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Apple Apple Watch iCloud iPad iPad Air iPadOS tvOS watchOS

Apple “Time Flies” Event Recap

Apple held its “Time Files” event livestream event today. It was not a live event, but a pre-recorded one. The style of the video was very similar to that of Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference. We saw different parts of Apple’s campus with different people in each area. Today’s event focused on two products, the Apple Watch and the iPad. Let us look at what Apple announced for each.

Apple Watch

Today Apple announced two new Apple Watch models, the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE. These two models are similar, yet still different. Let us cover the aspects that are the same between the two models.

Common Features between Apple Watch Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE

There are a number of common features between the new Apple Watch Series 6 and the new Apple Watch SE. The first of these is the case sizes. Both come in 40mm and 44mm varieties and both have a Retina screen. Next is a feature that was added in the Apple Watch Series 5, fall detection. This is a great feature for those who may be prone to falling and need to be able to contact someone in the event of a fall. This is present in both models.

There is a new feature that is available on both models, a new Always On Altimeter. The Altimeter will be able to inform you, in real time, of your elevation. This is great if you are doing some hiking and want to see how high up you have gone.

One of the ways to personalizes the Apple Watch is by picking the finish for the watch. Both models come in an aluminum finish and are available in Silver, Space Gray, and Rose Gold.

Apple Watch Series 6 Exclusive Features

The biggest area for the Apple Watch is regarding Health. There are a variety of sensors already present on the Apple Watch. Sensors like the ECG, fall detection, heart sensors, and ECG app. There is a new sensor being added to the Apple Watch Series 6, a Blood Oxygen app. This app will be able to inform you of your blood oxygen level, with a simple 15 second test. This is possibly through the use of infrared to analyze the color of your blood and the color can determine the oxygen saturation level.

The Apple Watch Series 6 comes in more than just the three colors mentioned above. It also comes in two additional aluminum finishes, Blue and (PRODUCT)RED. It also comes in Stainless Steel and Titanium versions. The Stainless Steel color choices are Silver, Graphite, and Gold. The Titanium color choices are Titanium (Silver), and Space Black.

New Bands

Besides the finish of the Apple Watch, many also customize their Apple Watch through the use of different bands. To go with the new Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE, there are some new bands. A lot of them in fact. There are some new Hermes Fauve Barénia Leather Attelage bands in both single tour and double tour varieties, five new Sport Band colors, seven new Sport Loop colors, three new Nike Sport Band colors, and three new Nike Sport Loop colors. There are also two entirely new types of bands, the Leather Link and Solo Loop.

Leather Link

Apple Watch Leather Link Watch Band

According to Apple, “The Leather Link features handcrafted Roux Granada leather made in France. The band elegantly wraps around the wrist and magically attaches with flexible molded magnets that gently flex to help maintain a secure, comfortable fit throughout the day.”. The magnetic links will allow you to adjust the band to the perfect fit for your wrist.

The Leather Link band comes in four colors, Baltic Blue, California Poppy, Saddle Brown, and Black. These will work with the 38/40mm or the 42/44mm Apple Watches. Each Leather Link band is $99. They have a bit of a wait time, anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks, depending on the model.

Solo Loop

The Solo Loop is made of a silicone rubber that is designed to stretch. There are no clasps, buckles, or any other item to adjust. Each Sport Loop is designed to be slipped on and off the wrist easily. Because there are no attachment mechanisms, they are designed to fit on your wrist, therefore there is a sizing guide that will allow you to determine the proper band size. The band sizes range from 1 to 9 on the 40mm Apple Watch and 4 to 12 on the 44mm Apple Watch.

There are seven different color options. These options are: Deep Navy, Ginger, Cypress Green, Pink Citrus, White, Black, and (PRODUCT)RED. Each of these is $49 and they will begin arriving on Friday. There is a second type of Solo Loop, the Braided Solo Loop.

To quote Apple, “Each Braided Solo Loop features a unique, stretchable design that’s ultracomfortable and easy to slip on and off your wrist. Made from 100 percent recycled materials, the 16,000 polyester yarn filaments in each band are interwoven with thin silicone threads using advanced braiding machinery then laser cut to an exact length. The 300D construction offers a soft, textured feel and is both sweat-resistant and water-resistant.”

The Braided Sport Loop comes in five colors. These colors are: Inverness Green, Black, Pink Punch, Atlantic Blue, and (PRODUCT)RED. The Braided Sport Loop comes in the same size configurations as the silicon Sport Loop, and these are $99 each.

