I’m taking Carissa to see The Last Jedi tonight. It will be my first viewing since opening weekend. I’m excited about seeing it again now that it has settled in my mind a bit.


Isaiah Werner has been writing spoken word prices that have been performed at church1 over the last few weeks as a part of our Advent celebration this month. They have been excellent.

This week (the final week of the series) they made a video.

For the final Sunday of Advent, we decided to do something a little different. Instead of doing a reading on stage, we chose to do a spoken work video with dance as the primary visual component. This project was super fun to work on and I’m so thankful to Korri and Moriah for their gifts and contributions. The video is below as well as the text from the poem. Thanks for stopping by. I hope that these Advent pieces have been encouraging and have, in some way, enriched your holiday. Merry Christmas!

These are worth spending some time on this Christmas Eve. Check them out below.

Have a Merry Christmas!

  1. OKC Community Church. You should definitely come 😃. ↩︎

Little Wrist Computer

The latest episode of Welcome to Macintosh is really worth a listen. It is about how James T. Green’s Apple Watch notified him of an unusual elevated heart rate and ultimately saved his life.

With Apple investing more and more into health technology in the Apple Watch, I suspect that this is not the last story like this we will hear.

Check it out here (or here if you are an Overcast user).

Star Wars: And Everything Was Pretty Much Fine

There are The Last Jedi spoilers ahead. You have been warned.

I think this review by Sean O’Neal at A.V. Club captures what I loved about The Last Jedi even better than the one I linked to last night.

And yet, that’s not how life works. Victories fade, replaced by new challenges. Heroes get older. They become broken-down and kind of pathetic, bearded and cynical. Sometimes they even end up all alone, stewing over decades-old fuck-ups, suckling at the nipples of sad, mutant cows. Happy endings are always undone because “endings” don’t really exist. Time doesn’t stop when you want it to. Your “destiny” can and will be slowly eroded away by the many small, cumulative abrasions of life that inevitably follow after you achieve it. This is real, and it’s disillusioning, and it can fill you with righteous anger at the unjustness of it all. And then, you die.

In tackling this notion head-on—in being willing to not only challenge Star Wars’ happy ending, but to question whether happy endings actually exist—these new films are giving the saga something that it’s always somewhat lacked, even in all its constant grappling with themes of the spirit versus the machine: humanity. That’s not always an easy fit with the kinds of myths that Star Wars updates; rarely do we talk about the fact that Hercules, for example, triumphed over his Twelve Labors, only to end up a twice-married widower who got killed by a shirt. And the very idea of it pisses off people who cling to the illusion that their own hero’s journey will someday be “complete.”

And yet, that’s the story of life. We get to what seems like a comfortable end—married with children, say, accomplished in our careers, content to just let things remain status quo forever. Then life intrudes, because we’re only one small chapter within its story. Those things change and slip away. We may “fundamentally disagree” with what life decides for us. Life writes its epilogue anyway.

Via Marisa Mohi.

Apple Plans Combined iPhone, iPad & Mac Apps to Create One User Experience

Mark Gurman writing for Bloomberg:

Starting as early as next year, software developers will be able to design a single application that works with a touchscreen or mouse and trackpad depending on whether it’s running on the iPhone and iPad operating system or on Mac hardware, according to people familiar with the matter.

I have been waiting for this to happen for awhile. It will be interesting to see how they go about this. The simplest approach would be to add UIKit to the Mac (with some additions for supporting the trackpad and the mouse). Internally they already have UXKit, a UIKit-like framework built on top of AppKit that powers the macOS Photos app.

A more exciting approach would be an entire new UI framework (preferably written in Swift7 that was designed to be cross-platform (and cross-paradigm) from the beginning. If they were going to take this approach, this summer is the first year where that would be technically possible because Swift 5 will be the first that has binary stability (which would be required for a system framework).

Regardless of the approach they use, something like this can really benefit both platforms. It would allow for there to be more native apps running on the Mac, and it would allow for more complex apps (Xcode and Sketch please) to be built for iOS because they can just share most of their code with the Mac.

WWDC 2018 just got a lot more exciting.

As a quick aside, this is my favorite thing that always appears in these type of reports:

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.

Well, duh.

This Is Not Going to Go the Way You Think

I caught two showings of The Last Jedi last week. I left both of them thinking that it could be my new favorite Star Wars movie. Long term, it will be difficult to beat the nostalgia that comes with Return of the Jedi. But it has a chance.

