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Tag Archive for ‘3D Touch’

iPhone Eleven Pro

iPhone 11 Pro

I was hesitant to move into this new era of iOS hardware design. When Apple announced the iPhone X in 2017, I opted to purchase the more traditional iPhone 8. I just wasn’t convinced that the removal of the home button was a step in the right direction. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t expect Apple to go back to making home button iPhones, but at the very least, I wanted to give them a couple more years to refine the experience.

After Apple’s most recent event, where they introduced the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max, I knew which model I was going to order. The iPhone 11 Pro was the right choice for me. The iPhone 11 Pro is the only new phone in Apple’s lineup that’s even close to the same physical size as the iPhone 8 I was upgrading from. And I’m not quite ready to move to the larger screen. I want a device that fits comfortably in my pocket and can be used with one hand.

I hemmed and hawed a bit on what color to choose, though. I’ve historically went with the black or space gray models because I liked the look of those devices from the front. Having a black front panel meant that it was difficult to distinguish where the display ended and the bezel began. I liked that effect quite a bit so I always stuck with black or space gray. But with these newer style devices, the front panel is black regardless of what color you choose. I took this as an opportunity to pick something different — silver this time around.

Design

It’s striking just how handsome the iPhone 11 Pro is in person. The shiny metal band around the edges and matte finish on the glass back looks quite sharp. And I’ve grown to accept the necessity of the camera bump — I find this year’s camera array to be much more pleasing to the eye when compared to the look of the two camera setups in previous year’s iPhones. The lenses have a certain utilitarian sense to it, which gives you the feeling that you’re carrying an advanced piece of tech with you.

The new finish on the glass back has a unique feel. It feels like it might be more slippery than my iPhone 8, but in practice, I haven’t found it sliding around on surfaces quite as easily. The sheer size of the camera bump might have something to do with that, honestly, but it’s hard to say for sure. What I can say for certain, though, is that it feels premium.

iPhone 11 Pro Next to iPhone 8

The placement of the Apple logo was a bit odd at first glance, but I think moving it to the center helps keep the phone’s design more balanced. Especially since they removed the text from the back entirely. Keeping it at a third of the way from the top would have made the phone look visually top-heavy. It also helps that the Apple logo is so much more subtle with this revision. At many angles, the logo is impossible to see — almost as if Apple is relying on the design of their camera lens array to pick up the slack, from a branding perspective.

Around the front of the device, the display doesn’t seem noticeably better than my iPhone 8’s most of the time. I know it is, but during normal use, I don’t see a difference. The only instance where I was surprised at the display quality was when viewing a mostly black screen in a dark room — the black portions give off zero light. I’m not much of a dark mode person and don’t watch a lot of videos on my iPhone, so I’m not going to see that too often. But I’m glad to see Apple moving to OLED and pushing their hardware further.

Coming from the iPhone 8, this is the first device I’ve owned with a notch. And I can say definitively, it’s fine. Of course it would be better if it didn’t exist, but you don’t really notice it during use — it’s small enough that it’s out of the way. It’s more noticeable when playing games and watching video, but not enough to be annoying. If you’re still hesitant to move to the newer device designs because of the notch, you can put that out of your mind, you’ll be fine with it.

Face ID

Despite the twelve years that I’ve spent using iPhones with home buttons, I was surprised at how quickly I’ve transitioned to the new interface. There’ve been a few times where I’ve reached for the home button, only to realize there wasn’t one. Those have been few and far between, though.

And I’ve been pretty impressed with the reliability of Face ID. Touch ID has improved so much over the years and felt instantaneous on my iPhone 8. Face ID isn’t quite that fast, but it’s really close. And the nature of Face ID feels so effortless, you aren’t actually performing an input of any kind, you’re just using your phone the way you normally would and the system takes care of the authentication for you.

