Apple WWDC 21 Wish List

Typically when Apple has an event, I typically end up doing a post about my predictions for what the event will hold. For most of Apple’s events, I think it makes sense, yet for Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference, called WWDC, keynote it does not make as much sense to do so.

WWDC is where Apple provides information about the next versions of their operating systems. On the first day of WWDC there are two keynotes, one aimed towards the general user and a second one called the “State of the Union”. The State of the Union is the keynote for developers that can get a bit more technical.

Instead of doing purely a predictions post, I am going to do more of a wish list post. With that, here is what I would like to see from Apple.

Music

Apple likes to say that “Music is part of Apple’s DNA”. Recently, Apple announced that there will be lossless audio available on Apple Music as well as Dolby Atmos enabled tracks. There have been a number of changes over the years for the Music app, but there are a couple of things I would like to see.

The first is that I would like to be able to zoom in on artwork within the Music app. I cannot see why there is any reason why this has not been something that we can do.

The second item that I would like to see related to music is the ability to create Smart Playlists from the Music app. The Music app on macOS, previously iTunes, has long allowed you to create playlists based on certain criteria. These playlists can be uploaded to one’s iCloud Music Library and then view them on an iPhone or iPad. My question is why can this not be done on an iPhone or iPad. The interface would need to be built, but the devices definitely can handle the need. It may even be that the songs for these are only updated once a day, or only when a device is on a charger. This would be nice to see.

iCloud

Apple is all about services and one of the services is iCloud. Ever since its introduction in 2008, as the replacement of MobileMe, the amount of free storage has been 5GB. To me, this is not only woefully inadequate, but it makes Apple look really stingy. I understand that Apple has billions of customers and that it is a lot of data that could need to be stored. However, Apple has the money to make this happen. I think the minimum should be at least 10GB. Yes, additional storage can be purchased, but the minimum should be something that users can actually use.

The second iCloud related item, is that there should be a place where one can see all of their iCloud Shared folders. To me, this should already be in the system, but it is not. This should be available in the Files app, in Finder on macOS, and available on iCloud.com. This would be a small feature that would go a long way.

Apple Watch

There are two things that I would like to see for the Apple Watch. One of these relates to charging and the other to watch faces.

When you charge an Apple Watch once the Watch is fully charged a notification will be sent to the paired iPhone. What I would like to see is this enhanced a bit so that the notification will be sent to other nearby devices, like a Mac or an iPad, provided that the devices are logged into the same iCloud account. Like the listing of shared iCloud folders, this is a small feature that would add a nice touch.

The second change is third-party custom watch faces. I think allowing developers to create custom watch faces, and having users install them, is sorely needed. The Apple Watch has a wide variety of watch faces, however, even with all of the customizations that are available, not all watch faces suit the needs of all users. I am not sure if Apple will ever do this, but I am sure that there is a market for this.

Widgets

Widgets were introduced with iOS 14 and have been very popular. When they were introduced there were two limitations, minimal interaction and iOS only. I would like to see some updates to these limitations.

Currently with Widgets you are limited to opening a deep link into an app. I think adding some interactivity is needed. It completely makes sense to limit the feature set for the first release, but adding more features as time goes on makes sense. It would be nice to be able to have additional interaction options.

Along with enhanced interactions, I would like to see Widgets come to the iPad. Right now, Widgets are limited to the left side of the first page on the iPad, whereas the iPhone allows widgets on the home screen. I know this would make my iPad usage experience a bit nicer.

To coincide with widgets on iPad, I would like to see additional sizes. Right now there are three sizes, called “small”, “medium”, and “large”. A small widget is a two columns by two rows, a medium widget is two rows tall by four columns wide, and a large widget is four columns by four rows. The additional sizes could be “extra small”, which would be a one two columns by one row. Additionally, it would be handy to have a vertical “extra small”, where it would be one column by two rows. Furthermore, a “extra small wide” version, which is one row by four columns, as well as the vertical variant, would also be an option.

