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Colin Devroe

Photographer. Podcaster. Blogger. Reverse Engineer.

WWDC 2020 wish list

I see some wish lists for Monday’s WWDC being published so I thought I’d take a moment and jot down just a few from the top of my head. I decided to jut let my mind riff for a while to see what it would come up with.

  • Allow default app choosing on iOS – This one will be here in perpetuity I suppose. Being able to choose email, calendar, browser, RSS reader, audio player, etc. etc. seems long long long overdue.
  • Bug fixes, speed improvements, and UI consistency in macOS – I don’t have any specific bugs, or areas of macOS that I’d suggest need to be faster, but it’d be great to see Apple recognize that macOS needs tightening up at every level. Having a release that focuses solely on making everything about macOS work more reliably, faster, and with a more consistent UI throughout would harken back to the days of the original Mac on the painstaking attention to detail.
  • A complete re-think of iPadOS multi-tasking features and gestures, UI – Adding pointer support to iPad was a big deal for many (though, I still haven’t gotten it to work at all). However, multi-tasking on iPad – though it works – is undeniably bad and I’m willing to bet the vast majority of iPad owners don’t even know they can do it.
  • LOTS more iCloud storage – And features so I can leave One Drive behind in the coming years. In fact, I’d add to this the ability to transfer data to/from other cloud services (One Drive, Dropbox, Creative Cloud, etc.) without needing to download/upload. Just click a button and it happens behind the scenes in the cloud.
  • Built-in support for Electron – Apple will never ever do this. But what is a wish list without a few off the wall wishes? I’d like to see macOS have low-level support for Electron because, let’s face it, it isn’t going anywhere. By “support” I mean that it’d allow for the apps to be much faster, use far less memory, and be much smaller since Electron libraries/dependencies could be always available right on the Mac.
  • Force developers to show all apps installed that support sharing – I don’t exactly know how to word this list item. But I have an example of what I mean. Open the YouTube app, and tap a link in a description of a video. You’re given a few choices of what app to use to open the link: Chrome is one (which I don’t have installed on iOS because why would anyone ever?) and Safari probably because Apple is forcing them to. But they do not show Firefox, which I have installed and use as my primary browser on iOS. Apple should force developers to either just use the default browser (like most apps do) or show all apps they have installed that support the action.
  • More Home Screen customization options on iOS (like, being able to move icons wherever you want)
  • Always on Display on iOS (for any hardware that can support it)
  • Just buy 1Password and build it right into macOS / iOS
  • Add an option to Photos for Mac to leave all photos exactly where they are, and, when imported, file them exactly how I’d prefer (YYYY/MM/DD). Also a local backup option rather than just iCloud.
  • More comprehensive EXIF editor – Either built into Finder (which would be great) or at least into Photos
  • Podcast audio editor – Podcasts have seen a surge this year. Garage Band can be used for this, but a lighter weight app built specifically for editing podcasts would be pretty great.
  • Better window management in macOS on laptops – When I connect, disconnect my external displays (which is every day to and from work to home) every single window seems to forget where I put it. I know there are third party apps (and I’ll likely buy one soon) but this seems like macOS should have this built in.
  • Menu bar icon hiding – Just a simple button that would take all the icons in your menu bar and put them under one icon. Again, I know there are third party options but why? This seems like a no-brainer.
  • A Bluetooth innovation that would make it much more reliable – No idea what form this should take and I know Apple has their own standards for this… but somehow I’d like to see Bluetooth simply be more reliable in every way.
  • Zero game demos – This, also, will never happen. The game market is simply too lucrative not to have a slot on the keynote. However, I don’t want to see a single game demo.

I could likely come up with more but I think if I got any one of these things I’d be happy. Apple has delivered some great stuff over the last few years but overall their attention to detail has been slipping. I’d like to see that return and with it my confidence in them on the software front.

Wishes for today’s Apple Event

In my Pixel 4 wish list I may have overstated my current position on my choosing Android or iOS in my next phone. I wrote:

As my time to upgrade my phone comes around of course I’m left with a choice to go back to iOS or stick with Android. I’m sticking with Android. I really like my current phone OS. iOS 13 looks like a great update but it doesn’t have anything in it that would entice me to leave Android behind yet.