I don’t have any experience using Face ID on previous iPhones, but I’m aware that it was limited in the angles in which it functioned. This is supposedly improved in the iPhone 11 models it has been impressive in my use. It’s failed for me when I was extremely far off axis — while laying on the couch with my iPhone sitting flat — but it’s been excellent for me in all other scenarios.

There is a part of me that wishes I could have the home button back. I picked up the home gesture quickly, but app switching still feels clunky. It’s not nearly as natural as double pressing the home button and it doesn’t feel as quick to invoke. But even if I had the option to bring back the home button on this device, I’d still prefer to keep Face ID. That is absolutely a huge leap forward compared to Touch ID, so much so that I don’t ever want to go back.

Internals

The iPhone 11 Pro is the fastest computer I’ve ever owned. And that includes Macs, which is still astonishing to me. Compared to the iPhone 8, the 11 Pro is about 45% faster in single and multi-core tasks.

There isn’t too much that I do on my iPhone that can really put that power to good use, though. I do some light photo editing from time to time and use and build Shortcuts a lot. But that’s about the extent of my power user tasks. The majority of the time I’m writing, checking Twitter, reading news, or listening to podcasts.

I wish that I had more heavy duty tasks to do on my iPhone, like converting video for Plex. That’s a task that’s still done on my Mac Mini because of the lack of software, but would certainly be quicker to perform on my iPhone. Maybe one day, when Apple loosens the reins a bit and lets us install software from outside of the App Store. That’s the sort of thing that isn’t going to happen for a good number of years, though.

Setting aside the performance of the chips for a moment, the battery life on this thing has been incredible. I haven’t done any formal testing, but my iPhone 8 would regularly end the day with around 10-20% left. The 11 Pro hasn’t dipped below 50% after an average day of use. To some extent the age of the iPhone 8’s battery is a factor, but even when the 8 was brand new, it would typically hit 30% before I plugged it in at the end of the day.

That’s a substantial improvement over my previous iPhone. And I expect most people upgrading will see similar gains over their previous devices. Battery life was one aspect of iPhones that users would always complain about. Any improvements that Apple made over the years seems to have been matched by an increase in usage. But this is such a leap forward that I think they actually hit it out of the park this time. The battery life on iPhones is actually great now.

Camera

I’m no photography expert, but I dabble in the hobby from time to time. One of the biggest draws for me toward the iPhone 11 Pro, as opposed to the iPhone 11 is the third camera lens. With Joshua in our lives, I wanted as much camera in my iPhone as I could possibly get.

I won’t spend too much time discussing the new camera system, though. If you’re interested in a more technical overview, I would suggest reading one of the more in-depth reviews. But I’m more than happy to share my brief thoughts after a week of usage.

Comparing the three iPhone 11 Pro Camera Lenses

(Telephoto, Wide, and Ultra Wide lenses.)

The additional two camera lenses over my iPhone 8 has been a game changer. I’m finding myself switching between all three lenses regularly, often shooting with multiple lenses in a single session. I’ll take a photos of Josh laying on the couch with the Wide lens and then switch to the Ultra Wide to get a shot or two that captures a bit more context and scale.

It was immediately obvious that the Ultra Wide lens would be useful in situations when I wanted to photograph something large — like a mountain range, a city scape, or a group of people where stepping further backward isn’t practical. But I didn’t expect it to be useful when I wanted to help convey how small something is. Joshua is such a tiny little dude and it’s hard to convey that with the standard Wide lens, but the Ultra Wide is great in those situations. By showing a bit more of the room around him, it helps to show just how small he really is.

I haven’t had as much use out of the Telephoto lens, but I’m certain it will see more use when I’m out of the house more often. With Josh so young, my wife and I have mostly been homebodies. When we start going on walks and getting out of the house to go to parks and whatnot, the Telephoto lens will undoubtedly have more applications for me.

Comparing Night Mode on iPhone 11 Pro to iPhone 8

(Night mode on 11 Pro compared to the same lighting with iPhone 8.)

