Apple today previewed macOS Catalina, the latest version its desktop operating system, packed with new features, new apps and new technology for developers.
With macOS Catalina, Apple is replacing iTunes with its entertainment apps — Apple Music, Apple Podcasts and the Apple TV app. The new Sidecar feature enables users to extend their Mac desktop by using their iPad as a second display or as a high-precision input device across Mac apps.
Apple Music, Apple Podcasts and Apple TV Apps
macOS Catalina replaces iTunes with three new apps that simplify and improve the way Mac users discover and enjoy favorite music, TV shows, movies and podcasts.
The new Music app for Mac is fast and easy to use. Apple Music will help users discover new music with over 50 million songs, playlists and music videos. And users will have access to their entire music library, whether they downloaded the songs, purchased them or ripped them from a CD. For those who like to own their music, the iTunes Music Store is just a click away.
The new Apple TV app brings together different ways to find and watch movies and TV shows into one app. The Apple TV app features Apple TV channels, personalized recommendations and over 100,000 iTunes movies and TV shows to browse, buy or rent — so users can enjoy 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos-supported movies. The Watch Now section features Up Next, where viewers can keep track of what they are currently watching and resume on any screen. This fall, Apple TV+, Apple’s original video subscription service, will be available in the Apple TV app.
The Apple Podcasts app offers more than 700,000 shows in its catalog and the option to automatically be notified of new episodes as soon as they become available. The app also features new categories, curated collections by editors around the world and search tools that can find episodes by host, guest or even discussion topic.
For users who sync their media to their devices using a cable, they can quickly do so in the new entertainment apps. And when users connect a device to their Mac, it will immediately show up in the sidebar of Finder, enabling them to backup, update or restore their device.
With Sidecar, iPad can be used as an extended display for Mac and a high-precision drawing tablet across supported Mac apps. For users on the go, Sidecar makes it easy to bring an extended display with them so they can spread their work out over two displays wherever they happen to be. When paired with an Apple Pencil, they can use their iPad to draw, sketch or write in any Mac app that supports stylus input. Sidecar is a tool for editing video with Final Cut Pro X, drawing with Adobe Illustrator or marking up iWork documents. And like all Continuity features, Sidecar can run on a wireless connection, so users can work with greater mobility.
With macOS Catalina, Apple is introducing new assistive technologies for users. Voice Control is a transformative technology that enables users who can’t operate traditional input devices to control their Mac entirely with their voice using on-device Siri speech recognition technology. New labels and grids let users interact with virtually any app using comprehensive navigation tools, with audio processing happening on-device. Voice Control is now also available on iOS and iPadOS, so users can control their device entirely with their voice, even gestures like tapping, swiping and scrolling.
With macOS Catalina, Gatekeeper now checks all apps for known security issues, while new data protections require all apps to get permission before accessing user documents. Approve with Apple Watch lets users approve many security prompts by simply tapping the side button on their Apple Watch. Now all Macs with the T2 Security Chip support Activation Lock to make them less attractive to thieves. And with the new Find My app, the location of a lost or stolen Mac can be securely and anonymously relayed back to its owner by other Apple devices, even when it is offline.
Screen Time on the Mac gives users insight into how they spend time in apps and on websites, and the tools to help decide how to spend their time. Screen Time is designed for the way people use their Mac, including a new “One more minute” feature that gives users more time to save their work or log out of a game. Users can schedule time away from their Mac and determine how much time they want to spend within apps, websites or categories of apps. With iCloud, users can sync Screen Time settings and combine their usage across iPhone, iPad and Mac privately through end-to-end encryption. And Family Sharing gives parents new tools to better manage their children’s device usage, including the ability to choose who their children can communicate with and when.
More Apps for Mac
Also available with macOS Catalina are new APIs and tools for developers that make it easy to bring iPad apps over to the Mac. Beginning this fall, users can expect to see more of their favorite apps coming to the Mac, including Jira Cloud, Twitter and Asphalt 9.
Additional App Enhancements
- Photos features a 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 new Gallery View, more powerful search tools and additional collaboration options.
- Reminders has been redesigned with a new user interface that makes it easier to create, organize and track reminders.
The developer preview of macOS Catalina is available to Apple Developer Program members at developer.apple.com starting today, and a public beta program will be available to Mac users later this month at beta.apple.com. macOS Catalina will be available this fall as a free software update for Macs introduced in mid-2012 or later.