Apple WWDC 2019 Preview: iOS 13, New Mac Pro and More

Senior Editor
Updated

June 2 Update: We're on the eve of WWDC 2019. Here's an updated look at what Apple could talk about during the June 3 WWDC keynote.

Eager to see what Apple has planned for this year's updates to its assorted operating systems? We're less than 24 hours away from Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference keynote, where the company is expected to showcase new versions of iOS, macOS and other operating systems, while potentially detailing what an iTunes-free future looks like.

The WWDC keynote begins at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT on Monday, June 3. We'll be at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, Calif., covering all of Apple's announcements. And you can follow along on Apple's WWDC livestream. The week-long get-together for Apple's developers runs through June 7.

WWDC 2019 cheat sheet: Top 6 things to expect

  • iOS 13 for iPhone: A system wide Dark Mode, plus a ton of upgrades to Apple's own apps are coming to your phone.
  • Major iPad changes: A redesigned home screen, windowed apps — and even cursor support — are expected to hit Apple's slate this year via the iOS 13 update.
  • Mac Pro: Developers are a key audience that would love to cheer the introducing of Apple's promised modular Mac Pro.
  • Marzipan: Expect to learn much more about how iOS apps are coming to the Mac, and vice-versa, which is being currently known as Project Marizpan.
  • macOS 10.15: Apple's Mac software also gets an overhaul, which could mean the end of iTunes, as Apple splits that product into different applications.
  • watchOS 6: Apple's wearable will get its own app store, making it less reliant on connected iDevices.

Much of the focus at WWDC is on the nitty-gritty of Apple's assorted OSes, with developers digging deep into the code for software that runs on iPhones, iPad, Macs, Apple Watches and Apple TV set-top boxes. But the opening day of WWDC is highlighted by a keynote that Apple typically streams, in which the company reveals new features for iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS.

WWDC tends to be pretty software-focused, but Apple has announced some new hardware at the developers conference in previous years. The 2017 edition of WWDC, for example, previewed Apple's HomePod speaker while also introducing a 10.5-inch iPad Pro, the iMac Pro desktop and updates to the MacBook lineup. This is why it's not a stretch to expect Apple to finally reveal the long-promised modular Mac Pro at WWDC, where it will likely be applauded by the developers in the auditorium who have been waiting for this revision.

Apple's WWDC 2019 announcement contained no hints as to what's on the agenda for this June's conference, but last year's show introduced some unfinished business the company is sure to follow up on. At WWDC 2018, Apple announced UIKit, a developer tool that lets software makers more easily bring their iOS offerings to the Mac. Work with UIKit is expected to begin in earnest in 2019, so this year's WWDC will likely provide Apple the opportunity to show off some of the progress so far.

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We're almost certain to get a sneak peek at iOS 13, the next version of the operating software for iPhones and iPads. (And if Apple sticks with its strategy from the past several years, a public beta of iOS 13 will arrive a few weeks after WWDC wraps up.) iOS 13 is expected to add a dark mode that makes it easier to see your device screen at night while reducing battery consumption.

MORE: iOS 13 Wish List: 10 Features We Want from Apple

A plethora of Apple's own apps are going to get updates, including Mail, Reminders, Messages and Health, in addition to the merging of Apple's location tracking tools in a new app called Find My that will help you locate your gadgets and your friends (provided they granted that permission).

There's also likely to be many iPad-specific improvements in iOS 13, after last year's iOS 12 largely ignored Apple's tablet, including the ability to connect the tablet to a Mac to turn it into a secondary touch-friendly display. The iPad will also get more multitasking features, aimed at power users, which could include a new way to use apps, where they have multiple windows. While we once expected new home screens on both the iPhone and iPad, that change seems to only be arriving on the tablet version of iOS 13.

We know less about macOS 10.15, the successor to last year's Mojave update, other than it's going to be the beneficiary of Apple's efforts to get more iOS apps onto MacBooks and iMacs, which is being done under a project codenamed Marzipan. Expect Apple to bring over the TV app, Siri Shortcuts and Screen Time, while introducing a new Music app — a sign that iTunes' days are numbered. That became even more apparent over the weekend before WWDC as Apple wiped clean the social media profile for iTunes.

macOS 10.15 will also mean the end of support for 32-bit apps, something Mac users will need to prepare for between now and the software update's fall release.

This year's WWDC will likely also include previews of changes coming to watchOS and tvOS. The Apple Watch update this fall is rumored to include two new apps from Apple itself this year: Dose to help you remember to take your meds and Cycles to track menstrual cycles. It could also integrate sleep tracking features into Apple's smartwatch, and if that happens, you'll likely see software updates to support that capability previewed during WWDC. As for tvOS, it's unclear what new features could arrive, as Apple just updated its TV app across all platforms to support its new Apple Channels service.

Apple is putting more emphasis on boosting its services business. In March, the company took the wraps off its subscription news service, a slate of original TV content, and a gaming service, Apple Arcade. 

WWDC could bring more information on how app makers can build offerings that support those newly launched services. And expect Apple to mount a vigorous defense over its App Store practices, which have come under criticism from rivals like Spotify.