Predictions? Well, more like a list of features I’d like to see.
(Whooshing noise of an arid, empty landscape. A tumble weed bounds past.)
If they do anything on the computer side, it’s probably going to be a CPU refresh on the MacBook Airs. Leaks also show a MacBook Pro refresh is coming, and it’s even in late enough stages to show some cases and an intriguing LED touch strip to replace the function keys. I would be surprised if Apple wants to wait until the Fall event to talk about it, but I’d also be surprised if they unveiled them now. Something tells me that Apple will have a Mac event of some sort in July.
Apple Music needs a cold slap in the face, and rumors do point to a “refresh” of the service. But what does that mean, exactly? What would be changeable? My answer would be for better Genius-like discovery, shareable playlists and a cheaper pricing tier. And of course, to fix that “delete your library” feature which didn’t go over so well.
iCloud Disk is behind the pack in it’s usability. The gold standard in file sharing is dropbox, and I’d like to see more features added to make iCloud Disk as flexible. I’d also like to see some Mac backup features. I expect to see neither.
iCloud did go out for half a day last week, which usually means that something was major being tinkered with. What it could be is a total wildcard. There really is no sense in guessing, and you would be a fool to try. So here’s my guess: end-to-end encryption of all Apple syncing services.
Apple Pay has been going great, but the next step would be to allow loyalty systems and peer-to-peer payments. It’s not wrong to think that Apple might also become a PayPal-like system with its’ own accounts, but I don’t know if they want to scare off banks and credit card companies yet, who would be terrified of Apple taking over their sector and pull out of Apple Pay instantly.
It would also be nice to be able to choose a different card on the fly at the POS rather than having to dive into the settings to do it.
iOS App Store changes have been detailed over the past week, but I’m not convinced that enough is being done. Searches are not a complete answer for discovering apps, because you don’t always know what you’re looking for by name. Searching by category can be a lost cause, as the 1.5 million apps are separated by just 24 categories. That’s only 62,500 apps per category to scroll through to find what you want.
Mac App Store is lonely and needs a sandwich.
The rumored re-brand of Mac OS X to macOS has something else behind it. OS X has been a marketing tool for over a decade, and to push it aside might mark a huge turn Apple is making. Have they got something to replace UNIX? Or maybe the marketing people may be bored and are just changing things for the sake of change. I don’t know if we’ll get a complete answer as to what’s going on.
I do know in my bones that Apple wants to make their own processors for the Mac. And that may necessitate making a new version of the Mac OS.
As for the nitty-gritty of Mac OS X features, Apple seems to just work from a big top hat full of slips of paper to figure out what to do next. Last year was a new system font, Safari pinned sites, a notifications panel and yet another way to control your desktop windows. None of that was exactly an in-demand necessity nor a sea-change.
What I’d like to see is a simplification of the desktop to eliminate obscure gestures and replace them with on-screen cues. I’m getting fed up with making the wrong motion with a finger and then winding up on a different desktop or seeing the window I’m working on shrinking down to micro-size as I’m trying to get things done.
Siri on the Mac? Sure, why not. It’s probably an improvement, but usually I’m already at my Mac, with my hands at the keyboard. A voice interface doesn’t save a whole lot of time, in the end. I think it’s more of a “gee whiz” feature than a useful one.
And if I call out “Hey Siri,” does my mac, my two iPads and my iPhone all respond? It would be nice if my devices kind of figured out which one was in charge and I only got a response from one of them.
iTunes just got a nice UI re-think, but it was not a complete job, and we may hear what the long-term plan is for it at WWDC.
Please, for the love of God, update iWork back to usable status. Either that or just tell us that you’re ditching it for Office. It would be nice to know either way.
iOS I still don’t like the control panel feature, as I think this becomes the junk drawer of the OS, and I’d like to have a cleaner solution. Putting the navigation buttons at the top of the screen for the larger phones is still a problem as well. On iPads, especially the 12”, the interface needs to be a little more dynamic to feel more native to the large screen size. The icons on the launcher are ridiculously spaced out, for instance, but you could also improve the stock apps like Music which have vast areas of white space with tiny, tiny icons.
There’s still a need for inter-app data sharing on iOS and I’d really love to see a more robust copy-paste interface. It’d be nice to drag-and-drop between split-screen apps, too.
watchOS is wide open for change. The current tap-firm press-scroll-winding interface is bonkers. I still don’t know how you get to the launcher screen. It’s bad enough that any change to the interface is probably going to be a good one. The thing to keep an eye open for at WWDC is a renewed emphasis on medical device support. I think that the last stand of the Watch will be as a medical device hub, with new Apple-designed bio-monitoring devices.
Messages needs a push beyond it’s current features. I think it needs to get friendlier with it’s casual users, with fun features like Snapchat’s video filters and LINE’s stickers, but also move into group collaboration like Slack. Messages could go to Android, sure, and expanding the user base is great, but it may be more important to stop losing your existing users.
Lastly, this is a developer’s conference, so I also expect yet another version of Xcode that will deliver some feature only developers would even be able to understand. Last year, I said that I’d like to see a more prosumer-focused programming solution rather than just going after the veteran hardcore coders. It still stands.