Over 5,000+ developers gathered at Apple’s World-Wide Developers Conference (WWDC 2019), to hear Tim Cook’s annual recap of what to expect from Apple. This included all the various solutions, operating systems and other goodies Apple may give to it’s customers by the end of the year. In most cases the software, such as operating system updates are free on supported devices.

This brings an important milestone for IT departments, across the globe, to understand what is coming and ramp up in time to support it.  Here we run down some of the most important topics we heard and comment on potential gaps we hope to learn and understand more details on during the developer conference and its many in-depth sessions.

Recommended Enterprise IT Tasks

It’s highly recommended, in some cases, to do hands-on testing of the beta software to have your IT solutions, applications and networks be prepared and functional for all the changes. Public beta signup will begin in July and it will be very easy to install the beta copies of the various operating system updates.  Make sure to have non-production devices available for all the testing. Larger companies can also sign up to a special AppleSeed for IT Enterprise program where feedback and specific testing can be done.

Apple Watch device allows the Watch to stand on its own for the first time.

Independent watchOS

The introduction of the new AppStore for the Apple Watch device allows the Watch to stand on its own for the first time.

Previously Apple Watch apps had to be installed with a paired application running on the iPhone. With the upcoming watchOS 6 release, this will no longer be necessary. Applications can be tailored directly to the Apple Watch device and placed in its own public AppStore. Technically with this untethering of the iPhone, this could make the Apple Watch independent of any phone long term, but more needs to be understood.

Long term, some important questions will be around Apple VPP (enterprise license procurement), and how to configure and support the Apple Watch device independently using the same tools as with other iOS devices.

Noise Detection

As with fall detection in last year’s Apple Watch model, a new feature to automatically detect loud noise can be an important safety feature for many work environments to alert employees to better protect themselves.  Think warehouse, manufacturing and transportation and the safety implications where this feature could be very important and for liability.

iOS 13

There are over 900m active iPhone and approx. 300m iPad devices worldwide. Tim Cook states that over 85% of these devices are running the latest iOS 12 release. This will bring a huge number of devices running iOS 13 before the end of the year.

Apple software Chief, Craig Federighi, brought a long list of new iOS features coming to devices later this year. In brief here are some of the highlights:

  • Smaller app updates – 50%-60% reduction in size
  • Application launching – 2x faster
  • “Dark Mode” – much anticipated and launched on macOS last year, could bring better battery life for some end users and enterprise battery management
  • Keyboard swipe typing is finally built in bringing faster “typing” and accuracy
  • Updated Apple Maps for the United States

iOS 13 – Security

Security plays a big role with Apple and their stance to support the individual throughout all their products. With iOS 13 we can look forward to new features to better protect connectivity and data usage including:

  • Allowing connections just once – instead of “Always” and “When In-Use”
  • Background tracking alerts – Giving end-users better visibility
  • Wi-Fi + BT protections – Against connectivity scanning
  • Option to download large apps over cellular
  • Weak password warnings
  • Single-Sign-On with separate personal iCloud accounts 
  • Data separation for BYOD

iOS 13 – Other

Other notable features that were briefly shown that could be important for enterprises include:

  • Managed Apple IDs for Business
  • Enhanced QR code scanning
  • Several updated or new Dual SIM features
  • Optimized battery charging
  • Low Data Mode

Stratix is on-site and participating in all the WWDC sessions. We’ll update this article with additional information about these features.

iOS 13 – Siri

Apple continues to invest in their Siri and voice-based technologies. This year, several new Siri features and improvements were announced. Enterprises could improve workflows and hands-free operations. These include:

  • Siri shortcuts – introduced last year in iOS 12, is brought to the home screen with its own app.
  • Neural Text to Speech – Much more nature software-based speech, less robotic and easier on the ears.
  • AirPods – Available to automatically announce messages and better Siri integration.

iPadOS

A big announcement was the introduction of a dedicated operating system for iPad devices. Since the introduction of the iPad, Apple has been adding specific features to the larger screen, such as split view and better work application use cases.  This makes sense to split off from iOS, so Apple can focus different features on different device types.

iPadOS brings several new features, enhancing the strong functionality on the iPad including:

  • Multiple side-by-side open files in the same application (ie. two Notes windows)
  • Files application gets major upgrade: iCloud folder sharing, IT network shares (SMB), Zip file support and even native USB drive support
  • Safari – Desktop class browsing and font download manager
  • Apple pencil – From 20 to 9ms latency for utilization
  • New PencilKit API for iPadOS will open pencil usage even further in any app

As Craig Federighi mentioned on stage, “that’s enterprisey right there!” – a ton of great business productivity features.

Please stayed tuned and look for our next blog topic on all the latest Mac and macOS Apple for Enterprise updates and announcements!