The public beta of macOS Catalina has been released. Review

On June 24, Apple released the first public beta of macOS Catalina, which was presented at a conference for WWDC developers. We talk about the main innovations.

More developer opportunities

A very important, albeit inconspicuous for ordinary users, Xcode received the update. In its 11th version, it became possible to visually preview a selected section of code. The editor received the support of the intelligent assistant, SwiftUI. In addition, it has new tools for rapid prototyping and visualization of the interface on various devices, also Catalyst, which allows porting applications created for iPad to Mac.

For example, thanks to Catalyst, the release of Gameloft’s Asphalt 9: Legends game, which Apple has already announced, has become possible.

New Augmented Reality Tools on Mac

Another new developer tool is an application for creating worlds in augmented reality Reality Composer.

Reality Composer creates a “reality file” that can be previewed in 3D on a Mac, and then in AR on an iOS device.

Apple has improved ARKit 3 using motion blur and camera grain in AR graphics to make augmented reality looks more realistic when viewed through a mobile camera.

Photo app with advanced machine learning

The version of the application "Photo" for macOS Catalina is similar in functionality to the application for iOS 13: images are now grouped into categories – days, months, years and everything.

The application uses machine learning-based artificial intelligence to determine the best images to be presented in the compilation.

Moreover, the new ML Vision platform can visually identify not only interesting photos, but also the most interesting parts of these images.

The company has also improved the computer search of photos: now you can, for example, ask Siri to show clowns at the Red Square in Moscow.

Distributing iTunes functions to other applications

Many Apple device users have been waiting for this moment for 18 years. With iTunes did the same as with the iPhoto application four years ago. Then, instead of iPhoto version 9.6, the Photo application version 1.0 appeared. iTunes 12.9 changed “Music” 1.0.

The essence of the application has not changed, but along with the new name it has received the optimization of listening to music. In the "Music" there are tabs: Apple Music for you, "Review", "Radio", "Computer Music Library".

In the settings, you can enable synchronization from the iTunes Store or Apple Music. The new music application supports karaoke mode and shows lyrics while listening.

The rest of the functions of iTunes, the company distributed among other applications: "Podcasts", "Books", TV (they did not exist before) and Finder.

"Podcasts" contains its own directory with categories and a library. At the same time, the application interface is similar to “Music”.

Audiobooks iTunes and Audiobooks Store is now available in the Books app, which debuted last year in macOS Mojave.

TV episodes and movies have been transferred to the new TV application. For the first time, Apple told about this application at its March presentation on services, where the company promised that with the autumn launch of the Apple TV + service, a new application for smart TVs, Apple TV, iOS and macOS will be released.

Synchronization and backup of iOS-devices in the Catalina system are integrated into the Finder. A gadget connected via cable to a computer appears just like any other drive in the “Places” section on the side panel.

The Finder interface looks almost identical to iTunes. The “General” tab allows you to update the software of the gadget and restore from a backup. Themed tabs, such as Music and Movies, allow you to customize the manual synchronization of the entire Mac library or individual items. The Files tab is responsible for the applications on the connected device that store individual documents. A "Information" displays the parameters for manual synchronization of the calendar and contacts.

Notes, Reminders, Search and Screen Time

In the Notes application on the laptop with macOS Catalina, it became possible to display the Apple Pencil drawn on the iPad; to do this, simply turn on the Continuity feature introduced last year. The application can also recognize text (OCR) in scanned documents.

“Reminders” are similar to the iPadOS version: you can define categories in it, filter by importance, and create smart reminder lists. For example, in a telephone conversation Siri Intelligence may remind you to discuss the issue recorded for this contact.

The company has previously implemented the “Find iPhone” feature on a Mac through the iCloud website. The disadvantage of this solution was login and two-factor authentication from another device. With the new native Find application in Catalina, you can instantly see the location of all your devices on the map.

One of the new search options is that Mac can report its location using Bluetooth signals, even if it is offline or in sleep mode. Other iOS devices can triangulate these signals and notify Apple with a few data bits to help determine the location.

The Screen Time feature, which debuted on iOS 12, is now available on macOS. The application was developed as part of Apple’s digital health program, and it can be used to restrict presence in other applications.

Sidecar and Apple Watch authentication

Most iPad models with iPadOS can be used as external displays for Macs using the Sidecar feature, which works via Bluetooth and a USB cable. For Sidecar there is a special settings panel that allows you to duplicate or expand the desktop to the second display.

With Sidecar, you can drag and drop Mac windows onto an iPad and control the screen with the Apple Pencil. Use options include displaying timecode on a tablet while editing video on a Mac or iPad as a Touch Bar for computers without a touch panel.

Authenticate in applications on macOS Catalina is now possible with Apple Watch, working on watchOS 6. Also, a smart watch can be used as a second device with two-factor authentication in iCloud.

One more thing …

In addition to all of the above, macOS Catalina received a lot of minor improvements, finally got rid of skeuomorphism, removing the Dashboard element, and stopped supporting 32-bit applications.

The final release of macOS Catalina will take place in September, only beta versions are now available, which are not recommended to be installed on the main devices due to possible compatibility issues with applications and bugs. If you still decide to participate in testing the new OS, do not forget to backup all data.

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