Apple introduces iOS 13, iPadOS, and watchOS 6 updates

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Today is a big day for Apple fans, because the company kicked off its WWDC 2019 coference with announcements of several major software updates.

First up is iOS 13. With it comes a focus on performance improvements, with 30 percent faster Face Unlock as well as 50 percent smaller app downloads and 60 percent smaller update downloads, which will lead to apps launching up to twice as fast.

The update also brings Dark Mode, which is exactly what it sounds like. When enabled, the entire UI of iOS will darken. That should help make iOS a bit easier on your eyes when you’re in a low-light environment and could help lead to some power savings for iPhone owners with an OLED screen.

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There are lots of improvements coming to existing Apple apps with iOS 13, like a redesigned Apple Maps app with more details, better text formatting in Mail, a swipe keyboard, and better Memoji with support for makeup, accessories, and even AirPods. You’ll also get Memoji Stickers to give you a more personalized alternative to emojis. A new photo editing interface is coming, too, along with Photos app improvements like machine learning that’ll help you delete duplicate photos. And Apple says that it’s redesigned the volume control with iOS 13 as well, moving it to the upper-left corner of the screen so that it doesn’t obscure whatever you’re watching.

The iOS 13 update brings Sign In with Apple, which is a more privacy-centric version of the “Sign In with Google” and “Sign In with Facebook” buttons you see all over the web, letting you sign in to compatible apps without sharing your personal info. Apple’s AirPods are getting an audio sharing feature that’ll let you share the music you’re listening to with another AirPods wearer, CarPlay is getting UI improvements, and Siri is getting a more natural voice.

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Also announced today is iPadOS. This tablet-focused version of iOS includes an improved home screen that’ll let you fit more app icons into your view and the ability to pin your widgets to the side of the screen. You’ll also be able to run two instances of an app side-by-side, and the Files app is getting a new Column View as well as support for USB drives and SD cards that you can plug into your iPad.

iPadOS brings with it improved text selection, letting you select text with a swipe, and you can use a three-finger swipe to undo. Safari is getting better, desktop-class browsing that’ll automatically show you a touch-optimized desktop website, and a download manager is included, too. There’s reduced Apple Pencil latency as well, along with all of the iOS 13 improvements like Dark Mode and Sign In with Apple.

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Finally, watchOS 6 is coming to Apple Watch devices. It adds an independent App Store on the watch, letting you browse and download apps right on your wrist. Plus, developers can create Apple Watch-only apps that are designed to work without a companion iPhone apps.

The update to watchOS 6 also brings several health and activity improvements. A new Cycle Tracking app will help women log and track information related to their menstrual cycles (also coming to the Health app on iOS), and a new Trends feature will let you view your activity over the past 90 days and 365 days to compare how you’ve been doing with your fitness lately.

Other notable improvements coming with watchOS 6 include a Noise app with real-time decibel levels so you can be aware of noisy environments that could damage your hearing; new watch faces, a Voice Memos app; a new Calculator app that’ll let you figure out tips and split the bill; and audiobooks support.

iOS 13 is compatible with the iPhone SE as well as iPhone 6s and later while watchOS 6 is compatible with Apple Watch Series 1 and later. iPadOS is compatible with iPad Air 2 and later, all iPad Pro models, iPad 5th generation and later, and iPad Mini 4 and later.

Apple is launching iOS 13, iPadOS, and watchOS 6 beta releases for developers today, and public beta releases will be available through the Apple Beta Software Program in July. All three updates will launch to the public this fall.

So now that all of these major updates are official, which new iOS, iPadOS, or watchOS feature are you most excited for?

Sources: Apple (1), (2), (3)

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  • Jason Caprio

    Amazing “new” features! Dark Mode, swipe keyboard, sign in with Apple…….

    Welcome to 2014, iPhone users lol

    • JJ

      I was thinking the same thing.

    • Martyy

      Typical Apple.. Are you really surprised though?

  • HeatFan786

    I find it funny that Apple highlights three new Animojis and a new volume HUD as new features. Apple has gone from being a market leader to just being a laughing stock now.

    What’s next? A new Safari logo will be the main iOS 14 feature along with 2 new Animoji?

    • Martyy

      This is nothing new. Apple has always been the type to have the “don’t fix it if it ain’t broken” belief… and guess what? Consumers are gonna go crazy over these simple but new features to the iOS community. .

      • HeatFan786

        It’s kinda sad because to quote John Tortorella: “Safe is death.”

        Apple is being too safe and could be treading down a bad path because consumers could wake up soon. Siri doesn’t have the same 4S lead it does. Large displays don’t offer too many amenities, etc, etc.

        I would love Apple to act with a chip on its shoulder and play with an edge again. They’re doing that with the iPad because it went from a redundant iterative product to breathing in new life with the recent update and its wide diversity with hardware (budget, top spec’d, and middle markets).

    • (J²)

      The formula works and since it does, why change it? Sometimes, what sells is execution and Apple is usually on point and for any shortcomings there is usually something to make up for it.

      Apple is still a leader and excel in one area everyone else continues to fail.. Execution…

      We’ve seen so many “game changers” with fairly decent ideas that just fail due to very poor execution.

      I think this era of smartphones has lost its steam… We either get marginal upgrades or gimmicks (not things people actually want). Hopefully, we will truly get something ahead of its time in the next few years.

      • HeatFan786

        The formula will only work for so long though. We saw Apple act unlike itself last year w/ major price cuts and/or trade in incentives in key markets (USA, China, India). They had to get more aggressive with marketing too.

        China, despite the Huawei situation, is still a pivotal market because Oppo, Xiaomi, and others could still make phones that are more feature friendly without being too ambitious like Samsung was with its foldable screen.

        Apple has two major advantages I like: FaceID and its SoC architectural designs. However, the processing achievements mean nothing if you don’t want to always maximize the software behind the hardware. It’s one thing to run games on the iPhone, like Fortnite. It’s another to get true multitasking, like split screen apps and PiP mode. Both of which can be done an iPad mini 4 running an A8 processor and 2gb of RAM.

        FaceID is great, no complains there.

        • (J²)

          That was to be expected, as the price of their phones have increased over recent years. Anyone could have predicted that, if Apple did not anticipate that – they have an internal problem.

          But that applies across the board. $649 is a good price for a base model high end phone, not $749 or $799 or $999 or beyond.

          These companies have to understand that if phones cost more, people will just upgrade less often.

          I think all the high end phones will hit a brick wall soon.

  • JJ

    That’s a really good point.

  • Martyy

    Better late than never…. I guess….