So, iTunes is as good as dead. What’s new in Apple Music for macOS? Not much, really. The app is very similar to the one found on iOS and iPadOS, however, it now supports syncing music progress across your devices, something iTunes did not.
The second app is Podcasts, which is, once again, a “Marzipan app” which makes it very similar to the iOS version as that’s where it initially comes from. These apps are all powered by Apple’s effort to support UIKit on macOS, essentially running iOS apps on macOS.
Apple TV will allow you to watch Apple TV+ shows and even TV channels right from your mac. The app features a similar UI to the iPadOS version.
More exciting may be the news that the iPad now acts as a secondary screen that you can bring with you on the go. This is thanks to the new “Sidecar” feature which works both wirelessly and tethered. For artists, it may be exciting news that thanks to this, Apple Pencil support comes to macOS via input trough Sidecar. This is already supported in Adobe’s latest software offerings.
macOS Catalina also makes your Mac less attractive to thieves thanks to Activation Lock coming to Mac. Using the Apple T2 security chip, macOS can now be deactivated remotely, using the new Find My app. If you’re familiar with “iCloud Lock” on iOS, this is essentially the exact same feature meaning the thieves won’t have much use for a Mac that refuses to boot or be reinstalled until a password is entered.
Another “new” feature in macOS Catalina is “Project Catalyst”, also known as Marzipan. iPadOS apps (meaning, iOS apps) are coming to the Mac. When compiling using Xcode, developers can now simply select “macOS” in their project settings to port their app to the desktop, and in many cases not even have to change a single line of code.
Twitter has shown support for the new project, reviving their Mac app with a new iPadOS version coded using UIKit. Twitter has commented that the app took ‘days’ to code, allowing Twitter to have a single team to manage the iPadOS, iOS and macOS versions of the app. More third-party developers should soon chime in with support, with many hoping that apps in the likes of Spotify or Slack, which use Electron as their engines, could be replaced by those previously mobile apps.
Electron has been criticised in the past for being very heavy on the system as it’s essentially running its entire own instance of Google Chrome, per app. If you have a few popular Electron apps installed, which you likely do, the computer can become a slow mess quite quickly. With Project Catalyst, that may finally be a thing of the past for Apple.
macOS 10.15 Catalina will be available later this year for regular users, and in the coming days or hours for registered developers. During the WWDC19 event, Apple also announced the refreshed Mac Pro, which will likely ship with macOS Catalina later this year.