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macOS Catalina 10.15 est ce que Apple a promis que le Mac pourrait être, et constitue une mise à niveau cruciale – Resoudre les problemes d’un serveur MineCraft

Le 27 novembre 2019 - 10 minutes de lecture

Le dernier macOS d'Apple 10.15 Catalina insuffle une nouvelle vitalité aux sept dernières années des Mac et des MacOS.

macOS Catalina

L'image de bureau par défaut de macOS Catalina est celle de l'île de Santa Catalina au large de Los Angeles, en Californie.

Bon nombre des nouvelles fonctionnalités de Catalina ont été migrées sous une forme ou une autre depuis iOS, notamment les nouvelles applications multimédia qui remplacent iTunes; une gestion ciblée de la fenêtre en mosaïque similaire à celle de l'iPad; le nouvel iPad iPad Sidecar et Continuity Sketch; le nouveau puissant contrôle vocal; Temps d'écran; une nouvelle application Trouver mon application, des rappels plus riches et des notes partagées; et un tout nouveau monde d'applications Catalyst d'iPad et de jeux Apple Arcade. Il y a aussi beaucoup d'autres fonctionnalités spécifiques à Mac sous le capot.

Voici ce que Catalina fournit et pourquoi il est si important pour l'avenir de la plate-forme.

Bienvenue à Catalina

Le nouveau macOS 10.15 Catalina doit son nom à une grande île située au large de la côte de Los Angeles, acquise par le magnat des chewing-gums William Wrigley, Jr., il y a un siècle, en 1919. Wrigley a acheté l'île après un incendie dévastateur qui a presque détruit Avalon. poste principal.

Wrigley a ensuite investi dans la construction des infrastructures, des services publics et des attractions qui ont soutenu le tourisme de l'île au cours des dix dernières décennies. En dehors des bateaux à fond de verre, de la plongée en apnée avec des poissons colorés, des plages, des restaurants et d'un casino emblématique à Avalon, une grande partie de l'île de Catalina a été délibérément laissée intacte pour permettre aux animaux de vivre à l'état sauvage.

Il convient que la mise à jour 2019 d’Apple du système d’exploitation Macintosh porte le nom d’un point de repère californien qui a longtemps servi d’échappée emblématique au tumulte de la ville, un lieu qui attire talent et investissement, qui accueille divers styles de divertissement et offre une frontière sauvage pour l'exploration. Apple propose le littoral accidenté de la pointe très ouverte du nord-ouest de l'île de Santa Catalina en tant qu'image par défaut de bureau dynamique qui passe de la lumière à l'obscurité lorsqu'elle est réglée automatiquement sur l'heure de la journée.

Les réviseurs des nouvelles versions du système d'exploitation Apple OS avaient l'habitude de donner leur avis sur la nécessité d'une mise à niveau. Cependant, ce n'est plus pertinent; Il est facile de passer à la dernière version du logiciel Apple dès que cela convient à votre situation. Pendant plus d'une décennie, Apple a présenté un calendrier de mises à jour ambitieux mais soigneusement planifié pour ses plates-formes logicielles, d'iOS à macOS, en proposant des mises à jour débordant de progrès solides et attrayants.

Passons donc plutôt à la question de savoir ce que la nouvelle Catalina fonctionne exactement pour améliorer sur le Mac et pourquoi, puis examinons les facteurs susceptibles d’affecter le choix de la mise à jour de votre Mac. Nous parlerons également de la stratégie d'Apple pour Catalina, qui montre où il envisage de prendre son système d'exploitation de bureau dans un monde où la majorité de la base installée d'appareils d'un milliard et demi actifs est constituée d'appareils iOS mobiles.

La progression rapide de Catalina alimentée par la fusée iOS d'Apple

Avec la sortie de macOS 10.15 Catalina, la plate-forme macOS X de bureau d'Apple a maintenant 18 ans, soit le même âge que le "Mac OS classique" lors de sa retraite officielle en 2002. Pourtant, plutôt que de vous endormir autour de la version 7.x Dans les années 1990, le MacOS moderne en est à sa 16e version majeure. Le rythme d'innovations réelles et pratiques d'Apple et ses principales améliorations en matière de sécurité et de performances du système n'ont jamais été aussi rapides, significatifs et fiables.

De retour dans une interview de 1994 avec Pierre roulante, Steve Jobs avait quelque chose à dire à ce sujet après son éviction.

"Le Mac était figé dans le temps. Le Mac n'a pas beaucoup changé au cours des 10 dernières années. Il a peut-être changé de 10%. C'était un canard assis", a déclaré Jobs. "C’est étonnant qu’il ait fallu 10 ans à Microsoft pour copier quelque chose qui était un canard assis. Apple, malheureusement, ne mérite pas trop de sympathie. Ils ont investi des centaines et des centaines de millions de dollars dans la R & D, mais très peu ont été publiés. presque pas de nouvelle innovation depuis le Mac d'origine. "

Un peu plus de deux ans plus tard, Apple a acquis NeXT, Inc. de Jobs et a chargé son équipe de transformer sa plate-forme informatique et de développement avancée NeXTSTEP en un substitut approprié du MacOS classique, ainsi que de revoir complètement la manière dont Apple a géré ses investissements en R & D. Après environ quatre ans de travail interne entre 1997 et 2000, la version bêta publique de "Mac OS X" est arrivée pour la première fois en 2001 comme plate-forme de système d'exploitation moderne pour Mac sur Apple. Apple a ensuite effectué une série d'avances régulières environ tous les deux ans et facturé au départ 129 USD. pour chaque mise à niveau majeure.

Au cours de cette ère de mises à niveau payantes «Big Cat», Apple a fourni une série de fonctionnalités allant du solide, comme le nouveau navigateur Safari que vous utilisez probablement pour le lire, au ludique tableau de bord des widgets . Le tableau de bord disparaît finalement entièrement à Catalina, mais les widgets sont toujours là, mais ils sont simplement meilleurs sur le plan architectural et plus faciles d'accès depuis le panneau Aujourd'hui du Centre de notifications.

Tableau de bord Mac

Le tableau de bord a été mis au repos

En 2007, une grande partie du travail de la plate-forme Mac d’Apple était toujours liée à la transition des processeurs PowerPC et du logiciel Mac Classic des années 90. Elle commençait tout juste à introduire un nouveau support pour les applications 64 bits complètes.

Aujourd’hui, Catalina abandonne toute une ère d’héritage en dessinant la ligne de conduite du logiciel 64 bits en cours d’exécution. Cela inclut la fermeture de l'ancienne version d'Apple QuickTime 7 et des anciennes applications qui en dépendaient. L’affinement de toutes les anciennes applications et infrastructures 32 bits de Catalina rationalise sa base de code et prépare le Mac à un nouvel avenir de progrès dans la prochaine décennie des années 2020.

Depuis le lancement du premier iPhone en 2007, l'afflux de nouvelles liquidités provenant des ventes en volume d'iOS a insufflé une nouvelle vie à la plate-forme de bureau d'Apple. Entre 2009 et 2013, Snow Leopard, Lion et Mountain Lion ont pris du recul par rapport au glaçage de nouvelles fonctionnalités du gâteau du bureau Mac, au lieu de se concentrer sans relâche sur la performance et la stabilité.

En cours de route, le Mac a également commencé à intégrer de nombreuses fonctionnalités créées par Apple pour iOS, notamment l'App Store, les gestes multitouch sur le trackpad, les documents et données iCloud, les messages compatibles avec les appareils mobiles et le Centre de notifications. MacOS a également commencé à copier les mises à jour gratuites et annuelles du système d'exploitation qu'Apple avait précédemment introduites pour iPhone en 2007.

Si vous avez acheté un nouveau Mac en 2012, sept mises à jour annuelles majeures vous ont été offertes gratuitement au cours des années qui ont suivi. Les progrès réalisés par Apple auraient déjà coûté plus de 900 dollars les années où le logiciel Mac devait se prendre en charge plutôt que d'être subventionné par la richesse créée par les ventes mondiales de plus de Un milliard Les appareils iOS, même les observateurs les plus optimistes d’Apple n’auraient jamais imaginé.

Au cours de cette période, une multitude de fonctionnalités très précieuses ont commencé à déferler sur Cupertino, en grande partie alimentées par la R & D déjà financée par des bénéfices provenant de la base installée beaucoup plus importante d’iOS. IBooks, Maps, Photos, des avancées techniques, dont Metal Graphics, la toute nouvelle apparence de "clarté et de déférence" d'iOS 7 et une intégration de plus en plus étroite entre iOS et macOS via la technologie sans fil Continuity prenant en charge le transfert de documents et les appels téléphoniques, AirDrop et caméra de continuité.

De nombreuses fonctionnalités Mac n'existent même pas sur d'autres plates-formes informatiques de bureau, pourquoi le feraient-elles?

Une grande partie de ce que Apple a montré à la WWDC19 en juin dernier consistait à renforcer ses efforts passés. Nous avons assisté à l'intégration de plus de fonctionnalités d'iOS, de nouvelles technologies et infrastructures partagées, ainsi qu'à une harmonisation accrue et à une intégration plus étroite avec les plates-formes mobiles d'Apple.

Cette synergie est également évidente dans le matériel. Les nouveaux Mac dotés du silicium T2 personnalisé d'Apple prennent désormais en charge les fonctionnalités conçues à l'origine pour les appareils iOS, notamment Touch ID, le cryptage accéléré par le matériel et les codecs multimédias, la sécurité avancée, Hey Siri et le Touch Bar dynamique avec QuickType, qui est essentiellement un appareil iOS. construit dans les récents MacBook Pro. Cette année, Catalina incorpore également la fonctionnalité Touch Bar dans sa nouvelle fonctionnalité Sidecar, permettant à un iPad avec Apple Pencil de fonctionner comme un afficheur de balisage et un dispositif de saisie de dessin.

Catalina présente également la nouvelle SwiftUI conçue pour accélérer la programmation d'interfaces utilisateur avancées en exploitant les fonctionnalités de Swift. intelligence d'apprentissage machine avancée utilisée en interne dans macOS et dans des applications telles que Photos et Rappels; une énorme extension de Continuity qui transforme votre iPhone en un carnet de croquis, un scanner et une caméra pour documents, en plus de la mise à niveau de votre iPad en un affichage secondaire compatible Crayon pour votre Mac moderne (y compris quelques modèles sortis avant la puce T2 ) et les infrastructures Catalyst créées pour adapter les applications UIKit iPad existantes à une exécution native sur Catalina.

