Q: What did Apple announce at its annual World-Wide Developers Conference (WWDC)?
A: Although WWDC is targeted at software developers, the keynote address that kicks off each conference is Apple’s chance to announce things to a global audience. This year, Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled new hardware in addition to the usual software updates for iPhones, iPads, and Macs.
Q: What new hardware was announced?
A: The big news this year is a new Mac Pro, designed to be Apple’s top-of-the-line, high performance machine. The previous Mac Pro, dubbed the trash can Mac, was a failure, with a fancy but restrictive design that was hard to upgrade. With the new Mac Pro, Apple has gone back to a classic tower design, which has lots of open slots for add-in upgrades. It starts with an eight-core processor and 32GB of RAM for $6,000. Almost everyone who buys one will be bumping up the specs, and you can expect a nicely configured machine to cost over $10,000.
Apple also announced a brand new 6K display, which has a higher resolution than today’s high-end 4K displays. The 32 inch screen will come in both glossy and matte versions, and will cost a hefty $5,000. A special stand will cost another $1,000.
Q: What about iPhones?
A: Apple previewed iOS 13, and as far as look and feel goes, the headline is dark mode. This is a version of the operating system where most of the design elements are black, and text is white. It’s said to be easier on the eyes and popular with coders, but it’s a popular aesthetic for regular people as well. Lots of other new things are coming with iOS 13, from upgraded Maps to a rewritten Reminders app.
But I’m most excited about “Sign in with Apple.” Today, lots of websites and apps encourage you to sign up using your Facebook or Google account. For that convenience, you’re giving Facebook and Google even more information about you. With “Sign in with Apple,” you’ll be able to sign up while giving up the barest minimum of information. Apple will even make up a random email address for you so you don’t have to give anyone your email address.
Q: And is there anything for Mac users?
A: Apple revealed the name of version 10.15 of its Mac operating system (which have all been landmarks and regions in California): MacOS Catalina. The big news here is the breaking up of iTunes. For over a decade, iTunes has been one program used to manage music, videos, movies, TV shows and podcasts. Now, those will all be separate, smaller apps.
Meanwhile, a lot is happening behind the scenes, as Apple brings mobile iOS apps and computer MacOS apps closer together. More and more apps designed for iPhones are going to be showing up on Mac computers this year. Screen Time on the Mac, for example, will join forces with Screen Time on your iPhone to allow you to track how much time you spend staring at all types of screens.