From Federico Viticci at MacStories:

The new MacBook Pro with M1 Max is an incredible machine that takes pride in being a computer built for people who want versatility. This computer has a clear identity; you can tell it was designed by people who love the Mac for people who had grown dissatisfied with the Mac over the past few years. This machine is a love letter to win back those users. Everything about the new MacBook Pro – from the screen and battery life to the keyboard and ports and its raw performance – is a testament to how fundamental Apple silicon is and will be for the future of Apple’s computers. If you’re a longtime Mac user, there’s never been a better time to fall in love with the Mac all over again than right now. Apple silicon is the perfect comeback story for Apple’s Mac lineup.

This is a great article, written by someone who has been “the iPad guy” for the past few years. I appreciate the way he walked through what he loves about the iPad and iPadOS and how the Mac gives him options to do things the way he wants to. There’s a lot of good links to tools he’s using and wishes for what the iPad could be if it adopted some of the things that make a Mac great so I recommend giving it a look even if you’re already a seasoned Mac user.

I recently upgraded from a 2018 Macbook Pro with it’s hot, battery sucking CPU, sub-par keyboard, lack of ports and touchbar to a new 16″ Macbook Pro and it has really rekindled my appreciation of the Mac as well. I have an iPad Pro that I use a lot around the house and like Viticci wish I could do even more with it. But at a certain point I think we have to accept the fact that letting each device class be true to itself is actually the best way to work in the Apple ecosystem.

Rediscovering the Mac

From Federico Viticci at MacStories:

The new MacBook Pro with M1 Max is an incredible machine that takes pride in being a computer built for people who want versatility. This computer has a clear identity; you can tell it was designed by people who love the Mac for people who had grown dissatisfied with the Mac over the past few years. This machine is a love letter to win back those users. Everything about the new MacBook Pro – from the screen and battery life to the keyboard and ports and its raw performance – is a testament to how fundamental Apple silicon is and will be for the future of Apple’s computers. If you’re a longtime Mac user, there’s never been a better time to fall in love with the Mac all over again than right now. Apple silicon is the perfect comeback story for Apple’s Mac lineup.

This is a great article, written by someone who has been “the iPad guy” for the past few years. I appreciate the way he walked through what he loves about the iPad and iPadOS and how the Mac gives him options to do things the way he wants to. There’s a lot of good links to tools he’s using and wishes for what the iPad could be if it adopted some of the things that make a Mac great so I recommend giving it a look even if you’re already a seasoned Mac user.

I recently upgraded from a 2018 Macbook Pro with it’s hot, battery sucking CPU, sub-par keyboard, lack of ports and touchbar to a new 16″ Macbook Pro and it has really rekindled my appreciation of the Mac as well. I have an iPad Pro that I use a lot around the house and like Viticci wish I could do even more with it. But at a certain point I think we have to accept the fact that letting each device class be true to itself is actually the best way to work in the Apple ecosystem.

It’s that time again! Thought I’d throw a quick list together of the top things I wish Apple would do in next software versions at this year’s WWDC. Kind of a grab bag, but thought I’d put a flag in the ground now.