The picture quality has been excellent as well. Especially in low light situations. Joshua is waking up a handful of times throughout the night and we’ve been keeping a bedside lamp with a Hue bulb at 10%, This gives us just enough light to maneuver around the room and see him when he wakes up.

That’s the sort of lighting situation that previously would have been impossible to take photos in. With the Night Mode on the 11 Pro, though, I can capture all those late night smiles and funny faces. The resulting pictures are surprisingly good too. They’re not quite as bright and vibrant as photos taken in the daylight, but they’re more than passable. It helps if the subject remains still while taking the photo — movement can cause a bit of blurriness. I’m so happy to have this as an option, though. There are so many moments that just would have been lost and forgotten if I only had my iPhone 8 camera to work with.

Portrait mode is another new feature that I didn’t have access to with my iPhone 8. And it’s not something I’ve spent much time with — I’ve only taken a handful of shots with it so far. The feature seems neat, but it’s less useful when your subject is very close to the background beyond them. Since I’m mostly taking photos of Josh and he’s not even able to crawl yet, portrait mode just isn’t something I’m too excited about right now.

Overall

I’ve been very happy with the iPhone 11 Pro. It’s an excellent device that feels like a substantial upgrade from my previous iPhone. Face ID, battery life, and the camera system have been the standout features for me so far. The device isn’t without faults, though.

The 11 Pro is actually quite heavy. A full 30% heavier than the iPhone 8. That doesn’t seem like too much, but the device is longer and the position of the camera system makes it feel a bit top-heavy. It’s not much of an issue when using the iPhone with two hands, but when one-handed, it’s a tad much. I’ve been doing that thing where you cradle the device in your hand and rest the bottom of it on the inside of your pinky. Even with lighter phones that can be tiring, but with the extra weight of the 11 Pro, it can get painful.

I’ve been more conscious of this over the last few days and have been trying to adjust my grip as a result. I could probably get something like a Pop Socket to alleviate the issue, but that’s not exactly my style. My plan is to just soldier on with an adjusted grip and hope for the best.

I’m also disappointed with the removal of 3D Touch. I didn’t realize how important it was to my daily usage until it was taken away. All of the features I used 3D Touch for can be accessed in other ways. Like using long presses on icons to show an app’s contextual menu. The big downside with this is that using a long press instead of 3D Touch inherently introduces some hesitation when performing the action — 3D Touch is quick where long presses force you to wait.

And I’m still trying to get used to the new way of moving the text insertion point. Being able to 3D Touch anywhere on the keyboard has become an important tool whenediting text on my iPhone. And just like with the app icon menus mentioned above, long pressing on the space bar to invoke the cursor trackpad just feels slow and clunky in comparison.

I’m sure Apple removed 3D Touch because it led to some confusing situations for users — when they intended to tap and accidentally activated 3D Touch instead, which is even more annoying if the user doesn’t know the feature exists and has no idea what caused it. But it’s the sort of power user feature that I wish would return in the future. Even if that means that it’s disabled by default. I mean, macOS still ships with right mouse clicks disabled, why can’t they release iOS hardware with 3D Touch built in that has to be enabled by the user before it can be used?

Those really are relatively minor complaints, though, and things that I’ll get used to with time. It’s a bit of a cliché, but this truly is the best iPhone I’ve ever owned. There are attributes of devices from the past that I have a fondness for, but to be honest, I wouldn’t trade the 11 Pro’s camera system for any of them. It’s such a massive step forward for me and at the exact perfect time in my life.

In twenty or thirty years, when I look back at photos of Josh from this time period, I’m going to be so glad that the camera I had with me, was the best camera I could have in a smartphone.

Thoughts on iOS 10

Last week, I published my thoughts on watchOS 3, tvOS 10, and macOS Sierra. Today, I’ll be giving my rundown of iOS 10. Conveniently, Apple split their presentation into ten logical chunks and I’ll be tackling each of them individually, in the order they were announced.

