The next version of macOS will be called Catalina. Apple officially unveiled the new update onstage at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) today. The biggest new feature for macOS 10.15 is the addition of iPad app support. The project was previously codenamed “Marzipan,” but it’s now called Catalyst. It’s a new way for developers to port their iPad apps over to the Mac. Developers will be able to use Xcode to target their iPad apps at macOS Catalina.
Twitter is planning to bring its iOS Twitter app to the Mac, and Atlassian is also bringing its Jira iPad app to macOS Catalina. It’s not clear how many developers will support this app porting initially, but Apple is certainly encouraging developers to bring their iPad apps to the Mac. Apple only showed 3 apps on stage today, though.
Apple is also introducing new Apple Music, Podcasts, and Apple TV apps in macOS Catalina, replacing the aging iTunes app. These apps work mostly as you’d expect. Podcasts gains local indexing support, and Apple Music looks a lot like iTunes without all the extra features. The Apple TV app has no sidebar, and it supports 4K HDR playback with HDR 10, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos.
If you were hoping to use your iPad on a Mac, then Apple is introducing a new Sidecar feature that lets you use your iPad as a secondary display. Popular third-party options like Luna or Duet Display have long supported this on macOS, but Apple is introducing this natively now.
An iPad can now be used as an extended display for Mac, and you’ll even be able to use the Apple Pencil and iPad as a drawing tablet on supported Mac apps. Apps like Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Illustrator, and iWork will all fully support Sidecar, and it all runs wirelessly so it’s easy to use on the go if you want to combine a MacBook and an iPad as a secondary display.
Catalina also introduces a new way to control a Mac entirely with your voice. It’s designed as an accessibility feature, but you can use it to control macOS by just sitting back and speaking.
Alongside these bigger features, Apple is also combining its Find My Friends and Find My iPhone apps into a single “Find My” app on iOS and macOS. An activation lock is also coming to Macs, so if your laptop gets stolen it’s useless. Even Photos is getting updated with a new browsing view, and Notes has a new gallery view. Reminders is also being improved with some design tweaks and updates.
This new 10.15 update comes a year after Apple unveiled macOS 10.14 Mojave with a new dark mode, Apple News, and a redesigned App Store. macOS Catalina certainly has a lot more refinement, especially on the app side. If developers use Apple’s new Catalyst support to bring iPad apps to macOS Catalina, then this will be one of the most important macOS updates ever released.