Apple's macOS Catalina desktop operating system is now available, featuring Apple Arcade on Mac and new entertainment apps along with new features like Sidecar, Voice Control and Screen Time.
With a subscription to Apple Arcade for $4.99 per month, users get unlimited access to an unprecedented catalog of games on Mac, all of which can also be played on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple TV. Games can even be played across devices, so players can pick up from their last game save, whether they’re at home or on the go. On Mac, games can be played with keyboard and trackpad or mouse, and many games support controllers as well, including Xbox Wireless Controllers with Bluetooth and PlayStation DualShock 4.
Apple Arcade subscribers get the full version of every game including all updates and expansions, without any ads or additional in-game purchases. Instead of paying up front for each game, subscribers can download any Apple Arcade game right from the Mac App Store’s brand-new Arcade tab. The service is launching with a 30-day free trial and a single subscription includes access for up to six family members with Family Sharing.
Three all-new apps — Apple Music, Apple Podcasts and Apple TV— replace iTunes and make it easy to discover music, TV shows, movies and podcasts on Mac. The new Music app features over 50 million songs, playlists and music videos. Users will have access to their entire music library and new music can still be purchased from the iTunes Store.
Apple Podcasts 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 show categories, curated collections and search tools to allow users to search episodes by current events, people and even phrases.
The Apple TV app brings together different ways to find and watch movies and TV shows into one app, and features Apple TV channels, personalized recommendations and over 100,000 iTunes movies and TV shows to browse, buy or rent. And now Apple TV+, Apple’s original video subscription service, will also be available in the Apple TV app for Mac starting November 1.
The new Sidecar feature extends a user’s Mac workspace by using iPad as a second display, allowing them to spread out their work. With Sidecar, you can use an iPad display for tablet input to draw, sketch or write with Apple Pencil in any Apple or third-party Mac app that supports stylus input. Sidecar runs on a wired connection so users can charge their iPad as they work, or on a wireless connection, using everything from illustration apps and video editing apps to 3D apps, like Photoshop, Illustrator and ZBrush.
macOS Catalina introduces transformative accessibility features to enable users with disabilities to get the most out of their devices. Voice Control is a new way for users to control Mac and iOS devices entirely with their voice. It uses the latest version of Siri speech recognition technology to transcribe spoken text and enable editing text via voice. New numbers and grids provide the tools to interact with virtually any app, and audio processing happens entirely on device. For users with impaired vision, Hover Text displays high-resolution text in a dedicated window when hovering over text and UI elements, and Zoom Display keeps one monitor tightly zoomed in while another at the standard resolution.
Also available with macOS Catalina is Mac Catalyst, a new technology that lets app developers build Mac versions of their shipping iPad apps. The iPad ecosystem comprises over a million iPad apps, and now users will see more of their favorite titles come to Mac than ever before, including apps like Twitter, GoodNotes, TripIt from SAP, Post-it, Morpholio Board, Rosetta Stone, Jira, Proloquo2Go and others. These titles and more will be available, starting as early as today, on the Mac App Store for users to download , and other exciting Mac Catalyst-developed apps will be released in the weeks ahead.
macOS Catalina brings Screen Time to Mac for the first time, providing insight into how users are spending time with apps and websites. Downtime lets users schedule time away from their Mac, and App Limits allow control over how much time users spend with specific apps, websites and categories of apps. With iCloud, Screen Time combines all usage and syncs Downtime settings and App Limits across devices. And with Family Sharing, Screen Time gives parents visibility for their kids’ activities across all of their Apple devices.
Security improvements in Catalina better protect macOS from tampering, help ensure apps are safe, and give users greater control over access to their data. macOS Catalina now runs on a dedicated, read-only system volume, which means it is completely separate from all other data, and nothing can accidentally overwrite critical operating system files. Gatekeeper, Apple’s technology to ensure only trusted software runs on a Mac, now checks all apps for known security issues, while new data protections require all apps to get permission before accessing user documents. Every Mac with the Apple-designed T2 Security Chip now supports Activation Lock, just like on iPhone or iPad, so if a Mac is ever misplaced or stolen, only the owner can erase and reactivate it. Approve with Apple Watch also lets users approve specific security prompts by simply tapping the side button on their Apple Watch.
Additional Features in macOS Catalina
- The new Find My app combines Find My iPhone and Find My Friends into a single app on Mac, iPad and iPhone. Find My can help users locate a missing Mac even if it’s offline and sleeping by sending out Bluetooth signals that can be detected by Apple devices in use nearby, and then relaying the detected location of the Mac to iCloud so a user can can locate it in the Find My app.
- 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 an all-new user interface that makes it easier to create, organize and track reminders.
macOS Catalina is available today as a free software update for Macs introduced mid-2012 or later. Some features may not be available in all regions or languages.
New Final Cut Pro X Includes Optimizations for Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR
Apple has also updated Final Cut Pro X with a new Metal engine that delivers performance gains across a wide range of Mac systems and takes advantage of the power of the new Mac Pro and the high-resolution, high-dynamic-range viewing experience of Apple Pro Display XDR. Apple is also releasing updates to Motion and Compressor that feature the same modern Metal engine with performance optimizations for Mac Pro and support for Pro Display XDR.
Today’s update to Final Cut Pro delivers a new Metal-based engine that improves playback and accelerates graphics tasks including rendering, real-time effects and exporting on Metal-compatible Mac computers. Apple says that video editors with 15-inch MacBook Pro, the most popular system for Final Cut Pro users, will benefit from performance that’s up to 20 percent faster, while editors using iMac Pro will see gains up to 35 percent.
Final Cut Pro works with the new Sidecar feature of macOS Catalina that enables users to extend their Mac workspace by using iPad as a second display to show the browser or viewer. Video editors can use Sidecar with a cable or they can connect wirelessly for even greater flexibility.
Final Cut Pro will leverage the power of Mac Pro, offering support for multiple GPUs and up to 28 CPU cores. This means that rendering is up to 2.9 times faster and transcoding is up to 3.2 times faster than on the previous-generation 12-core Mac Pro. And Final Cut Pro utilizes the new Afterburner card for high performance when working with ProRes and ProRes RAW — the format from Apple that combines the image quality and flexibility of RAW video with the performance of ProRes. This allows editors to simultaneously play up to 16 streams of 4K ProRes 422 video or work in 8K resolution with support for up to three streams of 8K ProRes RAW video.
In a Pro Display XDR, Final Cut Pro users can view, edit, grade and deliver high dynamic range video with 1,000 nits of full screen sustained brightness, 1,600 nits peak brightness and a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio. Pro Display XDR connects to the Mac through a single Thunderbolt cable, and pros using Final Cut Pro on Mac Pro can simultaneously use up to three Pro Display XDR units — two for the Final Cut Pro interface and one as a dedicated professional reference monitor.
Additional New Features in Final Cut Pro 10.4.7
- Grade high dynamic range video with enhanced color mask and range isolation tools.
- View high dynamic range video tone-mapped to compatible standard dynamic range displays when using Final Cut Pro, Motion or Compressor on macOS Catalina.
- Select which internal or external GPU is used to accelerate graphics processing.
Final Cut Pro 10.4.7 is available today as a free update for existing users, and for $299.99 (US) for new users on the Mac App Store. Motion 5.4.4 and Compressor 4.4.5 are also available today as free updates for existing users, and for $49.99 (US) each for new users on the Mac App Store.