Why photographers won big-time at WWDC

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photographers and new Mac Pro
Apple has a pretty good idea on how to make photographers and filmmakers happy.
Photo: Apple

WWDC 2019 bug The WWDC keynote delivered exciting news for every Apple user, but for photographers of all stripes, Monday was their jackpot.

Professional photographers and filmmakers finally got a new Mac Pro that can handle ambitious workflows.

Operating system updates due out this fall for Mac, iPhone and iPad will bring a slew of new features for editing and organizing.

The iPad will be an even more capable tool in the field and changes to the iPhone camera should tamp down those worries that Apple was falling behind the likes of Huawei, Samsung and Google.

And we’re not even talking about the new hardware coming this fall.

So for pros pondering a move to PC or the mobile shooters drooling over the Android smartphone with five lenses, no other brand is surpassing Apple anytime soon.

Let Monday’s keynote serve as a lesson in faith. Here’s a recap:

iPhone

The developers of iOS 13 achieved something very difficult: photo editing that will be more nuanced and powerful while remaining simple and intuitive.

The photo editing interface borrows design ideas from third-party editing apps, like Snapseed or Instagram, with controls that clearly mark options to adjust exposure, brightness, color temperature, luminance and other qualities. The same interface allows for videographers to edit footage in the Photos app with the same ease as still photos.

Video can also be rotated in the app.

Portrait mode features
Portrait Mode will give your style a studio-like boost.
Screenshot: Apple

Portrait mode also has new effects, including a feature that simulates the quality of light as it would appear closer or further away. Just like bokeh, Apple will soon teach the masses about High Key. There is a High Key Mono setting to create dramatic highlights in a black and white image.

Your bloated camera roll is about to get more manageable with a retooled interface and a new tab that automatically sorts photos by dates. It also will support a pinch gesture for zooming in and out of rows of photos.

Photo apps upgrade
The Photos app will feature a new tab that makes categorizing your photos easier.
Photo: Apple

The layout will also appear different. Some photos will display larger and be surrounded by images of varying size, which should bring relief to the eye and speed up the search for certain pictures.

iPad

The iPad is evolving into a MacBook replacement and Monday’s news that Apple is giving iPad its own OS brings it a step closer, especially for photographers looking for a lighter carry in the field.

iPadOS logo
iPadOS is the new name of the tablet version of iOS.
Photo: Apple

The best news may be support for external hard drives. With a Files app supercharged for editing and content transfer, photographers may leave the MacBook Pro at home. Soon, the iPad will support transfer from SD cards, mini solid state drives or directly from a camera.

And with Adobe’s Lightroom CC and a full-powered iPad version of Photoshop in development, many pros will find the iPad the right machine for editing in the field.

But there’s no reason to get rid of that MacBook Pro when you can use the iPad as a second screen. A feature of Catalina, the macOS will feature an app called Sidecar, which connects the iPad to a Mac as a second screen.

More and more photographers like using the Apple Pencil with the iPad Pro to make adjustment and Sidecar will support a number of photo and video editing apps.

Mac Pro

Mac Pro
The new Mac Pro drew a lot of attention in the demo room.
Photo: Apple

Creatives have been clamoring for a new Mac Pro workstation and while Apple has been slow to respond, it delivered a dream machine Monday at a price that represents a good downpayment on a car or several mortgage payments.

At $5,999, not including the costly upgrades, you will want to make, the Mac Pro is like a machine for the pros with deep-pocketed clients that spend big on photos or video.

Social media immediately called it a cheese grater but behind those grater-esque ventilation holes is a powerful beast: Xeon processor by Intel up to 28 cores, 12 six-channel slots that allow a whopping 1.5TB of internal memory and Thunderbolt connectivity.

Film editors, in particular, will Apple’s “Afterburner hardware accelerator card, which the company says can process more than 6 billion pixels per second and can handle three streams of 8K ProRes RAW footage or 12 Streams of 4K PRRes RAW.

The Mac Pro comes with a 32-inch 6K Retina HDR display with 10-bit color depth and P3 wide color.

Apple apparently tested it the Mac Pro out with some select developers, including companies in the video and film industry, who gushed over its performance.