My thoughts ahead of WWDC 2016

WWDC 2016 thoughts and predictions

My thoughts ahead of WWDC 2016
Photo by Isabel Maria Guner-Velasco / Unsplash

In  Episode 92 of the Upgrade podcast Jason and Myke talk about their predictions ahead of next week’s WWDC event.

I thought I’d take the time to catalogue some of my thoughts, predictions and create a mini wish-list.

1 watchOS 3.0

Despite some level of reservation, a few weeks ago I purchased an Apple Watch. So far I’ve found that love it, but.
That but is that the overall experience itself feels laggy. Siri takes a while to kick into gear, some apps take so long to load up that I reach for my phone instead.
All of this adds up to an experience that feels more than a little forced to me. I hope for speed improvements on existing hardware with watchOS 3.0.
In addition to speed, I hope for an improved Siri experience on the watch. Which brings me to …

2 Siri 2.0

As a developer, it seems crazy to me that we’re a few years into having Siri now and cannot develop deep hooks into it for our apps.

I would like to see some form of sub-system that enables a level of automation via Siri, similar to Apple-Script on the Mac. “Siri-Script” maybe? 🙂
I’d also like to see this take the form of Siri controlled extensions. These could enable functionality of an app to be engaged when the app isn’t active. “Hey Siri, add a note to $myfavouritenotesapp saying … ” could engage the extension, do what it needs to do, and that’s that. No launching of the application required.

3 A screen-less voice controlled device (-Echo-)

There have been rumours of some sort of Apple TV based device with a speaker that performs a similar function to Amazon’s Echo.
I can imagine something puck shaped doing the trick for this. What I can’t imagine is that we’re going to have Yet Another OS, and Yet Another App Store for purchasing applications to run on it.

Those Siri app-extensions I mentioned? “Siri-Script”? Siri-enabled apps could become speaker-enabled apps with that same extension functionality. Maybe I can pair with the puck from my phone and manage the extensions I have running on it. This would be very similar to how apps can be managed on the watch today.

4 Better multi-user support

I created a separate iTunes account for our Apple TV 4. I added this account into our family for family sharing. This has simplified things for us in terms of app purchases and general use of the Apple TV. I would prefer for Apple to recognise that certain classes of device may be used by multiple people and to provide a better experience for this.

Over in the iPad world, it could have made sense for us to have invested in the 12″ iPad Pro as a shared family device. Right now this isn’t really possible. I’d like to see something done for this, even if it only exists on iOS on the iPad Pro devices.

5 New Mac Hardware

I’m in the market for a new mac. I’ve heard the rumours of no-hardware announcements but I don’t want to believe it’s true.

The Mac Pro is extremely over-due an update. Right now it seems massively over-priced for how old the hardware is. Without a 5K monitor to hook up to the Mac Pro, it also seems like quite a difficult choice to make over the 27″ retina iMac. I always love the G4 cube design, and I see the Mac Pro as a modern descendent of that aesthetic. So I hope it sees an update, and I hope it sees some sprucing up in the design department. Even if that is just the same colour options as we have on iPhone/iPad/Macbook etc.

Macbook Pro updates seem inevitable. As has been suggested elsewhere though, I think these will rely on the next update to the Mac OS (macOS!). In that case, I think they will be announced but will be a Q4 release.

I’d love to see a new Thunderbolt monitor. I think this will be announced but with a release for later on this year to compliment the new Macbook Pros.

6 Touch strip on the MacBook Pro

I touch-type (Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing Fo’ Life!). I’m not a perfect home-row these days and have lots of bad habits, but I don’t need to look at the keys. Even so, the idea of replacing the function keys doesn’t really offend me. A simple strip of touch-screen doesn’t really excite me though either.

Perhaps we could see something really interesting here. Force-Touch enabling some level of haptic feedback perhaps?

What I really want from this though is the ability to program for it. I can imagine a whole subclass of apps that could leverage this area. If this really is a thing then I hope Apple lets us program for it out of the gate.

7 macOS

Again, after listening to Upgrade and other podcasts this feels like an inevitability. I’m in the camp that thinks it will be named macOS and not Mac OS or MacOS.

So this is the wish-list of things I think are probable.

These days I’ve been feeling a retro-vibe for Apple’s old colourful products. I’d love to see something come out that harkens back to the original iMac for that. New Mac Pros, mac-minis with coloured translucent cases. Something really off the wall, something… fun. I don’t think that that’s probable next week though. I’ll keep on wishing!