Almost every year, I post a list of things I hope that Apple announces this year from the software side. Here is last year’s list, and I’ll be porting over a ton of the wishes from last year once again with the knowledge that they’re likely not going to happen this time, either. Without further delay, my top 40 requests:

iOS / iPadOS

  • Improve notifications by adding a notification history, easier actions and smarter prioritization. Clearing a notification should clear the badge.
  • Allow users to have more control over blocking images in email. For example, people in my contacts should be exempt.
  • Allow 3rd party rendering engines for web browsers. I want to see Chrome and Firefox push Apple to make Safari better.  Barring that, what about extensions in 3rd party browsers?
  • Find a way to manage spam texts and calls. They mostly fixed calls with the “Silence Unknown Callers”, but texts are still a big issue. It’s become really bad in the past year and I feel like Apple isn’t even trying here.
  • 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?
  • “Tracker blocker” API similar to content blockers. We should have something like little snitch for iOS.
  • Better grouping options for Airplay2 devices. I have a ton of speakers & TVs and scrolling through that list is unwieldy. 
  • Allow me to set more defaults for reminders, maps, notes, etc.
  • Photos widget: I hate the change to the music-driven slideshow. I’ve replaced the widget with a Google Photos one.

iPadOS-specific

  • External monitor support on iPadOS. Like, REAL external support. Maybe you could run more than just 2 apps at a time in this setup?
  • Make use of the “status bar” on iPadOS. Notification icons? Menubar options?
  • Global keyboard shortcuts – preferably user-configurable. I’d love to wire up Shortcuts to keyboard commands.
  • Make a better Lock Screen that rolls in notification updates as well as possibly widgets.
  • Key repeat settings for iPadOS. I hate how long it takes to backspace through things.
  • Better multitasking on iPadOS. What they did last year was an improvement to be sure, but I hope to see further refinements in this area to make it easier to jump between apps.

WatchOS

  • Improve the Siri watch face. I like the idea of cards popping up but I wonder if it’d make more sense to just have a type of complication you can show on ANY face to be a Siri suggestion?
  • It’s time for a stand-alone watch with apps to match. Expand on the family setup mode from a few years ago.

Apple Music

  • SPEED. Make everything from search to loading to scrolling on the Mac faster. It’s by far my biggest complaint about the service.
  • Collaborative playlists
  • Allow widgets to do some simple actions like play/pause of audio.
  • Better play count sync between devices. This seems to be super inconsistent and makes smart playlists hard to rely on
  • Allow users to create smart playlists on iOS devices
  • Genius playlists. I love the “daily mix” feature that Spotify has, and the radio station Apple provides is very good. However, I’d love to see it segmented out to multiple genres based on my history/taste.
  • Fix UX issues (better playlist grouping options, more condensed playlist list view, fewer items behind swipes/3 dots)

Apple News

  • Auto mark as read after finishing bookmarked News article
  • Improve the queue for audio stories so that it’s easier to bulk manage and triage the list of audio stories.

Siri

  • Siri should handle more commands without an internet connection when possible. Last year was a huge improvement but there’s a long way to go.
  • 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.
  • Siri needs “continued conversations” on all platforms like Alexa and Assistant.
  • Similarly, Siri needs to be able to combine commands “turn on the lights AND set a timer for 30 minutes”.

HomeKit

  • A redesigned Home app that’s a bit more useful. Better automations, easier to navigate and more information dense.
  • 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.
  • Allow me to create “named groups” of speakers to start music to. Currently it’s limited to floors or rooms, which can be a bit tedious to invoke via Siri.

Safari

  • Rethink the tab groups. Make them all viewable from the main tab bar similar to how Chrome handles theirs. Currently it’s tucked away in the sidebar or in the dropdown and harder to get to.
  • Allow content blockers to work across any webview.
  • Better tab persistence, especially on iPadOS. So much RAM, and tabs just feel flimsy.
  • PWA improvements to allow people to create PWAs for certain types of apps that don’t really need to go into the App Store. Would be great for the web community but also for their antitrust case.
  • Extension updates shouldn’t force me to restart my browser.

iCloud

  • Selective sync. I don’t want to sync all of my personal documents to my work computer, but do want to stay logged into iCloud and leverage the cloud sync functionality.

