A Few Thoughts on Apple’s WWDC Announcements

Hooray. I got to watch the WWDC Keynote today in Apple Park! I have lots to report on in the coming days but for now, here are a few thoughts.

The iPad

  • It was really nice today seeing some pro-user features make their way to iPadOS. Stage Manager was first announced in relation to the Mac, but once I saw it, I knew immediately, it’d also be on iPad. This paradigm looks to be a lot easier for people to understand and use. Putting it on both iPad and Mac means knowledge on one platform will be usable on the other. These are all good things.
  • Custom toolbars? Yes, thank you. I like this feature because it makes sense on the iPad interface. Toolbar buttons are big and press-able by our meaty, monkey hands. However, not all of us want or need the same buttons. I hope all the productivity app developers jump on this.
  • External display on the iPad is also overdue, but appreciated. I’ll be curious to see how workflows evolve to support iPads connect to extra, non-touch screens.
  • I’m particularly interested in the new dictation features. QuickType, where you can both type, tap, and dictate at once, should make dictation a lot more accessible to people. I can’t wait to test this out.

The Mac

  • I can see Stage Manager really landing with non-pro users. There are a lot of people that are just lost with their windows. I’ll have to spend some time with it before I can comment on it for power users.
  • Spotlight is creeping up on apps like Alfred but has a while to go. If anything, I expect the enhanced Spotlight features may whet people’s appetite for even more power features.
  • Passkeys sound promising as an alternative to passwords, but there is a lot more to learn here.
  • There definitely is a theme to sharing and collaboration. One of the biggest moves here is the shared Photos library. I can’t wait to test that.
  • Continuity Camera looks to me like a sleeper hit. When folks figure out they can stick their iPhone on their Macs and drastically improve their webcam with no further software or cables, look out.
  • I’m just digging in on the new settings window. Amen here. I suggest we now pour concrete over the grave of the old System Settings. We don’t want it coming back.

The M2

  • The incremental improvements of the M2 are better than I thought they’d be from the M1. It seems about a 20% increase. We’ll not have another huge leap like we did going from Intel to M1 for quite a while. 
  • Now that the stake is in the ground for M2 and the very much linear nature of the improvements of the subsequent M1 chips, it is pretty easy to see where we’re heading with the M2 performance chips. (2X, 4X, 8X, 16X?)

The New MacBook Air

  • I thought today we’d get a peek at the new Mac Pro and not get the new MacBook Air. So I missed that one on both accounts.
  • I was lucky enough to get to handle new MacBook Air for a few minutes. It really does feel like a miniaturized and squished MacBook Pro. It is just a bit lighter than the existing MacBook Air, but having been used to a 16” MacBook Pro, it feels very light.
  • The successor lost the wedge, but the new design still feels good.
  • I really wish the rumors of the colors had come true.
  • You can spec it up to 24GB of RAM and 2TB of storage.

watchOS 9

  • There is no surprise on the additional health emphasis. That said, they look to be some nice improvements.
  • Medication and sleep tracking look immediately useful to me. I think a lot of folks were looking for those features. (Or at least I was.)
  • I’m sad that we didn’t get more/better faces. That said, the new Astronomy and Metropolitan faces look like they are worth a try. 
  • One bit of good news: Some of the classic faces, like Utility, got updated to support rich complications.

A Few More Random Notes

  • I wrote this on a Mac running beta 1 Ventura. So far so good.
  • I am very interested in Freeform. I’ve been looking for an app like this for a long time.
  • It’s not lost on me that we got a lot of nice improvements to Apple Mail across all platforms. I’ll have more to say about this later.
  • The Weather app on the iPad!? That’s crazy. What’s next year? The calculator?
  • I thought we may get some changes to the Notes app to incorporate back-linking and some of the other changes going on in the notes world. Nope.