Apple’s annual developer’s conference WWDC is right around the corner and it’s time to bring out my annual pre-WWDC predictions and my OS X 10.11 and iOS 9 wishlist. But before I get to that, I want to talk about one of my favorite devices in my house and its possible future.
It’s speculated every year that Apple will release a new Apple TV and every year comes and goes without one. The Apple TV was last updated in 2013, and while that is old for an electronic device the third generation Apple TV still runs very well in my opinion. Ali and I use ours almost every day, and sometimes all day on some weekends. The only issue we have with the device is that it needs to be restarted once in a while, but so do all computers, phones, whatever. The Apple TV could stay as is and still be a great device.
However, some upgrades would definitely make it the incredible product that people want and set it apart from the competition.
Adding a microphone and speaker to give Siri a voice in your living room is my number one wish for Apple TV. I’ve written about it before, so I won’t go into too much detail, but putting a Siri enabled device in your living room would really put Apple in the center of people’s lives. But it needs to go beyond searching for content like the Amazon Fire TV does. Having the Apple TV read off baking instructions, or putting on a certain song or album that I call out, and other normal Siri tasks would be so great.
However it needs to have its own speaker. If I need to flip the TV over to the Apple TV input to hear Siri talk back to me, it’s useless.
Also, it would be cool if Siri on the Apple TV knew who was talking to her. If I ask Siri on the Apple TV to remind me to do something in a few hours, Ali shouldn’t get a reminder set on her phone for that thing. However, it would be cool if I could tell Siri to remind Ali to do something, or vice-versa. That’s probably still a few years off, though.
Apple does a good job of pushing out new channels, but they aren’t always something I’m interested in. I know that’s not their fault, but I hope they can convince more content providers to come on board, especially with the successful rollout of HBO Now.
The current Apple TV remote is okay but it can definitely be improved. The remote app for iOS is decent, but takes too long to reconnect when you close the app or your iPhone locks. Whatever remote is made, it should be Bluetooth, not infrared like it is now. The remote for the Amazon Fire TV build quality isn’t great, but it connects to the device over Bluetooth and it never misses a button click. Hopefully this article from the New York Times is correct about a new Apple TV remote.
Apple dropping the price of the Apple TV earlier this year is a strong indicator that a new Apple TV is coming, hopefully with some of the above features added in.
OS X 10.11
No speculations from me on the name, but I do like Mojave as an option. So there’s that.
Yeah, Siri again. I want her on the Mac. I don’t know why this hasn’t happened yet, but it really needs to. I want to be in my office and be able to tell Siri to add something to my calendar, start an email for me. Siri is a digital assistant and it’s time for the app to work that way more on every Apple device.
This has been a feature on Windows since maybe Vista but definitely since Windows 7. On Windows this feature lets you set a master volume system wide, but also lets you turn down the volume on all running apps. That means if you are watching a video on YouTube that has very low volume and you crank up the computer’s speakers so you can hear it you won’t go deaf when when an instant message or new email notification sound goes off.
That’s it for OS X, just like last year. Performance enhancements and bug fixes are other things I’d like, but I am very happy with OS X.
Siri improvements will be on the top of my wishlist every year, and Apple should never stop improving Siri. To their credit they have been, as slow as it may seem. She’s getting better at simple tasks, with less errors, and they are adding new features every year. Keep it up, Apple.
Siri’s voice could definitely be improved. Both the default female voice and the male voice are still very robotic sounding. Both Microsoft and Google are ahead in this department.
I love using the “Hey Siri” feature that was introduced in iOS 8. This is especially helpful in the car. I can call out the command while the phone is charging while driving and get directions to where I’m going, or to set a reminder to do something. However, I’d like to use this feature to be available all the time, not only when your phone is plugged in.
However this would lead us to a big problem. Imagine saying “Hey Siri” in a coffee house. Do you know how many phones would instantly be awaiting a command or question? Apple needs to find a solution so things like this don’t happen. Perhaps the solution is allowing users to customize the name. The feature would be called Siri, but you could change the name to something of your choosing. This would cut down on that problem.
