Last Minute Thoughts the Night Before WWDC22
Rather than a drawn-out thesis for every hope and rumor out there, I’ll give you a few broad thoughts on what my gut says we’ll see tomorrow at Apple’s keynote. (Some of us will be avoiding all social media and notifications until we get out of work to preserve some of the magic.)
The Conference in General - It could just be a secondary effect of this being the first in-person event in a while, but it seems like something big has been cooking. AR headset? Significant improvements in the existing OSes? A surprise no one has predicted? I’m not sure what it is, but this WWDC feels extra special. At the very least, we’re sure to get more insight into Apple Park with all these new folks getting the chance to visit.
iOS - Though it’s my most used platform, it’s the least exciting to ponder, in my opinion. The phone is so mature that I lack the creativity to think what would knock my socks off beyond app improvements. But I do appreciate refinements each year, so I’m looking for those.
iPadOS - Perpetually on the edge of something greater, I don’t envy the burden on the iPadOS team’s shoulders. Do they throw caution to the wind and unlock the iPad’s potential to be a better all-around computer with Pro apps, more complex multitasking, and additional versatility? Or do they stick to its original premise as a device between the iPhone and the Mac, better at just a few key things? As someone who has uses an iPad Pro as a laptop but an iPad mini as a casual computer, I think I lean toward the former. But I’m not unhappy with the iPad as it is. (Except for the aspect ratio and cramped interface on the iPad mini. But that’s a story for another time.)
macOS - It’s my least used and least important OS, but, strangely, it is the one I’m most keen to see what’s new. I think usability has taken an unfortunate downturn since the Big Sur redesign, and I’m curious if the recent about-face on hardware missteps will also come for software. Unleashing widgets from the Notification Center, a rethink of the Notification Center itself, and a return to more obvious interface elements would go a long way. I’m also very interested in the next chapter for Shortcuts as the future of automation on the Mac.
watchOS - I’ll admit it, I’ve become bored with the Apple Watch. Its strength for years has been in notifications and fitness tracking, but I’ve held onto the idea that it could and should be more useful and capable. And yet, I rarely dive into apps. I’ve settled on a few watch faces that get the job done but no longer spark much joy to use. I’ll give it that having Siri always within arm’s reach (heh) is handy (heh-heh). But I’m really hoping for something that gets my blood pumping again. And no, not just another workout type.
tvOS - Content, games, and home hub. Apple should triple down on those three aspects. Make it easier, faster, and better to get in and out of what I want to watch. Do whatever it takes to make the Apple TV a legitimate part of the gaming question. Make my TV more useful as a home control and information center. Rather than apps, I’d prefer to see glanceable information that would make my TV screen more useful when it’s not playing a show, movie, or game.
Hardware - My heart says that we should see the conclusion of the M1 family in the Mac Pro before the M2 starts rolling out. But I’m unsure if that’s how the cards will fall. Perhaps we’ll see only a preview of the Mac Pro (with an M1 Extreme 🤞), but a proper introduction of the next generation of MacBook Air (and Mac mini?) with an M2 in this event. Getting a MacBook Air out before the back-to-school season would be a nice change of pace. AR headset? I’ve long thought WWDC would be the right place to introduce its new platform, especially if there was an in-person aspect. Well, there will be developers and media present, but rumors point toward its further delay. Perhaps we’ll be surprised!
Okay, okay, here’s a list
For a bit more specificity, I’ve kept a running list of improvements that I’d like to see Apple make to its hardware, software, and services in 2022. (In fact, I keep a shortcut handy for adding them to an Apple Note whenever an idea strikes.) These straddle the line between wishes, predictions, and quality-of-life fixes, but I thought they’d be fun to share nonetheless and then grade after the event.
- ‘iMac Pro’ makes a triumphant return with Apple Silicon
- Preview of AR/VR headset
- Let me use the full maps application on iPhone when navigating with CarPlay
- Option to sync CarPlay app home screens between cars
- Lock any app or folder of apps with a passcode/FaceID
- Pinned playlists in Music
- PiP video for Apple News videos
- Compact ‘Now Playing’ widget on the Lock Screen
- ‘Quick Open’ in more apps (based on Files Go-To menu? CMD-Shift-G?)
- Extensions and Safari Shortcuts actions available in Safari View Controller
- Clipboard manager for iOS (or third—party support)
- Smart rotate (based on face recognition?)
- Use any SF Symbol for Shortcuts icon (with search function)
- Health widgets with trends
- Proper share sheet for macOS
- Shortcuts actions for TV app (and/or widget to search TV app)
- System-wide highlighting (bonus points for allowing it to hook into an API like Readwise)
- Allow alternate launch phrases for shortcuts using Siri (like synonyms for menu items)
- Option to pull notification settings from other devices using iCloud upon app install
- When adding shortcuts to folders, add them to the bottom so as not to disrupt widgets and other shortcuts which display from folder order
- First-party way to use iPhone as Mac webcam
- On-device transcription (offline) for watchOS
- Clipboard manager support for iOS/macOS
- Alternate app icons on macOS
- SF symbols everywhere
- Add to Control Center option for shortcuts
- Fix Handoff music playback via third-party apps and widgets.
- Dismiss Share Sheet after completing a shortcut (could be an action to be added in the shortcut)
- Reorder spotlight results
- Improvements to in-app purchasing with third-party payment processing
- Solution for cloud gaming services in App Store
- Group workout support in Fitness+ (multiple Watch metrics on screen, both get credit)
- Overhaul of Bug Bounty Program with promises of faster turnaround and better communication/transparency
In any case, WWDC is the epicenter of the Apple universe, and we’re sure to be in for an exciting summer of new releases. See you on the other side!