WWDC 2022 Wishlist

Almost every year, I post a list of things I hope that Apple announces this year from the software side. Here is last year’s list, and I’ll be porting over a ton of the wishes from last year once again with the knowledge that they’re likely not going to happen this time, either. Without further […]

Continue reading →

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. […]

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.

From The Verge:

The real issue is Apple’s power, of which this whole Kafkaesque series of changing rules is a symptom. We all know the score here: Apple needs to protect the 30 percent cut it takes, and if it allows too many apps to circumvent that cut then some sort of dam may break. From Apple’s perspective, it’s not so much the money for its services bottom line but that if everybody used a different payment system, the experience on the iPhone would genuinely be degraded, if not fragmented. (The money doesn’t hurt, though.)

[…]

There’s a cognitive dissonance to calling Apple a monopolist. After all, people are free to buy an Android phone and well over 80 percent of smartphone buyers on the planet do just that. Apple’s marketshare in the US is significantly higher than it is in the rest of the world, but it’s not that high.

Ben Thompson at Stratechery has been writing about this for years — he recently pulled his 2018 article on this very issue out from behind the paywall. In it, he writes that “I don’t believe the relevant market is smartphones, but rather digital goods and services.” Indeed.

The monopoly Apple has is a monopoly over the iPhone itself, not over smartphones. And that is a very strange way to think about a monopoly. Shouldn’t Apple be free to make whatever rules it wants on the devices it sells? Is it unfair for Apple to demand a cut of all digital commerce on its platforms?

If you aren’t keeping up, HEY is a new email service that has popped up and costs $99/year. They built native apps for all of the major platforms (although wrapping their website in an electron app is hardly a native app, but I digress) with Apple’s iOS being one of those platforms. They did not include a way for users to buy a subscription to their service via in app purchases, instead sending users to the HEY.com site to sign up. Apple rejected the app, saying that they should allow users to buy a subscription in the app. Now customers who signed up for the service can’t use the mobile app and the developers have said they won’t give Apple 30% of their revenue to simply process payment.

This whole thing is such a mess. Incoherent rules and inconsistent enforcement by Apple have created a situation that is bad for consumers and developers.  Ultimately, I think a situation closer to what Google allows (any 3rd party can use their own payment system for anything other than IAP and in all games) as well as allowing for easier side loading on iOS would keep the regulators away and allow for more innovation. Would their services revenue numbers take a hit? Surely. But given most of the big players already have found workarounds, I don’t think it’d be as bad as you’d think.  I also expect more from Apple than essentially rent-seeking.

Additionally, if the argument from Apple is at least partially around providing consistency and clarity for customers, having these Easter egg hunt-style messages in apps like Netflix, Kindle and others (saying things like “you can’t buy content here. Sorry!” due to Apple’s rules around linking to external signups) makes things worse, not better. With WWDC & EU antitrust discussions looming, I’m sure this will be top of mind for the folks in Cupertino over the next few weeks. I hope Apple does the right thing and at a minimum updates their rules to be more clear. If they really want to support their developer community they need to do way more than that, though.

Apple’s App Store polices are bad, but its interpretation and enforcement is worse

From The Verge:

The real issue is Apple’s power, of which this whole Kafkaesque series of changing rules is a symptom. We all know the score here: Apple needs to protect the 30 percent cut it takes, and if it allows too many apps to circumvent that cut then some sort of dam may break. From Apple’s perspective, it’s not so much the money for its services bottom line but that if everybody used a different payment system, the experience on the iPhone would genuinely be degraded, if not fragmented. (The money doesn’t hurt, though.)

[…]

There’s a cognitive dissonance to calling Apple a monopolist. After all, people are free to buy an Android phone and well over 80 percent of smartphone buyers on the planet do just that. Apple’s marketshare in the US is significantly higher than it is in the rest of the world, but it’s not that high.

Ben Thompson at Stratechery has been writing about this for years — he recently pulled his 2018 article on this very issue out from behind the paywall. In it, he writes that “I don’t believe the relevant market is smartphones, but rather digital goods and services.” Indeed.

The monopoly Apple has is a monopoly over the iPhone itself, not over smartphones. And that is a very strange way to think about a monopoly. Shouldn’t Apple be free to make whatever rules it wants on the devices it sells? Is it unfair for Apple to demand a cut of all digital commerce on its platforms?

