Apple’s epic WWDC 2019 keynote was the best in years

By

Nailed it! Craig Federighi onstage during the WWDC 2019 keynote.
That pretty much sums it up.
Photo: Apple

WWDC 2019 bug Like a blockbuster movie, Apple’s jaw-dropping WWDC 2019 kickoff served up a boatload of things that make us swoon: fun new features, LOL-worthy jokes, actual soulful moments and unexpected twists.

Perhaps most surprising — in an era of rampant leaks — Apple even delivered a legitimate surprise when it showed off its highly anticipated Mac Pro computer. That monster machine might look a little familiar, but the modular design and audacious specs got the world buzzing. (So did that cringe-inducing $5,999 price tag. That’s the starting price.)

And, like most modern movies, the WWDC 2019 keynote lasted about 15 minutes too long.

Undeniably, Apple raised the bar on tech keynotes with this epic blast of innovation.

All in all, the carefully scripted presentation lasted about two hours and 15 minutes. The first two hours brought an astonishing avalanche of new features coming to iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Mac and Apple TV.

The new software features ranged from seismic shifts (a new branch of iOS just for iPads) to tiny tweaks (makeup for Memojis) to momentous privacy advances (Sign in with Apple).

A blockbuster Apple keynote

Apple CEO Tim Cook, never one to undersell his company’s products, did not fail to point out the momentous nature of the new features coming soon to iOS, macOS, tvOS and watchOS.

“These are just blow-away, huge releases,” Cook gushed from the stage at San Jose McEnery Convention Center.

In some ways, it seemed like a stream of consciousness flow of fantastic technology. Apple showcased new features like:

  • Dark Mode, which gives iOS an inky new look that’s perfect for after-hours viewing.
  • A slick new CarPlay interface that looks easier to use (and safer) than ever.
  • QuickPath, a new iOS keyboard feature that lets you swipe to spell out words if you like.
  • iOS performance improvements that mean Face ID will work faster and apps will load more quickly.
  • A new Noise app for Apple Watch that lets you know if sound levels around you might harm your hearing.
  • HomeKit Secure Video, which locks down the feeds from those increasingly popular security cams (“No one, not even Apple, can see it,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, and the company’s most affable onstage presenter.)
  • Look Around, a great new Apple Maps feature that adds augmented reality overlays to Google Street View-style displays of city streets.
  • Powerful new photo- and video-editing tools that make the most of all those gorgeous images your iPhone grabs.
  • We even got the first trailer for For All Mankind, the alt-history sci-fi series from Ronald D. Moore that takes place in a space race era where the Soviets beat the United States to the moon.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Monday’s presentation proved so jam-packed with goodness, Apple couldn’t even find time to mention that iOS 13 brings mouse support to iPads. Finally!

One slide listed 65+ iOS 13 features that Apple didn’t have time to mention.

Best WWDC ever?

During the watch party in the CultClub, virtual eyes bulged as Cult of Mac staffers and our friends around the globe concurred that this was perhaps one of the best WWDCs ever.

On Twitter, reactions proved much the same:

WWDC 2019 keynote: Total techcitement!

After this spring’s lackluster event to showcase new Apple services, the WWDC 2019 keynote kicked things back into gear.

Watching it left me breathless with anticipation. It reminded me of watching Pulp Fiction on opening night in a packed theater. And this was streaming the keynote on a Mac in my office.

Throughout the event, Cook and Co. pummeled viewers with fresh ideas — some totally new, some artfully recycled — and wrapped it all up in a witty and engaging presentation.

Actually, that bit up top about the WWDC 2019 keynote running 15 minutes too long isn’t really fair. After all, this event is first and foremost for Apple developers.

The stuff that came after the two-hour mark, in the wake of the mind-blowing Mac Pro unveiling, was aimed squarely at coders. Among that crowd, the Minecraft Earth demo (showcasing new AR tools) and the Swift 3 unveiling undoubtedly got pulses pounding.

But for normals like me, that stuff proved a bit of a denouement. After a morning packed with big news, those segments seemed like a gag reel rolling during the credits.

The main event — a highly entertaining blitz of energizing new features, coming soon to all my favorite devices — left me reeling. Now, I’m psyched for the sequel.