  1. Make entire play history available in Apple Music, not just library tracks. I want to leverage Last.fm or PlayTally but it can be a challenge to get an inclusive list of all of the songs I’ve played across the devices I use.
  2. Allow users to have more control over blocking images in email. For example, people in my contacts should be exempt.
  3. Allow 3rd party rendering engines. I want to see Chrome and Firefox push Apple to make Safari better.
  4. Allow content blockers to work across any webview.
  5. Improve notifications by adding a notification history, easier actions and smarter prioritization. Clearing a notification should clear the badge.
  6. Find a way to “fix” spam texts and calls. It’s become really bad in the past year and I feel like Apple isn’t even trying here.
  7. Always on Lock Screen like the Google Pixel phones. This should be possible, right?
  8. Allow widgets to do some simple actions like play/pause of audio.
  9. Allow apps to integrate with control center. Could you imagine all of the amazing Shortcuts and app actions you could see there if Apple provided an API for it?
  10. “Tracker blocker” API similar to content blockers. We should have something like little snitch for iOS.
  11. Better tab persistence on iPadOS. So much RAM, and tabs just feel flimsy.
  12. Better multitasking on iPadOS. Video + other apps is a mess and so is the current “buddy system” of multiple iPadOS apps.
  13. External monitor support on iPadOS. Like, REAL external support.
  14. Make use of the “status bar” on iPadOS. Notification icons? Menubar options?
  15. Global keyboard shortcuts – preferably user-configurable. I’d love to wire up Shortcuts to keyboard commands.
  16. More control over widgets – I want to use them in the Lock Screen, all over the place in iPadOS, etc.
  17. Make a better Lock Screen that rolls in notification updates as well as possibly widgets. See above.
  18. Siri should handle commands without an internet connection when possible (timers, audio playback, etc). This is so obnoxious when in low-connectivity areas.
  19. More robust Shortcuts actions for media playback at home. I’d love a shortcut that could adjust my home speakers volume to a set level and play a playlist on all of the speakers.
  20. Timers set on one HomePod should be controllable from any HomePod as well as notify all HomePods if the timer isn’t turned off at the source.
  21. Have some standards around Catalyst apps that make them feel like Mac apps. Keyboard shortcuts, basic Mac conventions. I might as well use an Electron app if the current crop of apps is the best we can expect.
  22. Allow users to allow any trigger to start any Shortcut. No more notifications or prompts for “power users”.
  23. Siri needs “continued conversations” on all platforms like Alexa and Assistant.
  24. Similarly, Siri needs to be able to combine commands “turn on the lights AND set a timer for 30 minutes”.
  25. Allow users to hide the tabs for Apple services they aren’t interested in. I don’t begrudge them for pushing the stuff but if I don’t want it, they should respect that and allow me to hide the tabs.
  26. PIP for all tvOS apps.
  27. A fully liberated from iOS Apple Watch (even if some functions wouldn’t work as well).
  28. A redesigned Home app that’s a bit more useful. Better automations, easier to navigate and more information dense.
  29. Overall, can we move away from 3-dot menus for everything?
  30. Key repeat settings for iPadOS. I hate how long it takes to backspace through things.

WWDC 2021 Wishlist

It’s that time again! Thought I’d throw a quick list together of the top things I wish Apple would do in next software versions at this year’s WWDC. Kind of a grab bag, but thought I’d put a flag in the ground now. Make entire play history available in Apple Music, not just library tracks. […]

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Yesterday, alongside all of the iOS/iPadOS/tvOS/watchOS releases, Apple released Safari 14 for the Mac. The headline features are under the hood performance, tons of privacy enhancements, better tab management, tab start page improvements, site translation, and WebExtension API support. These are all great and so far I’m quite pleased with the features I’ve run across.

However, I really hope there’s a way to disable the blue tinted extension icons for 3rd party extensions. This is extremely distracting:

Maybe this is only on Catalina and it looks much more at home on Big Sur. But I’ve been scouring Twitter for a plist hack to get these all back to one color with no luck so far.

Safari 14 Extension Icons

Yesterday, alongside all of the iOS/iPadOS/tvOS/watchOS releases, Apple released Safari 14 for the Mac. The headline features are under the hood performance, tons of privacy enhancements, better tab management, tab start page improvements, site translation, and WebExtension API support. These are all great and so far I’m quite pleased with the features I’ve run across. […]

Continue reading →

The WWDC 2020 “pandemic edition” is now behind us, and it was one of the better ones I’ve seen in quite some time. Apple announced a lot in the 2 hour presentation, with iOS and MacOS getting the bulk of the attention this year. What follows is a quick rundown of my thoughts after watching the keynote last night. If you want to dive deep, you should follow MacStories this week. They have a ton of content already.