Another way to improve the “Hey Siri” feature would be “conversation mode”. That would mean once Siri is active, she stays listening to you until you dismiss her by saying, “thanks, Siri”, or after a few seconds of silence.
For example, if I ask, “Hey Siri, what will the weather be like tomorrow morning?” After she tells me, I may still want to ask other questions on this, or another subject. So, after I ask her about the weather in the morning, maybe I want to know how the evening will be. However, at that point I need to wake her back up to ask the question.
Delete/Hide stock apps
This is a carry over from every other year, and I feel like this one is never coming, but it’s the biggest thing I want and I see so many other people asking for it year after year. There are at least 8 useless apps on my phone from Apple that I’d like to hide. The clock, calculator, and weather aren’t the best apps but they are tied into core functionality in the phone, so I’m okay with those being in a junk folder, but Tips, Podcasts, iBooks, Apple Watch, and Stocks apps are useless to many people and could easily be hidden without being missed.
I know Apple can do this, they do it with Nike + iPod, but some of the apps I listed above are revenue streams for Apple so we may never get this.
Notification Center improvements
A few weeks ago I went through and turned off almost all of my notifications on my iPhone and iPad. Those dings and boops for every little thing are so annoying and distracting. Now the only time my phone shows me a notification is if someone is trying to communicate directly with me. That means phone calls, FaceTime, text/other direct messages (like Twitter mentions), and email. I don’t care if someone checked in at a coffee shop in town, favorited one of my tweets on Twitter, or if someone added a new board on Pinterest. Things like this have no impact on my life and I don’t need to know about them as they happen.
It may sound like a little thing, but it means I am more in control of my attention, and that my phone gets less of it so I can focus on other things I’m working on.
I really like what Apple has done with Notification Center. Simplifying it to two tabs really improved the interface, and the widgets on the Today tab are super helpful. The biggest improvement I would like here is an easy way to clear all notifications in the Notifications tab.
Control Center upgrades
There should be a way to open the Music app from Control Center.
It would also be great if you could customize the shortcuts. The timer shortcut has little use to me, but the alarm clock definitely would. I don’t need easy access to Bluetooth, so maybe I would want that to be a shortcut to the Music app.
Also, the ability to tap and hold on an icon to get to the settings would be great. This would be mostly helpful for WiFi and Bluetooth.
This isn’t a sexy wish, but I feel that it’s really important.
All apps should have three options for location services:
- While Using the App
Foursquare (image to the right) has all three of these, which is great. I don’t want Foursquare running in the background. There’s no need for me to have it running in the background all the time killing my battery just for it to send me a notification that there is a great burger place near where I am, or that I’m close to a record store or other item I’ve listed as a favorite in the app.
Other apps have only two options:
That’s a battery killer. The NHL app has these two options only. Why does the NHL app need to know where I am 24/7? I understand that they may need my location if I am trying to watch a game through my premium NHL account. They need to make sure I’m not in a blackout area for the game, but the times I’m not watching games? There’s no reason for Gary Bettman to know where I am.
These apps having only the two options is very creepy, and frankly, I have privacy concerns. If any of these apps are hacked, all that data could be accessible to hackers. I don’t like that I can’t control or opt out of that data being collected.
- If I am on my home network (or a trusted wifi network which I’ve previously specified and confirmed with my Apple ID and security passcode) and I’ve authenticated myself in the last X hours, don’t ask for Touch ID/passcode or App Store password.
- An easy way to clear app cache, one of the biggest reasons you see that “storage almost full” warning.
- Better pop ups modules for volume and screen brightness. These are just annoying and stay on the screen too long often times covering what you are trying to watch.
- Fix AirPlay. We use AirPlay a lot and it’s buried on the Control Center tray instead of on the video player. It’s just not as accessible as it previously was.
That about wraps it up for my 2015 wishlist. Some carryover from last year, but hopefully these will all be addressed.