There are minor The Last Jedi spoilers ahead. You have been warned.

I understand why some people do not like it. I can see the things that they have problems with, but they do not bother me a bit.

I was good with Luke being bitter and regretful. I was good with the casino heist. I was good with fuel-starved stalemate. And the porgs.

Jacob Halls’s review for Slashfilm encapsulates my feelings of the movie perfectly:

But with Star Wars: The Last Jedi, director Rian Johnson wants to burn Star Wars to the ground. Not because he harbors ill will toward it, but because he loves it. He loves it so much that he wants to cleanse the garden and allow something fresh and new to grow. The Last Jedi is not concerned about what you, the moviegoer and fan, thinks about Star Wars. It wants to challenge you and make you question what Star Wars is and what it can be.

The Last Jedi brings shades of gray to the big screen like no other Star Wars movie has yet1. I think that this added complexity will make this movie get better over time: it will get better after re-watching and could get better after seeing what follows it in Episode IX.

And with all that, I think I am ready for take three.

  1. This is not the first Star Wars story to do this: Rogue One touched on it with Cassian, and the book Dark Disciple completely focused on it. ↩︎

Workshelf 1.1

Workshelf 1.1 is now available on the App Store. Really, this is what v1.0 should have been. In my hurry to get the app on the store on the launch day of iOS 11, I did not iterate enough.

To put it simply, the app’s UI and icon were not very good at launch. They are now.

Now that I have a solid base to work from, I am going to switch gears to working on new features. I have some cool things coming in the next couple of months.

Here are the release notes for 1.1:


  • New app theme and icon! Sorry about that blue. Those responsible have been sacked.
  • Added sorting for the shelf list and for the shelf items. You can sort manually (original behavior), by date, file size, title, or number of items.
  • Shelf items can be renamed from the detail page.
  • You can now open URLs from the detail page.
  • You can import items from the Files app.
  • The shelf detail page shows the item’s date and file size (hint: tap on the date to toggle between creation and modification date).
  • The Shelf list now shows how many items are in each Shelf.


  • Moved the ‘New Shelf’ button to the bottom of the list so so adding a new shelf is quicker (and more discoverable).
  • The ‘Drag to Delete’ drag area is only visible while dragging items from the app.
  • The Shelf view is displayed in full screen in more situations (instead of being displayed side by side with the list).
  • Shelf items have a more consistent look, size, and spacing.
  • Empty shelves look a little less lonely (they have a label stating they are empty).
  • Deleting the last shelf now creates a new empty one.


  • Fixed the text for expired items in the Store view.
  • Fixed a crash when trying to save a photo to the Photos library from the share sheet.
  • Files dragged out of the “Available Data Types” section of the shelf detail page will now have the correct title.
  • Added a loading indicator for the Store view when it is retrieving the product list.


  • Removed the “Getting Started” shelf creation from startup.
  • Added diagnostic text to the support email.
  • Added App Reviews requests.
  • Added support for making In App Purchases from the App Store.

YETI MagSlider Lid

Since I started carrying a YETI Rambler cup around with me a few months ago, I have found myself drinking way more water (and coffee) than I used to. The cup has pretty much became an extension to my hand.

Recently, they released a new lid that fixed my only complaint about the cup: the old lid’s drinking hole was big enough to allow my drink to splash out quite a bit. It was not too bad to have cold water splash on my back from the cup while hiking on a sunny day, but hot coffee splashing on my legs from driving over bumpy roads in town was much less fun.

The new version of the lid has a magnetic slider than can close to cover the drinking hole. The slider makes a satisfying click when you open or close it1 and pops off for easy cleaning. It is not leakproof, but I have not had any accidental splashes in the two weeks since I got mine2. All new sales of the 20 and 30oz Rambler come with the new lid (bonus: they come with cool stickers too).

If you have wanted to buy a YETI product but have not pulled the trigger, today is a great day to do so; they are donating 100% of the proceeds of all sales made today on yeti.com to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.

So go buy a cup. Or better yet, get a cooler3. You will have purchased a well-designed product and helped someone out at the same time.