User Experience

Apple made some fairly substantial changes to the user experience in iOS 10. There’s a redesigned lock screen, rich notifications, quick interactions with apps, and expanded 3D Touch capabilities. These changes might take some time to get used to, especially the redesigned lock screen, but I think they’re positive changes overall.

The first noticeable difference on the lock screen is the new Raise to Wake feature. Rather than having to press the home or lock button for your devices’ display to turn on, users can simply raise their device to wake it. This will help alleviate some of the problems associated with the second-generation Touch ID sensors which often unlock the device before you have a chance to see notifications.

And speaking of notifications, they’re far more actionable with iOS 10. Replying to messages, accepting calendar invitations, and more can be done without ever leaving the lock screen.

I’m actually really excited about more interactive notifications. I’d never claim that I get a lot of notifications, but I get enough that acting upon them more quickly will greatly improve my experience on iOS. And for anyone who does get a lot of notifications, clearing them in Notification Center is even easier. Pressing on the clear button gives you the option to clear all notifications at once rather than having to clear each day individually. This has been available on the Apple Watch since launch and it is a great feature.

Apple’s made changes to Control Center, too. You can now swipe to reveal a second pane which houses audio playback controls. I hated this the first time I heard about it — I didn’t like the idea of adding an additional step between me and whatever control I was in search of. But it’s quickly grown on me. Control Center has always been a bit too cluttered for my liking and moving audio controls to a second pane will streamline the design and give Apple a little room to grow if they want to add functionality in the future.

Two changes that I just know will annoy me for a few months after iOS 10’s release is that they’ve moved Today View and the quick access camera gesture on the lock screen. Today View has been moved, spatially, to the left of the lock screen while the camera is to the right of it — swiping from either direction slides the corresponding feature into view. I can already see myself unintentionally accessing Notification Center or Control Center instead of Today View or the camera. Those gestures have become a huge part of the way I interact with my device and it’ll take some time to retrain that muscle memory.

I’m more than happy about the expanding of 3D Touch shortcuts on the home screen, though. I know plenty of users who have already taken to them — even with the relatively limited functionality in iOS 9. It’s never been something that I used regularly, but this added functionality might change that. Pressing an icon on the home screen displays the usual list of shortcuts alongside, what appears to be, the app’s Today View widget. I love Today View widgets and anything that gives me easy access to them is a win in my book.

Siri

Apple is giving third-party developers the ability to extend Siri’s functionality. But unfortunately, it isn’t as all-encompassing as we hoped. Third-party developers will only be able to make use of Siri in the following contexts:

  • Messaging
  • Ride Booking
  • Photo Search
  • Workouts
  • Payments
  • VOIP Calling

That means you’ll be able to initiate a direct message in Tweetbot through Siri, but you won’t be able to start workflows. Apple will undoubtedly continue to expand on the types of third-party apps that can make use of Siri, but for now it’s a bit of a bummer, for users and developers.

QuickType Keyboard

I turned off iOS’s predictive typing bar shortly after its release. At the time I was using an iPhone 5s and it just took up too much screen real estate. Of course, I’m no longer using a 4-inch iPhone — I’ve since upgraded to a 4.7-inch iPhone 6s and I might be willing to give it another go when iOS 10 is released this fall.

I’m simply curious to see whether the “more intelligent suggestions” are as useful as Apple makes them out to be. I like that it can offer up your current location and contact information, but I’m not sure if that’s worth the pixels its displayed on. My hunch is that I’d still rather display more content than add an extra row to my keyboard that’s of questionable utility.

Photos

With iOS 10, Apple is bringing Places and Faces to Photos. This is a feature that has been available for the Mac since the iPhoto days and I’ve been a huge fan of it. But Apple’s doing much more this time around.

Apple is using, what they’re calling, “Advanced Computer Vision” or “deep learning” to analyze all of your photos and find faces, objects, and scenes within them. It has similar functionality to Google Photos, but all of this work is taking place on your device rather than in the cloud to prevent any potential privacy concerns.

