Apple’s 2019 software rollout is fairly confusing, so it’s understandable if you’re not sure when your favorite operating system will be updated.
iOS 13 and watchOS 6 were officially launched today (and you can download them now). iPadOS, macOS Catalina and tvOS 13 are coming later, though at least a couple of Apple’s OS updates are coming sooner than expected. Here’s what you should know.
iPadOS and iOS 13.1
Shortly after the release of iOS 13, Apple quietly revised the release dates for iOS 13.1 and iPadOS. Originally slated for launch on Sept. 30, both updates are now coming next Tuesday, Sept. 24.
The iPadOS update will bring iOS 13 to the iPad lineup. It’ll include pretty much everything from its iOS counterpart, from Dark Mode to support for generic media devices. It also contains a number of additional multitasking and productivity features.
It isn’t clear if the first version of iPadOS will be “iPadOS 13,” given the staggered release. Based on the fact that it’s dropping concurrently with iOS 13.1, we assume that it’ll be called “iPadOS 13.1.”
The iOS 13.1 update will bring some features that were cut from the initial release of iOS 13, including Share ETA in Apple Maps and Shortcuts Automations. (Other features cut from iOS 13 are still coming later in the fall.)
Some reports indicate that Apple Arcade support will debut with iPadOS, so “coming soon” actually means Sept. 24, at least in the context of the iPad.
On the other hand, it’s worth noting that Apple Arcade currently isn’t available in beta versions of Apple’s other software. So a Sept. 24 release for iPad isn’t guaranteed.
It isn’t clear when it’ll be available for iPod touch. Presumably, Apple Arcade will launch on macOS Catalina and tvOS 13 when those operating systems launch.
What about tvOS and macOS Catalina?
Speaking of macOS Catalina and tvOS 13, it still isn’t clear when either of those operating system updates will debut to the public.
Apple says the final public release of macOS Catalina is coming in October. The company may launch it via press release sometime during the month, or it could be made available shortly after a potential Mac- and iPad-focused October keynote event.
There hasn’t been much word about tvOS 13. Apple only says that the update is “coming in the fall.”
Given that Apple TV+ is launching in early November, Apple could hold off on releasing tvOS 13 until its first-party streaming service launches. That’s just speculation, however, it’s perfectly possible for Apple to launch tvOS 13 alongside macOS Catalina or on another day.