Apple, will use your Apple ID as a credential to sign into websites and apps, instead of typing in your email address. This will also be a login option for compatible apps.

iOS devices will be used to verify your credentials, rather than social account logins, which could make you more vulnerable to being tracked online. While Google and Facebook use data from sign-on services to create targeted ads, Apple claims it doesn’t use the tool to profile users or their app activity. The company says it has no interest in users’ information because revenue comes from product sales and not ads.

About WWDC
WWDC is Apple’s annual developer-focused event and features developer workshops, training, parties, and networking events. Every year the event starts with a keynote speech announcing major updates to the software running on the Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV and other devices.

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