You’ll be able to search your photos for locations, objects, and scenes to find exactly what you’re looking for when you need it. In addition to search, Photos will also help you surface collections of images in the new Memories tab based around a specific date, topic, location, person, or groups of people.

Memories provides similar utility to Google Photos’ Assistant feature. Where Memories really shines, though, is in the suggested videos functionality. Not only does it automatically edit together related photos and videos, it offers two sliders that let you choose the tone and duration of the resulting video. That means you can send a short, epic video of your trip to Tahoe to your sister or a longer, happy video to your grandfather — from the exact same collection of photos and videos.

All of this seems pretty impressive and I can’t wait to see how it compares to Google Photos in real world testing. Unfortunately, I won’t be switching to it anytime soon, though. Not until Apple offers a way to store one, unified family photo library in iCloud that syncs between multiple accounts. My wife and I prefer to store all of our photos in a single library. We don’t think of them as “mine” and “yours,” they belong to both of us and we like having access to the entire lot without any user interaction.

Maps

Apple’s mapping app gets a design refresh with iOS 10. The search bar has been moved to the bottom of the display, which is a more substantial change than you’d think given the larger displays of most iPhones sold today. The app now makes proactive suggestions — it might list restaurants around the time you usually have lunch or grocery stores, in the evening, when you usually go shopping.

They’ve also improved the turn-by-turn navigation view with bolder typography and larger icons, making it easier to see at a glance. The biggest change, though, is that developers will be able to build extensions for Maps. Ride sharing and restaurant reservations were the two mentioned by Apple, but I expect we’ll see all kinds of interesting apps once developers get their hands on it.

I don’t use Maps too often, usually just when my wife and I take long road trips to visit family — about two or three times a year. But I’m very happy with the changes Apple has made. I like that Maps will display traffic during navigation and you’ll be able to search along the route for restaurants, gas stations, and so on. In the search results, Maps even tells you how much time will be added to the overall trip with each extra stop. I look forward to using these new features the next time we take the 5-6 hour road trip to visit my sister and her family in Pittsburgh.

Music

The Music app is receiving an “all-new design” in iOS 10. I put that in quotes because the app doesn’t seem all that different to me. I’ll admit that I haven’t used the app for several months — instead, using Ecoute for my music playback. But this looks like nothing more than a new coat of paint rather than improving the app’s usability.

There’s bolder typography and a small handful of items have been moved around in the interface. But beyond these minor changes, it’s still an app that’s focused around renting music rather than playing the music you own. This has been my major complaint about the app since it was redesigned last year and unfortunately, the problem persists.

The one major new feature for Apple Music subscribers will be the addition of lyrics — which is great. A lot of the affection I have for songs comes from the meaning behind the lyrics and my ability to relate to them. I often look up the lyrics when I’m listening to a new album and I’d love to have that information right in my music app.

I will certainly give the new Music app another go when it launches this fall. But from the looks of things, I don’t expect it’ll last more than a few days on my home screen. Until Apple allows me to place the app’s focus back on my music library, I’ll most likely stick to third-party apps like Ecoute and Cesium.

News

The Apple News announcements were given less time than any of the other tentpole features of iOS 10 and are, what I’d consider to be, the most lackluster as well. There’s an all-new design which, like Apple Music, features bolder typography alongside a reorganization of the For You tab — now organized by section. And Apple’s introduced subscriptions which will allow you to read news from premium sources as well — like The Wall Street Journal and National Geographic.

I won’t spend much time analyzing these announcements. News isn’t really for me and I don’t expect it ever will be. But I suspect these are positive changes for those who use the app daily.

HomeKit

Apple is adding a new application for iOS and watchOS this fall, called “Home.” The app allows you to control all of your HomeKit-enabled devices from a single user interface. The app features what they’re calling “Scenes,” which ties together multiple devices and performs a predetermined set of actions all at once — it reminds me of Activities on Logitech Harmony remotes.

