SAN JOSE, Calif. – Apple announced on Monday more autonomy for iPads with a new custom operating system and direct access to the “app store” for the Apple Watch, amid stagnating worldwide sales for the iPhone.
Unlike previous years, the focus on the opening day of this WWDC developer conference was not the latest version of the iOS operating system for the iPhone, but the autonomy other Apple devices from the company’s flagship product.
Since their release almost 10 years ago, Apple’s iPad tablets operated with iOS, like the iPhones, but they will now have their own operating system, the iPadOS.
The majority of changes move it away from the mobile phone and bring it closer to the functionalities of computers.
It improves the ability to work with several open windows at once (including several windows of the same application), it adds the possibility of opening the contents of SD cards and USB drives directly in the file application and modifies the Safari browser to bring it closer to the Mac version.
The new operating system also reduces the latency of the digital pen from 20 to 9 milliseconds.
As for the new Apple Watch, the tech giant run by Tim Cook announced Monday at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California, that the new WatchOS 6 enables direct access to the “app store” without relying on an iPhone.
Although the smartwatch still has to be linked to the phone, the fact that applications can be purchased and downloaded directly through the device greatly increases its autonomy.
The Cupertino based company also took the opportunity to end one of its most iconic software, the iTunes music and video player and store, which will be replaced by three different services each focused on one functionality: Apple Music, Apple Podcasts and Apple TV.
Thus, almost two decades after Steve Jobs announced it in 2001 and after revolutionizing the way music was consumed legally, with massive implications for the industry, iTunes will disappear from the new operating system for Mac computers, the MacOS 10.15 Catalina.
MacOS Catalina (named after Santa Catalina Island, near Los Angeles) also brings compatibility with applications designed for the iPad, so that developers who until now created apps exclusively for tablets can now move their products to all Mac computers.
Apple also presented a function in the new operating system that allows the iPad to be used as a secondary computer screen, as well as the ability to control the device only by voice commands, something designed specially for people with physical disabilities.
All these announcements eclipsed what is traditionally WWDC’s highlight, the iOS update for iPhones, which in its 13th edition introduces a system-wide dark mode.
With this new feature, Apple joins a generalized trend in the industry (Google already announced the same modality a few weeks ago for Android Q), which extends battery life and offers an aesthetic much appreciated by some users, in addition to supposedly mitigating the harmful effects of spending too much time exposed to a screen.
Dark mode can be enabled and disabled from the setting menu or from a specific button in the control center. Once enabled, it will change the color of the phone’s interface and other built-in applications such as Apple Music, Notes, Messages, Photos and Calendar.