There is one last thing to note about the Solo Loop and Braided Solo Loop. These are not compatible with all watches. The Solo Loop and Braided Solo Loop bands are only compatible with Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch Series 4 or newer. Therefore, you will not be able to use these on the Series 3, or earlier models.

Family Setup

There is one new feature for the Apple Watch, which is compatible back to the Apple Watch Series 4 and that is Family Setup. There are many people who would like to be able to get an Apple Watch for the child or an elderly parent. This has not been possible because an Apple Watch has to be paired with an iPhone. That changes.

Family Setup allows you to setup another Apple Watch using your iPhone. When you do this, the Apple Watch will be independent and allow the Apple Watch to function on its own.

Family Setup makes it possible for the entire family to benefit from the important health and safety features of Apple Watch, like Emergency SOS, while Maps, Siri, Alarms, and the App Store provide greater independence without needing an iPhone. In addition, parents will have peace of mind knowing they can reach their child and identify their location, and that all personal data stays securely encrypted. With watchOS 7, the whole family can also take advantage of optimized features that enhance the overall Apple Watch experience.

There are a couple of limitations for the Family Setup. The first is that a cellular version of the Apple Watch is required. This will not work on a GPS model of the Apple Watch. The second restriction is that this only works on the Apple Watch Series 4 or later, including the Apple Watch SE.

Apple Watch Pricing and Availability

The price of the Apple Watch is an important one. The existing Apple Watch Series 3 is still available for the same starting price of $199. The new Apple Watch SE is $279 for the 40mm version, and $309 for the 44mm. There are cellular options for the Apple Watch SE, these are $329 for the 40mm and $359 for the 44mm. The Apple Watch Series 6 starts at the same price as the Series 5, $399 for the 40mm, and $429 for the 44mm. The cellular models are $499 and $529 respectively. The Stainless Steel models starts at $699 and the Titanium models start at $799. All of the Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE are available for order today and will start arriving this Friday.

There is one last thing to note about the Apple Watch. the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple Watch SE, Apple Watch Series 3, and Apple Watch Nike do not include a power adapter. Note, this is not the charger, but the little power brick that the charger plugs into. This is being done as a means of helping the environment. I believe that this is actually the case. It just so happens that it will also help save a bit of money, not just through not having to put a charger in each box, but also by reducing packaging as well as shipping weight. All of this adds up over millions of devices.

iPad

The Apple Watch was not the only item announced during today’s keynote. The iPad also saw some updates as well, but not all models of iPad. Only the iPad and the iPad Air were updated today. Let us look at each of these.

iPad

The iPad is Apple’s entry-level device, but even though it is entry level, it is full of features. The new iPad features a 10.2-inch LED screen as well as Apple’s A12 Bionic chip. This is the same one that is in the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max phones. To quote Apple:

The eighth-generation iPad with the A12 Bionic chip delivers a huge leap in performance, with 40 percent faster CPU performance and twice the graphics capability.2 This makes the new iPad up to two times faster than the top-selling Windows laptop, up to three times faster than the top-selling Android tablet and up to six times faster than the top-selling Chromebook. For the first time on iPad, A12 Bionic introduces the Neural Engine for next-level machine learning capabilities, including people occlusion and motion tracking in augmented reality (AR) apps, enhanced photo editing, Siri performance, and more.

In combination with A12 Bionic, the power of iPadOS, and Apple Pencil (1st generation), the new iPad is perfect for drawing, note-taking, marking up documents, and more. With its thin and light design, iPad is portable and durable with ultra-fast wireless performance, support for gigabit-class LTE connectivity, and all-day battery life, giving customers the freedom to work, learn, and connect at home or on the go. With Touch ID, unlocking iPad is simple and secure using just a finger, to keep important information safe.

The biggest change, besides the processor and graphics, is that the iPad is now USB-C. Included in the box is a USB-C to lightning adapter and a 20 watt USB-C power brick.