That isn’t quite right. I’m watching today’s Apple Event closely to see if the new iPhone will entice me away from my Pixel. And, I’ll be watching Google’s event in October for my wishes of the Pixel 4 before making a hard decision.

With that said, what would I look for in an iPhone 11? And what are other things I’m watching for today? This is that list.

  • A more capable image processing system – The iPhone XS takes amazing photos, but somehow the image processing system in the Pixel 2 is still “better”. Meaning, it produces more pleasing results by just firing the shutter button. It is arguable, I think, which device captures better data – likely the iPhone XS would win because of the dual-camera system – but the images that are processed seem to be better in every way with the Pixel. So I’d like to see a dramatic update to how iPhone processes images in portrait, low-light, and other modes to produce a better result. No matter what I see today, I won’t know until capable reviewers get their hands on them.
  • USB-C – I’ve been spoiled having a laptop, tablet, and phone that all use the same cables. I can’t imagine wanting lightning cables ever again.
  • Water resistance – I believe the iPhone XS is very water resistant already. But I would be open to this being even more resistant to water damage.

If the iPhone 11 has the above, it would level the playing field between the Pixel and iPhone for me and then it would be a matter of a software and ecosystem decision.

Outliers for today’s event:

  • A MacBook with a keyboard that works.
  • The Apple Watch not taking 4 days to do a software update.

Apple Event days are always fun regardless of what they announce, I expect this one to be no different.

WWDC 2017 wish list

It has been an exciting year for developers so far. Facebook is making the camera a platform, Microsoft is making cloud computation happen with two clicks of a mouse, and Google is doing everything that everyone else is doing plus a billion more things.

WWDC is next week. So what are my wishes? Since I use Apple products far more than Facebook, Microsoft, or Google products, I tend to want more specific things from WWDC.

Here is my list, in no particular order:

  • Shared iCloud Photo Libraries. There are a few ways that Apple could do this. The simplest, in my opinion, is for me to allow access to my iCloud Photo Library to anyone in my iCloud Family Plan. All photos taken from all family members in the same library. Perhaps somehow filtered by device or person. That’s it.
  • iCloud data Family sharing. I buy 1TB for me and 50GB for Eliza. I’d like to purchase 1 set of storage for both of us and be able to share the space allotment. Not only to save the $1 per month but also to combine the accounts.
  • An all-new Mac App Store. The app store app on macOS feels incredibly dated and fragile. It doesn’t seem to work nearly as well as its iOS counterpart. This part of the OS should be rock solid and perform very well. But there are little idiosyncrasies (like how the progress bars look weird when downloading, or how the fonts look…).
  • App Store demos. If Schiller is serious about bolstering the App Stores I think it is time to bring true demos to both App Stores. I don’t have a silver bullet model (7 days, 14 days, 30 days, etc.) but I do believe this is achievable and would be a boon for app developers.
  • App slimming. Apple announced something about this a few WWDCs ago I think. And I believe it is on the developers of the apps to make their apps as small as possible. However, I think Apple can lend a hand to the most popular apps (Facebook, Uber, Twitter, Messenger, SnapChat, Instagram, etc.) and ask that they somehow combine frameworks or resources in order to shrink their apps considerably. Just think, every megabyte Apple can help slim from those apps would be hundreds of terabytes of data usage saved.
  • More Camera app filters. I use the Camera app a lot. Even with the numerous camera apps available (which I’ve likely bought dozens of and installed even more of over the last decade of having an iPhone) I usually gravitate to the camera that I can swipe to from my Lock Screen. Once and a while I’ll use a filter. Either in editing or even in shooting. Its fun. I’d like to see more added. Like, 50 more with me being able to select my top 12 somehow.
  • Apple Prime. Amazon Prime comes with a slew of things; music, movies, photo storage, free shipping, etc. etc. I’d like a one-payment Apple bundle that would give me iCloud space, iCloud Photo Library, Apple Music, Apple TV (or whatever their TV service will be if it ever happens), etc. Some “prime” membership per year that I can be all-in on Apple stuff.
  • Rename iCloud Photo Library? Perhaps it should just be called Apple Photos. If every app simply had an iCloud switch that allowed you to store / sync its data with iCloud we wouldn’t need separate names for things. The apps simply can have an iCloud feature.
  • Apple Watch Series 3. I’ve said since the beginning that the first Apple Watch I’d buy would likely be the Series 3. (Actually, I begged Apple not to make a watch at all. But, since they did, the first one I’d likely buy might be the next version.) My wish list for series 3 would be slimmer (less tall), no phone needed at all for it to function (network-connected with no additional plan), much, much faster, and easier to update/install apps. Essentially, a stand-alone device rather than an iPhone accessory.
  • Apple Photos improvements. Only a few of my wishes from May 2016 have been addressed. I would like to see Apple Photos get substantially better this year. However, Apple seems to improve things much slower than they used to. (Remember the iPad 1 to iPad 2 jump? I wish we saw more of that speed from Apple)
  • More iOS Extensions. Perhaps Apple’s purchase of Workflow won’t bear fruit so quickly, but I’d like a lot more Extensions in iOS. I often find myself limited in what I can do with a file on iOS. I think it should be much more powerful to send files from app-to-app or to a service or run a routine on it, etc. I think we’ll see that in future iOS releases.
  • Siri. I’ve nearly given up on Siri. My WWDC 2016 wish list still has Siri items on it that haven’t been addressed. Still, if Siri was 5% better I’d take it.
  • Apple Maps accuracy updates. Apple Maps has improved a lot since its debut. Its design is far better than it was and its feature set has grown too. But, for me, its accuracy is still terrible. Google Maps gets me to the correct location every single time. I can’t remember when it hasn’t. Apple Maps routinely gives me the wrong location when I ask Siri for directions somewhere. Somewhere around 75% of the time. Three out of four. This is not an exaggeration. So, I do not use it. With each update to iOS I give it another try. Then I go back to Google Maps. I don’t think Apple Maps needs any new design, or any new features, it just needs to be accurate. Side note: I was in Philadelphia with Eliza recently and we relied on Google Maps for all transportation. It was excellent at getting us around via Uber, walking, and driving. It was perfect the entire time.

I’ll stay away from any hardware wishes as I don’t have any needs currently. I’m all set on the hardware front. Our iPhones, iPads, MacBook Pro, and iMac are all just fine the way they currently are. And, I don’t need an Apple Home (if they release one) because I have enough terrible Siri devices laying around the house.

WWDC 2016 wish list

Wish lists have been swirling around these last few days and many of them are quite good. But none of them are mine. So here is my wish list, not my predictions, for what will be announced today at WWDC.

  • I hope Siri can do a lot more – I think we’re overdue on being able to say things like “Hey Siri, send the photo I just took to my wife.” Or “Hey Siri, open Spotify and play Jack White’s Blunderbuss.” Or “Hey Siri, find a note in Simplenote that I created on May 15th”. Or, even, “Hey Siri, show me all of the photos I’ve taken in Hawaii.”
  • I already wrote my list for Photos and iCloud Photo Library. Any updates to these apps and services whatsoever would be nice since I use them so much. One thing I left out of that post; slightly better video editing. I don’t need iMovie. But a few more video editing tools built into the Photos app would be nice.
  • I’m hoping for big, big changes in the new macOS (formerly Mac OS X). macOS is long overdue for a big update. I wouldn’t mind, even, if it sort of felt like a do-over.
  • My only wish for the much rumored Apple Displays is that they are affordable. But I won’t hold my breath.
  • Lastly, if there are some nice updates to tvOS I’ll pick up the new Apple TV.

Anything other than the above will be icing on the cake. I love Keynote days.

Got Loop’d

It is always a pleasure to be linked to from The Loop. Yesterday, one of my posts about Photos for OS X and what I think can be done to improve it, was linked to (at my behest) by Dave Mark.

My link is in good company there. Be sure to check out the other links too.

This, in turn, spurred a few other links flowing into that post. This morning I saw this link from Benny Ling on AppleTalk from Australia. I love the internet.