The Home app works with Siri and is capable of controlling your HomeKit devices remotely using the Apple TV as an at-home hub. They’ve also added a third pane to Control Center — beyond the aforementioned audio controls — that lets you quickly control your connected devices.

I don’t currently own any HomeKit-enabled accessories, but I’ve been thinking more seriously about them. Up until now, the entire market has felt splintered between multiple standards. But, at least from my perspective, Apple seems to be emerging as the front runner in this space — working with dozens of manufacturers and a few home builders as well. I don’t expect I’ll be hesitant for too much longer — it’s only a matter of time before I start purchasing devices to automate my home.

Phone

There’s some major improvements in store for the Phone app on iOS. I’m most excited about having access to voicemail transcripts. Everyone has that one friend who still calls and leaves voicemails that seem to go on forever. Now, you’ll be able to skim the transcript to get the message rather than listening through two minutes of babbling.

The most far reaching changes, though, involve third-party developers. Apple’s including an extension API in iOS 10 that lets developers build, what amounts to, caller ID apps, VOIP apps that display incoming calls on par with the native phone app, and the ability to integrate into the system’s favorites and recent calls list.

Apple has taken all of the necessary steps to allow users to decide how they prefer to communicate. This means third-party VOIP apps are no longer second-class citizens and, instead, will be treated as peers with Phone.app. This is the first instance in which Apple is allowing users to, for all intents and purpose, fully change the default app for a given function.

This is a major milestone — and leaves me wondering if we’ll see this expanding next year with iOS 11. I’d love to be able to set a default email client so that when I tap on a “mailto” link on a webpage it would open Dispatch rather than Mail.

Messages

If there’s an app on iOS that hasn’t received the attention it deserves, it’s Messages. The application is the most used iOS app, but has remained almost entirely unchanged since the launch of iMessages in 2011. Apple has remedied that in a big way with iOS 10.

Apple’s adding rich links with artwork and in-line video, easier access to the camera and photo library, emoji-word swapping, bubble effects, Tapback, handwritten messages, and Digital Touch. That’s an impressive list and will help keep Messages as the primary communication tool in the face of other growing platforms — Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, Telegram, etc.

Rich links is probably my favorite of the bunch. I send a lot of links to my friends in Messages and just a raw URL always felt a little anemic to me. These rich links will give the recipient an indication of where they’re headed when they tap on it. Or in the case of video, they’ll be able to watch without having to visit the webpage at all.

I’m also excited about the addition of Tapback, which lets you attach a heart, thumbs up, thumbs down, “haha”, “!!”, or question mark to another message within the thread. This will help solve the problem of having to reply with an “ok” when you want to let the other person know that you saw their message but don’t really have anything to add.

I love that there’s support for Digital Touch. Now, presumably, I’ll be able to send taps and heartbeats to my wife from my Watch, even though she doesn’t own one.

But I can’t say I’m too excited about the bubble effects and changes to emojis. Bubble effects have the potential to become a bit obnoxious and annoying if used too frequently. I don’t need a complicated animation every time I send a message and I hope everyone I know feels the same way.

As for emoji, I don’t even have the emoji keyboard enabled on any of my iOS devices. The problem, for me, is that I have a really hard time understanding what the person is trying to convey with their emoji. I often end up asking my wife to read the message so that she can confirm whether someone’s being sarcastic or legitimately happy about something. Apple adding emoji predictions and the ability to swap words in an outgoing message for its corresponding emoji might result in me receiving more emoji-containing messages — I can’t say I’m too 😃 about that.

After the above Messages features were demoed, Craig Federighi returned to announce iMessage Apps. With iOS 10, developers will be able to build apps that integrate into Messages for things like stickers, payments, restaurant ordering, animations, and more. Much like third-party keyboards, I don’t expect I’ll ever use these applications. But the idea of building a sticker pack without ever having to write any code — something that Federighi mentioned was possible during the announcement — is intriguing. This opens up a whole new world for artists who might not have considered it because of the barrier to entry.

