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
CoreDataAPI 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
- 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 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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
- Hopefully this fall. ↩
- Probably since the iPad. ↩
- We use one of these as a baby monitor and love it. We would love a HomeKit version even more. ↩
- A Siri speaker may make this less of a big deal for me though. ↩
- Microsoft is doing some cool stuff in this area with their Timeline feature in Windows 10. ↩