WWDC Wishlist

The following is an unordered list of features and products that I’d like to see Apple announce at tomorrow’s WWDC keynote. I’ve left out the marquee items from this list because, at this point, I’m not sure if they’re worth discussing. Of course I’d like to see new iMacs, MacBooks, MacBook Pros, iPads, and a Siri speaker — who doesn’t? But with less than twenty four hours to go before the keynote, I thought I’d shine the spotlight on some of the less earth-shattering items Apple could unveil.

  • Configurable Control Center: Wouldn’t it be nice if you could replace the giant Night Shift button with something you actually used? Or replace the Calculator icon with a Calcbot icon?
  • Family Photo Libraries: My wife and I share a Google account just so we can backup all of our photos to a single, unified library. That way we both have access to all of our photos for sharing, printing, or other photo-related projects. If Apple offered the ability to share your entire library with another iCloud user, I’d switch in a heartbeat.
  • Photo book, card, and calendar purchasing from iOS: Why do I have to use Photos on a Mac to assemble and purchase custom photo books, greeting cards, and calendars from Apple? This needs to be available on iOS, like, yesterday.
  • Picture-in-Picture on Apple TV: They did it on the iPad and it’s time to bring it to Apple TV, too.
  • Big Push For Gaming on Apple TV: Preferably, this would start with the introduction of a first-party controller. But I don’t think that’s as important as hiring big-name developers to build high-quality games for the platform. Gaming on tvOS could be a big deal, Apple just needs to spend some time on it.
  • An iPad Split View Swap Gesture: I shouldn’t have to exit into Springboard to change where my apps are located on screen. It’s tedious. There must be a better way.
  • Improved Multitasking App Picker on iPad: I don’t think there’s an iPad user in the world that hasn’t complained about the current Split View app picker. It feels like something the developers slapped together last minute because they had to have something. But it’s not good. At all.
  • System-Wide, on-Device iOS Screen Recording: Developers keep trying to sneak applications into the App Store with this functionality, I wish Apple would just add it themselves.
  • Clipboard History API: Apple doesn’t allow iOS applications to run in the background indefinitely, eventually the system will kill the process. This forces clipboard managers, like Copied, to use Action Extensions or Today View widgets as a way of keeping track of new items added to the clipboard. I would like to see Apple release a clipboard history API, giving developers access to the last dozen or so items. Clipboard manager apps could just check the clipboard history, display those items to the user, and let them quickly copy those items for use in other applications.
  •  iOS Trackpad Support: John Gruber floated the idea of Apple adding a trackpad to the iPad Smart Keyboard, which would primarily be used for moving the insertion point while editing text. I like the idea, but I want Apple to take it a step further and add full trackpad support with a proper mouse cursor. I specify trackpad rather than mouse because I believe iOS should remain a touch-first operating system. A trackpad would let you use many of the same multitouch gestures you would on the screen, but it would be far more comfortable to use when your iPad is propped up behind a keyboard.
  • Apple TV App Layout Syncing: I have two Apple TVs in the house and I’m tired of having to manually rearrange the app layout on both devices to keep their home screens in sync. I wish Apple could take care of that for me with a new iCloud service.
  • Now Playing Improvements on watchOS: I hate that the Watch’s Now Playing screen is sequestered in the Dock — there are too many interactions between me and my media controls. I’d like to see a Now Playing complication, or preferably, a second screen in Control Center with playback controls just like on iOS.
  • Activity for iPad or the Web: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to look at my Activity data on the iPad. Of course, that currently isn’t possible. But why? I already share the data with a handful of friends, it’s hitting Apple’s servers one way or another, just let me see it without having to open the app on my Watch or iPhone.
  • iOS Remote Access: My in-laws frequently ask me for help with various tasks on their computing devices. If it’s my mother-in-law calling, no big deal, I can fire up Screens on my iPad and show her exactly what to do. But if my father-in-law is asking for help with his iPod touch, it isn’t quite so easy. I wish I could just view his screen remotely instead of having him read all of the application’s interface elements and keep me posted on what he’s seeing after tapping into a new view. Not being able to see his screen makes things far more difficult than it needs to be.

I certainly don’t expect Apple to tackle all of the items on this list. But if they could hit at least a few of them, I’ll walk away from the keynote with a big smile on my face.