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SwiftUI apporte des outils de conception d'interface utilisateur accélérés et rationalisés au Xcode de Catalina

Catalina apporte également l'expérience familière des applications de lecture multimédia sur iOS, offrant une expérience iTunes simplifiée désormais optimisée pour Apple Music, bien que vous puissiez toujours travailler avec votre bibliothèque de téléchargements multimédia existante et continuer à acheter sur iTunes Store si vous le souhaitez. Il existe désormais des applications distinctes optimisées pour la gestion des podcasts, des livres et des livres audio, ainsi que la toute nouvelle application Apple TV pour la gestion de la diffusion en continu de films et de programmes télévisés, la location et les nouvelles chaînes d'abonnement proposées comme une alternative "à la carte" par câble, notamment le prochain réseau Apple. Chaîne TV + de la programmation originale dont le lancement est prévu le 1er novembre au tarif de 4,99 $ par mois.

Parallèlement à iOS 13, Catalina introduit également le nouveau contrôle vocal pour naviguer verbalement dans le système. C'est une extension de la dictée améliorée qui vous permet non seulement de saisir du texte par la parole, mais également de naviguer dans presque tous les aspects du système avec votre voix.

Comme d’autres fonctionnalités d’accessibilité, elle vise en particulier à ouvrir les fonctionnalités du matériel Apple aux personnes qui ne peuvent pas utiliser les périphériques d’entrée traditionnels. Dans le même temps, il s'agit également d'une fonctionnalité incontournable qui permet à chacun d'interagir avec de nouveaux moyens. Au lancement, le contrôle vocal n’est pris en charge qu’en anglais américain.

Les Mac profitent également de la poussée d'Apple sur de nouveaux marchés internationaux. De plus, tout comme iOS, il existe désormais une configuration multilingue pour macOS qui permet aux utilisateurs de choisir leurs langues préférées pour la dictée et le clavier directement dans l’Assistant réglages. Apple a également ajouté une nouvelle prise en charge des voix Siri anglais indien, 34 nouvelles polices prenant en charge les langues Indic et des améliorations de la prédiction du clavier pour le japonais et le chinois cantonais à l'aide des claviers chinois traditionnel Cangjie, Sucheng, Stroke et Handwriting.

Identifiant Apple dans les préférences système

L'ID Apple est maintenant au centre des préférences système, comme dans les paramètres iOS

Apple a également amélioré la configuration de l'identifiant Apple dans Catalina, en le repositionnant en haut des préférences système dans une présentation similaire à iOS (ci-dessus). Cela facilite l'accès et la gestion de vos paramètres iCloud et de toutes les informations connectées à votre identifiant Apple, y compris l'authentification à deux facteurs et les numéros de téléphone sécurisés que vous pouvez utiliser pour vérifier une nouvelle connexion au compte; votre adresse de paiement et d'expédition dans votre dossier; et vos achats de supports, y compris les abonnements auxquels vous êtes inscrit, ainsi que la possibilité de les annuler. Il répertorie également de manière pratique tous les périphériques associés à votre identifiant Apple, ainsi que les comptes Apple Pay configurés sur chacun d'eux, ainsi qu'un lien vers "Trouver mon" pour chaque périphérique.

Bizarrement, ce lien Find My vous mène toujours à iCloud dans votre navigateur Web, et non à la nouvelle application Catalina Find My. D'autre part, les préférences système de Catalina vous amènent à l'application Mac App Store pour gérer vos paramètres d'identifiant Apple, étape qui vous oblige à vous reconnecter, sans l'aide de Touch ID ou d'accès au trousseau.

Vous êtes si souvent obligé d'indiquer votre mot de passe Apple ID que ce n'est pas seulement une nuisance, mais vous apprend également qu'il est normal de le taper de manière répétée. C'est un comportement qui, semble-t-il, rendrait facile pour une application tierce malhonnête de demander cela à des utilisateurs en cachette.

L'un des problèmes que j'ai rencontrés lors de la mise à jour des appareils au cours de la période de bêta était la demande constante de connexion répétée à mon compte Apple, quelque chose que Touch ID devrait sembler capable de gérer pour moi. Le sujet de l'authentification – concilier sécurité et simplicité – est un sujet sur lequel Apple continue de travailler.

Dans cet ordre d'idées, alors que Touch ID semble être plus largement pris en charge en tant que moyen d'authentification, il existe encore des endroits dans les Préférences Système où vous êtes invité à entrer votre mot de passe sans aucune prise en charge de Touch ID, par exemple lorsque vous autorisez Apple Watch à déverrouiller ton Mac Cependant, une fois que vous avez défini cette option, une nouvelle fonctionnalité est déverrouillée: presque toutes les invites d'authentification, de l'installation d'une nouvelle application à la définition d'une préférence de niveau administrateur, peuvent utiliser un Touch ID ou une alerte sur votre Apple Watch connectée.

Cette fonctionnalité, nouvelle pour Catalina, provoque une vibration de votre montre ainsi qu’un message vous invitant à double-cliquer sur son bouton pour s’authentifier. Vous pouvez également utiliser Apple Watch pour s'authentifier dans des applications prenant en charge le Touch ID, telles que l'ouverture d'une note verrouillée par mot de passe dans Notes.

Cela apporte la commodité de l'authentification Touch ID aux utilisateurs de Mac qui n'ont pas Touch ID, mais portent une montre Apple Watch.

Authentification Apple Watch

Catalina apporte la commodité de l'authentification Touch ID aux utilisateurs de Mac portant une montre Apple Watch

L’une des nouvelles fonctionnalités très attendues de Catalina est la prise en charge du partage collaboratif de dossiers iCloud de type Dropbox. Ce n'est pas encore disponible, mais Apple note qu'il "va bientôt arriver" dans une mise à jour plus tard cet automne, qui pourrait être aussi tard que 10h15.2 début décembre. Ce serait bien d’avoir cela maintenant, mais je préférerais attendre jusqu’à ce que Apple juge le nouveau service sûr, fiable et suffisamment robuste pour une utilisation en production.

Une autre fonctionnalité qui était auparavant bloquée dans les versions bêta est la récupération macOS à l'aide d'instantanés Time Machine. En mode de fonctionnement normal, Time Machine sauvegarde les fichiers sur un disque externe sélectionné et enregistre également les "instantanés" locaux sur votre volume de démarrage APFS, dans la mesure où l'espace le permet.

Time Machine enregistre les instantanés locaux depuis macOS 10.13 High Sierra, mais maintenant, macOS Recovery prend en charge la possibilité de restaurer votre système à un instantané récent. Cela peut être utile si vous installez une mise à jour logicielle qui pose des problèmes pour l'une de vos applications. La sauvegarde, puis la restauration sur un instantané antérieur annulent la mise à jour et vous permettent de travailler comme si de rien n'était.

Cela doit toutefois être fait rapidement, car le système rejette les sauvegardes locales après 24 heures.

Si vous mettez à niveau? Oui, mais le timing est un facteur important

Nous (et peut-être vous-même) avons travaillé avec les Public Betas d’Apple tout l’été, ce qui a créé des problèmes auxquels les ingénieurs d’Apple s’attachent depuis plusieurs mois depuis que la première version bêta a été livrée aux développeurs en juin à WWDC19. Malgré des améliorations massives, il y a encore des surprises dans la version initiale 10.15. Certaines peuvent être sans conséquence, alors que d'autres peuvent affecter votre flux de travail particulier.

Si vous êtes un des premiers utilisateurs de la technologie, vous avez probablement déjà chargé une bêta publique à ce jour. Le dernier GM ne devrait être qu'une amélioration. Toutefois, si vous utilisez des logiciels ou des utilitaires professionnels ou spécialisés qui ne sont pas mis à jour via le Mac App Store, y compris des pilotes pour certains périphériques matériels ou des utilitaires d’imagerie de disque de bas niveau, il est probablement plus sage de laisser les autres récupérer les données de défaillance pour vous.

De plus, Apple a déjà fait savoir que Catalina mettra officiellement fin au support de certains logiciels obsolètes. Cela inclut Aperture d'Apple, qui n'a pas été mis à jour depuis 2014, ainsi que l'ancien QuickTime 7 et les applications qui l'utilisent plutôt que les cadres multimédias modernes avec lesquels Apple l'a remplacé.

De plus, les nouveaux cadres multimédias d’Apple sont optimisés pour les codecs à accélération matérielle. Si vous avez d'anciens fichiers multimédias datant de l'époque de QuickTime, vous devrez peut-être les convertir ou au moins conserver un lecteur de démarrage antérieur à Catalina qui vous permettra de travailler avec ces fichiers multimédias hérités à l'avenir.

Le passage à 64 bits

Catalina est également la fin de la route pour les applications 32 bits, ou les applications qui utilisent des infrastructures ou des programmes d'installation 32 bits qui n'ont pas été mis à jour pour fonctionner en tant que code 64 bits. Ce n'est pas une surprise: Apple avertit ses développeurs depuis des années que le code 32 bits cesserait finalement de s'exécuter. La plupart des applications 32 bits ont déjà été mises à jour.

Si vous essayez toujours d'utiliser iWorks 09, Office 2011, Adobe Creative Suite 5 ou un autre logiciel ancien datant d'environ 10 ans, Catalina vous incitera à passer à l'ère actuelle.

Si vous utilisez toujours une très ancienne version d'une application qui n'est pas mise à jour automatiquement via le Mac App Store, vous devrez peut-être rechercher et mettre à niveau ces titres vous-même. Les exemples incluent des titres populaires mais anciens tels que Transmit 4.1.7 (la version actuelle est la version 5); VMWare Fusion 3.1.4 (maintenant à 11,5); Parallels (la dernière version est 15); et QuickBooks 2015 (l'édition 2020 est à présent disponible). Les anciennes versions du logiciel anti-virus risquent également de ne pas être prises en charge.

Nous avons déjà expliqué comment voir ce qui était encore 32 bits et installé sur votre système plusieurs fois auparavant. J'ai sorti un vieux MacBook avec macOS 10.13 High Sierra, et même il n'a identifié que quelques titres qui ne fonctionneraient pas sur Catalina. Ils incluaient de très anciennes versions de Transmit, TextWrangler, SuperDuper, Dropbox, djay Pro, NetNewsWire, de l’ancien logiciel d’impression Canon et du programme d’installation du lecteur Adobe Flash. La liste répertorie également certains anciens logiciels Apple, notamment le lecteur de DVD et InkServer pour la saisie au stylet.

