I’m still trying to take in everything Apple announced at 2019’s WWDC Keynote. It was a lot, and a lot of it was awesome. Here’s my personal highlights:

The new Mac Pro.

The old “trash can” Mac Pro was always a baffling head scratcher. When it was new it was… interesting, perhaps even somewhat powerful, but it always felt constrained. Even Apple’s talk about it’s heat dissipating core never really overcame it’s small size and the feeling that it might not scale well. And then Apple forgot to update it and it languished for half a decade.

This new Mac Pro feels much better. Really, it feels like Apple back in the days of the Bondi Blue Power Mac G3 or the Graphite G4. Where form and function worked together to make Insanely Great machines… instead of form embarrassingly beating out function in the trash can’s design. What the new Mac Pro actually reminds me the most of is the glorious G4 Cube. The way the outer enclosure slips off revealing everything inside is just so familiar. This Mac Pro is the G4 Cube reborn as it always should have been, with overwhelming amounts of power, expansion potential, and airflow. (What was that old Crazy Apple Rumors prediction? Something about the Son of Pismo and the G4 Cube’s return. Whatever it was, I think we’re there now!)

I totally can’t afford one of these Mac Pros. I don’t even want to afford one, but the fact that it exist at all is heartwarming to those of us who longed for Apple to get with the program.


Just the other day Craig Hockenberry, among others, was talking up how neat it would be if the next Apple UI frameworks was based around declarative programming, and here we are with SwiftUI operating in a manner that almost feels like Swift merged with HTML or CSS. Creating a Table View in SwiftUI looks more like declaring you want a list, and then adding in modifiers and additions to it until it looks and behaves the way you want. I think somebody must have let the cat out of the bag a little early. As someone who mainly sticks to his Storyboards and Auto-layout, SwiftUI looks very cool, and also very mind bending.

When Apple showed the short story’s worth of code that made up a traditional Swift Table View and then showed the small paragraph of code needed to do the same thing in SwiftUI, I thought it was a misdirection. Sure, you can declare and style the view a little in that paragraph, but that can’t be it, right? There’s some mass of helper functions hiding in some other file, right? Not according to Apple’s SwiftUI tutorials! I do wonder how flexible SwiftUI will be out of the gate, but I also figure Apple probably knows what it is doing. I can’t wait to explore this more.

Oh, and that interactive tutorial page is one of the cooler things I’ve ever seen on the web. I don’t care if you can’t program, just scroll through it and watch as it shows you how to build an app scroll by scroll and step by step.

The Odds and Ends.

There’s so much other stuff that got announced, from the death of iTunes to ARKit 3 that supports walking in front of and behind the virtual elements, to Apple Maps finally getting its version of Street View in Look Around. But the thing that interested me the most is the new Find My app.

At first glance, Find My is just a combination of the Find iPhone and Find Friends apps. But then Apple threw in something really cool:

The new Find My app combines Find My iPhone and Find My Friends into a single, easy-to-use app on Mac, iPadOS, and iOS devices. Find My can help you locate a missing Mac — even if it’s offline and sleeping — by sending out Bluetooth signals that can be detected by Apple devices in use nearby. These devices then relay the detected location of your Mac to iCloud so you can locate it in the Find My app.

It’s all 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.

Wait… what?! So, if someone walks off with your MacBook Pro, you can go to the Find My app and when complete strangers walk by your lost laptop while using their iPhones those iPhones will pick up on signals being sent by the MacBook Pro and relay it’s location to you. All without breaching anyone’s privacy… except maybe the thief’s?! That’s really cool. Now some companies like Tile have been doing this for a while. If you stick a Tile onto something and then use their app to mark it as lost, other people with the Tile app installed would passively help you find it in much the same way this Find My feature works. Problem was, how many people really used Tile and its app vs the tens of millions of iPhone users that will be able to help you track down your stolen MacBook Pro?

Find My is also a little scary, but no more so than everyone’s iPhones working together in a privacy preserving fashion to give iOS users real time traffic reports even in smaller cities like mine. It will be interesting to see a list of which Macs this new Find My feature works with.

There’s been some good Macworld and WWDC keynotes over the years, but I can’t remember one as interesting and packed full of seemingly spot on decisions since maybe the iPhone’s 2007 debut. Apple is back in the Pro game. Apple is writing awesome frameworks for the future. It was never like Apple wasn’t doing cool, dare I say innovative, things over the past several years. But this year feels different in the best way.

Just like with the Music/Calendar/Safari/Dock-enabled iTunes shown on stage today, I think Apple just Nailed It.