  1. It reminds me a bit of opening and closing the AirPods case. It has become my new way to fidget. ↩︎

  2. If you need something that won’t spill, they have version with screw-on lids that fit the bill. ↩︎

  3. If you want to buy a few coolers and need a place to send one, I can provide you with a good shipping address 😝. ↩︎

The 10.5" iPad Pro

When Apple announced the new 10.5” iPad Pro at WWDC this year, I told myself that I did not need to buy one. I already had the 1st generation 12.9” iPad Pro, and I figured that the 10.5” was not better enough to consider upgrading. When I purchased the new MacBook Pro, I figured that was the nail in the coffin. No way I would buy a new Mac and a new iPad.

And then I read a review about ProMotion (i.e. the 120Hz refresh rate). And then I had an idea about an iPad app to take advantage of some of iOS 11’s new features1. And then I noticed how my 12.9” iPad was physically bigger than my MacBook Pro. And then I realized I could sell my old iPad to pay for most of the upgrade. And then I bought a new iPad. Oops.2

Before I get into the review, I want to give a little bit of perspective about my history of iPad usage.

I had an iPad Air 2 that I used all the time. In fact, I wrote about 90% of the first version of this website using Coda on that iPad. I assumed that because I used that iPad for a bunch of tasks and because I wanted to be able to use it to do more, I would do well to upgrade to the 12.9” iPad Pro (hereby listed as the old iPad). I figured that the extra screen real estate and the ability to run two full size apps side by side would be the key to using my iPad to do more.

I was right about those assumptions, but only when I was at my desk. When it was set up in a laptop configuration (I had the Smart Keyboard), I was able to do more with it that I could on my iPad Air 2.

However, that quickly became the only way I wanted to use it. It was simply too large to comfortably hold in my hand to use. All the tasks that I used to do on my iPad in my hands quickly became more practical to do on my phone.

The iPad that I got to help me use the iPad more actually made me use the iPad less.

The Screen

Most of the benefits of the new iPad have been pretty well hashed out by others, so I won’t spend a bunch of time on them here.

To sum up…

  • This thing was made for iOS 11. I installed iOS 11 on it minutes after unboxing it, so keep than in mind as you read.
  • The ProMotion screen is awesome. 120Hz is a game changer.
  • True Tone is even better. True Tone is not a new technology, but it new to me. After using the new iPad for literally a few minutes, the other screens around me looked odd and artificial. I think that True Tone is more noticeable to me than ProMotion because it is always visible — ProMotion, as implied by the name, is only noticeable when content on the screen is moving.

    I don’t know if they will ever be able to fit True Tone into the iPhone due to the extra sensors that it requires, but I hope that they are able to figure it out at some point.

Real Estate

Since getting the 10.5” iPad Pro, I have not missed the extra screen space from the 12.9” once. I’m sure part of this is because the 10.5” screen is bigger than the 9.7” screen I was coming from before3, but I think most of it has to do with the multitasking changes in iOS 11.

In iOS 10, you could run two side-by-side in either a 50/50 or 66/33 configuration. On the larger iPad Pro, the 50/50 configuration would give you two iPad-optimized apps. On the smaller iPads, the 50/50 configuration shows iPhone UIs for those apps.

iOS 11 fixes this by offering a 33/66 configuration. You cannot display both apps in an iPad UI at the same time, but switching which one is displayed larger is as easy as sliding your finger across the screen.


The biggest difference that I have noticed after switching from the 12.9” iPad Pro to the 10.5” is how much more I actually want to use it.

For me, the 12.9” iPad was too big to comfortably use anywhere except for a desk. Therefor when I was not at a desk, I would just use my phone. This includes pretty much anything I do on the couch, but the biggest example is reading. I had shifted all of my reading in iBooks to the iPhone because holding the big iPad on the couch was awkward. With the 10.5” iPad Pro, I am back to being able to comfortable use a larger display to read.

The other thing I find myself using more is the Apple Pencil. When I got the Pencil with the 12.9” iPad, I really wanted to like it and use it. I am not artistic and I am no longer a student, so I was never able to find a good use case4.

I have used my Pencil with my 10.5” iPad in the few weeks I have had it more than I used it the entire year I had the 12.9”. I am using it more because the smaller size of the iPad allows me to comfortably take my iPad more places – I have been handwriting my notes at church on Sunday mornings since getting the new iPad. Even if no one had said anything, I would have felt ridiculous carrying the old 12.9” iPad into church with me every Sunday; but the 10.5” feels like carrying a standard size notebook5.

The last thing that I have found myself liking more about the smaller iPad was the most surprising.

