Apple boosts online privacy, kills iTunes and unveils new Mac Pro at WWDC 2019
Image credit: reuters
Apple launched a new 'Sign In With Apple' feature at its annual WWDC developer conference, designed to offer users enhanced privacy when logging into websites and as an alternative to Facebook and Google web login accounts.
Apps that use Google and Facebook logins typically share the user data with those companies, a practice that Apple’s new service aims to stop. Websites using the Apple login will also not receive any personal details about the user.
Ben Wood, an industry analyst at CCS Insight, said Apple’s stance was a clear sign the company was willing to take on the likes of Facebook and Google when it came to data collection.
“'Sign-in with Apple' takes Apple’s stance on privacy beyond a philosophy. This is a significant challenge to Facebook and Google and will deepen awareness of Apple’s position on privacy. Apple will hope that ‘Apple privacy’ will become as important to users as iMessage or Safari.
“The focus on privacy and security was palpable and unveiling of Sign-in With Apple will concern rivals, particularly the web giants. Existing sign-in services provide a simple means for single sign-in across the web.
“Privacy is the differentiator that will be heavily emphasised versus Facebook and Google and represents a great marketing tool for Apple’s broader privacy stance.”
Privacy themes ran throughout WWDC (Worldwide Developer Conference) 2019, with Apple creating a system for its users to sign up for apps with a randomly generated email to avoid revealing their true address. The iPhone maker also tightened controls on location tracking, saying it would stop apps from scanning Bluetooth and Wi-Fi networks to guess a user’s location even when the user has already disabled tracking.
The tech giant also confirmed that it would shutter its venerable iTunes music app in its current form and will instead split the software into three separate music, video and podcast apps. These new dedicated apps will each handle their own media, from finding and playing content to purchasing it and saving it to a library where applicable.
iTunes was introduced as a media player in 2001, before the built-in Music Store was added, and it was used as part of the set-up process for early generation iPods and iPhones.
Speaking on stage at WWDC 2019, Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, confirmed: “The future of iTunes is not one app, but three.”
The restructuring of apps will launch as part of the next version of macOS, to be called Catalina, which will be released later this year.
The company also revealed a redesigned Mac Pro, Apple’s high-end, professional computer, that has been given a new look and an eye-watering starting price of $6,000 (£4,750).
The last version of its most powerful machine was released back in 2013 and famously had a cylindrical shape - dubbed the 'trash can' by unimpressed users - that was criticised for its thermal constraints.
The new 'cheese grater' design resembles a more traditional Mac desktop computer and harks back to the iconic design of the PowerMac G5 from the mid-2000s. The new Mac Pro will feature Intel’s Xeon processors with support for up to 28 cores and memory of up to 1.5 terabytes.
Apple also announced the new Pro Display XDR alongside the computer, a 32-inch 6K resolution display, which itself will cost $5,000 (£3,950). A table-top stand for the display will also be available, which itself will cost another $1,000 (£790).
Sign up to the E&T News e-mail to get great stories like this delivered to your inbox every day.