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Thursday, 13 June 2019 16:33


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In the first week of June the WWDC19 took place in San Jose. The WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) is an Apple organized conference for macOS and iOS developers. Thanks to the

SAP DevX program, I had the opportunity to attend and get the latest information about macOS, iOS, watchOS, and tvOS.


The highlights of the WWDC19 were:


  • The new version will be called Catalina and will have a nice background image of Santa Catalina Island.
  • Sidecar: using the iPad as an external display
  • Find My: find your MacBook even it is turned off via Beacon technology
  • Voice Control: controlling the macBook via voice e.g. “show grid”, “zoom in”, “tap send”
  • Gatekeeper: apps need to be notarized by Apple (e.g. SapMachine doesn’t run on Catalina)
  • iTunes: split up into Music, Podcast and TV


  • dark mode is coming to the iPhone and iPad
  • swipe keyboard (I like it on the iPad which also supports a small keyboard)
  • Sign in with Apple: more privacy and anonymity, which I personally like, because I don’t have to create for every login an email address and password (my 1Password has 323 entries).
  • audio sharing with AirPods (my kids will like it)

Reality Composer with small keyboard on iPad


  • multi user support and underwater screensavers


  • standalone apps, an App Store (on the watch) and some new apps e.g. an app which tracks noise


  • generate a macOS app out of an iPad app
  • SwiftUI support (interactive tools in Xcode)
  • access Swift Packages directly form the Xcode project


  • ARKit 3
  • Reality Composer (an app to create / prototype AR scenes)
  • RealityKid: integrate a Reality Composer project in your app

Machine Learning

  • CreateML: a macOS app to create a project for training (e.g. images, text)
  • personalized CoreML models
  • CoreML was extended so that e.g. BERT could run on an iPhone

Mac Pro

The Mac Pro was unveiled at the Keynote on Monday. WWDC attendees could watch the Mac Pro on Tuesday, but had to register separately. In addition to the Mac Pro, there were also two AR demos to take a look at the Mac Pro and the monitor. And I also saw the wheels:

AR Demo for the Pro Display XDR

AR Demo for the Pro Display XDR

Mac Pro with Pro Display XDR

Mac Pro with Pro Display XDR

Wheels for the Mac Pro

Wheels for the Mac Pro

Technology Labs

The sessions are broadcast live and are also available as recordings. The real value of the WWDC lies in the Technology Labs and they are one of the great advantages of the WWDC. There are time slots where you can go and ask an Apple engineer different questions about a specific topic.

ARKit Lab

YoAvatar uses image recognition to display an avatar scenario. This scenario sometimes doesn’t fit the edges and moves a little. The latest ARKit version should do it better.

I also had the question of how to run an AR app in the simulator. Because YoAvatar is adapted for an iPhone 8 Plus. On e.g. an iPhone XR the layout doesn’t fit, but how can you test it without all possible devices? The answer was simple: Just comment out the calls. The simulator can’t support AR because it needs a camera and some sensors that are not available in a MacBook.

SwiftUI Lab

How can I handle some elements on different devices (e.g. watch and TV)? The solution is to use #if statements:

SwiftUI Labs board

SwiftUI Labs board

Reality Composer Lab

They showed me a demo of Reality Composer and now I know how to use Behaviours.

Machine Learning Lab

What’s possible with activity tracking.
Long discussion about transfer learning.

Apple Podcast Lab:

We’ve started our SAP Customer Experience Labs Podcast and Apple offers some analytic tools.

CoreNFC Lab:

iOS 13 can read and write NFC tags.

SceneKit Lab:

The new Vision Framework can recognize people in the camera image. My question was whether it is possible to recognize this (e.g. to modify the person or the background). Each frame has an additional vector, which contains the information whether a certain pixel is assigned to a person or not.

The SceneKit Lab and the SwiftUI Lab are examples where I have been able to watch a session and then ask specific questions in the Technology Labs.


Each participant receives a pair of magnetic pins at registration, plus a pin with the flag from the country where the participant comes from. This makes it easy to ask the neighbour in the queue “Bist du aus Deutschland?” (are you from from Germany), which is obvious, but an icebreaker.

WWDC19 Pins

WWDC19 Pins

WWDC19 Pin (German flag)

WWDC19 Pin (German flag)

At some point we had two or three tables full of participants from Germany, so we defined a table as “German Table”. That was our base in the morning, between sessions and during the lunch break. Here you can discuss ideas and get tips e.g. on how to install Catalina on a volume, or that you should definitely go to the Technology Labs.

Sum up

WWDC is definitely worth going to. It is very well organized and apart from the plastic in which the lunch was served and Nestlé Waters I have nothing to complain about. It was the best conference I ever attended.
You get an impression of the news and what moves people. For example, the first SwiftUI session was so packed that a row was opened where people were sitting on the floor. The Technology Labs are always there to help and there are a lot of people interested in the same topic. It was a very exiting week.
My idea is to experiment with some of these new technologies and to write more about them … so, stay tuned.

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