Barry Sullivan’s Ideas

Barry Sullivan, friend of mine and editor my books, has some ideas on what it might be good for Apple to as well. “for Apple to unleash the iPad Pro with the M1 ‘desktop class’ processor that should allow: Widgets all over the place not just the left side of the screen, a real file system to move files and data around, a mail system that allows “nested folders” that a user can open and close (just like on the Mac), more choices for icon size (think small, medium, and large – like you can in widgets)”.

Barry also added “For me the mail nested folders thing would make my life easier since I track bill pay for me, [and my relatives]. And if the iOS mail world would tie in better with the Mac imap world I would be able to work across devices, after all it is 2021.”

Barry is right, the Mail app on iOS and iPadOS has remained mostly unchanged for the last decade.

iPad

On the topic of the iPad, the new 5th Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and 3rd Generation 11-inch iPad Pro includes an M1 processor. What we do not know is why Apple has in store for the device. There needs to be some big changes for the iPad, beyond getting feature parity, like widgets, with the iPhone. If the iPad is truly going to be its own device, then it needs the software to catch up to the hardware.

There have been those who have speculated that the M1 iPad may be able to run virtual machines or docker installations. It is possible that Apple will do this, but I am not sure, but anything is possible. No matter what, there needs to be a significant improvement in iPadOS, otherwise what is the point of having the iPad because it is effectively a giant iPhone.

The hardware of the iPad has long outstripped the software, and it is beyond time for the software to catch up. It would be great to see iPadOS push the M1 iPad to its limits, possibly with some features only being available on the iPad with the M1 system on a chip. This would not be unprecedented in the history of the iPad, so it would be prudent for Apple to show that they are indeed putting functionality into the iPad and iPadOS.

tvOS and HomePod

There is one prediction that I am going to make. That prediction is that tvOS will be renamed to homeOS. homeOS will be a combination of the Apple TV and the HomePod. The reason that I think this is that the HomePod has been running the same software as tvOS for a couple of years. With the Apple TV and HomePod both being home-based items, it would make sense. Furthermore, with an Apple TV and HomePod both being capable of being a HomeKit Hub, renaming it would make sense.

A couple of job postings have hinted at this. Both of the job postings listed homeOS. Once this was discovered, one was changed to tvOS and the other now says “HomePod”. This is why I think these two will be combined into tvOS.

App Management

There are a couple of things that I would like to see related to the management of apps. These are around data and availability.

All apps contain at least some data. One thing that I would like to see is the ability to backup and restore an individual app’s data without needing to go through Xcode. While many apps sync their data via the cloud, there may be aspects of an app that are local and being able to backup and restore this individually would be a nice thing to have.

Availability of apps is an important one. As much as I would like this next feature I highly doubt that Apple would make it happen, and that feature is side-loading. I would like to see iOS and iPadOS app side-loading similar to that macOS. This would allow for some apps that would not be available otherwise. However, given how much control Apple wants to keep on iOS and iPadOS, I do not see this happening.

Closing Thoughts

Apple’s WWDC keynote, as well as the State of the Union, will be streamed on Monday at 10am pacific time, and 2:30pm pacific time respectively. While the main keynote is great for most users and the media, the State of the Union is geared towards developers and is where we will more likely learn about the nitty gritty details.

As is the case with all of Apple’s keynotes, I will have a recap post after the event has ended. So check back then to see what Apple actually announces.

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%

Wish List for WWDC: iOS

As I mentioned in my OS X wish list Apple has held their early 2016 event and the next event is likely to be Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC). The most successful product in Apple’s history is the iPhone. The iPhone managed to come about at the right time to allow Apple to propel itself to become one of the most valued companies in the world. Besides the design of the hardware, the other crucial aspect of the package is the software, iOS. Let us look at some new features of iOS that some would like to see this year.

iOS

iOS has come a long way since the initial version, iPhone OS 1.0. The feature set within iOS has definitely grown over the years. One of the biggest changes that was introduced iOS 4 was multitasking. Multitasking allows users to have applications run in the background while they are performing other tasks with their iOS devices. While multitasking has made progress, the biggest change to multitasking came last year with iOS 9. That feature is the ability to have side-by-side applications. This recent feature has made tremendous progress in productivity gains for users. While at WWDC 2015, when Apple unveiled the ability has to do side-by-side applications, as well as slide over, no one could predict that Apple would unveil the 12.9-inch iPad Pro in a few short months.