Autant dire que la plupart des logiciels 32 bits sont vraiment anciens. La fin des applications 32 bits n’est probablement pas un réel problème pour vous, à moins que vous ne vous mettiez à marcher avec une collection de musées d’applications et de jeux vraiment anciens. Au cours du processus d'installation de Catalina, les applications restantes qui ne sont pas prises en charge seront signalées, mais il est judicieux de revoir toutes les applications 32 bits que vous utilisez au préalable si vous ne souhaitez pas gérer les interruptions ou les surprises.

Restrictions concernant les pilotes, les Kexts et le TCC

Les pilotes matériels et autres logiciels de bas niveau étaient auparavant installés dans le noyau macOS en tant qu '"extensions de noyau" (kexts) pour des raisons de performances. À Catalina, ce n'est plus nécessaire. Les pilotes pour les périphériques USB, les fournisseurs de fichiers dans le cloud et les moniteurs de réseau s'exécutent maintenant dans l'espace utilisateur, comme toute autre application. Ainsi, en cas de problème, ils ne peuvent pas bloquer le système d'exploitation.

Cette opération peut nécessiter que les fournisseurs de matériel mettent à jour le logiciel de pilote afin de fonctionner avec Catalina. Étant donné que les pilotes de périphériques, les fournisseurs de fichiers dans le cloud et d'autres logiciels de bas niveau n'ont plus besoin de kext, ce logiciel peut désormais être mis à disposition via le Mac App Store.

Semblable aux efforts précédents sur iOS et aux restrictions antérieures sous macOS, Catalina impose de nouvelles restrictions pour les applications qui exigent votre approbation avant que les applications puissent accéder aux fichiers de vos dossiers Documents et Desktop, iCloud Drive ou des volumes externes. Apple qualifie ces restrictions de politique de "protection des données" ou plus largement de TCC, de "transparence, de consentement et de contrôle", ce qui vous permet de contrôler clairement et en connaissance de cause l'évolution de votre système.

Paramètres de confidentialité macOS

Les paramètres de confidentialité de Catalina élargissent la protection des données à l'enregistrement d'écran et au contrôle des entrées

Les nouvelles politiques du TCC dans Catalina vous invitent également à approuver une application avant de pouvoir capturer l'activité du clavier ou de prendre une photo ou une vidéo de votre écran. Diverses applications ont repoussé les limites de l'espionnage des utilisateurs de la même manière que les téléviseurs intelligents et les appareils Android ont transformé la collecte de données de surveillance en une de leurs principales sources de profit. Apple continue de bloquer ces efforts sur ses appareils Mac et iOS.

Ne pas autoriser TCC à accéder à une application ne devrait pas causer de problèmes de compatibilité, mais cela pourrait empêcher l'application de fonctionner comme prévu.

La nouvelle partition système en lecture seule

Catalina modifie le schéma de partition de votre disque dur pour créer une partition système en lecture seule distincte de la partition sur laquelle toutes vos données sont enregistrées. Cela permet d'éviter que le logiciel système principal ne soit écrasé par un logiciel malveillant ou bogué. Il s'agit d'une extension du concept de protection de l'intégrité du système introduit par Apple dans macOS 10.11 El Capitan.

Ce nouveau schéma de partitionnement tire parti du système de fichiers Apple (APFS) introduit pour la première fois dans macOS 10.13 High Sierra, qui permet de repartitionner en toute sécurité un disque en place. À partir de macOS 10.14 Mojave, Apple a automatiquement commencé à convertir les utilisateurs HFS + en APFS. Dans Catalina, APFS est désormais obligatoire pour tous les volumes de démarrage.

Apple a veillé à ce que les logiciels correctement codés ne remarquent même pas le changement de partition système en lecture seule, en utilisant ce qu'il appelle "firmlinking" pour assembler les deux partitions en un "groupe de volumes". À partir du bureau Mac, le Finder présente les deux partitions comme s’il ne s’agissait toujours que d’un seul volume.

Dans Utilitaire de disque, vous pouvez toutefois constater que Catalina redimensionne votre lecteur en une partition en lecture seule et crée une nouvelle partition "Données" en lecture / écriture. Cette nouvelle partition est l'endroit où toutes les applications que vous installez sont enregistrées, ainsi que toutes vos données utilisateur.

Utilitaire de disque affiche les nouvelles partitions de Catalina, qui apparaissent comme un seul disque dans le Finder.

Un logiciel de bas niveau plus ancien qui supposait l’emplacement du logiciel système pouvait rencontrer des problèmes avec Catalina. Mike Bombich, le développeur de Carbon Copy Cloner, a mis à jour son titre pour fonctionner avec Catalina cet été. Dans un blog, il résume succinctement le fonctionnement du nouveau système sous le capot.

Comme pour la transition vers les applications 64 bits, Apple a imposé la compatibilité avec la nouvelle partition système en lecture seule de Catalina pour les titres du Mac App Store. La nouvelle modification ne vous concerne que si vous utilisez des applications tierces obtenues en dehors de l'application. Le magasin.

Couvrez vos paris en installant Catalina sur un volume séparé

APFS prend en charge la possibilité de créer un nouveau volume sur un disque existant. Cela vous permet d'installer Catalina sur votre Mac au sein d'un nouveau volume, sans écraser votre installation existante de Mojave. Vous pouvez ensuite démarrer à partir de n'importe quel système à l'aide de la disquette de démarrage dans les Préférences Système. Notez que le fait d’avoir plusieurs versions de macOS sur votre système consomme beaucoup d’espace supplémentaire et que chacune d’elles devra être mise à jour séparément avec la dernière version du système d’exploitation.

Vous ne voudrez le faire que si Catalina est compatible avec vos anciennes applications ou si vous avez des raisons de revenir à une version antérieure de macOS à des fins de test. Apple recommande également cette option aux utilisateurs qui souhaitent rester dans le programme bêta public et qui souhaitent conserver ces mises à jour avancées séparément de leur système habituel.

Pour la plupart des utilisateurs, installer Catalina en place sur votre installation existante ne devrait pas poser de problème et vous éviter la complication d'avoir à effacer ultérieurement le volume d'installation précédent, ni de gaspiller environ 20 Go de stockage plus des données personnelles dupliquées en maintenant une sauvegarde secondaire. installation de macOS.

En attente d'un point ou deux

Vous pouvez également envisager une autre option: attendre un mois ou deux que Apple termine sa première ou deuxième publication de Catalina. Pour les professionnels qui ne peuvent se permettre de découvrir et de résoudre tout problème de mise à jour surprise avec leur équipement spécialisé ou leurs workflows impliquant des applications professionnelles, les nouvelles fonctionnalités de Catalina peuvent être différées jusqu'à ce qu'il apparaisse sûr de franchir le pas. Il est également courant que les utilisateurs en entreprise attendent quelque temps après une version majeure pour s’assurer qu’ils ne rencontrent aucun problème avec leurs applications d’entreprise personnalisées.

L’année dernière, Apple a livré 10.14.1 à la fin du mois d’octobre, environ un mois après la première expédition de Mojave, et le 10.14.2 environ un mois plus tard, début décembre. C’est le schéma général des dernières versions de MacOS au cours des dernières années. Vous pouvez donc planifier votre mise à jour en fonction de ces étapes si vous êtes au milieu d’un projet de grande envergure ou si vous souhaitez déléguer la découverte de surprises à vos collègues utilisateurs de Mac.

N'oubliez pas non plus que des problèmes de mise à jour de logiciel peuvent survenir avec toute nouvelle version et que des correctifs importants peuvent être apportés rapidement après leur découverte. En 2017, près d'un mois après la publication de macOS 10.13.1, un problème de sécurité majeur avait été découvert. Apple visait déjà la livraison de la version 10.13.2 d’ici une semaine environ, mais elle a immédiatement publié des instructions sur la résolution du problème et envoyé une mise à jour de sécurité pour corriger le problème le lendemain.

Bien qu'il soit logique que certains utilisateurs fassent preuve de prudence lorsqu'ils effectuent une mise à niveau majeure, à moins que vous ne craigniez pour votre flux de travail spécifique, vous pouvez être assez sûr que Catalina peut désormais être installée en toute sécurité et que tous les problèmes graves détectés seront résolus. rapidement abordé par Apple.

Catalina nécessite un Mac Metal avec une installation California MacOS

Bien sûr, l’installation de Catalina dépend également du support matériel Mac. Les exigences minimales pour le nouveau macOS Catalina semblent être à peu près les mêmes que pour les ordinateurs Mojave: Mac prenant en charge le métal. Il faudra au moins un iMac ou un Mac mini fin 2012, ou un MacBook Air ou un MacBook Pro pour la mi-2012. Bien sûr, il fonctionne également sur tous les nouveaux iMac Pro 2017 ou les nouveaux MacBook Retina (commercialisés en 2015) et prend en charge tous les cylindres noirs Mac Pros (commercialisés depuis 2013).

Un changement apparent: Catalina ne prend pas en charge les modèles tour 5,1 Mac Pro remontant à la mi-2010, qui étaient pris en charge dans Mojave s’ils étaient équipés d’une carte graphique compatible Métal. Ces machines ont maintenant six à neuf ans et Apple fournit désormais une voie de mise à niveau solide pour les utilisateurs de Mac Pro. Ses machines les plus récentes ont été annoncées à la WWDC19.

Sur le matériel pris en charge, vous pouvez effectuer une mise à niveau vers Catalina directement à partir de n’importe quelle installation "nommée en Californie", c’est-à-dire macOS 10.9 Mavericks ou une version ultérieure. Notez que Catalina mettra à jour un lecteur d’amorçage HFS + vers APFS, ainsi que de repartitionner le volume d’amorçage afin de créer une partition distincte en lecture seule pour les données système essentielles (un peu moins de 20 Go) et une partition classique en lecture / écriture pour les données. se développera au besoin jusqu'à ce que votre disque soit plein.

Vous devez sauvegarder votre système existant à l'aide de Time Machine avant de procéder à une installation. Assurez-vous de libérer au moins 20 Go d'espace en vue de l'installation de Catalina.

Si vous utilisez au moins macOS 10.12 Sierra, vous pouvez aller à propos de Ce Mac, cliquez sur l'onglet Stockage, puis sur le bouton Gérer du lecteur sur lequel vous souhaitez installer le lecteur. Cela offrira des options pour réduire l'encombrement, stocker dans iCloud et optimiser le stockage.

La première option identifie les fichiers volumineux dont vous n’avez peut-être plus besoin. La seconde offre de télécharger Desktop et Documents; Photos; et Message à iCloud et supprimez-les de votre lecteur local, en les téléchargeant uniquement au besoin. La troisième supprime les films et les émissions de télévision iTunes que vous avez déjà visionnés et supprime toutes les copies locales d'anciennes pièces jointes que vous avez téléchargées.

