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WWDC 2019: 6 essential announcements from Apple’s keynote

Apple’s annual developer keynote has just come to a close. It was a packed presentation, running well over two hours long and including some big surprises that will completely change the game for iOS users.

We’ll bring you more detailed analysis of all the announcements in due course, but for the moment, dig your teeth into six of the most important reveals from this year’s conference.

Descent into darkness

We’ve been hollering for it for many years, but with iOS 13 Apple is finally giving the people what they want: a system-wide intelligent dark mode to make iOS easier on the eyes when used at night. Dark mode was added to macOS last year, and now it’s available for iPhone and iPad too. It looks as though Apple has spent this time sweating the tiniest of details – even the new iOS 13 wallpaper automatically switches to a slick inverse design when Dark mode is active!

The improved Notes app with Dark mode on

Putting iOS on the map

Apple Maps was the subject of much ridicule when it first launched, and it’s been playing catch-up with Google Maps ever since. Well, this could be the year it exceeds expectations. Apple has traveled over 4 million miles over the past few years to completely rebuild its maps from the ground up in incredible detail. It also rocks a new street view style called “Look Around” that feels incredibly futuristic. These improved maps will roll out over the next year.

The level of detail in new Maps vs. old Maps

iPad says goodbye to iOS

Wow. Here’s one that’s sure to please pro-level users. iPad is getting its own operating system, splitting off from iOS into its very own thing called – you guessed it – iPadOS. That change allows for more complex interactions on iPad without over-complicating the iPhone. There’s a lot to take in here, but primarily expect to see a smarter Home screen, improved multi-tasking, and a more capable file manager. Folder sharing is now supported in iCloud, and external disks and SD cards work through USB-C too. Another step in the right direction for anyone hoping to get “proper” work done on the go.

You can now pin widgets to the Home screen on iPad

iTunes bids farewell too

Another feature users have been clamoring for. iTunes on the Mac, which has so long been bloated with too many features, full of bugs, and difficult to navigate, is splitting out into three distinct apps for better focus. Now the Mac has separate apps for Apple Music, Podcasts, and Apple TV – just like the iPhone and iPad do. A very welcome approach that should feel much more streamlined.

The standalone Apple Music app in macOS

Even more activity tracking

Apple Watch has been great for tracking daily exercise since its inception, but this year it’s targeting long-term health monitoring too. A new feature called “Activity Trends” helps users track 9 key metrics over a 90-day period, to give a more complete picture of personal fitness trends over time. Comparisons are made with past performances to really quantify whether users are getting better or worse in important areas. That should help users easily pick out changes in their lifestyle and make improvements accordingly.

Apple Watch records the activity data, but you can dive into the trends on your iPhone

Apple TV becomes a games console

This is a big one for any gamers out there, and for the first time really showcases Apple’s intent to take the gaming industry seriously. Apple TV will soon support the two most popular Bluetooth controllers in the world – those made for Xbox One S and PlayStation 4. That will make a huge difference to the usability of games on the Apple TV, and for millions of users it will mean a whole new system for serious gameplay without splashing out on yet another controller. With Apple Arcade coming later this year, that’s a pretty enticing offer!

Games like Oceanhorn 2 will be incredible with a proper controller