The Keyboard

I had the Smart Keyboard Case on my 12.9” iPad. I tried to like it, but I never really did. I liked the convenience of always having it with the iPad and I loved that it was powered with the smart connector, but I never got used to typing on it. The felt-like material that covered the keys never set well with me.

Because I had the Smart Keyboard and not the Smart Cover, I could not prop the iPad horizontally for typing with the on-screen keyboard6. So even though I did not like the feel of the Smart Keyboard, it was my primary way of typing on the device.

With the 10.5” iPad, I went back to a standard Smart Cover. Unless I am going to be typing something long-form, I prefer to just use the on-screen keyboard and the Smart Cover lets me do that. If I am doing something longer, I use Apple’s Magic keyboard with a Studio Neat Canopy Case7.

My main issue with typing on the old iPad had more to do with my accessories than it did with my actual iPad. With iOS 10, using the on-screen keyboard with a Smart Cover while typing on a desk would still be a nicer experience on the 12.9” iPad than it would be on the 10.5” because you get a full-sized keyboard.

That is still probably true in iOS 11, but the gap is smaller. For the smaller iPads8, Apple introduced a Key Flicks for the iPad software keyboard. Key flicks allow you to flick down on keys to access the number row of symbols without having to completely swap the keyboard out for a different mode. This gives you quick access to more keys without taking up more space. This is not quite as nice as having them all available like on the 12.9”, but it is close — and more fun.

The situation where the 10.5” keyboard is clearly better is when using the iPad away from a desk. To 10.5” (and smaller) iPads have a slit keyboard that lets you hold the iPad with both hands and thumb type. For some reason, this option is not on the 12.9” iPad9. Trying to type on the 12.9” iPad while on the couch was horrible — doing the same on the 10.5” is just like typing on your iPhone.

When I got my 13” MacBook Pro, I remarked to some co-workers that it was the best Apple device I have ever purchased. That designation only lasted about a week.

Before getting the 10.5” iPad, I found myself drifting toward my new Mac for tasks that both could handle. That all changed with the 10.5” iPad Pro.

With the 10.5” iPad Pro, I am one step closer to my ideal computing setup: a 27” iMac10 for when I am at my desk and my iPad for everywhere else. Right now, the iPad covers “everything else” for every task except for writing iOS apps.

Even though I can’t have this setup now, it is nice to know that the I already have an iPad that will be able to handle just about any extra software that Apple can throw at it.

  1. To be announced. ↩︎

  2. My wife later told me that she knew I was going to buy the new iPad as soon as I told her that I definitely did not want to upgrade my iPad. ↩︎

  3. Citation needed↩︎

  4. I always loved the idea of using an iPad and a good stylus as a student. I used an original iPad (followed by an iPad 2) to take handwritten notes most of the last year of college, but that was much more a novelty than something actually beneficial. ↩︎

  5. I really want to buy Apple’s Leather Sleeve for this use case, but I have not been able to convince myself it is worth $130 yet. ↩︎

  6. Typing with the on-screen keyboard when it is flat on a desk is horrible. ↩︎

  7. The Canopy does not work quite as well with the 10.5” iPad as it did with the 9.7”. The Canopy is designed so the bottom of the iPad rests just behind the back of the keyboard.

    The 10.5” iPad has a much smaller bezel than the 9.7” did, so the bottom of the screen rests just under the back of the keyboard. The entire screen is still visible, but it is hard to swipe up from the bottom of the screen (which is how you reveal the Dock in iOS 11).

    Luckily, it is easy to work around this issue by leaving the Smart Cover attached and folding it behind the iPad. ↩︎

  8. Anything smaller than 12.9”. ↩︎

  9. At least it wasn’t in iOS 10. ↩︎

  10. Ideally an iMac Pro. Realistically an iMac. ↩︎

It Does Not Get Any Better Than This, Part Two

Around this time last year, I wrote about how at each new milestone, I could not imagine parenting getting any better than it was right then. And then it did.

As we came up on Ollie turning two years old, I started thinking about my favorite parenting milestones from the last year.

Some of my it does not get any better than this moments from the last year:

  • Stopping whatever he is doing and pointing at the sky and yelling “plane!” every time he hears a noise from above.
  • Waking me up in the morning and immediately asking either for a waffle or for an episode of Daniel Tiger on the iPad.
  • Giving me a big hug around my neck and saying “I love you, Daddy” every morning when I drop him off at daycare.
  • Pointing at the lawnmower in the garage and calling it “Daddy’s vacuum”.
  • Running around the house and showing everyone who will listen the puppies on the front of his PJs.