Plate-forme informatique "flexible, étendue, capable et ciblée" d'Apple

Le fait qu'Apple utilise la technologie d'iOS, y compris les nouvelles applications Catalyst pour iPad, ne signifie pas qu'elle abandonne ce qui a rendu le Mac unique et puissant. L'un des messages clairs de la WWDC19 était qu'Apple investissait massivement dans le haut de gamme avec son nouveau matériel Mac Pro conçu pour offrir des performances extrêmes dans des flux de production créatifs et informatiques impossibles à réaliser sur des appareils mobiles. Cela inclut l'exécution du code Xcode d'Apple pour développer des logiciels pour tous les appareils iOS existants.

Qu'il s'agisse de l'iMac 5K ou de l'iMac Pro, en passant par des Mac mini plus costauds ou des nouveaux MacBook Pro hautes performances, Apple a positionné son matériel Mac comme un groupe haut de gamme d'ordinateurs puissants, capables d'effectuer des travaux de bureau complexes et classiques.

Le nouveau Mac Pro d’Apple démontre une solide prise en charge de la création de contenu puissant dans macOS Catalina

La poussée d'Apple pour plus de jeux Mac

Pendant des années, Apple a eu du mal à séduire les développeurs de jeux vidéo sur sa plate-forme de bureau minoritaire. Apple Arcade promet de changer littéralement le jeu pour les Mac en encourageant et en permettant à ses partenaires iOS Arcade d'apporter leurs titres sur Mac.

Ce ne sont pas que de simples jeux iPad jouables dans une fenêtre Mac. Lors de la WWDC19, Apple a présenté les premiers efforts des développeurs pour créer des titres sur le Mac, en montrant comment les jeux créés sur iOS pourraient facilement être adaptés pour tirer parti de davantage de mémoire, d’écrans plus grands et de processeurs graphiques plus performants afin de proposer des jeux Mac ayant un aspect et une convivialité natifs. . Apple Arcade permettra également aux joueurs de se déplacer sans effort entre les mêmes jeux fonctionnant sur leur Mac, iPad, iPhone et Apple TV, en commençant là où ils se sont arrêtés sur un autre appareil.

Apple Arcade dans le Mac App Store

Apple souligne que les jeux Arcade seront sans publicité et ne comprendront pas (ni ne nécessiteront) d’achats intégrés; toutes les fonctionnalités de jeu et les mises à jour de la bibliothèque de titres en expansion sont incluses dans le prix de l’abonnement de 4,99 $. Les abonnés peuvent jouer en ligne ou hors ligne, ce qui signifie que les jeux que vous téléchargez fonctionneront même sans connexion Internet. Un abonnement prend en charge les jeux d'une famille de six joueurs maximum.

Les familles peuvent également définir des limites de lecture avec la nouvelle durée à l’écran, en filtrant les jeux autorisés en fonction de leur âge ou d’autres critères. La confidentialité est également une caractéristique essentielle d’Arcade, Apple garantissant aux joueurs que les titres ne collecteront pas de données personnelles ni d’informations sur les jeux auxquels ils jouent sans leur permission.

Un autre nouvel aspect du jeu auquel Apple a fait face à la fois dans iOS 13 et Catalina est la prise en charge des contrôleurs de jeu Bluetooth populaires. Outre les contrôleurs MFi existants, Apple a également étendu la prise en charge des contrôleurs à la PlayStation DualShock 4 de Sony et aux contrôleurs sans fil Xbox de Microsoft avec Bluetooth. Cela permet aux lecteurs Mac, Apple TV, iPhone et iPad de se plonger dans des titres de jeu plus complexes et sophistiqués sur l'App Store et via la nouvelle Arcade.

Apple incite à plus de logiciels Mac

La plus grande nouveauté absolue pour le Mac cette année est effectivement quelque chose que de nombreux utilisateurs finaux n'apprécieront pas directement, mais ils en tireront certainement des avantages. C'est Xcode 11, l'environnement de développement intégré d'Apple pour la création et le débogage du logiciel qui s'exécute sur les plates-formes Apple.

Bien que de nombreuses fonctionnalités de Xcode 11 soient hautement techniques – Apple offre une vue d'ensemble accessible sur son site de développement – la nouvelle version fournit notamment un assistant éditeur intelligent qui présente automatiquement les fichiers pertinents à titre de référence pendant que vous travaillez dans l'éditeur de code principal; une nouvelle mini-carte présentant une vue miniature de longues étendues de code afin que vous puissiez visuellement passer rapidement d'une région à une autre; prise en charge de SwiftUI et de ses nouveaux outils de conception glisser-déposer pour le prototypage rapide et la visualisation en temps réel de la manière dont le code d'interface utilisateur va apparaître sur une grande variété de périphériques; and Catalyst support for building native Mac apps from iPad code projects, complete with the power to submit the finished app to the Mac App Store or notarize it for flexible distribution independently.

XCode 11

Catalina's Xcode 11 is designed to help create better apps for all of Apple's platforms

Xcode 11 is important even to Mac users who never plan to learn app development on their own. That's because developers will have increasingly sophisticated tools to make them more productive and efficient in writing new Mac apps, enhancing and debugging their existing titles, and in bringing many existing iPad titles—including games—to the Mac.

Xcode 11 and Catalyst will enable more "rich app" native experiences for Mac users who would otherwise just get a web app (think of Twitter), as well as a broader selection of interactive and educational tools. At WWDC19, Apple demonstrated "Fender Play," a video-based title for learning to play guitar. Another example cited on its developer site is Proloquo2Go, an existing iPad title designed to enable people with disabilities to communicate visually. Now it runs on Mac.

Pluto TV is another developer making use of Catalyst to deliver a Mac version of its software. The Mac edition will enable desktop users to watch live TV from over 150 broadcasters including BBC, Comedy Central, and CNN, as well as streaming a library of on-demand movies and TV shows for free.

Other new apps making use of Catalyst to support Macs include Crew, a group chat, scheduling, and task assignment app designed for small business employees, and Zoho Books, an accounting program coming to the Mac with support for Touch Bar, notifications and keyboard shortcuts. Other popular iOS apps, including GoodNotes, Rosetta Stone, Post-It, Carrot Weather, TripIt travel planning, and graphics design title Vectornator are also leveraging Catalyst to arrive on the Mac as native apps.

Twitter Catalyst

Catalyst is designed to leverage the same code across platforms, with an appropriate appearance and features

Effectively, Catalyst leverages the efforts of third party programmers serving Apple's hundreds of millions of iOS users. Catalyst makes it easy to bring their feature-complete efforts to the Mac, where there isn't as big of an installed base with the critical mass required to drive smaller niches of demand.

That's critically important to a wide range of specialty users, from corporate enterprise development teams to smaller startups seeking to reach the most users as effectively as possible.

New Mac Augmented Reality tools

Another forward-thinking development idea being introduced in macOS Catalina is Reality Composer, Apple's new app for building Augmented Reality worlds. Apple could have named its new app "Keynote 3D," because it effectively works as a productivity tool for laying out animated USDZ 3D models in space, with attached actions and sound effects that create animated, interactive "presentations" you can view and explore from any camera angle.

You can trigger your defined animations and effects within a "Reality" world via proximity—so that an object begins to interact as you approach it—or at timed intervals or when you tap on it. This enables the creation of the type of rich, interactive AR experiences Apple has shown off at its events—such as the exploded, explorable views of the new Mac Pro at WWDC19—and at its new Apple Park Visitor Center, where iPads allow users to virtually explore around inside various buildings at its new facilities.

Reality Composer

Catalina's Reality Composer makes it easy to construct AR worlds for iOS users

The new Reality Composer app produces a "Reality File" that you can preview in 3D on the Mac using QuickLook or Preview, and view in full AR on an iOS device, placing your interactive model into the camera's immediate view. Reality Files can also be incorporated into technical, educational, or exploration apps to make it easy for even non-technical authors to build interactive, animated experiences that can be experienced in AR.

Developers can further take advantage of the new RealityKit framework featuring a Swift API in Catalina to programmatically build AR scenes that feature the same kind of animations, physics, camera effects and ultra-realistic looking, physics-based rendering with drop shadows and environmental reflections that Reality Composer can create. Apple has also enhanced ARKit to apply motion blur and even camera grain to AR graphics in order to make them look more realistic when viewed through a mobile camera, composited on real-world video.

Apple is investing a lot into making the Mac into an AR creation machine. The rapid advancements in ARKit over just the past year might make it seem like Apple is throwing a lot of resources at a technology that might initially appear to be best at simply adding some extra novelty to games. But at WWDC19, two comments jumped out at me that really underlined why Apple is making AR such a priority, and why today's ARKit isn't a repeat of initiatives like Apple's mid 90's QuickTime VR—a fun, futuristic platform for creating explorable worlds that never really found its niche.

There's a real business model supporting the use of AR in commerce apps. Companies that have embraced AR as a way to demonstrate the placement of products right in a customer's home have seen an increase in sales of around three times. Money makes things happen!

Additionally, developers working in education noted that AR has been significant in grabbing and retaining the attention of young people. You might think of it as the modern equivalent of seeing the teacher roll the VHS player into the classroom. When you see young minds light up, that power of engagement in education is just as compelling as money.

It's not hard to speculate about where Apple might be taking AR in the future, from 'video AirPods for your eyes' to perhaps windshields. Whatever future hardware arrives to make AR even more relevant and engaging than today's iOS devices, Apple wants to be ready for it with a platform that can build the "reality" for AR and VR experiences. That future is arriving quickly with the expanded AR development tools and frameworks in macOS Catalina.

Mac as a Machine Learning creator

Along with AR, Apple has also made a big push into Machine Learning. iOS devices are now capable of performing local ML right on the device, enabling advanced artificial intelligence actions—from object identification to sound recognition to written word comprehension—that previously required an Internet connection and involved some grey areas regarding the privacy and security of your data.

Core ML 3 can now not only run local ML right on your iOS device, but can even personalize ML models so that your apps can learn your preferences and routines and adjust intelligently in a way that's specific to you, leveraging the same type of individual learning that let Face ID adapt to your appearance as you change your hair, glasses, and clothing. This local learning is entirely private to you, so you don't have to worry about apps building detailed dossiers about you that somehow end up on some server that Facebook or Yahoo decided to leave out in the open and totally unencrypted.

Create ML

Create ML builds models that can used to develop apps as intelligent as Apple's own

On the Mac, developers can now use Create ML to develop and train their models using libraries of sample data right on their machine, without needing to rely on a model training server. ML training can even take advantage of the external GPU support Apple recently delivered for new Macs, leveraging powerful eGPU hardware to crunch through computationally complex ML training sessions.