Overall

  • The presentation style was great – it was tight, dense and well paced. Some of the zooming around campus stuff was kinda cheesy, but I approve of most of the dad humor they use these days. Hopefully this is the future of the keynote, although I doubt it.
  • The Music app seems to be getting way better search, filtering within lists and a redesigned start view that will replace “For You”.

iOS

iOS got a TON of attention this year. I was very impressed with this part of the presentation.

  • The App Library looks fantastic. I’ll be hiding everything but my first screen when iOS 14 is out.
  • The “Smart Stack” suggested widgets on your home screen could be neat … but so could the Siri watch face on the Apple Watch.
  • I hope App Clips catch on. Can’t wait to delete a lot of the parking & other one-off apps from my phone. The restaurant specific pages within an app like Yelp is interesting.
  • Based on the screenshots I saw during the presentation, it appears that the Apple notes texture background is gone!
  • The Siri redesign looks fantastic. I’m interested to see if the Siri enhancements are only skin deep, however. The on-device changes to dictation will hopefully speed things up so my voice command to turn off the lights don’t need to go to space and back.
  • Maps got cycling directions! I hope a basic version works everywhere at launch as I don’t live in a big city. I’m more interested in time/elevation data for when planning a bike ride.
  • Tons of Messages group chat enhancements, pinning convos, threading and mentions. And all on the Mac.
  • Emoji search!
  • 3rd party email and browser support should spur more innovation in those areas.
  • The minimal incoming call UI is much-welcomed.
  • In iOS 14, when apps ask for access to your Photos app, you can give them access only to select photos rather than the entire Photo Library.
  • Dictation is now on-device. I hope this is also for Siri commands in general.

iPadOS

iPadOS got some updates, but nothing like last year. That said, if we can even seen incremental additions yearly that are very iPad-focused, I’m okay with that.

  • Apple Pencil features – shape detection and copy/paste from written text will increase my pencil use by a lot.
  • FaceTime eye correction
  • Doesn’t appear that iPadOS will allow the app library or widgets along with the grid. Why?
  • Adding sidebars and context menus alone will help those in the “desktop replacement” crowd.
  • The search changes look fantastic.

MacOS

The highlights of this part of the presentation was the iPadification of the UI/UX, and the announcement of the ARM … err “Apple Silicon” … transition.

  • The new macOS UI looks really nice. Appreciate Apple brining things together but allowing each platform to do its own thing.
  • Catalyst updates are appreciated, but it still has so far to go. I feel like some developers might just skip the whole thing and put their iPad apps in the Mac App Store once the ARM transition is in flight.
  • Some of the Big Sur Dock icons are … horrific.

WatchOS

  • Finally, you can add multiple complications from the same app.
  • The watch/iPhone wind down functionality integrated with sleep tracking and battery notifications seem to be exactly what I’m looking for. I think the market for sleep apps will probably need to evolve depending on how advanced the native functionality is, but apps that give more data ABOUT your sleep will probably surge. I love Autosleep, but if the built in stuff is better I’ll go with it.

Misc

  • tvOS got a lot of polish, especially around the Home integration. I’ve definitely tried to invest in HomeKit stuff around the house and am tempted to get a few cameras now that they’re more integrated with HomeKit.
  • The AirPods features look amazing. I’ll be curious to see how clever it tries to be, however. The accelerometer work to keep the surround sound in sync are mind-blowing. I have gen 1 AirPods Pro but I’m looking forward to getting some pros next year.
  • HomePod 3rd party music support! I hope they allow folks to set a 3rd party as default.
  • For time based shortcut automations a new toggle has been added. Now these kind of automations can be executed automatically without tapping on a notification first.
  • Did anyone else notice the small HomePod icon on one of the slides?
  • iOS 14 adds a new Accessibility feature that allows you to perform different actions by tapping on the back of your iPhone. For instance, you can make it such that when you double tap the back of your iPhone, you are taken to the home screen, or open the camera or even run a shortcut!
  • I heard the word “private” about a million times. I love that privacy has really become ingrained in every decision the company makes. Using ‘approximate location’ for weather apps that only need your zip code should help kneecap a lot of the tracking apps out there.
  • Speaking of privacy, it looks like tracker blocking support for app analytics and things like Google analytics is coming to iOS and MacOS.

