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Tagged #apple

WWDC 2024 Wishlist

In line with tradition, I’ve compiled my wishlist for this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference announcements. I’m hoping for thoughtful integration of LLMs across the OSes, performance and reliability updates for core services, and the introduction of a few power-user tweaks and long-missing features.

Some of these ideas have been inspired by others’ wishlists, and where applicable, I’ve included those references. Here’s what I’m hoping to see:

  • Siri that works 🎙️
  • Talk to Siri in Messages 💬
  • Focus status messages 👀
  • Notification category management/blocking 📵
  • Notification summaries 🛎️

Apps

  • Passwords app 🔒
  • Voice Memos transcriptions & summaries 🎤
  • Fix Shortcuts (performance, system shortcuts, reliability) 🦾
  • AirPods button should be able to trigger a Shortcut 🎧
  • Fix Screen Time (reliability) ⏳
  • Files app (performance & reliability) 📂
  • Calendar redesign 🗓️
  • Music redesign 🎵
  • iCloud Shared Photo Library Albums 🖼️

iOS & iPadOS

  • Home screen redesign merging Spotlight and App Library 📱
  • Set default apps (maps, camera, calendar) 📲
  • Lock Screen quick action customization 🔒
  • Smart and AI Playlists 🎶
  • Share Sheet redesign ⬆️
  • Default app support for camera, calendar, & maps 📍
  • iPad Multi-user 👥

macOS

watchOS

  • Custom watch faces ⌚️

visionOS

Developer

  • Xcode for iPad 🛠️
  • Copilot-like assistant in Xcode 🧑‍✈️
  • API for local and cloud LLM access 🤖
  • Clipboard manager API 📋
  • SwiftUI parity with UIKit 🕊️

To be honest, I’ll be elated if I get even half of these things this year. What’re you hoping for from this year’s conference?

If you’ll be in Cupertino for the event next week, don’t hesitate to reach out and say hi! I’ll be there with my Lickability business partner, Brian Capps, from June 10  –  13.

#apple #tech #wwdc

How to Not Know Things

In May 2010, I was offered a job at the Apple Store at the King of Prussia Mall, one of the biggest shopping destinations in the United States. It was my first and only retail job, and in my three months working there, I became the top-selling salesperson (or as Apple called it, “Specialist”) on the sales floor (or as Apple called it, “The Red Zone”). I did this by sharing my passion, knowledge, and care with every customer. But I also did it by Googling a lot, by installing lots of apps for customers to check that they’d work, and by getting a little better every day.

My training for the job involved being clapped at a lot while donning the signature blue T-shirt in a room full of folks learning how to sell iPhones and iPads and create Apple “customers for life”. Our teacher was a blond-haired, blue-eyed surfer-turned-computer salesman named JB who wore white earbuds as a necklace. As he taught from the printed material and screened Apple videos for the class, he kept harping on one point that’s stuck with me in the decades since.

I don’t know, let’s find out

JB taught us that there was no way we could know everything there is to know about every Apple product, let alone every app that runs on them, and every way they can fail. He taught us that rather than making up an answer, guessing, or shrugging our shoulders, we should instead say, “I don’t know, let’s find out”. Admitting that we didn’t know was the first step. Then, we were to find out together with the customer by walking over to a Mac and looking up the answer or pulling in another employee who might know the answer.

This one sentence from a retail training manual contains many insights that I’ve relied on every day since in my personal and professional life:

  1. It’s okay not to know because we can’t know everything, and we shouldn’t expect that of ourselves.
  2. It’s better to admit our ignorance than get things wrong.
  3. Even if we think we might know, it’s okay to double-check because getting it right matters.
  4. People trust us more when we admit our shortcomings.
  5. Learning is better together.
  6. People love to see and share in the process of discovery.
  7. People trust information more when we share the way we found it.
  8. Memorizing isn’t as important as knowing how and where to look things up.

