Alongside a ton of other software, Apple today took the wraps of macOS Catalina, version 10.15 of the operating system for the Mac. The update will be officially released to the public this fall, with a developer preview dropping today and a public beta becoming available next month.
Here are the five biggest new features of the system.
iTunes is Dead (Pretty Much)
Onstage, Apple joked about how much stuff was loaded into its legendary music-based application, iTunes. To help improve the experience of using the app, the company announced it will be breaking it up into three different apps called Apple Music, TV, and Podcasts. It also moved syncing of iPhones and iPads to Finder, therefore killing iTunes as we know it.
The new apps share similar experiences with menus to the left and content in the middle. There are also various controls at the top of each app. the Music app comes with access to the iTunes Music Store, in case you’re wondering. The TV app also comes with Apple TV+ access, while the Podcasts app gives you access to, well, podcasts.
Ever find yourself looking for more screen space while using your MacBook on the go? Apple has a solution. In Catalina, the company includes a feature called Sidecar that lets you connect an iPad to your MacBook and use it as a secondary display. You can drag content over to it and use its touchscreen to interact with it. You can also use the Apple Pencil to do things like draw and write.
iPad Apps on Mac
Last year during WWDC, Apple debuted a new project later discovered to be named Marzipan where the company was working to bring iPad app support to the Mac. Today during WWDC 2019, the company brought the subject up again under a new name: Project Catalyst. Catalyst allows developers to use existing code and framework built for iPad and iPhone to build a native Mac application. Starting today, this functionality is available for developers.
In Swift, developers can simply opt to compile a Mac application alongside an iPhone or iPad app. By doing so, all the normal Mac-oriented requirements for an app to work will be included such as mouse support and left-menu compatibility. Apps that will land this fall include Twitter, Jira Cloud, and Asphalt 9.
Last year, Apple introduced Screen Time on iOS 12 as a way for iPhone and iPad users to track their device usage and see what apps they use the most during the day. With macOS Catalina, the same functionality will be brought to the Mac in a much more desktop-friendly way.
Catalina will bring plenty of updates to apps like Photos, Safari, Mail, Notes, and Reminders. Apple ran down what’s new in each app in its press release.
- Photos features a beautiful new browsing experience that intelligently showcases the user’s best pictures.
- Safari has an updated start page that uses Siri Suggestions to elevate frequently visited sites, bookmarks, iCloud tabs, Reading List selections and links sent in Messages.
- Mail in macOS Catalina adds the ability to block email from a specified sender, mute an overly active thread and unsubscribe from commercial mailing lists.
- Notes now has a brand new Gallery View, more powerful search tools and additional collaboration options.
- Reminders has been redesigned with an all-new user interface that makes it easier to create, organize and track reminders.
There’s plenty more packed in macOS Catalina. You can read all about it in Apple’s press release. If you’re a registered developer, you can install the software on your Mac and give it a whirl. I do have to advise, however, that it’s probably not a good idea to install it on your main machine since it’s probably filled with bugs.