How’d my wishlist fare?

About a month ago, I posted a wishlist for WWDC. How’d Apple nerd Christmas work out for me?

On first read, I think I got 5 iOS of the updates, 1 of the iPadOS updates, and 2 of the miscellaneous ones. Some will reveal themselves over time, but I’m still pretty happy with the first glance from yesterday’s keynote.

WWDC 2020 Initial Thoughts

The WWDC 2020 “pandemic edition” is now behind us, and it was one of the better ones I’ve seen in quite some time. Apple announced a lot in the 2 hour presentation, with iOS and MacOS getting the bulk of the attention this year. What follows is a quick rundown of my thoughts after watching […]

Continue reading →

From Michael Grothaus at Fast Company:

“We think we’re showing the way to the industry, to the customer, that they can demand more–they should expect more–about the protection of their privacy, and that we can help move the industry into building things that better protect privacy.”

[…]

“I think the protections that we’re building in, to intimately say that the customer’s device is in service of the customer, not of another company or entity–the customer is the one who is in control of their data and their device–is what’s most compatible with human rights and the interest of society,” Federighi says. “And so that’s what we’re going to keep trying to support–our customers being in control of their privacy.”

Glad this is getting more mainstream attention. The biggest features mentioned in this article are:

  • Approximate location, sharing which quadrant of a worldwide grid you’re in, not your exact location. This is something that’s gotten more attention lately, and I’m really pleased they’re doing this.
  • Cross-tracking prevention. Advertisers and data brokers have used these techniques to build a profile on all of us over the years.
  • Categorized data that’s being tracked, broken up by “type” (up to 31 types!) in the App Store.
  • Better password security notifications
  • Enhanced tracker blocking in Safari
  • Enhanced Safari extension support and security controls around permissions
  • Camera and mic notifications to let users know when either are active
  • Photo selection security

I believe that Apple’s stance on this has moved Google and Facebook in a better direction when it comes to security and privacy. Regardless of your opinion on their products, you should be thankful they’re pushing so hard on this.

Craig Federighi on Apple’s WWDC privacy news

From Michael Grothaus at Fast Company:

“We think we’re showing the way to the industry, to the customer, that they can demand more–they should expect more–about the protection of their privacy, and that we can help move the industry into building things that better protect privacy.”

[…]

“I think the protections that we’re building in, to intimately say that the customer’s device is in service of the customer, not of another company or entity–the customer is the one who is in control of their data and their device–is what’s most compatible with human rights and the interest of society,” Federighi says. “And so that’s what we’re going to keep trying to support–our customers being in control of their privacy.”

Glad this is getting more mainstream attention. The biggest features mentioned in this article are:

  • Approximate location, sharing which quadrant of a worldwide grid you’re in, not your exact location. This is something that’s gotten more attention lately, and I’m really pleased they’re doing this.
  • Cross-tracking prevention. Advertisers and data brokers have used these techniques to build a profile on all of us over the years.
  • Categorized data that’s being tracked, broken up by “type” (up to 31 types!) in the App Store.
  • Better password security notifications
  • Enhanced tracker blocking in Safari
  • Enhanced Safari extension support and security controls around permissions
  • Camera and mic notifications to let users know when either are active
  • Photo selection security

I believe that Apple’s stance on this has moved Google and Facebook in a better direction when it comes to security and privacy. Regardless of your opinion on their products, you should be thankful they’re pushing so hard on this.