The iPad comes in the same three colors as before, Silver, Space Gray, and Rose Gold. It comes with 32GB or 128GB of storage, and there are cellular models as well. The price is still the same at $329 for the 32GB Wifi model, and $459 for the 32GB Wifi + Cellular, and $429 for the 128GB Wifi and $559 for the 128GB Wifi + Cellular models. These are available for order today and will arrive starting this Friday.

iPad Air

The bigger of the announcements is the iPad Air. This is not only because it is changed significantly more, but also because of the size difference. The 4th generation iPad Air is now a 10.9-inch model. This is accomplished by taking cues from the iPad Pro design and incorporating them into the iPad Air. The 4th Generation iPad Air has significantly reduced bezels, which allows the screen size to increase to 10.9 inches. This creates a resolution of 2360 by 1640 pixels. All of this is on a Liquid Retina LED display. The screen has a True Tone display that support the P3 Color Gamut and is fully laminated. This means that it includes the oleophobic coating to help reduce fingerprints.

All of this is driven by the A14 Bionic processor, which, according to Apple

…features a new 6-core design for a 40 percent boost in CPU performance, and a new 4-core graphics architecture for a 30 percent improvement in graphics.2 To deliver breakthrough machine learning capabilities, A14 Bionic includes a new 16-core Neural Engine that is twice as fast, and capable of performing up to 11 trillion operations per second, taking machine learning apps to a whole new level. A14 Bionic also includes second-generation machine learning accelerators in the CPU for 10 times faster machine learning calculations. This combination of the new Neural Engine, CPU machine learning accelerators, and high-performance GPU enables powerful on-device experiences for image recognition, natural language learning, analyzing motion, and more.

The iPad Air takes many cues from the iPad Air, most notably, its square edges. The square edges allow for the iPad Air to utilize the 2nd Generation Apple Pencil. The iPad Air supports charging the 2nd Generation Apple Pencil right on the top edge, just like the iPad Pro. These square edges allowed Apple to reduce the bezel size. One thing that was not brought over from the iPad Pro is Face ID. Instead, the iPad Air still has Touch ID. However, the reduced bezel necessitated that the Touch ID sensor to go somewhere else. The Touch ID sensor is now moved to the top button. The Touch ID sensor still operates the same way as before, just in a different spot.

Just like the iPad, and the iPad Pro, the iPad Air now uses a USB-C port and included in the box is a USB-C charging cable and a 20-watt USB power adapter.

The 4th Generation iPad Air comes in five colors: Silver, Space Gray, Rose Gold, Green, and Sky Blue. The iPad Air comes with two storage options, 64GB or 256GB. As with the other iPads there is the Wifi-only model and Wifi + Cellular. The price for the iPad Air is $599 for the 64GB model and $749 for the 256GB Wifi-Only model. The Cellular models will cost $729 for the 64GB model and $879 for the 256GB model. The iPad Air will be available in October.

Services

Apple is pushing services, along with hardware, as their future. Currently, Apple has six different services. These services are:

  • iCloud
  • Apple Music
  • Apple TV+
  • Apple Arcade
  • Apple News+

There is a new service to go along with these. This is called Apple Fitness+.

Apple Fitness+

Apple Fitness+ is a new subscription service that will provide you the opportunity to perform workouts whenever it works for you, wherever you might be. This could be out in the park, at the gym, traveling, or just at home.

Apple Fitness+ delivers personalized recommendations to help customers quickly get to their next workout, and uses Apple Watch to provide an engaging, immersive experience to help them stay motivated throughout.Using a custom recommendation engine, Fitness+ considers previously completed workouts and intelligently suggests new options that match the workouts users select most often, or something fresh to balance their current routine. Customers can also use an intuitive filtering tool to choose what is most important to them when looking for a workout, whether it’s the workout type, the trainer, the duration, or the music. For Apple Music subscribers, favorite music from Fitness+ workouts can also be easily saved and listened to later, whether in a workout or otherwise.

Apple Fitness+ will be available later this year and it will cost $9.99 per month or $79.99 per year.

With all of these services, it might be nice to have them all combined into a single bill. Let us look at one last new item, called Apple One.

Apple One

Today Apple announced a new Services bundle, Apple One. Apple One is a combination of different Apple services at different price points. Apple One has three price tiers, “Individual”, “Family”, and “Premium”. The Individual and Family plans will include Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and iCloud Storage. The Individual tier includes 50GB of iCloud Storage, whereas the Family tier includes 200GB.

The Premium tier includes Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, 2TB of iCloud Storage, Apple News+, and Apple Fitness+. The Family and Premium tiers will allow you to share with up to five family members. If you need more iCloud storage than your plan includes, you can pay for that separately, to supplement what comes with your plan.

Closing Thoughts

Today’s event was just over an hour, but included a whole lot of new products. This includes the Apple Watch Series 6 with its brighter Always On display, the new Blood Oxygen app, and always on Altimeter. The new Blue and PRODUCT(RED) colors are great additions to the lineup.