Wrap-Up

This year’s WWDC was an overall success. The presentation didn’t feature the spectacle associated with a new hardware announcement, but that was more than made up for by the sheer number of new features that hadn’t been confirmed by rumor sites beforehand.

And it goes without saying, but this year’s event was a massive improvement over last year’s, which featured one of the most awkward announcements I’ve ever seen at a WWDC keynote — Apple Music. This year’s presentation didn’t drag on forever and was packed with announcements to keep viewers’ attention. If I had any complaints at all, it’s that they went a little too fast. Sometimes it was difficult to digest all of the new features and, for me at least, required a second viewing to take it all in.

With plenty of announcements for all four of their major platforms, nearly everyone who owns an Apple product will be receiving a substantial software update this fall. And I look forward to the public beta next month, when I’ll be able to get my hands on this software to try myself.

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.

‘Adoption Takes Time’ ➝

David Chartier, in response to Jason Snell and John Gruber’s opinion of 3D Touch:

I’m surprised at these perspectives on what seems to be a by-the-book Apple feature introduction. Not only are 3D Touch, peek, and pop quite useful (perhaps after some new muscle memory), they have the same introduction and adoption pattern as other recent, significant Apple hardware innovations. […]

I wager 3D Touch will simply take time for many of us, and maybe a couple more ads as well. It will also get a couple more chances in the spotlight as Apple rolls it (and any improvements) out to the rest of iOS at major product launches.

The Trouble With 3D Touch ➝

Jason Snell, writing for Macworld:

Unfortunately, after six months of using an iPhone 6s, I’m afraid that I’ve completely stopped using 3D Touch, to the point where I forget it’s there. My opinion about how brilliantly implemented this feature is hasn’t changed a bit, but I feel like Apple needs to rethink the meaning of the 3D Touch in iOS 10 for it to be a more useful feature.[…]

Although Apple’s proud of the peek/pop interface that it unveiled with the iPhone 6s, I’m skeptical of its utility. Most of the time, when I accidentally initiate a “peek” of the content behind whatever I’m pressing on, it’s content I was already trying to see by tapping. Loading a “peek” doesn’t really take any more time than actually tapping on an item and loading the result, and returning back to the previous screen seems a lot less work than holding your finger on the glass while you peruse a “peek” to see if it’s worth opening the rest of the way.

I was always afraid that 3D Touch was more of a gimmick than a useful-in-real-life feature. I’ve tried to integrate it into the way I use my iPhone, but it just never took. As Snell points out in his piece, 3D Touch is often slower to use than simply tapping an item and tapping a back button. Unfortunately, it’s the type of feature that demos exceptionally well, but doesn’t actually improve my experience while using the device.

Force Touch Table ➝

A neat new attraction at Apple’s retail stores in New York and San Francisco to promote their products’ Force Touch and 3D Touch technologies.

Tweetbot Adds 3D Touch Support ➝

If any app is going to help me build habits around 3D Touch, it’s Tweetbot. I’d say it’s still slow going so far, but I’m definitely using the feature far more now that my most used application has support for it.

It’s also worth pointing out that hours after 4.0.1 was released, Tweetbot 4.0.2 hit the App Store. This update added the ability to dismiss Safari View Controller by swiping from the left side of the screen — Tapbots certainly isn’t letting grass grow under their feet.

3D Touch is the Biggest UI Change to iOS Since Multitasking ➝

Matt Birchler:

I see the killer feature of 3D Touch on the iPhone to be the quick actions you can perform from the home screen. Good app developers will take advantage of this feature by figuring out what people do most in their apps and letting them accomplish them in one quick motion.

I can’t wait to see how 3D Touch feels to use in the real world. The ceiling on it is quite high, but I’m still worried about accidentally performing a 3D Touch action when I wanted a simple tap — I suppose I’ll have to experience it for myself. But I’m with Matt, this is a huge change for users and developers alike.