In parallel with ARKit and Reality Composer, Create ML is building out an entirely new creative purpose for Macs, both in developing intelligent Mac titles as well as iOS apps with super-smart intelligence that grows and develops over time. In Catalina, Apple is working to make these tools both easy to use and powerful.

Apple's revamped Photos 5.0 with advanced ML

Over the past two decades, Apple has created and evolved a series of "iApps" that it began bundling with its new Mac hardware. Catalina's Photos 5.0 introduces a series of new Mac features that are also being released in parallel for iOS 13. In fact, Photos is sort of emblematic of the current direction Apple is taking in its coordinated advancement of both its mobile devices and the Mac.

The previous "Photos, Moments, Collections, and Years" grouping of your Photos library is now more simply "Days, Months, Years, and All." The first three present contextual collections of your memories so you can review recent, significant events that occurred across the previous months and years. Photos uses Machine Learning-driven intelligence to identify your best shots, where subjects are in focus and well framed.

Internally, macOS Catalina now supports new ML Vision frameworks that can identify not just the most visually interesting photos, but also the most interesting parts of a photo, a concept Apple refers to as "saliency." The Vision framework can take any photo and intelligently create a heat map of what it thinks will attract a human's attention, such as people and faces.

This enables Photos to automatically crop and arrange your images in Days previews that appear to be professional created albums, presenting your friends, family, action clips, and landscapes in great looking previews. When you open an image, you get the full picture in its original format, and can manually crop and adjust it with non-destructive edits.

The underlying intelligence lays out various sizes of your images along with animated Live Photos and videos that individually spring to life as you scroll through them. It's even smart enough to know not to play everything back at once, creating a vibrant, visually interesting portfolio of your best shots that isn't excessively busy.

For example, in the Months view of my photos below, the Seattle Center fountain begins to animate because I shot it in SloMo, then the underwater swimming video captured using an iPhone plays back, followed by a video of people shooting off the slide at the Eclipse Festival. These sequentially timed, animated events that play as I navigate through my library of monthly photos from a couple of years ago is both nostalgic and touching, and makes me want to dive in and see more images related to specific adventures and travels from that summer.

Photos Catalina

Photos selects images for Years and Months collections to help you revisit previous events

When you review Months and Years, you see a smaller selection of what Photos deems to be the highlights of recent months or past years. Select a year image and it opens up your monthly albums from that year. Select a month image and it reveals the related top photos from those days.

However, there isn't an obvious way to edit the "thoroughly artificial" intelligent selections Photos comes up with, apart from manually hiding an image it's pulled from your collection as a major event, when in reality it's an embarrassing photo or something that you'd rather forget.

Photos can also create Memory Movies automatically from an event, so all you have to set is a title, mood, and duration. The Memory Movies you favorite are synced across your devices, enabling you to show off professional quality albums and clips on your iPhone or from a living room iPad that serves as the family album of the future.

Apple already delivered the technology to recognize people, places, objects and scenes in previous versions of Photos, enabling you to do advanced searches using this AI metadata. You can even search via Siri, such as asking "show me my photos of clowns in New York City."

Additional "personalization" features now also let you identify important moments like anniversaries, birthdays, and vacations, although sometimes the machine doesn't get this perfectly correct. In particular, the intelligence that Apple is using to build Memories might end up with some surreal results. For example, Photos created an "Independence Day over the years" memory for me, which included pictures of a BBQ with friends, shots of Apple Pie, fireworks, a mysterious image of some random cars at night, and some irrelevant selfies I'd rather not see distributed widely or shared.

It would be clever if Apple could use some intelligence to segregate your scandalous photos into a personal purgatory folder that isn't used to generate Memory Movies. It would also be nice if you could identify certain specific recognized faces as being "people I don't want to see right now."

My Photos library has over 80,000 photos, some in coherent groups and some just random ideas and experiments. Occasionally I'd see a Memory Movie suggested that was just a single random shot backed by an acoustic guitar with a Ken Burns effect applied. In other cases, such as when viewing a series of pics I took at a music festival under the Days tab —which narrows down your shots to a selection of what it deems to be the best —Photos actually automatically created a nice video sequence that turned out really well.

Photos Catalina

Click on the ellipsis button, and Photos will offer to create a Memory Movie for you

One of the most impressive aspects of Apple's ML intelligence magic on display in Photos is that the underlying technologies are also openly available to third parties, enabling developers to create their own intelligent apps that can analyze images, videos, text, and even read the words on signs and convert them to text to be analyzed in various ways.

Apple had a lot to say about its ML work at WWDC19, with a focus on doing all this magic while respecting users' privacy and security. So in addition to seeing "more apps" as described above, we're also going to see more intelligent apps—some of which developers already had on display months ago.

One amazing example I saw was Fretello, a guitar learning iOS app from a developer in Austria. An upcoming version uses Apple's Core ML to listen to the sounds you play to provide feedback. It even uses ML video analysis to recognize your hand and finger placement while you play on camera as it teaches you the dexterity to play chords.

Catalina's new Music 1.0

In the same way that Apple moved from iPhotos to Photos four years ago and reverted the app's version number from 9.6 to 1.0, it is now moving from iTunes 12.9 to Music 1.0, aligning the Mac's media player naming conventions with iOS and dropping the venerable but overloaded "iTunes" brand entirely.

Music Catalina

Music is the new iTunes, with support for both the iTunes Music Store and Apple Music

However, the new Music app isn't starting over from zero. It appears that the new Music is effectively a renamed and overhauled version of the same AppKit iTunes for Mac codebase. That's actually good news because starting over from scratch generally means a lot of new bugs in all that brand new code, and often also a lot of missing features. The "new" Music still supports features including the iTunes Classic Visualizer, Crossfade, Sound Enhancer, and Equalizer.

Music features Apple Music's For You, Browse (above), and Radio views; your own music library presented by Artist, Album, and Songs; optionally the iTunes Store; and your devices and playlists in the sidebar. In Preferences, you can disable either the iTunes Store or Apple Music to tailor the Music app to fit your personal style.

Your own Music Videos remain in the Music app and are now easier to find as a top item of your library (below). Music Videos on Apple Music now seem far more prominent under Browse.

Previously, it felt like Apple hadn't made music videos a priority in iTunes, enabling Vimeo and YouTube to serve as more popular ways to watch them. However, this appears to be slowly changing — Apple is now commonly featuring individual videos at the top of Apple Music, along with featured new videos, its own curated music video playlists, as well as some of its own documentaries and shorts.

Music Catalina

Music now makes your music videos a top level item

In the Public Beta, I had a lot of problems linking to my Apple Music account, in part because the system ran into confusion between my physical location in Europe and the fact that my account is tied to the U.S. store. I could also browse the iTunes Store, but only the Germany version. The store region selection feature didn't work for the iTunes Store, and I couldn't even see an option for configuring my Apple Music region. That's now been fixed, allowing users to change their store region and login from anywhere.

My local library items always appeared to work normally, but while I could see my attached iPhone, I couldn't consistently select it to see songs I'd manually copied over in the early betas. I'm still having problems with manually dragging songs to a mobile device, even after setting up my iPhone to "manually manage songs." I don't have any issues with managing songs on my iPhone directly.

The new Music app also puts a greater emphasis on song lyrics, optionally presenting them as you listen to a song and adding a Music toolbar button dedicated to Lyrics, which were previously buried in the Up Next and playback History panel.

Mojave's version of iTunes saw iterative tweaks but hadn't been radically refreshed since version 12.0 first arrived back in 2014's Yosemite. And, that version was really just a streamlined refresh of the user interface introduced in iTunes 11, which first appeared seven years ago in 2012 with Lion.

It's a bit surprising that Apple didn't address its sprawling, monolithic mess of a mega-app earlier, considering how important iTunes has been for Apple. The way people use iTunes has changed dramatically over the last 18 years, while the app itself has largely remained the same, even as it bolted on various new features. Actually, Apple did address iTunes, it just did so only on iOS. In macOS Catalina, that same task-based, distributed app overhaul is now coming to the Mac.

Podcasts

Other non-music features of iTunes are now delegated to standalone apps. Podcasts are obviously in the new Podcasts 1.0 app, which provides a clean, streamlined interface devoted to the programs you listen to without the other clutter of iTunes. it's similar enough to Music so that it's instantly familiar.

Being its own separate app now allows Podcasts to present a sidebar of items that makes sense for managing episodic radio-like content. Apple's directory of Podcasts is presented similar to Apple Music, with Listen Now, Browse and Top Charts listings. Your local library is presented as Recently Updated, Shows, Episodes, and Downloaded, making it easier to follow your favorites.

Podcasts Catalina

The new Podcasts is a Catalyst app, but it doesn't matter

Podcast search is also being enhanced. Apple is creating transcriptions for all of the hundreds of thousands of audio podcasts that it lists. This will enable users to search for episodes by subject keywords, even if you don't know the name of the show or the episode. You'll also be able to search podcasts by host, guest appearances, and other metadata details. Podcasts also uses Siri intelligence to suggest shows similar to ones you've listened to.

The new Podcasts interface will be conceptually familiar to iOS users, as its based on the same underlying code, albeit with a UI retooled to make sense on a desktop computer. One advantage of Apple sharing its Podcast app code between iOS and the Mac via Catalyst is that it can more effortlessly introduce new features for both platforms at the same time.

It's hard to discern any difference in the look and feel and responsiveness of Music compared to the all-new Podcasts app (above), which Apple has specifically outed as a Catalyst UIKit app sharing its core code with the iPad version. That's also good news, especially in view of the rough edges apparent in last year's first examples of UIKIt apps on a Mac, which looked foreign and clearly ported from a different world.

Oddly enough, while Apple has promised to update its Stocks, News, Voice Memos and Home apps to bring them more into line with what Mac users expect of a native app, they still appear to be unchanged in the official Catalina release. The new Podcasts app feels much more like a Mac app, but still uses iPad-like panels rather than movable windows to display item details. Overall, however, the new Podcasts app looks and works very similar to other modern apps.

Catalina's new Music and Podcasts apps look so similar that they seem sort of boring. The chrome of both are basic whites in the Light appearance and flatly black in Dark Mode. This deference of the UI makes the app's content really pop, but there is none of the ornamentally skeuomorphic music player character of the old iTunes to be seen anywhere. Overall, both look a bit like the Finder with less sidebar vibrancy, although they feature a nice balance of color in their icons.

