With just a month to go until WWDC, it was only a matter of time before Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman spilled the beans on what to expect at the event, and today we have it. In an extensive report, the well-connected leaker outlines several new apps and major changes coming to the iPhone and iPad. From the looks of it, iOS 13 could be the biggest release since the controversial iOS 7 overhaul.
The most intriguing new rumored feature is called Sleep Mode. According to the report, it will be an upgraded version of the underused Bedtime tab in the Clock app. When enabled, Sleep Mode will automatically turn on Do Not Disturb, darken the Lock Screen, and mute all notifications, so you’re not disturbed by buzzing and beeping during the night. Gurman also says Bedtime—which currently tracks time that you spent in bed, but not how much you slept or moved—will offer more extensive sleep tracking, possibly portending the arrival of Fitbit-like sleep tracking on the Apple Watch.
Several apps are due for upgrades in iOS 13, most notably the incredibly simplistic Reminders. Gurman says Reminders will be gaining features that bring it to the level of other task managers in the App Store, including “a main screen with four default sections laid out in a grid: tasks to be done today, all tasks, scheduled tasks, and flagged tasks.”
A focus on apps
Also reportedly coming to iOS 13 will be a revamped Health app to “better outline your daily activity from the day.” Gurman says the new interface will feature sections for tracking hearing health (how loud you play music on your headphones or the loudness of the external environment) and more comprehensive menstruation cycles.
Among the other apps due for enhancements are Mail, Home, and iMessage, which will reportedly gain “a WhatsApp-like enhancement that lets people set a profile picture and display name, and choose who sees it.” Additionally, Apple Books will be gaining a new progress tracker and rewards system to encourage reading, and Maps will make it easier to set locations for quicker navigation.
Screen Time is also getting a new feature for parents so they can limit who their children can contact, Gurman reports, and Apple is testing a Safari window to easily track downloads. Additionally, a more organized share sheet “will suggest people to send content to based on how frequently you interact with them.”
Dark mode confirmed
We’ve already heard about dark mode and iPad multitasking in a previous 9to5Mac report, and Gurman adds a little more detail. He describes dark mode will be a “black and grey-heavy interface optimized for viewing at night,” with an easy on-off switch in the Control Center. As far as the iPad goes, Gurman says Apple’s tablet will be getting “an updated interface for multi-tasking, tweaks to the home screen, and the ability to cycle through different versions of the same app.”
Gurman also echoes the report that revealed the iPad would be gaining the ability to be used as an external display for a Mac, “with the ability to draw with an Apple Pencil, expand the viewing area, and get Mac notifications.” That feature will presumably require a Mac with the upcoming macOS 10.15, which will reportedly be getting Screen Time, Siri Shortcuts, and Podcasts, as well as the ability for iPad apps to run on laptops and desktops. Apple is currently testing a system code-named Marzipan that lets iPhone apps run on the Mac with little work from developers.
iOS 13 will presumably land in September, with a public beta available shortly after its WWDC reveal. The WWDC keynote is scheduled for June 3 at 10 a.m. Pacific time.
Michael Simon has been covering Apple since the iPod was the iWalk. His obsession with technology goes back to his first PC—the IBM Thinkpad with the lift-up keyboard for swapping out the drive. He's still waiting for that to come back in style tbh.