My Apple WWDC 2017 Wishlist
I put macOS first on my list very intentially. My biggest wish this year is that Apple gives macOS some much needed attention. Ask any developer or pro user in the Apple platform community and you will probably find that a majority agree that Apple has pushed the Mac a little too far onto the backburner in favor of iOS and the iPhone. I have a strong feeling that this is good for profits short-term, but I also feel that pro users and developers are essential for an ecosystem to grow and flourish. We definitely need great Macs to make great iOS software, and it would surely hurt your reputation if major players in the film and audio industries all abandoned your products.
As a very positive note, Apple clearly has taken notice of the community frustration around the lack of an updated Mac Pro, as well as the ability to upgrade the hardware inside the Mac Pro, so I would be surprised if Apple has not taken notice of how stale macOS and its support feels and even more surprised if they do not start to address it.
My macOS wishes, in no particular order:
- I love iCloud drive’s direct integration into the operating system, so most importantly in iCloud I would like to gain the ability to tell my mac to switch a directory or file to cloud-only. Last year we got the operating system choosing to manage which files are downloaded and which are merely represented with the option to download, but you cannot manually choose which files or directories to delete from local storage and keep as cloud-only for later.
- HomeKit. Whatever my phone can do, my computer should also do. I tend to leave my iPhone in my bag when I’m using my Mac. I can answer and place calls, text to my hearts content, but I still cannot adjust the lights or unlock the door. I feel the same way about health, but I somehow doubt we will see such sensative information on the desktop anytime soon.
- File & Screenshot sharing(more about this in my iCloud section below)
- An overhaul of the Mac App Store. Hey, centralized softare updates are a gift from god, but the Mac App Store has some serious issues. It has been abandoned by a lot of the software that I use daily and the companies behind those decisions have some great points. The sandbox makes most developer utilities impossible, there is no good way to issue free trials, there is no upgrade pricing, etc…
- Server.app needs a complete overhaul. DNS record input is a huge pain, You still can not dupliate site records in Websites (read: Apache). The underlying software needs more frequent updates, there is no official support for Server-Side Swift, I find the notifications from remote servers are not reliable, Mail has very limited spam control without an enormous time commitement to implementation, as well as no easy support for DKIM authentications. Open Directory has issues with corruption if it is not shut down before updates, and much, much more.
- Pro App Updates are always on my priority list. I encounter a wide variety of projects in my line of work, and that means that I work in all of them. If you are not familiar, I am specifically talking about Final Cut, Motion, Compressor, Logic Pro, Remote Desktop, Xcode, iBooks Author, and all of the little utilities that go with them. This goes hand-in-hand with paying more attention to macOS and the pro/dev community in general, because there is a lot of work to be done on bugs and performance improvements between all these wonderful apps.
- I would love to see more reliability on iCloud Docs when collaborating in local apps. Sure this is in beta, but it IS a PUBLIC beta. I absolutely love Pages, Number, and Keynote and I very strongly prefer them to the Microsoft and Open Office counterparts, but I have had instances of corrupted files or lost data when using collaboration between web and local, which is very unacceptable for any kind of document processor.
- More stability and squished bugs. This is hard to describe succinctly, but I see it most harshly in my wife’s 12-inch Macbook. It almost feels as though the drivers were written in a rush and the mobile processor was not given the attention it needed to make sure macOS runs smoothly. Her machine often needs a reboot because it starts to lag or it has trouble driving external monitors without a variety of issues arising. I also have plenty of my own gripes, but I tend to run betas and should not judge that code publicly.
- Native FIDO U2F in Safari. If you are not familiar, it is a lot like two-factor authentication, but usually more physical and it is very ssh-key-esque. You press a button to authenticate. It is better than time-based two-factor auth becuase it cannot be phished.
Second to macOS, iCloud could use some love. It is very underrated, probably becuase it is under-developed for the modern, connected world.
My iCloud wishes, in no particular order:
- Deleted file restoration, by directory. I once accidentally deleted a directory of roughly four thousand files. A bulk restore puts them back in the main iCloud Drive folder, and does not remember the old directory structure. It is very annoying.