Next year, we are going to get to add a new one to the list. Next year, it is going to be really hard to beat “Watching Oliver grow into being a big brother”.

Carissa and I are excited to announce that baby #2 will be joining the family in January.

My favorite parenting moment in the last few weeks has been asking Ollie if he wants a little brother or sister and listening to him reply sister every time.

Big Brother

The Unknown App Rejection

Last night, Apple rejected a new app that I had submitted to the iMessage App Store. I am not writing this to complain about the rejection1, but to talk about how it could have been avoided.

The app was pretty simple; it let you use Apple’s emoji as stickers in iMessage. It did this by creating an image for each emoji at runtime by calling draw(at: withAttributes) on an NSString that contains the emoji. I then made that image available as a MSSticker.


Before I even started writing the app, I knew that there was a chance that I was going to get rejected for using Apple’s emoji (even if I was not actually including images of the emoji in the app binary).

Even though I knew I was working in a potentially gray area, I decided to go ahead and write the app. The risk was pretty low because I know I could get the app finished in just a few days. Plus, I just wanted the app to exist; I liked the idea of being able to use the entire emoji set as stickers.

So all things considered, the potential reward of having the app and maybe making a little bit of money2 was worth the risk of a couple of evenings worth of development.

The problem here is with apps that are larger scale. If I came up with a larger scale app idea that lives in the App Store approval gray area, I probably would just not write it.

I think that Apple needs to have some feedback mechanism in place where developers can ask questions and get clear answers about the legality of a particular app concept before they spend months building it.

This exchange would have saved me two weeks of work that could have been spent working on other app ideas:

“Can I build an app that lets me use Apple emoji as stickers in iMessage?”


There are plenty of more substantial examples that took more than two weeks of work:

A system like this would benefit both Apple and developers. Developers would be able to proceed at building an app with confidence or be able to spend their time on something that could get approved.

Apple would be able to see how developers wanted to use certain APIs months earlier. If they are asked something about a use case that they never considered, they can decide earlier whether or not that use case should be allow (and if appropriate, update the App Store guidelines accordingly). This would be especially useful during the summers when developers are building new apps and features using APIs that are still in beta.

To be clear, I am not proposing any type of pre-approval of apps – apps should still be thoroughly checked to see if they follow all of the rules. There just needs to be an official way to find out if something fits within those rules without having to build and entire app and submit it to the App Store3.

A couple of years ago, I would have said that a change like this would never happen. However, the App Store has seen significant improvements over the last year since Phil Schiller has taken over. Under his leadership, the App Store has seen big changes that benefit both developers and customers. After seeing all of the recent App Store changes, I would not be surprised to see a system like this implemented.

In the meantime, I am able to satisfy my goal of using Apple’s emoji in my iMessage conversations, even if my friends can not use them to respond back 🙃.

Update: Just to be completely clear, I am not complaining about my app getting rejected. I am 100% okay with that.

I am just using my rejection as an example for how the App Store approval process could be improved by adding more clarity and transparency for what is allowed and what is not.

  1. Mainly. ↩︎

  2. And I do mean a little bit of money. This is the iMessage App Store we are talking about after all. ↩︎

  3. Quick aside about TestFlight: I had four builds of my app submitted through TestFlight. I submitted the first one after about two days of development.

    A human has to review the first TestFlight build, so this issue should have been caught then.

    If an app is doing something that it would get rejected for when it is reviewed in TestFlight, they should let the developer know then. This is not a substitute for being able to simply ask questions, but it is better than nothing. ↩︎

Thoughts on the 2017 MacBook Pro

tl;dr — it is the best Mac I have ever owned.

I have a couple of iOS 11 app ideas that I want to work on over the summer and the idea of developing them on my 2011 MacBook Air was not appealing. Luckily, Apple had just refreshed their Mac lineup; so it was a great time to buy.

I do about 95% of my work at home from a desk, so the iMac would make a lot of sense for me. My ideal setup would be an iMac1 on my desk and a small laptop for those times when I need to work outside of my office.

After thinking about it some, I decided that (assuming I could only get one of them) the laptop makes the most sense for the flexibility2.

So I bought a 13” MacBook Pro with Touch Bar3. It would be a perfect secondary computer, but is modern and powerful enough that it could be my primary Mac for the next couple of years if my new app ideas don’t make any money.