The new Apple Watch SE is a great way for bringing many of the features of the Apple Watch in a slightly less expensive price point. You get many of the same features of the Apple Watch Series 6, but with the Series 5 processor.

The new 8th Generation iPad is a huge jump in performance with the A12 Bionic and it has USB-C. It maintains the same base price of $329 for a 32GB Wifi model.

The iPad Air has seen the biggest set of changes with a new larger 10.9-inch screen, flat sides, reduced bezels, and the all new A14 Bionic processor. The iPad Air does not get Face ID, instead the Touch ID sensor is now moved to the top button and still functions the same way as before. The 4th Generation iPad Air also supports USB-C as well as the 2nd generation Apple Pencil.

All of the new products introduced today are available for ordering today, and will be available starting on Friday. The only exception is the iPad Air, which will be available in October.

The last item to note is that iOS 14, iPadOS 14, tvOS 14, an watchOS 7 will all be available tomorrow, September 16th.

Source: Apple Newsroom: Apple One, Apple Fitness+, Family Setup, Apple Watch Series 6, Apple Watch SE, 8th Generation iPad, and 4th Generation iPad Air.

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Apple iOS iPadOS macOS tvOS watchOS

Hopes for Improvements for Apple’s Platforms

There are some things that I would like to see changed with Apple’s platforms. These are mostly “paper cuts”, in that none of them show-stoppers in themselves but combined they make it a lot tougher to deal with the platforms. These are not my predictions for WWDC, those will be in a separate post.

Apple TV

  • A way to save specific screensavers while still downloading new ones.
  • Have the ability to have Siri limit to the media I already own.
  • Have Siri have the ability to add more categories. For example “Show me movies that are action comedies.”

macOS

  • Specifically for Catalyst, more refined controls for macOS Catalyst apps that match macOS even better.
  • Fix Bluetooth, for keyboard, mice, and trackpads. I have issues with bluetooth disconnecting randomly and in the middle of using it.
  • Within the Mail app, keep order of accounts. The order will randomly reset when showing the app window even if the mail app was not closed, but the window was.

iCloud

  • More default iCloud storage. 5GB really is paltry and just embarrassing at this point. I do not expect 100GB, but even 10GB or 25GB free would be better than the 5GB we get now.

iOS

  • Improvements to Mail, like actually indicating messages have been read.
  • Quick method to enable or disable “Block Unknown callers” from Control Center.
  • Set default for Noise Cancelling headphones other than “Active Noise Cancelling”.
  • I love that iOS 13.4 added keyboard and trackpad support for iOS, but system-wide support for navigating alerts with the keyboard would be very helpful.
  • Fix Bluetooth. Bluetooth is a mess on iOS, particularly for audio. For instance, my Beats Solo Pros will have distortion when using any other app, but not all the time. It is consistent enough to notice that it is a problem. For instance, if I am typing in messages while listening to something, the audio will stutter and its not the key taps making noise. The same goes for many other apps.
  • Within the Files app, provide option to always show file extensions. I say an option because some will not want it, but power users, like myself, can really need it.

iPadOS

  • True multiple user support, not limited to schools or businesses.
  • Have a calculator, specifically license PCalc, for use on the iPad.

Screen Time

  • Have actually accurate synchronization and reports. Here is a great example. April 12th, I got the following reports: iPhone: 15 hours, 59 minutes, iPadOS stated, up 51% for an average of 16 hours and 15 minutes per day, and macOS stated “You averaged 13 hours, 33 minutes of screen time per day last week.” So obviously something is amiss between the synchronization of the devices and the reported screen time. Synchronization should be forced before sending the notification.

watchOS

  • Qi Charging on the Apple Watch. Right now the Apple Watch uses proprietary charging, but having standard charging would be nice.

Wallet

  • We need a website with the ability to see all transactions, make payments, etc.
  • Additional user on the same card including adding children, and even possibly giving them a budget.

Notes

  • Add the ability to not have urls automatically be created for links, preferably on a note-by-note basis.

Numbers

  • Copy a table as HTML, even without any formatting, with the header rows as thead rows.

Pages

  • Have it remember your place when you switch between Pages and another app, when using it on iOS.
  • Provide ability to edit styles when a file is in a shared folder on iCloud. Currently, you cannot edit any styles if the file is in a folder that is shared on iCloud. You can select them, but not edit

iTunes Connect

  • Create an API, similar to the App Store Connect API, for users to be able to manage their iTunes Connect items in a similar manner as App Store Connect. This would be a tremendous improvement.