- Sharing. We live in a very connected world, and every other online drive service provides sharing links. iCloud should be no exception. While you can work around this using downloads, it is very cumbersome and does not always work well.
- Faster clipboard and Safari tab syncing. When I am using features that transfer my copies or webpages from mobile to desktop or back, I am normally doing so immediately, and I would love to see some improvement here in the time it takes to get information from one device to the next.
Likely Apple’s most underrated platform, tvOS is a wonderful experince for such a new product. I feel it has a lot of untapped potential, and I would personally love to see more user adoption, more development, and bigger promotion from Apple.
My tvOS wishes, in no particular order:
- Stricter UX guidelines. The differences in major apps like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Now is expansive, and I am definitely not happy with any of them. I would like to see more unification in what a TV app should look like and how it should work.
- Mouse Control. Sure, the remote is okay, but a mouse would be way faster and easier. It already supports bluetooth keyboards, so this feels like a natural step to me. I somehow doubt I will get it, but I certainly would love to see it.
- An explicit firewall for homekit hub. Connected cameras and door locks on the internet have their obvious risks. I would love to see Apple have a more detailed and robust firewall or isolated networking scheme for smart devices.
- Get rid of TV provider logins or sell one without a subscription. Honestly, who still uses broadcast television when you can stream on demand???
- Remote Desktop support. Sometimes I test apps. Sometimes I want to quickly update my Apple TV without leaving my office. This also lends itself to mouse control, which is yet another reason I would like to see that.
I absolutely put this last for a reason. I still belive that Apple is not paying enough attention to its other operating systems. However, that is not to say I do not love iOS, as I do…
My iOS wishes, in no particular order:
- Revamp the interfaces in messages. Honestly the store and half the apps feel hard to use and buried. I would also love to see expiring messages that aut0-delete after a certain period, à la Signal.
- A better mechanism for the things that get stuck in the share menu, like 1Password. The share menu has taken on a lot of jobs. It is basically a context menu for everything. I would love to see sharing go back to, well, sharing and more specific things (like password management) diverted to a shiny new thing.
- Password manager extensions for auto-saving/generating new passwords. It is possible to use the share menu and 1Password extension to generate a password and login for a new site, but you have to do so manually, then copy and paste it in. We need a desktop class experience here, where new logins can more easily be generated from a third party app.
- An ABSOLUTE BAN ON USING PUSH NOTIFICATIONS TO ADVERTISE. This is probably my number one iOS pet peve. I delete apps immediately that do this, even apps I love. Sometimes I will choose to give them a second chance install, but never a third.
- International Travel Mode for TouchID. Yep, border agents can force your finger onto a device. I would love an airplane mode, but for shutting down TouchID authentication temporarily. I also use a ridiculously complex alphanumeric password, so if I could temporarily have a more simple passcode, that would also be just super.
- App store revamps. Just like the Mac App Store, the iOS App Store has issues. There are still no free trials or upgrade pricing mechanisms. Listen to your developers and get on top of that.
- Remote desktop support. Again, there are so many things I want to do that would require remote controlling an iOS device. I somehow doubt I will see this, but I damn well want it.
- Apple recently acquired Workflow. While it might be a little soon, bringing automation to the core of iOS probably will not be anything short of magical, and I would love to see what this looks like.
- A more robust file structure through iCloud drive. I still cannot send a document or spreadsheet to a person on Skype without sharing it via link on another app. I still think that this may be one of the most ridiculous caveats of iOS there is. It is certainly baffling to me.
I never expect hardware from WWDC. For me, it is about software. However, should we be surprised with it:
- Magic Keyboard with Touch Bar & Touch ID for docked rMBP (or desktops).
- Apple branded 5k Thunderbolt 3 monitor that comes without annoying issues
- Do not ask me about desktops. While I always love a good speed boost, I like to keep fully mobile, so I really do not pay much attention.
- If we are dreaming, I would love a good hybrid device. Body with keyboard packed full of hardware, detachable screen that can function as an independent iPad.
- Touch screens on MacBook Pro. I used to have this in an old Windows PC a long time ago, and I loved it. Scrolling feels very natural when you can reach up and swipe. I don’t really care what focus groups found or what is novel, this is still probably in my top ten.
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What else would you love to see? Share your thoughts in a response!