So after using it for a couple of days, here are my first impressions. This is my first new Mac to use since 2012, so some of these things have been around for awhile; but they are new to me.

  • This is easily the best looking Mac I have ever seen. It immediately made my 2012 MacBook Pro that I use at work seem ancient.

  • I has the same footprint as the 11” MacBook Air. Price aside, this is the Retina MacBook Air that everyone wants.

  • I love the larger trackpad. The fake click using haptics completely fools me. Using Force Touch to look up words and to preview links seems more useful than 3D Touch on the iPhone4. My only wish here is that it supported the Apple Pencil.

  • I may be alone in this one, but I like the keyboard. The less key travel, the better. I would not be upset if the next Magic Keyboard uses this keyboard5. The only downside here is that the keyboard is definitely louder than before. This may get better as I learn to not hit them as hard.

  • The Touch Bar is a net positive, but it is not perfect. The first thing I noticed is that the resolution is pretty low. Everything looks a little fuzzy.

    Sliding for volume adjustment is nice.

    I don’t mind the esc key being digital, but I wish they extended the left side of the Touch Bar to be flush with the keyboard. It is inset just enough that I miss it about half the time. I keep missing the key and getting stuck in vi.

    The app-specific area so far seems like it is mainly used for keyboard shortcuts. This is useful for apps that I am less familiar with.

    The Touch Bar is visually subdued enough that I do not really notice the constant context-changing on my keyboard as I move around the system.

  • Having TouchID on here is great. Now I just have to make sure I don’t forget my 1Password password6.

  • Related, being able to use my Apple Watch to sign in is cool; but TouchID is way faster so I just use that. Hopefully the Apple Watch login gets faster in the future. Ideally I would be signed in and on the desktop by the time my screen turns on when I open the lid.

All of the new features above are fun, but the reason I bought it was to help me do app development faster. When using my MacBook Air, I was spending about half of my time waiting on the computer. When you only get an hour or two a day to work on a side project, your time is valuable.

I have had two nights of using this MacBook Pro for development and I have not had to wait on it yet. So for that alone, this Mac is a win in my book.

  1. Or iMac Pro. ↩︎

  2. Also, getting a MacBook Pro leaves the door open (like, barely open) to getting the iMac Pro at some point. Getting an iMac would have closed that door.

    Here’s to hoping. ↩︎

  3. Space Gray, 3.1 Ghz i5, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD ↩︎

  4. I don’t understand why Force Touch and 3D Touch have different marketing names. ↩︎

  5. From what I gather, a bunch of other people would be upset. ↩︎

  6. ‘1Password password’ felt funny to type. ↩︎

WWDC 2017 Wish/Guess List

My first post on this site was was an article looking forward to WWDC 2016, so I could not let WWDC happen this year without me giving my thoughts on it again.

Xcode 9 and Swift 4

Most of these are a carryover from last year.

  • Swift Package Manager in Xcode: This one seems seems pretty likely this year. I am not going to miss using Carthage and CocoaPods.
  • Better Swift support in CoreData: The CoreData API was written to be used from Objective-C. It would be nice to have a wrapper that was more was type-safe and less stringly typed. Bonus points if we can natively use Swift structs instead of NSManagedObject subclasses.
  • Run Server Side Swift Code on iCloud: Apple has made some big jumps in the last few years with CloudKit, but they will not catch up to the utility of AWS or Azure until we can run our own code on their servers. The Swift Server API Workgroup makes me think that this is possible this year.
  • Xcode for iOS: I am going to buy my next portable development computer soon. I would much rather that computer be an iPad than a MacBook Pro. Make it happen Apple.
  • Swift refactoring: Please.

iOS 11

iOS is the Apple platform that I interact the most with and care about the most. It is also the area that I feel does not need as many big changes.