Perhaps that's appropriate, as we're no longer needing to associate the Mac's music app with a jukebox or physical media player that nobody really ever uses anymore. The clean lines of Music feel more like a web browser, where you're focused on the content, not the illusion of some olde-timey music playback machine. And while the Finder-like sidebar layout feels a bit formulaically simple, the minimal new layout of Music makes a lot more sense than the weirdness of iTunes with its 18 years of overloaded baggage that required modal popup menus to switch between Music, Movies, TV Shows, Podcasts, and Audiobooks.

Books and audiobooks

Books 1.0 was refreshed last year in Mojave, dropping the original "iBooks" name. Now, iTunes' audiobooks and the Audiobooks Store are now more logically located in Books 2.0, next to your library of standard ebooks, PDFs, and Apple's Book Store.

In the initial Catalina betas, it retained the "2018 appearance" it shared with Mojave Mac App Store that debuted alongside it. In the shipping version of Catalina, Books now has a modern appearance matching Music and Podcasts.

Books now looks a lot like Music, but the new app lacks the old iTunes' smart folders and playlists for organizing content. Books does provide Collections, which are playlist-like groupings which can be sorted by most recent, by title or manually organized. But there is no longer any way to sort your ebooks or audiobooks programmatically by rules.

Books Catalina

Books was freshly given the Catalina appearance

TV and movies

Apple TV app

Apple's TV app is drumming up interest in Apple's upcoming TV+ content

In Catalina, the TV app (above) is now coming to the Mac as the place to watch your existing iTunes video library content as well as the new ad-free streaming Channels, which vary in availability based on your geographic region. Just like Apple TV, the new TV app in Catalina presents a Watch Now tab with curated selections and personalized recommendations based on your viewing history. The Movies and TV Shows tabs detail popular and trending content, with features promoting titles in 4K HDR, films at special prices, and by genre.

There's also a Kids tab (below) featuring easy to navigate content for kids and teens, and a Library tab that presents your own content in a sidebar layout similar to the new Music and Podcasts. The new TV apps syncs movie and episode playback across Apple TVs, iOS devices, and "select" Smart TVs that can run the app. And on Apple TV 4K and T2-equipped MacBooks, the TV app now supports playback of Dolby Atmos as well as Dolby Digital or Dolby Digital Plus soundtracks.

Apple TV Catalina

Atmos is Dolby's advanced new form of surround sound that simulates audio in 3D space rather than just pushing different channels to right and left speakers. The T2 chip is required as it provides hardware decoding support. The new iPhone 11 Pro models also now support Dolby Atmos, using their two speakers to create a wider sound space when watching movies. The technology uses an audio virtualizer that works similar to noise-canceling mics: the left speaker cancels some of right and vice versa, creating "audio zones" that enhance dialog and broaden the virtual sound stage.

iTunes updates, backups and configuration

iPod and iOS device sync and backups are the last bit of iTunes functionality that's been relocated in Catalina. Those features are now integrated into the Finder version 10.15.

Most iOS users are now using iCloud to keep all their content in sync. But, if you prefer to manually sync using a cable, your device now pops up in the Finder just like any other drive under Locations in the sidebar when you plug it in.

Finder Catalina

No, I am your Finder!

The interface looks essentially identical to the old iTunes. The General tab lets you update your device software and restore from an image or backup. You can also configure backups to occur to iCloud or locally, and setup sync to occur automatically when plugged in or manually.

The Finder's Music, Movies, TV Shows, Podcasts, Audiobooks, and Books tabs let you configure manual sync of your entire Mac library or individually selected items, most of which is more relevant to iPods than to modern iOS devices. The Photos tab tells you that photos are synched by iCloud, and that you can manually send images to your device "via WiFi or Cellular." If it wanted to be more helpful, it could integrate AirDrop for you, or explain that you can share photos via SMS, Email, or iCloud Drive.

The Files tab presents what was sort of confusingly called "File Sharing" in iTunes: a list of apps on your device and the documents each stored in their sandbox. The presentation of these files is even a bit wonkier and technical than it was in iTunes.

There's an Info tab that presents options to manually sync Calendar and Contacts, more of the old legacy from iPod days. Apple should clarify this entire interface to make it more understandable that this is manual sync as an option to automatic, wireless iCloud updates. For many users, it might seem desirable to click the boxes to sync your data. Most of this should be hidden behind an interface explaining that iCloud is already configured to handle all of this.

What would really be helpful is for Apple to provide a panel in the Finder that offers to clear out the cruft and fix issues with iOS devices that are too full to sync or update. I know lots of non-technical users who have simply thrown out tons of their photos to download a new iOS update, simply because it was too hard to understand how to move files around or offload things that could enable an update to occur.

New in Mail 13

Catalina's enhanced Mail app lets you manage your inbox using a trio of new management features. When you're included in an email thread that is generating too many notifications, you can now mute the thread conversation, so you receive messages without a notification for each new email.

Mail also now copies a feature from Messages that allows you to block a specific sender, sending their emails to the trash by default. You can block any address directly from an email's "From" header, ensuring that you won't get their emails in the future. Within Mail Preferences, you also have the option to mark messages from that sender as "blocked" but leave them in your inbox. This will flag their emails with a red hand icon. You can also unblock individual emails from Preferences.

Mail Catalina

You can block senders in Mail, sending their emails to trash or simply marking them as blocked

If you're getting emails from a list you no longer want to receive, you can also click to unsubscribe, which will send a removal request for your email address. This doesn't work with every email list, but does offer to help thin out your emails from unwanted lists Mail can identify, using just a single click.

New in Safari 13

In Catalina, Apple's Safari web browser now opens up to smarter start page that, just like iOS 13, features Favorites, Frequently Visited, and Siri Suggestions, which presents relevant websites in your browsing history, bookmarks, reading list, other iCloud tabs, and links sent to you in Messages.

When you type a URL for a website that you already have open in another tab, Safari will drop down the option to "switch to tab," which opens your existing page rather than reloading a duplicate in a new window. Additionally, the speaker icon in a browser tab that lets you mute the audio of a website can now be right-clicked to pull up a menu that also lets you quickly open up the video in Picture in Picture (PIP). You can also use the menu to configure AutoPlay to always or never be playing.

Safari Catalina

Safari's speaker icon can now launch a web video into PIP

Safari also presents a new warning when you enter a weak password. If you sign up for a new account in Safari and type an easy-to-guess password, Safari flags it and offer to create a stronger one for you. In Preferences, Safari Passwords Autofill lists your saved web accounts with flags noting where you've used an easily guessable password or have reused a password across multiple accounts.

New in QuickTime Player 10.5

QuickTime Player adds support for PIP playback, which floats your video in a resizable playback window without any window chrome on top of other windows, allowing you to watch a video while continuing to work in the background. An enhanced movie Inspector pane now shows more in-depth technical information about the currently opened media file, including the video color space, HDR format, bit depth, scale, and aspect ratio.

Apple has also reinstated an "Open Image Sequence" feature in QuickTime Player that allows you to designate a series of still images in sequentially numbered files and generate an H.264, HEVC, or ProRes-encoded movie file at a specified resolution, frame rate, and encoding quality. At WWDC19, Apple showed off high-quality time-lapse videos built from a sequence of professionally shot images using the new feature.

QuickTime Player also now supports timecode support. When you open a media file with an embedded timecode, time information is depicted in the onscreen navigation controller as a reference for identifying shots in the media production process.

It also adds support for transparency layers in videos, which are used to do things such as composite motion graphic images over standard video. While H.264 lacks support for alpha channels, QuickTime Player can preserve 16-bit alpha channel transparency when exporting from a ProRes 4444 source into HEVC (aka H.265).

New in Notes 4.7

Notes started out as a humble alternative to TextEdit, but has grown increasingly powerful. I use it to jot down ideas when mobile and to write up my huge long articles on the Mac. Last year, the addition of Continuity Camera made it easy to incorporate quick photos or scans in a note.

In Catalina, Notes gets new support for Continuity Sketch via an iOS device (more on that later) and a Gallery view that depicts your notes graphically as thumbnails rather than just by the first few words. You can also now reorder checklist items in Notes using the mouse or keyboard shortcuts. You can also now click on "uncheck' on a completed list to start over and reuse it.

You can also now collaborate using Shared Folders of notes, which allows invited users to access and add their own notes, attachments or even entire subfolders. It also introduces view-only collaboration that enables invited users to review but not make changes.

Similar to Photos, Notes also uses ML intelligence to recognize objects and scenes from photos you add via the Continuity Camera, and even search from text within scans or graphics you input. The search field also suggests searches for you as you type. Searching for "Haribo," Notes found (below) a scan of a letter and an image of a product with the name.

Notes Catalina

Some Catalina apps need an appearance overhaul

At the beginning of the Public Beta, I complained that it looked as if various parts of macOS were developed by different companies. Catalina's new Music, Podcasts, TV app, Books, and Apple News all feature a sidebar with colorful menu icons, while the sidebars in Mail, the Finder, Photos, Notes, and Safari Bookmarks, as well as the Console and Disk Utility, all use a similar appearance with greyscale icons that date back to Lion, and which now looks rather dated when compared to Catalina's colorful new Music and Podcasts appearance.

You'd think Apple could give macOS Catalina a complete appearance refresh so that all of its bundled apps use a similar sidebar style with icons in an appropriately harmonious color palette in the same size, and with consistent controls that enable users to scale sidebar icons and text to their liking. There are some complications, however, as Apple has clearly used different versions of frameworks to build its various apps over the past decade.

That might be changing, due to some of the new things Apple showed off at WWDC19, including SwiftUI to more rapidly create UI elements with consistent behaviors that better support features like accessibility and Dynamic Type, and the new SF Symbols system font, which offers a set of over 1500 vector-based icons that can smoothly scale up and down as well as adjust their weight from black to bold to regular to ultralight. Developers can even create their own scalable symbols. SF Symbols are all monochrome but can be tinted, which appears to be what Apple is using to liven up its colorful modern sidebars in new Catalina apps.

SF Symbols

SF Symbols help developers to use consistent icons in their apps

Apple noted that SF Symbols was created with the intent to enable app sidebar items to scale up and down, so their icon sizes match the size of text labels. We'll have to wait and see whether Apple makes it a priority to use its own tools to clean up some of the wonkiness of its older Mac apps. Historically, Apple has frequently experimented with new UI concepts and languages on its bundled apps, from the 2000's-era Brushed Metal to Unified Aluminum to the greyscale version of app sidebars that have been used over the last decade. And in fact, the company's evolving development APIs, from Carbon to Cocoa and today's latest SwiftUI, have also played a factor in how apps look and how easy it is to update their appearance.

