WWDC Wishlist

I’ll be watching the WWDC live stream on Monday from my Apple TV. I’ll do my usual sparse bits of commentary on Twitter and will be taking notes in order to publish my thoughts later in the week. I expect we’re in for a good event given Apple’s decision to announce major App Store changes in the week leading up to it.

Today, though, I thought I’d share my wishlist for the event. None of these are particularly groundbreaking, but all of them would improve my experience with Apple products in one way or another. The list isn’t in order of importance, but simply written as the ideas came to me and then sorted based on the devices it relates to.

Rename OS X: The writing’s been on the wall for quite some time — OS X will be receiving a name change and will soon be referred to as macOS. There is still the question of how Apple will differentiate between versions, though. I hope they simply call it by its California-based codename in all of their marketing material and only mention the version number in technical documentation. For example, the current version of OS X would be referred to as “macOS El Capitan”, saving the “10.11” for knowledge base articles and the like.

Improved Apple Watch Efficiency: This is the one and only thing I want for the Apple Watch. watchOS is just too darn slow to be useful for anything other than actionable notifications, glances, and complications. The biggest pain point for me is replying to text messages. After tapping the dictation button, why does it take so long to transition from seeing the words I said on the screen to sending it as a message?

tvOS Dark Mode: Although the latest Apple TV interface has grown on me, I would still prefer the home screen to be a bit dimmer. I don’t watch television in a dark room very often, but when I do, that home screen is blindingly bright. I don’t think Apple needs to go full-on black background, as they did with previous iterations of the Apple TV, but just a few shades darker might go a long way towards improving the user experience.

tvOS Picture-in-Picture: Imagine you’re nearing the end of your favorite YouTube show, you know there’s only a minute or two left and you’d like to start browsing the Hulu app to find what you’re going to watch next. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could throw the current video into one of your television’s four corners and open another app while it finishes?

Apple TV Management App for iOS: I’d like to see Apple release an iOS app that allowed you to remotely control and manage your Apple TVs. The application would be similar in function to iOS’s Watch app, letting you adjust settings, install applications, and share links to tvOS apps from within the application’s App Store tab. But unlike the Watch, the Apple TV app could take advantage of the set-top-box’s always-on internet connection to perform these actions even when you’re away from home.

Force Touch “Clear All” in Notification Center: Every few days I find that I have dozens of items sitting in Notification Center. I typically go through the dance of tapping the “X” then tapping “Clear” for each day, but why can’t I Force Touch the list to reveal a “Clear All” button like I can on the Apple Watch. Apple’s wearable had it at launch, why didn’t the iPhone 6s?

Improved iPad Split View: The Split View app switcher needs to change. It’s too darn difficult to find the application you’re looking for in that giant list of icons. Maybe it would be better if they were displayed in a grid with a search bar along the top, as Federico Viticci suggested in his iOS 10 Wishes piece from April. And While we’re on the topic of Split View, why isn’t there a gesture available that will left-to-right swap the two active applications?

Xcode for iPad: I understand that this might be a little ambitious, perhaps a more slimmed down IDE would be more appropriate, at least at first. But if you want everyone on board with iOS as the future of computing, developers need to live on the platform.

iOS Trackpad Support: I use my iPad with a bluetooth keyboard regularly and the experience is great. That is, until I have to touch the screen for anything at all. I just wish that, on the occasions when I have my iPad propped up in TwelveSouth’s Compass, I could move the cursor, tap interface elements, and scroll without having to lift my arm up and interact with the display. Specifically a trackpad would be ideal because it could support some multi-touch gestures. Truthfully, I doubt Apple will ever add trackpad support to iOS, but I really wish they would.

Siri API: I would love if third-party developers were allowed to increase the scope of Siri’s abilities. I’m sure there are countless examples of what would be possible if this was the case, but I can’t get past how convenient it would be if I could say “Hey Siri, run Launch Ulysses in Workflow.”

Siri Text Input: Speaking out loud to your device isn’t always appropriate. I wish there was an option to initiate a Siri query by, instead, typing out questions or commands — turning Siri into more of a Quicksilver for iOS rather than a strictly voice-based assistant.

Customizable Default Apps: When I tap on an email address in a webpage, I want iOS to launch Dispatch not Mail. It’s that simple.

Control Center Improvements: I wish I could Force Touch the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi buttons along the top to reveal controls for selectively connecting or disconnecting from devices or networks. And I wish iOS gave me the option to customize which shortcut icons appeared along the bottom.

Clipboard History API: I use a third-party clipboard manager for iOS — Copied — but the app isn’t able to catch every item that makes its way into my clipboard. Apple doesn’t allow applications to run indefinitely in the background in order to track changes like this. But if iOS kept a hidden clipboard history — say, the last ten items or so — Copied would be able to grab that information periodically and display it in its user interface.