These are just some of the things that I have managed to come across that would be helpful for improving the functioning of Apple’s platforms. Some of these are easier to accomplish than others, and some are just bugs that should have already been fixed, but for some reason are still present within Apple’s software.

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Apple HomePod iOS tvOS watchOS

Apple Releases iOS 11.4

Today Apple has released iOS 11.4, watchOS 4.3.1, and tvOS 11.4. Along with this, Apple announced some changes to the availability of the HomePod.

The HomePod will be available in additional countries start June 18th. These countries are Canada, France, and Germany.

The biggest features of iOS 11.4 is AirPlay 2, including on the HomePod. AirPlay 2 was at Apple’s WWDC 2017 event. The biggest feature of AirPlay 2 is that it supports multi-room audio and the HomePod can be used in stereo mode.

I have been using iOS 11.4 since the first beta, but I was not able to test iOS 11.4 on the HomePod. I installed iOS 11.4 on the HomePod, and tried a couple of different configurations. The configuration that I was most interested in using is:

  • Video going to my Apple TV, via AirPlay from my iPad
  • Audio on the HomePod, via AirPlay

Unfortunately, this configuration is not supported. Similarly, you cannot AirPlay to an Apple TV and output via the HomePod. Therefore, I am still stuck watch This Old House and using the audio from my TV. Maybe in iOS 12 this will change.

Besides AirPlay 2, there is an additional feature of iOS 11.4, Message in the Cloud. Messages in the Cloud is designed to have all of your messages available on all of your devices in the same order. Additionally, all of your messages are stored in iCloud, to make all of this possible.

iOS 11.4 does include some security updates, so it is best to update as soon as possible. The details of what security items were fixed are not yet available.

Source: Apple

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Apple iOS iTunes macOS tvOS watchOS

Apple WWDC 2018 Predictions and Wish List

We are now just over a week out from Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference keynote. With that making predictions for what Apple will announce is generally a fool’s errand. That does not stop some, like myself, from having a wish list of items that I would like to see changed. Predictions are particularly difficult given Apple’s continued goal for reducing the information that leaks from the company. Despite this reduction in information, some information still gets out. With the scant amount of information that is available, I have some ideas for what Apple could do with their operating systems. Last year I did two separate posts, however I think that this year will be a bit more low-key as compared to previous years. To coincide with that, I will only be doing a single post about everything that I think Apple will do. Let us start with something that I think will affect all all of Apple’s operating systems. If you want, you can skip straight to the recap.

All Platforms

There are some things that span all of Apple’s operating systems, so this needs its own section.

Siri

Even though all of Apple’s operating systems have Siri, they are not the same, and do not have the same capabilities. For instance, Siri on macOS cannot control any items in the Home app on iOS. Given that the HomeKit information is synchronized over iCloud, this seems like an oversight. There is no reason why macOS could not control the HomeKit items. I totally understand that it may not be possible if you are not on the same network, but if you are on the same network, it should be entirely possible to do so.

Similarly, the HomePod should be able to search for documents in iCloud and send a link to your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. I think Apple will announce that they are going to start having Siri become one unified platform. There will always be things that each platform cannot do. For instance, tvOS cannot search files within iCloud. Although if Apple did allow tvOS, and by extension watchOS, to find files, they could be opened on an iPad, Mac, or iPhone.

It would also be great to ask the HomePod to be able to do something like “Siri, open my ‘2018 Budget’ on my Mac”, and having it open. Implementing this would be an overnight thing, but it is certainly something that Apple could indicate that they are working on. This may be feasible since iCloud knows about all of your devices, and it could signal to each what to do. Next, let us turn to the most mature operating system that Apple has, macOS.

I give the likelihood of Apple announcing that Siri is going to be largely the same across all devices as 50%.

Messages in the Cloud

One of the features that Apple announced, but has not yet shipped is Messages in the Cloud. It is designed to have all of your messages be available on all of your devices, particularly when you add a new device. Despite being in beta multiple times, but it has not yet been released. It does not surprise me that it has not been released yet. It is best to make sure that everything will work flawlessly, given the amount of information and history contained within messages.

If Apple does indeed release this, I think there will also be an iCloud version of it as well. I think the iCloud version will not necessarily be able to send any message from your iPhone’s number, but you would be able to do so from your Apple ID. I do not think it would have all of the same bells and whistles that are on iOS, but you would be able to do basic messaging.