Last year's debut of UIKit apps for the Mac, now public to third party developers as Catalyst, also threw a wrench into the works by incrementally shifting iPad apps to the Mac. How native various apps looked was a factor of how much work went into making them look at home on the Mac. This year, News has been updated to look just as "Catalina" as the new AppKit Music and Catalyst Podcasts apps.

The Home app is still stuck in early Mojave land, with popup panels that feel like an iPad. Stocks and Voice Memos are somewhere in between, with an appearance that looks more like an iPad app, but not so offensively as to demand an urgent refresh. Back in June, Apple's software chief Craig Federighi noted that Apple is working to better harmonize these early apps to make them feel more coherent with the rest of Catalina. That hasn't yet been delivered.

The all-new Reminders 7.0

Reminders, another new app that appears to be a Catalyst app, closely shares its Mac interface with the iPad version. That's not necessarily a bad thing, because just being arbitrarily very different on each platform isn't always better. In fact, you might prefer that entirely new apps are designed to look as consistent as possible between Apple's platforms, with only the native design of their UI elements changing to appear familiar to a specific platform.

You can now add attachments to a reminder, such as an image or scan you capture from your iPhone using Continuity Camera. Catalina also lets you adjust reminders with quick edit pickers to add a date and time, assign a location, a person from your contacts, or a flag.

Reminders Catalina

Siri intelligence can suggest new reminders for you found in Messages, and smart lists automatically organize and display upcoming reminders. People you tag in a reminder will also pop up in Messages as you chat with them, reminding you that you have something you may want to discuss. Despite being a new app, Apple designates it as version 7.0.

Mac gets a Find My app for friends and devices

The new Find My app —which is pretty clearly Catalyst —combines two iOS apps, Find My iPhone and Find My Friends, into a single app for Mac, iPadOS, and iOS devices.

Apple previously relied on its iCloud website to provide access to "Find iPhone" on the Mac. The downside to that was that it required a login and typically 2FA authorization, where you typed in a code to trust your request. With the new Find My app in Catalina, you can now instantly pop the native app open and immediately see where your people and devices are in an interface that looks like Maps with a sidebar.

Find My Catalina

Find My brings features to the Mac that were once stuck on the web, or not available at all

I previously wondered why Apple hadn't integrated these features into the Maps app, but Find My is another ideal use of Catalyst to create and rapidly deploy a new app that works similarly across Apple's platforms using the same code base, with adjustments to make it look and feel appropriate to the device its running on. Maps already exists across Apple's platforms, so adding new features to it would require replicating those efforts twice in two separate codebases using different sets of frameworks.

In Find My, the devices you track connected to your Apple ID can be located, made to play a sound, marked as lost (which locks it, disables services like Apple Pay, and then begins tracking its location), or remotely erased. If you click Directions, it will open up Maps for you for walking, driving and transit routes to the last known location.

One of the other new features in Catalina is that your Mac can now report its location via Bluetooth signals even when its offline or sleeping. Other iOS devices out in the wild can triangulate these signals and notify Apple with bits of data that your system can use to figure out where your missing Mac is.

Apple states that the system is "anonymous and end-to-end encrypted so no one, including Apple, knows the identity of any reporting device. And because the reporting happens silently using tiny bits of data that piggyback on existing network traffic, there's no need to worry about your battery life, your data usage, or your privacy."

It's also noteworthy that Find My, like Reminders, currently looks and feels more like an iPad app. Again, that's not entirely a problem, as it's not quite as egregious as Mojave's original Home app. It is certainly a vast improvement over having to use the web to track a missing device.

It's also an improvement over the current Find my iPhone app on iOS, which also requires a login at each use. It appears that Find My is an extension of the existing Find My Friends iOS app. And as such, it's a perfect example of how even large developers like Apple itself can use Catalyst to quickly introduce simple new apps that work well across Apple devices without doing lots of parallel, duplicative work.

One rumor that hasn't yet materialized is the idea that Apple would be getting into the business of tracking other devices with tags like Tile. That's something Apple could certainly add to its Find My app in the future. The company filed a patent on the invention in 2016.

Apple did introduce new Ultra WideBand technology in its latest iPhone 11 models using custom U1 silicon but didn't announce any news related to device tracking tiles. It seems apparent that the U1 chip wasn't merely developed to make AirDrop transfers location-aware, the only feature Apple has articulated for it so far.

Apple U1 chip

There have also been rumors that Apple is working on Catalyst versions of Shortcuts and Messages for the Mac, unifying the code that supports such features across its platforms. Shortcuts would bring iOS-style automation, and Messages would unify the Messages features Apple supports on iOS, including "send with" effects and potentially even the Messages Apps platform used to support Photos and Music integration, Animoji stickers, and even third-party messaging apps.

Screen Time for Catalina

Another area of functionality that Catalina brings over from iOS is Screen Time, Apple's usage tracker that reports of how much time you're spending looking at a device each day. Rather than being an app, Screen Time is presented as a System Preference. It presents easy to read usage reports that show you how much time you've spent on your Mac throughout the day, which apps you have open, how many notifications you've received, and "pickups," which I'm not sure what exactly means in the context of a Mac. On iOS, it is intended to indicate how many times you pick up your phone.

Because it's common to have multiple apps open at once on a Mac, as opposed to mostly a single app open at once on iOS, the statistics I see in Catalina's Screen Time reflect that I have a lot of windows open, not how much time I'm actively working in a given app. So simply having Screen Time active won't necessarily generate accurate reports detailing exactly what you're doing—such as for client billing purposes—unless you give some thought to how you manage which apps are left open.

Screen Time Catalina

Screen Time can optionally be set to sync via iCloud—under Options—to combine all your usage information across your devices. You can also set a passcode to secure your Screen Time settings, and activate Family Sharing to enforce Screen Time settings across your family's devices. Note that if you turn Screen Time off, all of your usage data dissapears.

You can schedule Downtime at certain hours as a reminder to give yourself or family members a break, and set up App Limits that restrict the amount of time available to access specific apps and websites, or categories of apps such as games, social networks, education, productivity, or creative apps. When a limit is reached, you can enable "one more minute" to allow time to save your work or end a chat.

You can also use Screen Time to enforce content and privacy restrictions, limiting what apps can be used, installed, removed, or what In App Purchases can be made. You can also limit content from the App Store and movies and TVs by ratings, limit explicit books, music, podcasts, and news, limit adult websites, turn off explicit language in Siri, limit Siri from presenting web search results, and limit adding friends in Game Center. There are even options to limit volume limits and other settings that only apply to iOS devices, such as cellular data limits, do not disturb while driving settings, and background app activities.

Communication limits, a new category in Screen Time intended to give parents the ability to configure who their children can communicate with—everyone, people in contacts, or specific groups—both throughout the day and during Downtime is planned for release in an upcoming update. Apple says this will work across Phone, Messages, and FaceTime, and is billed as "coming soon."

Continuity Sketch now works on iPad and iPhone

Alongside Catalyst apps and all of the other features that have flowed from iOS to the Mac, there's another type of tight integration that expands significantly in Catalina: Continuity between your Mac and iOS devices.

Last year, Apple introduced Continuity Camera, a feature that lets you turn your iOS device into a convenient camera or document scanner with automatic edge straightening. This year, Apple is adding Continuity Sketch, which lets you similarly use a nearby iPad—running iPadOS 13—to create anything you can draw with your finger or an Apple Pencil and instantly insert the sketch into your document.

This works in Notes, Mail and anywhere else that supports Continuity imports. Just as with Continuity Camera, you can select Sketch and your iPad enters sketch mode with the new drawing tools (below top). Click Done and your sketch is dropped directly into your document (below bottom, Notes in Dark Mode).

In the early Catalina betas, "Sketch" also appeared as an import option for my iPhone, but didn't actually work. It turns out that—hurray!—Sketch import now also works from an iOS 13 iPhone in the GM release of Catalina. Continuity Camera is such a great feature that I was hoping iPhones would eventually be supported as a simple sketch pad for inserting quick drawings into documents as well, so it's great to see Apple agreed.

On iPhone, Continuity Sketch lets you draw with the same simple markup tools, including the ruler and smart eraser, that appear in Notes when you click the Markup icon. Due to the smaller display, there isn't room for undo and redo buttons that appear on the tool palette of an iPad Sketch screen, but you can still shake to undo or tap with three fingers to pull up iOS 13's new gesture edit menu. You can also doodle an iPhone sketch in its wide orientation, although the toolbar takes up a fairly wide swath of the display.

Continuity Sketch

Continuity Sketch works on an iPhone, using a basic version of the Sidecar app

On both iPhone and iPad, Sketch occurs within a Sidecar app on the device, but this app doesn't appear to be launchable on its own on iPhone, and doesn't even have an app icon. There is also no provision for selecting elements of a sketch (you can't copy, paste or duplicate elements in your sketch) nor for saving sketches as a local document on your iPhone; it works only when connected to a Mac that's requesting a Continuity Sketch.

Also note that if you interrupt that connection or dismiss the "Add a Sketch" button on your Mac (which can be done inadvertently by clicking anywhere during your Sketch session), the session will abruptly end and your sketch will be lost. The only way to use your sketch is to click Done on your iOS device, which causes it to be inserted in your Mac document as a PNG image. It then ends your sketch session.

Also note that Continuity Sketch requires both your Mac and iOS device to have WiFi and Bluetooth turned on. Your two devices don't have to be attached to the same WiFi network (it uses Bluetooth to discover nearby devices, and WiFi to talk to them), but WiFi does have to be free to communicate; turning on IOS WiFi Personal Hotspot or Mac Internet Sharing will prevent Continuity from being able to connect the two devices.

iPad Sidecar

Beyond Continuity Sketch, modern iPads can also be used as a Sidecar display with Apple Pencil support, both wirelessly via Bluetooth (Apple says up to 10 meters or about 30 feet) or connected via a USB cable.

I paired a new iPad Pro with a 2018 MacBook Pro —each representing ideal WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity —and was easily able to use Sidecar smoothly when 32 feet across the room with an unimpaired line of sight. I could also walk around the corner and continue using it in another room through a solid brick wall, and most of the way out the door and up the stairs. Sidecar had no problem even smoothly playing back video over this distance.

iPad Sidecar

Using Sidecar on an iPad over 30 feet away from the Mac hosting it

When I finally ran out of signal, the iPad display stopped responding but could successfully reconnect and continue working normally when I turned around. Older Macs and iPads may have more limited connectivity, but Sidecar seems to be pretty robust even when walking far away from your host Mac. It seems like it works great for normal use cases, even when walking around in a very large conference room. When paired using USB cable, the screen didn't seem to be any more responsive compared to wirelessly walking around, an impressive improvement over the first demonstrations we saw when the feature was first shown at WWDC19.