If you aren’t keeping up, HEY is a new email service that has popped up and costs $99/year. They built native apps for all of the major platforms (although wrapping their website in an electron app is hardly a native app, but I digress) with Apple’s iOS being one of those platforms. They did not include a way for users to buy a subscription to their service via in app purchases, instead sending users to the HEY.com site to sign up. Apple rejected the app, saying that they should allow users to buy a subscription in the app. Now customers who signed up for the service can’t use the mobile app and the developers have said they won’t give Apple 30% of their revenue to simply process payment.

This whole thing is such a mess. Incoherent rules and inconsistent enforcement by Apple have created a situation that is bad for consumers and developers.  Ultimately, I think a situation closer to what Google allows (any 3rd party can use their own payment system for anything other than IAP and in all games) as well as allowing for easier side loading on iOS would keep the regulators away and allow for more innovation. Would their services revenue numbers take a hit? Surely. But given most of the big players already have found workarounds, I don’t think it’d be as bad as you’d think.  I also expect more from Apple than essentially rent-seeking.

Additionally, if the argument from Apple is at least partially around providing consistency and clarity for customers, having these Easter egg hunt-style messages in apps like Netflix, Kindle and others (saying things like “you can’t buy content here. Sorry!” due to Apple’s rules around linking to external signups) makes things worse, not better. With WWDC & EU antitrust discussions looming, I’m sure this will be top of mind for the folks in Cupertino over the next few weeks. I hope Apple does the right thing and at a minimum updates their rules to be more clear. If they really want to support their developer community they need to do way more than that, though.

I recently bought an 11″ iPad Pro to “replace” my aging 2015 MacBook Pro. My work has provided me with a 15” MacBook Pro that’s only about a year old, so there’s no reason for me to buy a new laptop for myself right now – especially when I’m working from home every day anyway. Given that I spend all day at my desk at home, the last thing I want to be doing is working with a traditional computer in my off hours. The iPad Pro is powerful enough for me to do most of my non-work tasks, and I can use it in a way that allows me to use it in different contexts (sitting, propped up at a table while drinking coffee, etc).

I’ve been super happy with the device and find myself using it way more than I did with my previous 9.7” iPad 6th generation. The screen and sound quality quality alone make a lot of media consumption like games and videos way more compelling, and it’s a best-in-class device for reading news, Instapaper and ebooks. I also really enjoy writing on it – whether it’s email for work or IA Writer for blog posts, the immersive writing environment helps me focus on the task at hand way better than I can on a desktop.

The area that the iPad still struggles a bit is the full-on laptop replacement. The recently-released Magic Keyboard is a fantastic companion that folks are raving about, and it seems to solve for about 90% of the things folks were asking for. There’s lots of little rough edges still to be worked out, though. None of it is really surprising as trackpad support is only about 3 months old and the idea of using an iPad as a full desktop replacement is still rather new. Heck, iPadOS is only a year old itself.

With WWDC approaching (you can see my wishlist here, which is somewhat duplicated here), I got to thinking about what Apple could do to make it easier for folks like me to treat the iPad Pro like my primary desktop machine, and not just a really amazing tablet.

External display support

The 11″ size of the iPad Pro is about perfect. It’s portable enough for me to use around the house and travel with (if traveling were a thing people still did!), and yet still big enough to be passable as a screen for most work tasks I have. To take things to the next level though, I’d love to be able to plug it into an external monitor and do more than simply mirror the content. I’d be smitten if I could have 2 apps open on my 24″ external display in split view with something else open on the actual iPad. Even if it’s a little limited in the first round (maybe the screen on the iPad is mirrored, but in the correct aspect ratio), I’d love to see some investment here.

Enhanced global keyboard support

Before I go all-in and buy Apple’s Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro, I want to see how they plan on investing in global keyboard shortcuts for media playback, brightness, homescreen etc. In a perfect world, I’d love to also be able to launch apps or shortcuts from key combos I define. Looks like there’s already some smoke on this rumor, so fingers crossed!

