You probably had no idea that yesterday was technically a holiday. Well, maybe not officially, but for anyone who follows the tech industry, yesterday was like Christmas. Especially if you are an Apple fan.
Apple is currently holding its Worldwide Developers Conference, and yesterday, in the keynote, the company announced several new products, as well as major updates to its family of software that power everything from laptops to watches. If you weren't able to watch the live stream to catch all the announcements, you can still do that at Apple's website.
Even better, here are the four highlights you should know about:
While technically iOS 13 and iPadOS are basically the same, Apple introduced a few features specific to the iPad and gave them their own name. Both versions get dark mode and swipe-to-type, meaning you can simply drag your fingers across the letters in the word you want to type, and iOS is able to predict the word you're looking for.
There were also pretty significant updates to a few apps. Maps now has a better overall map interface and also allows you to save favorite locations and even create collections of these favorites. For example, you could save all your favorite restaurants in New York City, or create a collection of places to stop on your next road trip.
I've already written about iPadOS, but let's just say that it's finally the software that your iPad deserves. It has increased multitasking features, the ability to pin widgets to the home screen, and multi-window capability for apps. It also comes with a desktop version of Safari instead of a stripped down mobile browser. Oh, and you can finally plug in a USB flash drive and access external files.
Apple is introducing a few new watch faces, and a couple of new apps for your watch, including a calculator app that even includes quick calculations for tipping and for splitting a check--which, let's face it, are probably the most likely reasons to break out a calculator on your wrist.
The big announcement here was that the App Store is finally coming to the watch, meaning you can find and download apps directly to your watch without having to use your iPhone.
Your Apple Watch can now also monitor ambient noise and let you know when it's loud enough to damage your hearing, which is actually a really useful feature for people who work in loud environments like construction and live productions. The company went out of its way to make sure to point out that your watch won't record or save anything it listens to. It was one of several times Apple made privacy a defining feature.
3. MacOS Catalina
The biggest news in Apple's new operating system for your laptop and desktop computers is that it now supports iOS apps. Known as Project Catalyst (previously Marzipan), developers can now use Xcode to bring their iPad apps to the desktop.
There are a few early adopters like Twitter and Jira, who both plan to bring apps to macOS, but the bigger change is that Apple is replacing iTunes with three apps that will be familiar to iPhone and iPad users--Music, Podcasts, and Apple TV.
There are some other interesting updates here, like a new Photos app, which has a completely new way of displaying your gallery, and redesigned Reminders, which is already the most helpful app as a result of Siri.
4. New Mac Pros and Displays
If you have been waiting a long time for Apple to upgrade its professional-class desktop computer, and you've been saving all of your money while you wait, you'll be excited that the new Mac Pro is finally here.
Apple has ditched the "trash can" model, which was severely limited in expansion and power because of its form factor, in favor of one of its more popular designs--the "cheese grater" tower.
These are the most powerful Macs that Apple has ever made, with up to 28 cores and 300 watts of power, and up to 1.5TB of RAM. It's also the most expandable Mac with eight PCI Express slots, along with USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 and USB-A ports. You can max out the graphics with two Radeon Pro Vega II Duo cards, giving you four graphics processors and 128GB of dedicated graphic memory.
If you have no idea what any of that means, it means that the new Mac Pros are also seriously expensive, and not designed for the mass market. These are serious machines for 4K or 8K video production, high-end rendering, and people who need extreme computing power. Starting at $5,999, these aren't for the faint-hearted, or for anyone for whom 90 percent of their daily computing is sending emails on an iPhone.
If that's not enough, you can add one of the new $4,999 32-inch Pro Display XDR 6K displays. It features P3 color and 1,000 nits of brightness, along with the True Tone display feature that adjusts the color of your monitor on the basis of the ambient light temperature. I don't know for sure who actually needs one of these, but if you've already spent more than six grand on a computer, I guess you might as well go in with another five for the display.