WWDC 2016 Wishlist

It’s almost June so that means that Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference is right around the corner. That means it’s time for my WWDC 2016 wishlist.

watchOS

I don’t have an Apple Watch, but I’m very strongly considering buying one whenever the second generation comes out. That said, I’m not incredibly familiar with the operating system, but from what I’ve read I’m hoping for an update to watchOS that adds some speed , plus makes the Apple Watch rely less on the iPhone being around.

I’m also hoping that Apple gives developers more freedom and APIs to develop apps for the Apple Watch. Apps are what makes the iPhone and iPad so great, and this will continue on the Apple Watch.

tvOS

I love my Apple TV. Well, the last generation one. The latest (4th) generation got a brand new operating system and remote. I really think Apple missed the mark on this generation of the Apple TV. The remote is crap. It’s incredibly difficult to navigation with it, and I’m always having connectivity issues with it so I end up using the iOS remote app (which isn’t a great app itself).

I’m hoping Apple pushes out more updates to refine the Apple TV experience, because it has taken a device I loved using and turned it into something that causes me nothing but frustration.

OS X 10.11/ macOS

Many people think that the OS X name is going away and will turn into macOS. That could be very possible as OS X is over 15 years old. Granted, there have been major overhauls in those 15 years, but a name change is probably due. Calling the desktop operating system macOS would unify Apple’s OS names across all products which is great for marketing. I’m surprised Apple didn’t go for this in 2014 with their 10.10/Yosemite update. A design refresh would have been the opportune time for a name change.

Siri

Every year I have one big want for the desktop OS, and that’s Siri on the Mac. Siri has been built into the iPhone since 2011. Five years later, Siri is long overdue on the Mac. Hell, she’s long overdue on the Apple TV, too. I want my god damn J.A.R.V.I.S. in my home. From the rumors going around, it seems like this year may be the year for Siri on the Mac.

iTunes

I’d also love to see a brand new iTunes from the ground up. Apple did make some pretty decent UX changes in the last update a month ago, but more is needed with iTunes. Let’s take the apps for the iPhone and iPad out of iTunes. I’d wager to say that most people download apps and iOS updates over the air now. I’m sure Apple has the analytics for that. If iOS truly need to be on the desktop they should be on the App Store on the Mac. iTunes needs a fresh overhaul. Optimize it for music, TV shows, and movies. Make it easier to play music in your library.

I have an older iMac (mid-2010) so I don’t have some of the features from OS X 10.11 (El Capitan) like handoff, and I’d expect that trend to continue with any huge releases in 10.12, including Siri. I’ve already decided that I need to upgrade my iMac this year, so that’s a little bit more of an incentive.

iOS 10

The iPhone is the big daddy for Apple, and where I have the majority of items on my wishlist.

iCloud Storage

One area that Apple is still a pain in the ass with is backup storage space in iCloud. Never mind the fact that their entry level phone is still 16GB (way too small – I opted for the 64GB iPhone 6S and love the extra space) – the included 5GB of iCloud storage is too small. The base level should be whatever the smallest hard drive size they sell in a phone to allow for full backups.

3D Touch

Last year’s introduction of 3D Touch was interesting. It’s a cool feature, but I don’t think it’s being used enough. 3D Touch should be added to everything, such as the settings app for most commonly accessed settings available right from the home screen. This would be even more powerful in Control Center as shown in this video still from MacStories. Below you can see how activating 3D Touch on the wifi icon gives you some options: toggle wifi on/off, or join nearby networks. This saves a lot of taps getting into the wifi settings in the main settings app.

3D Touch Improvements

In this screen shot they even show how third party apps would look in Control Center. Something I would most definitely like to have.

Messages

Messages and the iMessage protocol is probably one of if not the most widely used app on the iPhone, and there is a lot of room for improvement here. Here’s another screen shot from the MacStories article I linked above that has a lot of what I want in Messages. Rich text and media previews of links you send, easier to find (search) emojis, and granular read receipts.

Messages improvements

Rich Text and Media Previews

A lot of chat apps, like Slack, will pull in a media preview when you post a link. If it’s an image or a video like YouTube it will display image or video inline. This reduces the need for Messages to open up a different app to complete a task which isn’t always needed. Messages shows photos and videos you send via iMessage or SMS, and this would be extending that functionality.

Emojis

Emojis are fun to use, but if it’s an emoji you don’t use very often and isn’t on your Frequently Used list, good luck finding it. A search field, or shortcut structure (with predictive capabilities similar to Slack) would be perfect.

Granular Read Receipts

I like having read receipts on for messages with my wife and family, so they know that I saw their message but may not be able to respond immediately, but I know they saw my message. However, I may not want all of my friends or coworkers to know I saw their message and haven’t responded yet.

Platform Enhancements

Having the ability to respond to not only iMessages on my Mac, but also standard SMS (text) messages is great, although not always flawless. I would love to see some improvements there. If I’m out of town for an extended time, or if my Mac is off for longer than a few hours, it takes forever for Messages to catch up and load in all the messages that the machine missed while it was offline. These should load faster, and silently in the background.

Night Mode

I’ve come full circle on Night Mode. I’ve seen people ask for it for years, but I didn’t get it. However, a lot of apps now build the feature in, and now I’m a believer. If an app offers it, like TweetBot (see screenshot comparison), I use it. I find Night Mode easier on the eyes at all times during the day.

Light mode vs dark mode

I think Apple should implement this in iOS 10 with a system wide on/off switch for available apps, (and make it a requirement of any non-game apps).

Enhanced Security

In a post-Snowden, post FBI vs. Apple world, I want everything encrypted. Apple does a great job of this with iMessage, but there is still some work to do, and it sounds like Apple is working on it, which is awesome. The more privacy is protected, the better. I love that Apple is taking this stand for our rights. It’s also a sad that we need a corporation to protect us from our own government. Our elected officials and judges don’t understand technology, (and/or don’t care how it works and write something that would outlaw something completely harmless) which would allow our Constitutionally protected rights to be trampled over by bad legislation (or attempts at writing the legislation) or clearly wrong court decisions that force people to self-incriminate.

Sorry, I got on my soap box there for a minute, but it’s an important topic, and one I care deeply about. Privacy must be protected at all costs. The government should not be snooping on us, and corporations like AT&T and Verizon should not make it easier for the government to spy on its citizens. Thankfully Apple is standing against them.

Siri Improvements

Siri yet again is the big ticket item on this list. Apple has a lot of catch up to do with Siri to meet Google Now and Alexa.

Siri doesn't listenNumber one, I’d like Siri to do what I ask, and what she hears. Siri will also often play Pink or Daft Punk when I ask for punk music, which is not even close. She clearly understands the command, which you can see in the screenshot, but chooses to ignore it for some reason.

APIs for Siri would be huge. The rumor mill is strong on this, but it is every year. Telling Siri to complete a task in a third party app would be game changing for the interface.

Misc. Items

  • Hiding stock apps like Tips, Stocks, etc.
  • Force apps/websites to handle animated gifs as animated gifs and not videos that take over the device audio
  • Contextual alerts for holidays and alarms for upcoming holidays – For example, Siri should ask you, “Next Monday is Memorial Day, should I turn your 6:30 am alarm off for that day?”
  • “Clear all” functionality in Notification Center
  • Better location privacy options

That’s it for this year’s predictions. Hopefully I can cross a lot of these items off, especially ones that have been lingering for a few years.