Better keyboard support

Related to the above point, I’d like to see more consistent keyboard support across the platform. Some of this falls to individual app developers, but I’d also like to see more tools for users to tab between split views and invoke (and close) the slideover view. In the same vein, I’d like to be able to switch between apps in slideover with the keyboard.

Key repeat rates are also not customizable currently, and that makes backspacing through sentences difficult. I hope we see some additional customization options for the trackpad & keyboard settings now that those input devices are first class citizens.

Better Safari tab persistence

This is a big one. When I’m typically working I’ll have multiple Safari tabs open as I switch between tasks. It seems like more often than not Safari will try its best to prioritize keeping web apps open even when the user switches to another application, but it doesn’t happen consistently. There are a lot of times where I come back to a form that I was working to add some data to and it refreshes. I’d love some sort of “pro mode” I could opt into if Apple is worried about performance. Let me make use of the insane power & RAM the iPad Pro has!

Multitasking improvements

I’d like to see more options available when tabbing between apps. For one, I’d like more than 6 or 7 apps at a time. In addition, I’d like more options around searching for an app and opening it in split screen, slide over or as its own app. A situation I find myself in a lot is working in one app and wanting to change the music to something different. Rather than switching to the app, making the change and then switching back I’d like some sort of keyboard modifier that could open an app in an “active” slide overview instead. I could then make the song change with my document still open and visible, then dismiss the slideover and be on my way.

Apple should also introduce a picture-in-picture mode for videoconferencing. Just like the PIP videos, I should be able to move the video around the screen or even hide it (showing the ‘tab’ to indicate I’m on a video call). I’d love to use my iPad for video calls given how great the camera and screen is, but it’s fairly limiting given it takes over the screen – and can’t even do split screen!

Better Spotlight typing interface

Make it easier to do a lot of the things you can do with Spotlight on the Mac. Instead of the Spotlight search interface taking over the entire screen, emulate what we see on the Mac with an overlay panel that expands when options are available. Seems minor, but a lot of times I’ll be writing and need to do a quick calculation or search and would prefer the entire screen not be taken over.

Make the status bar more useful for iPad users

I should be able to make use of the status bar on the iPad more like what we can do on the Mac. I’d love a persistent calendar widget showing my next appointment, a music widget showing current playing song, or additional controls around Bluetooth, volume, brightness or more.

Multiple audio sources & control

Right now it’s not really possible to have 2 things playing like music and a video. Additionally, a use case from a few days ago really annoyed me that I hope we can see a fix to: I was playing music on my living room speakers via airplay and wanted to turn up the volume on my iPad to better hear the voice in Duolingo. Ideally, an advanced audio settings pane would allow me to adjust my output volume for multiple apps or destinations.

Conclusion

The iPad Pro is an amazing machine that helps me work or entertain myself in ways that work best for me. On top of that, last year’s iPadOS 13 is a really fantastic step in the direction of making iPads true laptop replacements for most folks. If Apple could focus on a number of the refinements that I’ve listed here as part of an iPadOS 14 release, I think I’d be smitten.

Sanding the Rough Edges of iPadOS

I recently bought an 11″ iPad Pro to “replace” my aging 2015 MacBook Pro. My work has provided me with a 15” MacBook Pro that’s only about a year old, so there’s no reason for me to buy a new laptop for myself right now – especially when I’m working from home every day anyway. […]

Continue reading →

From Mark Gurman at Bloomberg:

Apple Inc. is preparing to announce a shift to its own main processors in Mac computers, replacing chips from Intel Corp., as early as this month at its annual developer conference, according to people familiar with the plans.

The new processors will be based on the same technology used in Apple-designed iPhone and iPad chips. However, future Macs will still run the macOS operating system rather than the iOS software on mobile devices from the company. Bloomberg News reported on Apple’s effort to move away from Intel earlier this year, and in 2018.

Apple’s chip-development group, led by Johny Srouji, decided to make the switch after Intel’s annual chip performance gains slowed. Apple engineers worried that sticking to Intel’s road map would delay or derail some future Macs, according to people familiar with the effort.

This has been rumored for what seems like years now, but it appears to be finally happening. This will be a huge shift, and I’m excited to see what the transition plan looks like. I’d imagine we’ll see it first hit the “consumer” lines and work out from there. A couple of questions that come to mind for me are:

  • How will this affect things like virtualization software?
  • What about cross-platform software and games? My Steam library was already decimated by the 32bit to 64bit transition. I’d imagine an ARM transition will finish it off.
  • Will iPad Pros be a test device during the transition?
  • What are the tradeoffs going to be? What are the gains going to look like?