I am giving this a 80% chance of Messages in the Cloud being released. I give the probably of having an iCloud version of Messages at 25%. It would be nice to have, but it is not likely.

AirPlay

It is not often that I have had to use AirPlay. This is because I typically do not need to stream something from my Mac, iPhone, or iPad to my Apple TV. However, recently I have been bingeing This Old House, and there are no apps for it. The only way to view this is by using a browser. Since tvOS does not come with a browser, the only option left is to AirPlay. My biggest problem with the arrangement is that I cannot send video to my Apple TV but audio to my HomePod, instead the audio is outputted via the TV, which works but does not sound as good.

One of the things that Apple announced in September of 2017 was AirPlay 2. I anticipate that it will be coming with iOS 11.4, but it is entirely possible that Apple will push things off to iOS 12. AirPlay 2 will allow an iOS device to output the same audio to multiple devices simultaneously. This will work well for those with multiple HomePods. I would like to see iOS 12 provide betas for the HomePod, but I do not know if that will happen or not. I am going to guess it is not likely.

The likelihood of AirPlay being released at WWDC, whether it is with iOS 11.4 or iOS 12, at 80%. I give the probability of HomePod developer betas at 10%, it may be too early in the lifecycle of the HomePod for betas. I do not expect public betas for the HomePod, but developer betas would be nice.

Dark Mode

With the release of the iPhone X and its OLED screen, it would be really great for there to be a system-wide Dark Mode. This Dark Mode should apply to all macOS and iOS. tvOS has a dark mode already, and watchOS uses a dark theme by default, in order to save the screen and battery. Having a dark mode option, and allowing developers to opt-in, would provide a more consistent look and feel when switching between applications. This would be most prominent on macOS when you could be working in an application like GarageBand and its dark theme and then switching to Safari with its super bright theme.

I think the probably of all of Apple’s operating systems having a system-wide dark mode at 60%.

macOS

macOS is a very stable operating system. macOS is likely the Apple operating system that I use for getting most everything done. You might think that there is not much that could be done. In fact, there is still quite a bit that can be done, particularly with bringing some features over from iOS.

Messages

Messages on iOS is pretty full featured, however its counterpart on macOS is quite lacking in some areas. It would be nice to have macOS have feature parity with iOS. Doing so would maintain a consistent experience between iOS and macOS. This could be as simple as providing the same effects that are possible with iOS onto macOS.

I predicted this last year at 95%. This year I am giving it a 35% chance.

Workflow

In March of 2017, it was announced that Apple purchased the iOS app, Workflow. Workflow allows you to you to perform different automation techniques using iOS. This could include sending items to a web service, converting files, or various other tasks. The possibilities are endless. The best part of Workflow is that you do not need to be a programmer to be able to figure it out. Workflow has a drag and drop interface that allows you to tie things together. When Apple purchased Workflow, it was thought that improvements to the app would cease, but there have been some small improvements over the last year.

It would be great to see Workflow make its way to macOS. By porting Workflow over to macOS it will provide a way to automate some tasks, which would be simpler than using one of the current solutions like Automator or AppleScript. It would require some changes to the App, for sure, but it could extend more functionality to macOS.

I give this a likelihood of 40%. It is more likely that Workflow will be integrated than getting a macOS version.

Notification Center

When Mac OS X 10.7 Lion was released one of the features was one that came from iOS. That feature was Notification Center. In the intervening 7 years, not much has been done to improve Notification Center on macOS. It would be great to have additional customization options for Notification Center. For instance, the ability to have all of your Notifications from all devices gathered in one place. Dismissing it in one place would dismiss it on all devices.

This would help all users not have to dismiss notifications on all of their devices. I give this a 25% chance of happening.

macOS Server

I will be honest, this next prediction is pretty much a gimme, since Apple has already indicated the future course for macOS Server. The next version of macOS Server, version 6, is likely to include graphical interface management for Profile Manager, Open Directory, and Xsan Server. All of the other graphical management that was in macOS 5.6 will be removed. Some of the underlying services, like Apache, will still ship with macOS itself, so they can be still be managed via Terminal.

One thing that has not been clarified, and is purely a guess on my part, is that macOS Server will still include certificate management.

