Wish List for WWDC: OS X

Apple has already held their “early” 2016 event, the next big event for Apple will likely be its World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC), which is typically held in June. While we do not know anything that Apple will unveil at the conference there are a few things that we could possible end up seeing.

OS X

Apple released Mac OS X 10.0 in March of 2001. In the intervening 15 years, Apple has gone from the name of Mac OS X to just OS X. On Episode 123 of The Talk Show with John Gruber Apple’s Vice President of Marketing, Phil Schiller, was asked about the casing of the various operating systems of Apple (iOS, tvOS, watchOS). Gruber asked why OS X was different. Schiller responded “give us time”. As Jason Snell of Six Colors has postulated “OS X will be renamed to macOS”. This is entirely possible and given the hints, it is likely to occur.

OS X 10.12’s Name

OS X 10.0 through OS X 10.8 all had codenames. These were based on “big cats”. After Apple unveiled OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, many questioned what the next name would be. Beginning with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, Apple initiated a distinct naming convention. Leopard gave way to Snow Lepard. Lion gave way to Snow Leopard. 10.9 was skipped over. Following OS X 10.10 Yosemite came the current operating system, OS X 10.11 El Capitan. Each of these indicated that it was a refinement to the prior name.

When Apple unveiled the name of OS X 10.9, they indicate that they joked about going with “Sea Lion”. Instead they opted to set up naming for the next decade and those names would be based on places in California. Some have begun wondering what the next version of OS X will be called. Given the indication by Apple that they were setting themselves up for the next decade, it will likely still be a place in California.

During their September 9th, 2015 event, Apple announced a new feature for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, 3D Touch. During the demo Apple quietly announced the release date of OS X 10.11 El Capitan. This was done while showing off 3D Touch on an email. Also during that same demo Apple showed an email with three place names within it. These names are Manteca, Tehachapi, and Arroyo Grande. It is entirely possible that Apple was being facetious in revealing the names. It is also equally possible that one of these names is the name. This is purely speculation, but it is possible that it is true. We will see when WWDC happens what the actual name for OS X 10.12 will be.

Siri

Since Mac OS X 10.7 Lion Apple has been bringing parity between iOS and OS X, in terms of applications and features. One of the features that many users would love to see on the Mac is Siri. Siri has become a very useful tool on iOS. Bringing it to OS X could allow for an even more powerful Siri engine. With running Siri on OS X it could also bring additional functionality to Siri itself.

One possibility for additional functionality is the ability for Siri on OS X being capable of searching for a file. At first glance one might think that this is not possible, but if you look at Siri on the 4th Generation Apple TV, the voice transcription on tvOS is pretty accurate. Given the amount of power that an OS X machine has today, bringing this functionality to OS X one could easily imagine being able to use Siri to find a file. More over, it may even be able to be triggered with the same phrase, “Hey Siri”.

Accessibility is one of the areas where Apple focuses their attention. One method of being able to do this is to have Siri on OS X be able to do dictation. While OS X’s dictation has been decent, it seems as though Siri’s dictation and transcription is much better than the built-in dictation on OS X.

Along with Siri coming to OS X, it would also be nice to have developers be able to integrate with Siri. I am imagining that developers would be able to add their own custom actions. For instance in a podcast app, an iOS user could play a podcast directly from Siri. If not completely custom actions, Apple could ease into this by allowing certain actions. This would be similar to the way that Apple introduced multitasking in iOS.

The downside to this is that there are currently 33 languages supported by Siri. Enabling developers to access Siri would mean that Apple would have to add the names, words, and the like to Siri. Even so, if there were to be limited actions, Apple would be able to control the custom words that would be allowed.

UIKit

Some individuals have noticed that OS X has not received a significant amount of attention by developers. One of the ideas of attracting developers back to OS X is to bring UIKit to OS X. The rationale behind this is that doing so would allow iOS-only developers to feel more comfortable with programming on OS X.

In theory, this is a sound idea. There is a possible downside to this idea though. OS X has a different set of paradigms than iOS. Some of these includes, a browse-able filesystem, … and a mouse for pointing. This last one is the biggest hurdle to overcome. UIKit itself is designed for touch and not

iTunes

One of the things that you will hear from a cross-section of the population is just how bad iTunes is. It is not that it does not function like it should, it does. The issue is that it is just too bloated. iTunes has to perform many different functions and they are all contained within one application. I could easily go into breaking it up, but this site has already done the hard work. It would be really nice to see Apple re-think iTunes and break up the functions into individual applications. Doing this would allow individual applications to be updated on their own.

Final Thoughts

While this is only a few things that we could possibly see at this year’s WWDC, specifically for OS X. There are likely many things that we will not know about ahead of the date of the keynote. Even though I tell myself that I will wait to install the betas, I will most likely install them on day one. I know I will be very interested to see what new features and refinements that next version of OS X.


Originally published at www.waynedixon.com on April 17, 2016.