  • Better Sticker UI in Messages: I use a lot of Sticker apps, but they are a hassle to manage. It takes way too many taps to get from the main messaging UI to any particular Sticker pack. Discoverability is particularly bad. As someone with a monetary interest in this space, I hope that it gets better.
  • Revamped multitasking on iPad: Frederico Viticci of MacStories had a great video showing what this could look like.
  • Finder: I was never the type to want this before, but as I try to use my iPad to do more, I find myself wanting a better system for file management. Frederico covered this one in his iOS 11 video linked above.
  • iCloud-powered reminders app: This is a carry-over from last year. The recent release of Things 3 (iPhone/Apple Watch | iPad | Mac) made this a lower priority for me.
  • Cross platform App Store: I should be able to see and buy Mac and iPad-only apps from the App Store on my iPhone.
  • UI Refresh: I would want something that builds on the visual design language of system apps like Music, TV, News, and Home.
  • Shared iCloud Photo Libraries: Since having our son, not having a shared photo library has become a bigger and bigger pain point.
  • More SiriKit domains: I mainly want to see support for task management apps and media (podcast) apps.
  • Global Audio Up Next Queue: This one is a bit out of left field, but it would be cool to add audio from different sources to my Up Next queue. The use case would be starting an Overcast podcast when an Apple Music album ends.

macOS (11?)

The Mac is awesome, so this list is short.

  • UIKit: Make it easier to write cross-platform apps.
  • iMessage App Store: I do most of my texting from my Mac and I really miss having access to my Stickers.

watchOS 4

Most of the changes that I want to see on the Apple Watch will most likely require new hardware, so this list will be short.

  • Kill the honeycomb app picker: This has always been the worst part of the watch. watchOS 3’s dock made it so I did not have to use this screen much, but I would still like for it to be replaced by something simpler.
  • Move Now Playing from the Dock to Control Center: The Now Playing card that is in the Dock really does not fit there. It is the only item in the Dock that is not an app. iOS already has a model for this: Swipe on Control Center to access Now Playing.
  • Volume Control with Digital Crown: Since Time Travel is defaulted to off, the Digital Crown does not do anything for most watch faces. I want an option to have the Digital Crown control the volume when you are on the watch face. This would make using AirPods much nicer.
  • More API Focus on doing things without the phone present: This hard been a trend with every new version of watchOS so far:
    • watchOS 2 moved the watch extensions from running on the phone to running on the watch.
    • watchOS 3 moved networking directly to the watch.

    I expect watchOS to continue moving in this direction so that apps on the watch will immediately be useful when Apple eventually launches an Apple Watch with cellular networking1.

tvOS 11

  • User Profiles: More so than almost any other electronics device, a TV is meant to be shared by multiple people. The AppleTV needs to break out of its single user silo. Each person in the house should have their own Up Next queue in the (horribly-named) TV app.
  • Live Video tab in TV app: I want a list of all the live video available to me across the AppleTV. They could open into their respective apps the same way the On Demand does now.
  • YouTube in the TV App: File this under Not Going to Happen, but having channels that I am subscribed to in YouTube show up in Up Next would be awesome.
  • Picture in Picture: Seems obvious (then again, it seemed obvious last year too).
  • Push Notifications: Weather alerts, live shows starting, sports, and breaking news seem perfect for the TV.
  • Amazon Prime: This one looks like a sure thing. However, it will be pretty disappointing if they do not support the Up Next queue in the TV app.
  • Netflix in Up Next: I doubt this is going to happen, but this is a Wish List.


The AirPods are the best 1.0 product that Apple has shipped in years2, but there are a couple of small software changes I want.

  • More Gestures: I want play/pause to be a single-tap so I can keep Siri as a double-tap.
  • Support auto-resume when listening with one ear: If I am only listing to one AirPod (something I do often at work), taking it out currently pauses the audio. However, the auto-resume only works when listening to both AirPods. I want it to work if you are only listening to one AirPod.

Siri Speaker

This one is looking more and more likely. I am pretty excited about this product space, but I hope that Apple makes some improvements to what to what Amazon and Google are offering:

  • Battery: I hope that the Siri Speaker is able to be used when not connected directly to power. I want to be able to take it outside when I’m grilling or when I’m playing with my kid and dogs in the front yard.
  • W1 Chip: In addition to using it for Siri, I want to use it as a Bluetooth speaker. My AirPods have completely ruined every other Bluetooth audio device, so I hope the Siri speaker follows suit and has the W1 chip.
  • Horizonal or Vertical: It would be nice if they designed so that I could stand it up (like the Amazon Echo) or lay it flat (like the Beats Pill).


There is a lot they could do here, but I have one specific prediction.

At CES 2017, Withings announced a HomeKit version of their Home video camera3. In April, they cancelled that camera due to a patient dispute between their parent company Nokia and Apple. Since then, Apple and Nokia have settled their dispute, but Withings is still refusing to discuss the state of their HomeKit camera. My guess (and hope) is that we hear about this on stage during the keynote.