The other item that I think Apple will FINALLY do, is allow Profile Manager to be accessible on an iPad in Portrait mode, AND on an iPhone. I think it is entirely feasible, given the the workflow for Profile Manager to be able to accommodate the devices. Additionally, when you need to make changes in Configuration Manager, you are not always at your Mac or near an iPad and it would help server administrators. What would be even better would be an app that is accessible on iPhones, iPads, and macOS.

I give the likelihood of Server being significantly reduced at 100%. Similarly, I give certificate management’s probability at 85%, and Profile Manager being accessible from devices besides iPads in Landscape and Desktops at 50%, and the probably of an app for accessing Profile Manager servers at 10%.

iTunes

This next one is entirely a guess and wishful thinking. I think Apple will let us know that iTunes is being overhauled. Here is what I wrote last year, and I still want it to be true.

iTunes’ original intent was as a syncing mechanism back when all of our media was locally on our computers. That was back in 2001. 16 years later times have changed and while a percentage of individuals still synchronize their music to their computers, that number is a very small percentage. It would be nice to see Apple completely re-think iTunes. One of the hinderances from this occurring is that iTunes is also on Windows. However, Apple could give macOS a boost by providing an even better experience and keeping iTunes on Windows the way it is now.

The biggest change would be to separate out the classic iPod syncing portion to its own application. This would still allow those individuals who need to synchronize their items to be able to do so. Meanwhile, the remaining functions, Music, Podcasts, Movies, TV Shows, iTunes U, and Apps could all become their own applications. This approach would allow each of these applications to be updated on their own schedule. Alongside this, each application could have a user-interface which matches the functionality of that application.

There are two aspects to this prediction. The first is that Apple will preview a refreshed iTunes. The second is that it will be released “in the fall” (meaning when the new iPhones are released). I give the chance of a refreshed iTunes a 10% chance of happening. It is a slim chance, but still a chance.

I do not know if it is going to happen, but it would be a great way to have a big item amongst stability improvements.

There is one other thing that I have noticed. My “Wish List” is not in sync between my Apple TVs, iOS, and iTunes on the Mac. All of my devices are signed into the same Apple ID, so the wish lists should be the same, but they are not. I am not talking about the any apps on my Wish List, but the movies. I do not get why they would be out of sync, but they are.

I give this a 15% chance of occurring, because I am probably an outlier in this situation. Here are two images to prove the mismatch.

Next let us take a look at the operating system for the Apple TV, tvOS.

tvOS

tvOS is Apple’s operating system for the Apple TV. As has been the case since television became mainstream, people generally tend to do one thing, consume media. Given that this is the primary purpose of large screens in our lives, there is not much that I can think of that Apple would need to add to tvOS. I am sure there are things, but I cannot think of any for tvOS.

There is one slight modification that would be good. I received a “low battery” warning for my Siri Remote on my Apple TV. As is the case on all iOS-based operating systems, “Low Battery” means 20%, or less. This means that my Siri remote can probably go for another 3 or 4 months, if not longer, before actually needing to be charged. I understand why Apple does this for iOS devices, Macs, Apple Watch, Keyboards and Mice, but it seems a bit odd given how long the Siri Remote lasts. It would be nice to have this warning be changed to something like 10%. Even at 10%, the Siri Remote will still last for another couple of months at least.

I give the probability of Apple changing this at 25%, probably because it is hard coded into the operating system.

watchOS

watchOS is probably the Apple operating system that has the largest place for improvement. The biggest feature, that would be personally beneficial, would be the ability for developers to use background audio in a reliant manner, without needing to start a workout first. In particular, my preferred podcast player cannot synchronize my podcasts to the Apple Watch because it is slow, and there is no reliable playback possible. What would be needed for this is probably more than we will get this year, but it would be great to have.

The possibility of this occurring is likely 50%.

Watch Faces

Apple has narrowed the focus for the Apple Watch. One thing that the Apple Watch has had since the beginning is the Faces. While Apple has added a couple of new Watch faces, like the Toy Story characters, and the Siri Watch Face, it would be nice to have a few additional options. In particular, it would be nice for developers to be able to create their own Watch Faces. This could include a Watch Face store, but having too many choices could be cumbersome. With this knowledge it might be best to have more customizable options for the Siri Watch Face. Apple could partner with some Fashion houses to come up with custom watch faces that could be purchased.

I give this a 40% chance of happening.