Really excited to see what we learn in a few short weeks!

Apple Plans to Announce Move to Its Own Mac Chips at WWDC

From Mark Gurman at Bloomberg:

Apple Inc. is preparing to announce a shift to its own main processors in Mac computers, replacing chips from Intel Corp., as early as this month at its annual developer conference, according to people familiar with the plans.

The new processors will be based on the same technology used in Apple-designed iPhone and iPad chips. However, future Macs will still run the macOS operating system rather than the iOS software on mobile devices from the company. Bloomberg News reported on Apple’s effort to move away from Intel earlier this year, and in 2018.

Apple’s chip-development group, led by Johny Srouji, decided to make the switch after Intel’s annual chip performance gains slowed. Apple engineers worried that sticking to Intel’s road map would delay or derail some future Macs, according to people familiar with the effort.

This has been rumored for what seems like years now, but it appears to be finally happening. This will be a huge shift, and I’m excited to see what the transition plan looks like. I’d imagine we’ll see it first hit the “consumer” lines and work out from there. A couple of questions that come to mind for me are:

  • How will this affect things like virtualization software?
  • What about cross-platform software and games? My Steam library was already decimated by the 32bit to 64bit transition. I’d imagine an ARM transition will finish it off.
  • Will iPad Pros be a test device during the transition?
  • What are the tradeoffs going to be? What are the gains going to look like?

Really excited to see what we learn in a few short weeks!

With WWDC 2020 just 2 weeks away, I was kind of surprised to check out the developer site today to see the same announcement landing page that we saw a month or so ago. I’m still very curious to see what this year’s virtual conference looks like as I could imagine a hybrid model being used in future years.

Will the keynotes be presented in the same format as it is with live audience members? I think it will be for the same reasons that the Bundesliga and the Premier League are piping in fake crowd noise for their games without fans. People have expectations around how these sorts of things are supposed to look & sound, so Apple will faithfully recreate the event at the Steve Jobs theatre or similar.

For everything else, I’m curious to understand how crowd control works when attendance and the financial outlay that comes with isn’t the limiting factor. From what I’ve read from other bloggers that attend WWDC, the networking angle is quite possibly the most important aspect other than getting 1:1 time with actual Apple engineers.

I’m hopeful that me posting about this will mean Apple releases their schedule today around noon. Let’s see if I can jinx them!

Update 6/11: Schedule posted!

WWDC20 still lacks a schedule

With WWDC 2020 just 2 weeks away, I was kind of surprised to check out the developer site today to see the same announcement landing page that we saw a month or so ago. I’m still very curious to see what this year’s virtual conference looks like as I could imagine a hybrid model being […]

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WWDC is about a month away! You know what that means – wishlist time!

Becky Hansmeyer has a great breakdown of her WWDC wishlist.  David Smith’s WatchOS 7 list has a ton of great nuggets too.

So, in that spirit I thought I’d throw in my WWDC wishlist for iOS/iPadOS/MacOS updates. If I get even a low double digit percentage of these it’ll be a good year.

Mac updates

  • Make Catalyst apps just decent. The text still renders in a way that seems blurry, keyboard shortcuts I expect to work won’t work, and it all just feels half baked. I think that Catalyst apps can be a solution for cross platform games and such but most productivity style apps just don’t work well (yet?).
  • Make Messages on par with the iOS counterpart
  • Continue to invest in breaking Music apart from other apps on the Mac. Fix some of the nitpicks I have from a previous post.

