- Jul 29, 2021
The new version of the operating system for Apple computers and laptops: macOS Catalina arrives with features that for example put their attention on multimedia management and clarify the confusion that exists with iTunes.
Now the application is actually the union of three different tools: Apple Music, Apple Podcasts and Apple TV, which come with some new features. In addition, Sidecar, which allows, for example, to use the iPad as an external screen for the Mac, but the real revolution could be in Project Catalyst, which will allow native applications transfer from the iPad to macOS easily.
iTunes disbanded, Sidecar makes the iPad more versatile
The separation of iTunes in three different applications is going in the opposite direction to what this application seemed to be in recent times: the appearance of specific services for each of these areas now makes that division treat each scenario separately.
Apple Music for streaming music offline or online, Apple Podcasts especially oriented to this type of audio content and also Apple TV, which takes special relevance in your hardware device but gives access to those options also on the Mac. It also comes with 4K HDR support with HDR 10, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos.
Among the most striking tools is Sidecar, a function that allows the iPad to be converted into a second screen for our desktop Mac or our MacBook either by connecting it by cable or wirelessly.
In fact, this feature is especially striking because it will be possible to use the Apple Pencil as an input system for the Mac, being able to work on these computers as if the iPad were a graphics tablet.
Voice control and advanced location of our lost device
Apple has added an interesting accessibility option: voice control, which allows all types of operations on the computer with voice commands.
The demonstration that Apple showed during its keynote made it clear that it will be possible to do virtually anything if we get used to a user interface that is powered by Siri, Apple’s voice assistant. Apple focused on respect for privacy: the processing is always done locally, without sending audio to the server.
Another striking option for macOS Catalina is Find My, which now combines Find My Friends and Find my iPhone. It is available for both macOS and iOS, and allows, for example, locate portable computers even when they are offline, disconnected from data networks.
Sending Bluetooth signals to iOS devices that act as Bluetooth beacons and manage to triangulate the position of that lost or stolen Mac. All that information is encrypted, so there is no risk to privacy according to Apple.
That option is combined in a remarkable way with Activation Lock, which makes use of the T2 chip of these devices to block them completely so that if they are stolen they will not have any use for those who do. If we recover the equipment and reactivate it with this option without problems.
The Screentime feature that allows access to the “digital well-being” pursued by Apple and other companies on their mobile phones now also reaches macOS: we can track our activity to see if we are “passing” on the use of any particular application or the system in general, and we can set limits.
Project Catalyst, portable applications between iOS, iPadOS, and macOS
Among the most striking novelties of the new Catalina macOS is the integration of Project Catalyst, a platform that allows development for an Apple platform such as iOS and transfers those applications to macOS without problems.
This technology, they indicated in Apple, is what was used so that in Mojave we could have access in macOS to applications such as News, Stacks, or Voice Memos, and now they have promoted this platform to allow any developer to move their applications – they mentioned those of iPad- to macOS.
This option is already available in Xcode, where it will be enough to import or create a project so that it can be exported directly to macOS in an easy way: the system is responsible for adapting most of the input and output functions so that the developers can then fine-tune the behavior on each platform.
Among the examples highlighted the version of Twitter that finally returns to the Mac moved from the tool for iOS, which will now have that specific version for iOS, for iPadOS or for macOS.
It is also interesting to see how Project Catalyst also allows moving games like Asphalt 9 without apparent problems: we will see if this drives these scenarios on the Mac and takes advantage of the huge catalog of existing games on iOS.
Date and compatibility of macOS Catalina
The new operating system for the Mac has a lot of new features, and will be available this fall for free, and will be compatible with the following devices:
- MacBook 2015 and later
- MacBook Air 2012 and later
- MacBook Pro 2012 and later
- Mac mini 2012 and later
- iMac 2012 and later
- iMac Pro 2017 and later
- Mac Pro: 2013 and later
The preliminary version of macOS Catalina is now available to members of the Apple Developer Program at developer.apple.com from today, and later this month there will be public betas program for Mac users through beta.apple .com.