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro is the product that the side-by-side applications was designed for. While side-by-side also works on the iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 4, and 9.7-inch iPad Pro, the 12.9-inch iPad is the device that can demonstrate the utility of the feature the most. On the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, you are able to run two applications in portrait mode, and will only be missing a minimal number of pixels. This means that you effectively have two iPad Air 2’s side by side.

Many have indicated that the iPad has not had the best marketing message over its six short years. This includes the initial message that the iPad was for consumption. Over the past few years Apple has attempted to change the prejudice towards the iPad by providing features that make the iPad a productivity device. Regardless of the message and what one may choose the believe, there is one thing that people cannot deny; the word “Pro” in “iPad Pro” is meant to indicate the it is professional device. There are a few applications that could cement the iPad Pro as a truly professional device. The biggest one that come stop mine is absolutely a “Pro” application. That app is Xcode.

Xcode

The ability to run applications side-by-side, as well as the sheer horsepower that the 12.9-inch iPad Pro has under its hood, has lead many developers to wonder “Where is Xcode for iOS”. While there are many tricky areas that would need to be flushed out in order to make Xcode on iOS a reality, it is possible. One of the limitations of any development environment is memory. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro has 4GB of memory, while the 9.7-inch iPad Pro has 2GB of memory. This would be enough to do some development directly on the device. This is one of the reasons why the iPad Pro would be the preferred platform. The iPad Air 2 also has 2GB of memory, but it may not be ideal given the reasons below.

One of the downsides of Xcode, as it stands right now, is that to be able to develop an iOS application you need a Mac. Imagine, if you will, the ability to build an application, its assets, and test an application all on iOS device. There are a couple of justifications for this. With Xcode 7, you are now able to run your own applications on your own iOS devices, without paying for an Apple Developer account. Now imagine being able to build an application that only you will use, and doing it all on your iOS device. Even better, doing so with Xcode and your application running side-by-side. Talk about live debugging.

One of the possible issues with Xcode on iOS is building interfaces. One of the best tools for this would be the Apple Pencil. Given the iPad Pro has the ability to use the Apple Pencil, the ability to create smaller touch-targets would make this easier to do. The ideal would be to require an Apple Pencil, so that the touch targets would be smaller. Even without an Apple Pencil, it would be possible to do some basic interface building. Being able to snap the interface to a grid, could be an option when not using an Apple Pencil.

The last possible reason for Xcode on iOS to exist only on the iPad Pro is to give the iPad Pro a truly professional-level application. One of the possible issues with this idea is that it would require the ability to be able to target specific devices, or limit installation and options based upon device capabilities. Apple could use some private APIs that would allow them to limit applications to specific devices, if they chose to do so.

Limit based upon device

Many developers have requested a feature that would allow them to target specific devices. This would be a significant benefit for game developers. It would allow developers to build assets tailored specifically for devices. This is already doable, to an extent, using asset slicing and on-demand resources.

To fully implement this, it would take some work not just within iOS but also on the iTunes Store. One of the requirements would be the ability to indicate on the store what devices the application is compatible with. Besides this, it would also require some work on the developer’s part to verify compatibility as well as indicating which devices are compatible. This last aspect would be the least of the concerns, since it would behove the developer to provide the best experience possible for their applications.

Apple knows all of the devices that a user has attached to their iTunes account, so Apple would be able to alert users that an application is not compatible with any of their devices and would allow them to confirm they want to purchase the application regardless of their inability to actually use the application.

One of the possible downsides to adding the limit would be that some developers would only allow the latest and greatest devices. Alternatively, Apple could allow developers to just set minimums for applications that they submit. It is not likely to be a feature that comes about, but one that could add some appeal for both users and developers.

A side benefit for this could be personalized application curation. A section on the iTunes store that would show users applications that would work best on their devices. Again, this would take some integration between the iTunes Store and iOS, but it could be feasible.

Final Thoughts

iOS has seen its share of new features in the last 9 years. Just as one might begin to think that the new features that will be added will begin to wane, Apple surprises users and developers and keeps adding new features. It will be exciting to see what Apple has in store for this year’s World Wide Developer Conference.

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.