Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Pre-WWDC Thoughts

Chris Adamson:

The only good desktop Mac available today is the top-of-the-line iMac. Everything else is a goddamned embarrassment: terrible values for the price and clearly products of neglect. In fact, I noticed yesterday that Ramjet is now offering tower-style Mac Pro 5,1’s retrofitted with new CPUs and 1 TB SSDs, and they are arguably more compelling than Apple’s brand-new Mac Pros (and cost $2,000 less!). It takes you back to the days when Power Computing’s Mac clones made a mockery of 1995 Apple’s Performas and 5000-whatever models.


Shazam and Twitterrific are best-of-breed apps on the iPhone, but their Watch apps are straight-up non-functional. Do we think the developers suddenly lost their mojo, or is it that the Watch APIs and internal systems simply do not work reliably enough to build third-party apps atop?

Andrew Cunningham:

Of those, the MacBook and the iMacs are both fine; they were updated fairly recently and there’s not a whole lot you could change about either machine with current technology. But the “Pro” machines especially are notable in a bad way. Mac designs have always lasted for longer than iPhone and iPad designs and Apple’s release schedule is at least partially determined by Intel’s, AMD’s, and Nvidia’s, but that’s a long time to go without revisiting designs.

Rumors suggest Apple will be paying some much-needed attention to its Mac lineup later this year, possibly at WWDC and possibly in the months after. In the meantime, let’s walk through features Apple could add to the platform and things it could change about individual Macs to keep pace with and get back on top of the industry this company once led.


A totally redesigned Mac Pro was announced with much fanfare at WWDC in 2013, three years after the old “cheese grater” Mac Pro got its last significant update.

Jason Snell:

Reverting back to calling the Mac operating system “Mac OS” is high on my wish list. I’d prefer that particular style to some newfangled “macOS”, but I’ll take that if it’s the only way to get the Mac back in the name of the operating system that powers it. I’d like the “X” consigned to the ash heap of history. I’m okay with the idea of place names continuing as the monikers for Mac OS releases, but I’d prefer Apple just go to sequential numbering as it has with its other platforms—starting with Mac OS 11 this fall.


More importantly, it’s way past time for both the Mac Pro and the MacBook Pro to receive updates. The Mac Pro hasn’t been updated in ages, to the point where it’s actually embarrassing that Apple’s still charging full price for such old technology.

Steven Frank:

WWDC pipe dreams: fix Finder, fix iTunes, fix App Store, stop iOSification of Mac OS, pro hardware with top-end specs and ports intact

John Siracusa:

…and a new file system.

Mark Sullivan:

Perhaps most importantly, Apple is likely to finally release a software development kit (SDK) to developers so that they can integrate Siri into their own apps.

Rohan Naravane:

In an attempt to keep the user experience in check, Apple has always given its own apps the first priority. For example, a hyperlinked email address in a messaging app when clicked, will open the Mail app, and not Gmail. Or when a location is shared on WhatsApp, it is Apple Maps that opens up by default, not Google Maps. Although past experience doesn’t suggest Apple will let people choose their default app preferences, letting Siri roam beyond the walled garden can provide 3rd party apps a level playing field at least with voice control.

Here are five things I’ll be glad to say to Siri once developers are given access, effectively bypassing some of Apple’s mediocre service offerings.

Nick Heer:

Of all the things I wish to see at WWDC next week, improvements to search — across the board — rank highly on my proverbial list. The company has come a long way in a very short period of time, but search still isn’t good enough; searching on both the App Store and Maps, in particular, remain among the most frustrating experiences on any of Apple’s platforms.

Dan Moren:

We spend a lot of time navigating through the lock and home screens on our iOS devices, and rather than them just being way stations for us to pass through en route to our apps, it’d be great if they offered a little more utility along the way.


Cut, copy, paste and text selection was missing for a long time on the iPhone. Those text-handling features didn’t arrive until iOS 3, but they’ve remained largely unchanged since then. The problem is that they’ve become increasingly finicky. Trying to select just the portion of a web page I want to copy has turned into a battle for me, trying to seize one of those blue text-selector handles and not having it snap away because the software thinks it knows what I want.

Jason Snell:

iOS needs to handle files better, specifically on external drives. I should be able to attach an SD card (or even a USB hard drive) full of files to my iPad Pro and import the files I need; right now, if it’s not a video or audio file, I’m out of luck.

Gus Mueller:

A Mac OS upgrade which is about bug fixes and minor features. Maybe even moving to an 18 month upgrade cycle instead of a yearly one.

Erica Sadun:

My answer is the same as it’s been for years: “Bug fixes and security enhancements.” I’m a bit over the yearly update cycle.


I’d just like an Xcode, tool-chain that actually works.

As for me, the number one thing I want from WWDC is for Apple to focus on fixing bugs (in the OSes, apps, services, and Xcode).

Update (2016-06-09): Tim Schmitz:

WWDC kicks off in just a few days, which means it's prediction time. This year I've got one that's a little off the wall: Not only will there be an API for Siri, but it'll be iCloud-based and take advantage of Swift on the server.

4 Comments RSS · Twitter

Christian Beck

Search? How about searching for partial strings in the in iOS?

We Germans love our compound nouns and looking for a doctor ("Arzt") should the certainly find the eye doctor ("Augenarzt"). But doesn't.

"WWDC pipe dreams: fix Finder, fix iTunes, fix App Store, stop iOSification of Mac OS, pro hardware with top-end specs and ports intact"

Amen to all of that. And one more thing, it should be either unveiling an updated Mac Pro or "Phil Schiller in a thong".

The delay on Mac hardware is bizarre and more than a little bit inexcusable. The Skylake chips for the 15" MBP came out in January. If as rumors say it's not released until late fall that is ridiculous.

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