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There’s no overstating it: This was the best WWDC keynote in years. So much was packed into the 2.5-hour show that it was impossible to absorb it all, and surely much more news will come out over the course of the conference this week. Here are the 10 best stories about what was announced on stage, presented in show order.
1. tvOS 13 is a bigger-than-usual update for Apple TV. It’s getting support for multiple users, so everyone in the house can have their own "Up Next" queue and music recommendations. A new Control Center panel on the right side enables quick user switching. Apple TV also is getting support for Xbox One and Playstation DualShock 4 game controllers just in time for Apple Arcade. Finally, Apple has partnered with the BBC’s Natural History unit for new HDR screensavers of undersea scenes. Before he showed off the software, Apple CEO Tim Cook showed the first full trailer of an original series coming to the Apple TV+ streaming subscription launching this fall — "For All Mankind," created by "Battlestar Galactica" and "Star Trek" showrunner Ron Moore. — 9TO5MAC
2. Apple Watch is the best-selling watch in the world, and watchOS 6 brings it new apps, styles and health features. There are new watch faces; watch versions of Calculator, Voice Memos; and an audiobooks app for Apple Books. It also features new APIs for third-party apps to stream audio and run longer in the background. The biggest change to watchOS is an onboard App Store and separation of watch apps from their iPhone counterparts, bringing the watch closer to independence from the phone. The most exciting new features, as usual, are for health and wellness. Apple Watch is getting menstrual cycle tracking (which can also be used from the iPhone Health app if you don’t have a watch), a Noise app that warns of loud environments to protect hearing, and new, intelligent Activity Trends that provide better insight and coaching than the simple “ring”-based goals Apple Watch has had so far. — MACSTORIES
3. iOS 13 will be a big winner for iPhone fans. Its marquee feature is Dark Mode, which actually came to the Mac last year, but now iOS users can also get a cool, dark UI theme that won’t incinerate their eyeballs at night. The iOS keyboard is getting a swipe typing feature called Quick Path. Reminders has been rebuilt completely and Mail and Notes are getting great interface updates. Messages is getting names and profile pictures you can share with people when you send them a message, so unknown numbers are now less mysterious. It’s also just faster: apps launch two times faster, Face ID is 30% faster and app downloads are 50% to 60% smaller. — MACSTORIES
4. Updates to Apple Maps deserve their own item. Apple has (finally) released its answer to Google’s Street View, called Lookaround, and it lets you smoothly fly down streets and explore them like you’re really there. It pairs nicely with Collections, a new way to save places of interest to lists inside of Maps. Collections can be shared with others, too, making them the best way to share place recommendations among Apple users. Apple also announced that its new, much richer map data already available in California will cover the entire U.S. by the end of the year, and 11 new countries and territories are coming soon, too. — THE VERGE
5. Apple announced “Sign in with Apple” as part of iOS 13, and it could be one of the biggest privacy wins in the platform’s history. It’s an API apps can implement for creating and logging into accounts on their services — just like the ubiquitous ones from Facebook, Google and Twitter — except Apple stands between the service and any of the user’s personal data. Services can request an email address, but users can choose to “hide” it, and Apple will randomly generate an email address just for this one account on this one service that forwards to the user’s real address. The address can be deleted at any time if the service is too annoying (or leaks the address). Best of all, Apple is going to require apps with third-party sign-in options to implement this. Tim Cook gave an interview with "CBS Evening News" on Monday with more personal details about the feature, insisting that “we aren’t really taking a shot at” Facebook, Google, et al, but rather “focus[ing] on the user.” — TECHCRUNCH
6. HomeKit is adding support for home security cameras and routers. The router support allows firewalling of smart home devices against attacks on the home’s network. HomeKit security camera support allows processing of video to happen on a home’s HomeKit hub device — an iPad, a HomePod or an Apple TV — to identify any suspicious activity, sending the files to the cloud in encrypted form that can only be decrypted by the user. The system stores 10 days of footage and it doesn’t count against your iCloud storage. Apple no longer makes its own routers, but it has secured participation in both programs from big names like Logitech for cameras and Linksys and Eero for routers. — THE VERGE