Personalized Goals

watchOS 4 introduced personalized goals for each month. Some of the personalized goals I have had since last year are:

  • Double move goal every day
  • Burn a certain number of calories
  • Average number of exercise minutes per day
  • Performing a number of workouts in a month
  • Going a certain distance in a month
  • Burn an average number of calories a day

There are a couple of improvements that I would like to see. The first is additional personalized goals, what in particular I do not know. The second improvement is to not have the goals be too far-fetched. Specifically, one of my goals was to do 48 15-minute, or longer, exercises. Maybe it is just me, but having to do 48 exercises in one month seems excessive.

I give this a 70% chance. There are already a variety of goal types, and more may not be necessary. At the same time health and fitness are primary functions of the Apple Watch.

Interface Improvements

watchOS does not use the standard User Interface controls that iOS applications do. Instead watchOS has its own user interface language. It might be time for Apple to bring UIKit over to watchOS. Particularly with the Series 3 Apple Watch battery life is not an issue, and speed does not seem to be a problem either. By having UIKit on watchOS it is possible that more applications would be made available for the Apple Watch.

I give this 75%, only because I am sure Apple knows this would help applications on the watch, but it would take some major performance improvements to make happen.

iOS

Augmented Reality

One of the areas in which Apple is putting a lot of focus is in Augmented Reality. At WWDC 2017, Apple announced ARKit, a new framework that would allow developers to overlay different items on the physical world. With iOS 11.3, Apple released ARKit 1.5, which included allowing objects on vertical surfaces, mapping irregular shapes, and integration with real-world images.

I think Apple will improve ARKit with ARKit 2.0. It is hard to guess what will be included. I am going to guess that they will have ARKit 2.0 require the iPhone 7. I give this an 85% chance of occurring.

Battery Health

I think with iOS 12, the Battery health, which is currently in beta, will come out of beta.

Notifications

There are often items that we use every day, and when they were new they were novel, but now just come to think of as a normal thing. A feature that was introduced with iPhone OS 3.0 was Push Notifications. Over the last nine years, notifications have become an indispensable tool for users and developers alike. Over its history notifications have seen a number of enhancements, but there is still more to do.

It would be nice to see Apple add even more customization options, in particular when it comes to VIPs, in particular, it would be nice to be able to only get notifications from particular individuals. Right now, this works in Mail, but it would be helpful to extend this to all applications, but in particular messages.

One area that I have seen issues lately is that I am not always being notified when a new message comes in. The badge will be shown, but I do not receive any indication on my Apple Watch. It would be great to see Apple improve the reliability of notification of iMessages.

I give this a 80% chance, it would likely coincide with Messages in the Cloud.

Parental Controls

Technology can be a boon, but it can also be detrimental. Many parents wonder what, if any, harm is being done by allowing so much screen time for their children. While parents attempt to limit screen time, it is not always an easy task. It would be very helpful to provide parents with even more controls to allow them to customize the screen time for their children.

For instance, it would be nice to be able to set limits for specific application use. As an example, imagine your kid has an iPad that they can use and you want to limit the amount of YouTube time that they have, to two hours during the school week and at the same time not limit their use of applications that are needed for school, or are educational. There could be an interface that would allow parents to set which days, and times, that a child can use. In this case, you would want to limit them to 2 hours, Monday through Friday.

While it would be acceptable to have this be possible on the iPad itself, having a web-based interface would be even better and would make it easier to administer the iPad. The ability to manage devices is already available through Apple’s Profile Manager, but this would be a bit more specific and would not require knowledge of Profile Manager, nor would it require the use of management profiles.

I give the likelihood of improved parental controls a 60% chance of occurring. I give the likelihood of granular controls at 40%.

Recap

Here is a recap of all of my predictions. Some are more likely to occur than others.

Possibility Recap
Change Likelihood
Siri being generally the same on all devices 50%
Messages in the Cloud released 80%
iCloud version of Messages 25%
AirPlay being released 80%
HomePod developer betas 10%
Dark Mode for all Operating Systems 60%
Messages on macOS having parity with iOS 35%
Workflow coming to macOS 40%
macOS Server significantly reduced 100%
macOS Server still including Certificate Management 85%
Profile Manager accessible from more devices 50%
Profile Manager app 10%
iTunes Refresh 10%
iTunes Wish List Synchronization. 15%
tvOS “low battery” thresholds being adjusted. 25%
watchOS audio in the background 50%
Custom Watch Faces 40%
More personalized fitness goals 70%
UIKit on watchOS 75%
ARKit 2.0 85%
Improved Messages reliability 80%
More Parental Controls 60%
Granular Parental Controls 40%