One More Thing

I’m going to end with a vague hope that would cover most of Apple’s product lines.

I want Apple to improve the way all of their products communicate with and interact with each other.

Some examples of ways this could be realized:

  • I should be able to control the media playback of any device from my Apple Watch, not just my phone. Similarly, I should be able to control the media playback of my iPad from my phone4.
  • When I send videos to my Apple TV from my phone, it should work more like Handoff than AirPlay. Once I send the video, my phone should no longer be needed for playback.
  • If my Apple Watch is unlocked and my phone is close, then it should be unlocked too (similar to the Mac).

This is not even close to an exhaustive list. I basically want my devices to be more aware of each other and more aware of the fact that I use them together5.

When I didn’t get my WWDC ticket earlier this year, I felt pretty okay about it. Now that the conference is almost here, I (unsurprisingly) really wish I was going.

Even just watching it here from Oklahoma, it should be a good time.

  1. Hopefully this fall. ↩︎

  2. Probably since the iPad. ↩︎

  3. We use one of these as a baby monitor and love it. We would love a HomeKit version even more. ↩︎

  4. A Siri speaker may make this less of a big deal for me though. ↩︎

  5. Microsoft is doing some cool stuff in this area with their Timeline feature in Windows 10↩︎

StickerBook 1.1

The first major update to StickerBook, version 1.1, is out today. The headline feature is being able to use your Stickers outside of iMessage.

New Features:

  • Tapping on a Sticker in the main iOS app now opens the standard iOS share sheet so you can import that sticker in another app or copy it to your clipboard.
  • Added two Today Widgets – one for copying your top Stickers to your clipboard and one for quickly creating new Stickers.
  • Added 3D Touch quick actions for quickly creating new Stickers.
  • Added URL scheme for adding stickers. To add stickers, simply use stickerbook://add?source= where source can be camera, photoLibrary, icloudDrive, or clipboard.
  • Added keyboard shortcuts for for adding Stickers in the main iOS app.


  • Renamed the Document Provider source to iCloud Drive. It still behaves the same.

Bug Fixes:

  • Fixed crash when trying to add a new Sticker from your camera when the camera was unavailable.

You can pick it up on the App Store.

The 100 Best Burgers in America

Kevin Alexander for Thrillist:

Most events in life feel ephemeral, the ever-ticking hands of time speeding them through your brain until they become distant memories. Burger Quest was not that. No matter how topically fun it seems, going to 30 cities and eating 330 burgers over the course of one year is a task, one that ropes in many of America’s greatest failings, like air and road travel, and overusing the word “logistics.” There were rental cars, and hotel rooms, and one Airbnb that looked like a mausoleum for an above-average Americana collector. And yet, this was also the greatest trip of my entire life.

Burgers are the most democratic of foods. The best burger in any one city might be in the dankest of dive bars, or in the fanciest of restaurants. Finding the ones that matter takes you all through a city (and outside it) and helps you understand a city’s geography, its class structure, its views on race. I drank warm rum out of plastic cups in a carpeted bar in Cleveland during their first championship parade in 52 years. I sat in a diner on a violently windy day in El Reno, Oklahoma, and watched a 9-year-old shovel ice into my root beer while his dad kept one eye on my burger and the other on a particularly competitive Family Feud. I ate burgers with liquored-up chefs, sober food writers, and moderately buzzed photographers. I ate burgers with some of my best friends in the world. I ate burgers with my mom.

This started as a fairly straightforward mission. I was sick of having to rely on other people’s opinions as to the greatest burger in America and I wanted to figure it out myself. And so I pitched an idea I never thought my editor (or his bosses) would approve – but when they did, and I set off, this somewhat simple exploration of our nation’s best burgers morphed into something much more complex. It became partly about that, but it also became a celebration and documentation of the culinary glory that abounds in America. It turned into stories of people and places as much as food. The quest became a living journal of the way we live, think, and eat now. But, yeah: I also ate a lot of f*cking burgers.

I am generally not interested in Top 10 or Top 100 lists, but for some reason, I make an exception for burgers.

I love that Kevin singled out the Oklahoma-style onion burger in his list (and I can confirm than no one does these better than Tucker’s).

I made sure to write down some of the best burgers from places around the US that I frequent1.

Also, I just now need an excuse to go visit Portland to get the best burger in America.

(Via Chris Gonzales at Tools & Toys)

  1. Dallas made the list an impressive number of times. ↩︎