iOS updates

  • Vidoeconferencing fixes (side/side still uses video, same for switching video). You would imagine the pandemic has raised this as a huge blocker for iPads in particular.
  • Apple Music should have the ability to make smart playlists, edit metadata etc.
  • Better privacy settings around photos and location. I’d love to give weather apps city-level GPS data but not specific location data. Additionally, I would love to allow to grant photo upload permission but not to view my entire library.
  • Homescreen customization. Doesn’t have to be full-on Android style but it’s time to make managing and organizing apps less of a pain.
  • Connecting multiple Google Drive accounts to the Files app should be possible. I have a personal and work account, but can’t access both buckets in Files.
  • Fix the selection cursor! The new way without the magnification was a mistake and they should either go back or enhance what they have now.
  • Open up the system to set some default apps. I’d love to be able to set a default music service (I switched back to Apple Music recently but would love the option to have more future flexibility), reminders app (for use with Siri), email and web browser.
  • Allow users to do more with ‘now playing’ screen for media. Let me love tracks, add them to my library, etc. Oddly, a form of this used to exist for Apple Music and was dropped. Even more oddly, some apps still have a form of this (Pocket Casts, Spotify) but it seems very limited.
  • Devtools for Safari
  • Revamp the Siri interface and put more of it on device, like Google announced last year. Siri shouldn’t take over the entire screen, nor should basic requests require the cloud.
  • “Smart unlock” style features – when paired to a watch, don’t require touch / face ID. Same goes for when you’re on a WiFi network or at a geofenced area. Make this optional but would be another great selling point for the Apple Watch.
  • Make a smarter dialer – use data about frequent calls to auto populate a favorites list. Allow users to select a standard notification for incoming calls instead of a full-screen takeover.
  • Better management of caches etc. Sometimes apps get so bloated and there’s little we can do to fix it other than delete the app and reinstall.
  • Offline Maps mode

iPadOS specific updates

  • Better tab persistence in Safari. One of the biggest differences between using a Mac and the iPad Pro is how quickly tabs get dropped from memory and I expect better.
  • Control center on iPads needs a rethink.  It currently looks and acts just like the tiny iPhone version. 
  • Make better use of the status bar. I get it on the iPhone, real estate is limited. But on the 11” and 12.9” iPad Pros in particular, there’s tons of wasted space up there.
  • More keyboard shortcuts. I currently use an older external Bluetooth keyboard with my iPad and if I ever went the Magic Keyboard route I’d really miss the function row for brightness and media playback. I’d love shortcuts to show slideover apps as well.
  • While in Split View, allow me to change which app I’m focused on so that I can use keyboard shortcuts for that app.
  • When performing a spotlight search, let me choose from the application list instead of just the first result.
  • More advanced keyboard & trackpad settings. I want to adjust key repeat rate, tracking speed, etc.
  • Some sort of way to invoke widgets quickly. The scenario I’m thinking of is being able to quickly add a task in Things. Maybe allow a keyboard shortcut to invoke a widget or all widgets. Dashboard 2.0!
  • True external monitor support for the iPad. I’d love to be able to plug a monitor in, have the monitor be the “app” UI and maybe leave the iPad as a second screen with the home screen showing by default?
  • Use Apple Watch to unlock the iPad as well as FaceID

Other updates

  • 3rd party Siri integrations. Music is the obvious first step here.
  • Allow for multiple queries to Siri like the other guys allow. Queries like “turn off the lights AND play Rick Astley” should be possible. Same goes for Siri listening for your next command after finishing the current one.
  • Kill the paper texture on Notes.
  • Collaborative playlists on Apple Music. DO IT.
  • Invest in Apple Mail on all platforms. Better priority/VIP notification settings, snoozing emails etc would go a long way to making the default ‘good enough’ for most folks.

WWDC 2020 Wishlist

WWDC is about a month away! You know what that means – wishlist time! Becky Hansmeyer has a great breakdown of her WWDC wishlist.  David Smith’s WatchOS 7 list has a ton of great nuggets too. So, in that spirit I thought I’d throw in my WWDC wishlist for iOS/iPadOS/MacOS updates. If I get even a […]

Continue reading →

A great gist listing all of the New stuff from WWDC 2015:

Here’s my own list of the interesting stuff announced during this year’s WWDC, collected from the keynotes, various Apple docs, blog posts and tweets.

I missed a ton of the SDK stuff especially, so it’s nice to have a consolidated list for reference.

New stuff from WWDC 2015

A great gist listing all of the New stuff from WWDC 2015:

Here’s my own list of the interesting stuff announced during this year’s WWDC, collected from the keynotes, various Apple docs, blog posts and tweets.

I missed a ton of the SDK stuff especially, so it’s nice to have a consolidated list for reference.