7. iPadOS is now its own OS and was presented separately from iOS. The new features in iPadOS really do make the iPad a true PC replacement this time. In addition to all the features of iOS 13, the iPad gets a tighter grid of apps on the home screen, and widgets have moved from a hard-to-find separate screen to a left panel that can be shown persistently next to the app icons. Multitasking now supports multiple windows of the same app. Files now has column browsing and a powerful preview pane, support for USB drives, zipping and unzipping, and a downloads folder. Safari is now a real desktop browser, and it received a download manager. There are new gestures for better text editing, font management with downloads from the App Store, a small floating keyboard that allows the new Quick Path swipe-typing and even the ability to use the iPad as a second screen for the Mac, called Sidecar. — MACSTORIES
8. Apple showed off the new Mac Pro promised two years ago, and… wow. The 2013 “trash can” Mac Pro was a marvel of industrial design, but it was too clever and, thus, not actually functional. The 2019 do-over returns to the classic concept of a pro desktop workstation: a gigantic rectangle that can be customized every which way and handle whatever you throw at it. Accordingly, it starts at $5,999, and it goes way, way up from there. Along with it, Apple unveiled its new Pro Display XDR, an unbelievably bright and clear 6K display. The display starts at $4,999, and if you want it to come with a stand, that’ll be another $999. The Mac Pro and display will be available in the fall. — THE VERGE
9. macOS Catalina shows that the Mac’s future is bright after all. Apple took the wrapper off Project Catalyst, which allows developers to rebuild their iPad apps for the Mac with little effort. Apple announced on stage that Twitter is going to relaunch its Mac app using this technology, since one team can now manage its app for iPhone, iPad and Mac all at once. Catalina does indeed spell the death of iTunes, with its features split into separate apps for Music, Podcasts and TV, as was reported Friday. This is also where Apple showed the new Find My app (also available on iOS) that can now show the location of Macs even when they’re asleep using Bluetooth trickery pinging other nearby Apple devices. The Sidecar feature turning an iPad into a second Mac screen — with Pencil support — was a cool demo, but the show-stealing demo was Voice Control, with new capabilities for manipulating the entire system by voice for accessibility, which is coming to iOS, too. — THE VERGE
10. At the end of the keynote, Apple revealed SwiftUI — a new framework for building interfaces on all of Apple’s platforms using shockingly small amounts of code. It comes with a new graphical design tool in Xcode, Apple’s Mac app for writing apps, that lets developers assemble an interface directly on a live simulator of the target device rather than typing code. SwiftUI is an extension of Apple’s relatively new Swift programming language and represents the future of writing native UIs for all Apple devices. The "D" in "WWDC" stands for “developers,” so even though there are splashy headlines for consumers, the stories that actually matter the most are sometimes the ones that only developers understand — until their apps ship in the fall, that is. New augmented reality SDKs were the runner up for the No. 10 slot, but AR seems more like next year’s news. — MACRUMORS
Interested in a little more color commentary on the announcements at WWDC? Check out the latest episode of Internet Friends. We discussed the implications of the OS and hardware announcements, and we’re doing a Part II for the futuristic AR and cross-platform UI stuff from the end of the keynote. — INTERNET FRIENDS
Jon Mitchell has been a tech journalist since 2010. He covered Apple, Google, and the societal effects of social media for the storied blog ReadWriteWeb (now ReadWrite). He co-hosts Internet Friends, a podcast about life online with occasional lengthy digressions into Apple news. He’s the author of In Real Life: Searching for Connection in High-Tech Times from Parallax Press. He has recently, reticently returned to Twitter at @ablaze.
Editing team: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside), David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology), and Bobby Cherry (senior editor at Inside, who’s always on social media).