If you are working over a USB cable and unplug the iPad, the screen with pop up a button saying it's been disconnected and is waiting to reconnect. Plugging it back in restored the connection and it continued to work. This is a bit different than Continuity Camera or Sketch, where a termination dumps the entire session and anything you have captured on the mobile device. Ending a Sidecar session is like unplugging a secondary display; the Mac just reconfigures its display and returns any remote windows to the main screen without losing any state.

There's a System Preference panel for Sidecar on the Mac that lets you connect your iPad, and once you do your tablet appears to be a secondary display that either mirrors or extends your Mac desktop. Only one iPad at a time can be wired or wirelessly tethered to a Mac at once using Sidecar.

Working as an extended desktop, you can drag Mac windows to your iPad and control anything the iPad screen via Apple Pencil. You can tap the Pencil to click on buttons or select text, tap, and drag to move around windows, and you can select text as if using a highlighter. You can also touch the Sidecar sidebar buttons to perform shift-click or command-click selections with the Pencil.

iPad Sidecar

With Sidecar, you can type to the Mac using the onscreen keyboard or a Bluetooth iPad keyboard; you can play videos, including PIP; you can tile your windows or take Mac apps full screen; you can sketch on images or PDFs, and you can markup features like the TouchBar at the bottom

While Apple Pencil on Sidecar works effectively like a precise mouse input device, it can be tricky to perform some basic navigation tasks such as window resizing or view scrolling. A pen isn't really a very natural alternative to a mouse or trackpad, because there isn't an obvious way to distinguish between hovering over a target with the pointer, and clicking or dragging an element around. That's why Apple presents the Pencil as a precision drawing tool, not really a primary way of navigating the iPad UI.

If you're dreaming of a touchscreen Mac, wake up. There's no iPad touch functionality within any Mac windows you drag to your iPad. As you work with Sidecar, you begin to realize why: touch and mouse control are radically different in ways that may not be obvious. It's a bit frustrating that you can't touch any hosted Mac windows or menus on the iPad to control them because you can both touch and Pencil click on the iPad buttons placed around the extended or mirrored Mac desktop view.

Adding touch support for Mac UI elements appearing on an iPad would require a significant rethinking of how Mac UI elements—developed for a precise pointer such as a mouse or trackpad—are selected and manipulated by the much larger target area of multitouch finger gestures. Apple avoided this by creating iOS graphical elements optimized for touch from the beginning, with no attempts to hybridize a touch/tap environment that sort-of works any way you want.

Sidecar's sidebar of special buttons can be placed on either the left or right side of the Mac screen hosted on your iPad. The sidebar sports buttons to display or hide the Mac's Menu Bar and Dock on your iPad; four special keyboard keys—command, option, control, and shift—that let you type keyboard shortcut chords; an undo button; a button to show a floating, virtual keyboard on your iPad; and a button that ends your Sidecar session.

iPad Sidecar

An iPad Sidecar screenshot image, being marked up via Apple Pencil

Across the bottom of your iPad —or optionally at the top —you get a Touch Bar. This works both on MacBooks with a physical Touch Bar as well as Macs that don't have one. Just like the physical Touch Bar, the virtual one presented on a Sidecar iPad presents a dynamic set of buttons and controls relevant to the app you're working on. To everyone who complained that Touch Bar was a waste of time and space, maybe you should have waited a bit to better understand where else Apple intended to use it. It makes a lot of sense on the iPad's external Sidecar layout and takes advantage of all of the efforts developers have made to support Touch Bar in their apps.

As a mirrored desktop, Sidecar lets you share a view of what's on your Mac with clients across a table. Think of it like a VNC client that delivers an animated view of your Mac's desktop; as you move the mouse or trackpad, you can see your pointer on the Sidecar iPad, but only within the Mac window. You can't mouse down and click on the iPad's Touch Bar, or any of the buttons in the iPad sidebar—although you can tap the sidebar and Touch Bar buttons and navigate with an Apple Pencil on the iPad.

Think of it as a Pencil-interactive AirPlay presentation. In fact, the Mac's AirPlay menu presents Sidecar with the options to "mirror AirPlay display," which scales down your Mac resolution to match your iPad, or "Mirror Built-in Retina Display," which keeps your Mac resolution and shows just the region that fits on your iPad. If you mirror the display, keep in mind that a smaller iPad will cause your Mac to scale down its resolution to the point of not looking great. Mirroring works best when your iPad and Mac display are roughly the same size.

As an extended desktop, Sidecar lets you work with your iPad as if it's a second monitor. You can drag Mac windows over to your iPad, although unlike a standard extended desktop screen, windows can't straddle the line between the Mac and iPad; they snap inside one or the other. Once placed, you can view and type directly into Mac documents on the iPad.

Using the new Continuity Markup feature (below, marking up the screenshot of a Sidecar session), you can also directly sketch on or otherwise markup documents using your iPad. In apps that support Pencil, it works to draw and paint directly on photos, graphics, and PDFs. And any Mac app that supports AppKit's Tablet Events should also work with Apple Pencil on a Sidecar iPad, correctly recording pressure and tilt just like a conventional drawing tablet.

You can even use the Mac to import a Continuity Sketch into a document while using that Sidecar-attached iPad. This opens up a new iPad sketch window; your sketch is then dropped into your Mac document, reverting the iPad back your existing Sidecar session. What you see on the Sidecar iPad is still running on top of iPadOS, so you can also use the new three-finger tap gestures for cut, copy, paste, and undo. And the view of the Mac is basically running as a full-screen app view in its own iPad screen, so you can swipe up to see the iPad Dock, switch to another app on your iPad, then return the same way to resume working in Sidecar.

Controlling the Mac screen and its windows and controls with your iPad Pencil might initially feel a bit unfamiliar, although you can pretty easily navigate the Mac menu bar and the Mac Dock, and both selecting text and typing from the iPad into Mac apps using its virtual keyboard seems to work pretty well. When you use the Pencil to drag a Mac window back onto your Mac desktop, you might find yourself trying to use your Pencil or your finger on your Mac display. That doesn't work, of course.

Note that using Sidecar appears to requires a newer Mac: at least a Late 2015 27-inch iMac, Early 2016 MacBook, Mid 2016 MacBook Pro, Late 2018 MacBook Air, 2017 iMac Pro, Late 2018 Mac mini, or a 2019 Mac Pro. Using Sidecar also requires an iPad that supports the first or second-generation Apple Pencil, meaning the new 2019 3rd generation iPad Air or 5th generation iPad mini, the 2018 6th or 2019 7th generation iPad, or any model of iPad Pro.

More under the hood

As previously noted, one final way that iOS devices are contributing to the Mac is that a lot of the custom silicon created for Apple's A-series chips is being used in new Macs to deliver similar features. Apple's custom T2 silicon provides hardware-accelerated encryption that is used both to secure your stored data and to verify trusted software. Developers sign their apps and then get them notarized by Apple, even when distributed outside the App Store, so you can be assured their code has not been maliciously tampered or corrupted.

T2 Macs also have media support for Dolby Atmos and secure authentication with Touch ID and secure payments for Apple Pay. New in macOS Catalina is support for iOS-like Activation Lock on T2-equipped Macs, enabling you to require your Apple ID before an erased machine can be reactivated. Just as with iOS devices, that should help thwart theft, or at least destroy the business model that profits from stealing your gear.

Catalina Accessibility enhancements

Extensive support for new Accessibility features includes the all-new Voice Control (below top), which is delivered as an expansion of Enhanced Dictation. That means it uses Apple's Siri speech recognition engine, leveraging machine learning to deliver high-quality speech-to-text, and doing it all on-device for privacy. Voice Control provides a list of the commands it supports (below bottom) also lets you add custom words to its vocabulary to better recognize technical, legal, slang, or other specialized jargon.

Voice Control in System Preferences, and its list of Commands

Voice Control also supports sophisticated text editing by voice, you so can use natural commands, such as "Select previous word. Capitalize it," or "Replace Today with Tuesday." Users can navigate the user interface intelligently using the accessibility labels that developers add to their apps' controls, or say "Show Numbers" (shown here when using Photos) to provide numbered labels to address on all the controls on the screen, which can then be voice identified by their number badge.

Catalina Voice Command

Photos with Voice Command Numbers for verbally identifying action targets

You can also say "Show Grid" to navigate around the display using coordinate numbers (shown below in Maps). You can zoom into a grid number and additional levels of grid numbers will appear, down to the point where you can define a precise target that can then be used to verbally select, click, or drag items to a new location.

When using Voice Control, it is really amazing to see how powerful your voice can be with this new tool, but it is also a reminder of how those of us without motor issues take for granted our ability to casually and effortlessly mouse around the UI to perform complex tasks without even thinking about it. And that makes me appreciate the pioneering work Apple is doing in Accessibility for those who desperately need it.

Catalina Voice Command

Maps with Voice Command Grid for manually identifiying areas and points on the screen.

The VoiceOver screen reader also now enables an option to use a high-quality Siri voice for users who prefer it. And Apple is now enhancing its own support for VoiceOver in Xcode, reading out warnings, line numbers, and breakpoints in the Xcode text editor. VoiceOver users who personalize how punctuation marks are spoken will also now see their preference settings synched across all their devices via iCloud.

The future, and present, on display

Take a closer look at Catalina and you'll realize that Apple clearly wants to preserve the unique platform features of "Mac-like" computing rather than trying to merge its platforms into an iOS-Mac hybrid. Apple's Mac Human Interface Guidelines state four "primary themes" that differentiate macOS apps from iOS, tvOS, and watchOS apps: "flexible, expansive, capable, and focused."

This year, Apple further differentiated even its one-handed iOS experience from the new tablet-optimized iPadOS, while still keeping both distinct from the conventional Mac. That's the same strategy it has pursued with Apple TV and Apple Watch —each of which has a customized experience that's tailored to be appropriate to its form factor and how it's used, not just an effort in stretching a brand as broadly as possible.

Both iPhone and iPad rapidly eclipsed —tremendously —the global reach and scale that conventional Macintoshes could ever have hoped to achieve. However, with the slowing potential for iPhone sales growth —there are no more China-sized markets with an American-sized middle class waiting to suddenly jump into the market for smartphones —Apple is now in a position to leverage more of the work it's already done for iOS in a way that benefits its desktop computing platform.

The only folks who shouldn't jump into Catalina are those with old hardware, unsupported peripherals, or old software you just can't surrender. Everybody else can see where Apple's been, and where it's going —and should upgrade when they can.

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