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Yesterday, Apple previewed the next version of macOS called Catalina, at its ongoing Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2019. macOS 10.15 or Catalina comes with new features, apps, and technology for developers. With Catalina, Apple is replacing iTunes with entertainment apps such as  Apple PodcastsApple Music, and the Apple TV app. macOS Catalina is expected to be released this fall.

Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, said, “With macOS Catalina, we’re bringing fresh new apps to the Mac, starting with new standalone versions of Apple Music, Apple Podcasts and the Apple TV app.”

He further added, “Users will appreciate how they can expand their workspace with Sidecar, enabling new ways of interacting with Mac apps using iPad and Apple Pencil. And with new developer technologies, users will see more great third-party apps arrive on the Mac this fall.”

What’s new in macOS Catalina

Sidecar feature

Sidecar is a new feature in the macOS 10.15 that helps users in extending their Mac desktop with the help of iPad as a second display or as a high-precision input device across the creative Mac apps. Users can use their iPad for drawing, sketching or writing in any Mac app that supports stylus input by pairing it with an Apple Pencil. Sidecar can be used for editing video with Final Cut Pro X, marking up iWork documents or drawing with Adobe Illustrator

iPad app support

Catalina comes with iPad app support which is a new way for developers to port their iPad apps to Mac. Previously, this project was codenamed as “Marzipan,” but it’s now called Catalyst. Developers will now be able to use Xcode for targeting their iPad apps at macOS Catalina.

Twitter is planning on porting its iOS Twitter app to Mac, and even Atlassian is planning to bring its Jira iPad app to macOS Catalina. Though it is still not clear how many developers are going to support this porting, Apple is encouraging developers to port their iPad apps to the Mac.

Apple Music

Apple Music is a new music app that will help users discover new music with over 50 million songs, playlists, and music videos. Users will now have access to their entire music library, including the songs they have downloaded, purchased or ripped from a CD.

Apple TV Apps

The Apple TV app features Apple TV channels, personalized recommendations, and more than 100,000 iTunes movies and TV shows. Users can browse, buy or rent and also enjoy 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos-supported movies. It also comes with a Watch Now section that has the Up Next option, where users can easily keep track of what they are currently watching and then resume on any screen. Apple TV+ and Apple’s original video subscription service will be available in the Apple TV app this fall.

Apple Podcasts

Apple Podcasts app features over 700,000 shows in its catalog and comes with an option for automatically being notified of new episodes as soon as they become available. This app comes with new categories, curated collections by editors around the world and even advanced search tools that help in finding episodes by the host, guest or even discussion topics. Users can now easily sync their media to their devices using a cable in the new entertainment apps.


In macOS Catalina, Gatekeeper checks all the apps for known security issues, and the new data protections now require all apps to get permission before accessing user documents.

Approve that comes with Apple Watch helps users to approve security prompts by tapping the side button on their Apple Watch. With the new Find My app, it is easy to find the location of a lost or stolen Mac and it can be anonymously relayed back to its owner by other Apple devices, even when offline. Macs will be able to send a secure Bluetooth signal occasionally, which will be used to create a mesh network of other Apple devices to help people track their products. So, a map will populate of where the device is located and this way it will be useful for the users in order to track their device. Also, all the Macs will now come with the T2 Security Chip support Activation Lock which will make them less attractive to thieves.


MacOS Catalina SDK 10.15+ beta comes with DriverKit framework which can be used for creating device drivers that the user installs on their Mac. Drivers built with DriverKit can easily run in user space for improved system security and stability. This framework also provides C++ classes for IO services, memory descriptors, device matching, and dispatch queues. DriverKit further defines IO-appropriate types for numbers, strings, collections, and other common types. You use these with family-specific driver frameworks like USBDriverKit and HIDDriverKit.

zsh shell on Mac

With macOS Catalina beta, Mac uses zsh as the interactive shell and the default login shell and is available currently only to the members of the Apple Developer Program. Users can now make zsh as the default in earlier versions of macOS as well. Currently, bash is the default shell in macOS Mojave and earlier. Zsh shell is also compatible with the Bourne shell (sh) and bash.

The company is also signalling that developers should start moving to zsh on macOS Mojave or earlier. As bash isn’t a modern shell, so it seems the company thinks that switching to something less aging would make more sense.

Additional features

  • Safari now has an updated start page that uses Siri Suggestions for elevating frequently visited bookmarks, sites, iCloud tabs, reading list selections and links sent in messages.
  • macOS Catalina comes with an option to block an email from a specified sender or even mute an overly active thread and unsubscribe from commercial mailing lists.
  • Reminders have been redesigned and now come with a new user interface that makes it easier for creating, organizing and tracking reminders.

It seems users are excited about the announcements made by the company and are looking forward to exploring the possibilities with the new features.

To know more about this news, check out Apple’s post.

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