Your full WWDC 2019 recap

Category: Features

The new ‘Mac Pro’ is finally here

In what remains as Apple’s only true conference left WWDC has traditionally been a platform for the company to announce upcoming changes to Apple’s software and operating systems, but this year we were in for a long awaited hardware treat.

“Cheese Grater 2.0” has finally landed after years of hints Apple were working on a redesign of their adventurous, yet ill-fated trash can design crashed and burned with its ailing pro community. Unveiled today the new Mac Pro harkens back to its older brother’s more traditional PC-esque design whilst incorporating new “Apple” elements to make it their own.

A ring-pull cap that pops up from the Mac Pro’s top reminds me of the push out handle that adorned the G4 Cube many moons ago and allows the case to be lifted and removed in one motion.

Inside is one of the sexiest looking stealth designs sporting Intel’s latest Xeon processors, 300W of power, up to 1.5TB of RAM over 12 DIMM slots and 8 PCI Express slots with 4 double width to accommodate larger cards.

The new Mac Pro also includes a custom expansion module they call MPX. The new system takes advantages of a dedicated Thunderblot 3 backbone that’s baked into the logic board to allow high-speed communication between the computer’s components. Able to accommodate 2 quad-wide PCIe GPUs the new Pro can be decked out with of AMD’s Radeon Pro Vega 2 Duos that take advantage of the MPX Modules bandwidth.

She’s not cheap though. Starting from just under A$9k (Yes that’s $9-0-0-0) it’s certainly putting it in a class of its own financially and physically. Available in Q3 of this year, you’ll find more details on Apple’s official Mac Pro website.

There’s a new display too

If you thought the Mac Pro was expensive, you haven’t seen nothing yet. The new display, that pairs beautifully with the Mac Pro, will set you back another A$9k but in order to get the full Apple experience you’ll also need to spend another A$1.5k on it’s stand too! So for the low, low price of A$20.5k you get to enter the new world of Apple Pro hardware. Phoof!

Price aside the new Pro Display XDR is an almost edge-to-edge 32″ 6K (6016 x 3384) LCD monitor with support for both P3 and 10-bit colour, earning it the “Extreme Dynamic Range” acronym.

Available in Q3 alongside its PC counterpart the new display will be available in either a gloss or matte option called “nanotexture”. More details about the Apple Pro Display XDR and its availability are on Apple’s website.

iOS 13 is dark

Yay dark-mode. Apparently people want this. I’m not one of them but it was the most talked about thing coming to iOS 13 and Apple have delivered. The system wide toggle brings dark mode to the OS just as it did for macOS last year. Apple’s apps are all updated to support it of course and devs will now have the lovely task of seeing what does and doesn’t work with their existing code. I’m praying for you all.

Also coming is a new swipe based keyboard, that brings Apple up to about 2012, and the support of USB external storage devices. Again hello 2001.

Apple’s Maps are getting an overhaul that make them appear semi useful now, but that wont be heading our way until late 2020 so that’ll prove a nice 40th birthday present for me perhaps.

Say hello to iPadOS

Most of the iOS 13 announcements were kinda “meh” because Apple have decided to fork their OS yet again, this time customising it specifically for the iPad. With what I assume is largely iOS based with additional frameworks and modifications to them, the new OS allows the iPad to grow further solidifying Apple’s position for it to become the new laptop.

A new homescreen brings widgets alongside a slew of multitasking updates that may finally prove the iPad to be somewhat capable for running multiple apps at once.

The browser is getting what could be the biggest update though, converting it into a full desktop experience complete with download manager, which for me has largely been the biggest roadblock in using an iPad productively.

The new OS, paired with the new version of macOS Catalina also allows the iPad to be natively used as a second screen or tablet input, a feature Apple are called “sidecar”, as well as new gestures for copying and pasting text that appear a vast improvement.

Developers can play with iPadOS today, with downloads of the beta available through the developer portal, and more information about the features can be seen on Apple’s iPadOS website.

macOS Catalina is the ‘Catalyst’

10.15 codenamed Catalina is the dawn of a new age for Apple allowing developers to build apps based on their iOS counterparts by virtue of their new system called “Project Catalyst”. Both Twitter and Atalassian have signed on to be amongst the first to give it a shot in bringing their iOS based apps to the Mac as well as some game makers and TripIt to prove the versatility of the new system.

Ding dong, iTunes is now dead. The nimble 10MB MP3 player turn gigabyte gorilla at the centre of your media has breathed its final digital breathe. Coming  with the arrival of macOS Catalina is the splitting of iTunes into seperate, self-referencially titled apps. Included now are seperate apps for Podcasts, Music and TV (which I assume will do movies also) that follows in suit with it’s iOS/iPadOS counterparts.

ScreenTime is making its way to your desktop screens in Catalina as are new features around Voice Control and the aforementioned iPadOS reliant “Sidecar”, but as with most macOS updates these days the majority of the changes remain under the hoods and can be seen in performance, privacy and security updates.

You can read more about what Apple have to say about the new macOS and Project Catalyst on Apple’s Catalina website.

Everything else

Alongside the big-hitters were some smaller, yet significant announcements. WatchOS 6 will include a period tracker, tvOS will support multiple users as will the HomePods (as originally promised).

The Apple TV can now be used with either a PS4 or Xbox One controller, which is a solid win, but then that support doesn’t extend to the iPad, which seems like a no-brainer.

Lastly Apple have decided to make their own Single-Sign-On tool to further push their online presence. Expect now to see a bunch of “Login with Apple” buttons popping up next to the Google and Facebook ones and perhaps include some FaceID/TouchID integration as a part of that, which could be cool.