Fuck around and find out

This is another similar phrase that’s become popular since 2020, especially sarcastically in leftist circles. But it’s legitimately valuable advice because sometimes, no amount of Googling or reading about a topic will get you to the answer. Sometimes, trial and error is the only way to learn. By experimenting or fucking around, we learn together by playing together. We do a little science and discover something new about the world that we can share.

Many of the answers to life’s daily questions can be uncovered using these thought technologies. Are you faced with a tricky question in an interview for a new job? Try being honest with the interviewer that you don’t know the answer and explain how you’d research it in detail. Not sure what your gender is? As Mattie Lubchansky suggested on a recent live episode of the Gender Reveal podcast, “fuck around and find out”. Try on makeup, a new set of pronouns, or a binder, and see how it feels!

Let’s make better mistakes tomorrow

Just because you don’t know something today doesn’t mean you won’t know it tomorrow. If you cultivate an attitude that faces the unknown with curiosity, sharing, and experimentation, rather than blame, fear, and stubbornness, you may get a bit smarter every day. You’ll learn much more by remaining open to new discoveries and sharing that journey with the people around you, at work and in the rest of your life. And that continuous improvement, or kaizen, will accumulate like compound interest. It will, in the words of Mike Monteiro, let us “make better mistakes tomorrow”.

What don’t you know right now? What do you want to find out? Let’s do it together.

#advice #apple #knowledge #learning

The Case for “Mark as Unread” in Messages

For decades, email apps like Gmail, Outlook, and Apple Mail have all included a button to mark a message or thread as “unread”. But why? The software knows the message has been read; why is it allowing the user to override that truth and rewrite history?

There’s a simple answer: it’s useful! The unread state of messages in an email app controls things like the number next to the current folder, the application’s badge, and the status indicator next to a message reminding you to look at it. A simple button to say “Oh yep, I know I clicked into it, but I didn’t actually read it or fully process it yet” is a great affordance for users to manage their communications that has stood the test of time. While some argue that flags should be used instead for this kind of message management, they miss the point that flags cannot and do not convey, to either the user or the software, the same meaning as a message being unread.

“Mark as Unread” has been so successful and well-loved in email that it’s been copied by many messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram. And its utility in a casual messaging context is much the same in the slightly more formal email context.

As Tine Welanly put it on Quora:

Let’s say you’re riding the bus and you open a message from a friend, maybe asking you about your plans for the weekend. You have to respond to that but maybe it’s your stop already or you don’t know yet. But if you don’t say anything now, you might forget to respond and then you’ll look like a bad friend. Not to mention you might miss out on some weekend fun.

But the most popular messaging app on iOS, Messages, has never implemented “Mark as Unread” even though users have been clamoring for it for years and it’s been rumored that they tested it. What’s even wilder is that iMessage doesn’t have any other in-app way for the user to signal that they need to return to a message in order to respond to it. The only gesture toward anything like this is an obscure Siri integration.

Messages routinely get forgotten and go unanswered. The missing “Mark Unread” button has no doubt caused countless accidental ghostings, avoidable arguments, and missed opportunities. And its lack has likely made life more difficult for users with conditions that affect memory or follow-through, like ADHD and depression, who may not be able to respond in the moment and have no easy way to record their intention to do so.

So why hasn’t Apple added this feature? If I put on my Product Manager hat, I can think of only one argument that’s likely been made internally to keep this wildly popular feature out of the app. It goes like this: “If we add a button that says mark as unread, wouldn’t users expect that it would unsend their read receipts?”

This is a compelling argument that I was initially sympathetic to, but looking deeper, this just isn’t a problem in the real world. Outlook, which supports both read receipts and Mark as Unread, seems to cause no significant user confusion in this regard. The read receipt exists for the sender, and the local unread status is for the recipient. Simple as that.

Even if this slight ambiguity is too much for Apple to handle, they could instead incorporate another feature from Mail instead: flagging. Allow users to flag a conversation (or an individual message) and then see all their flags in one place, when they’re ready to respond.

Whether Apple chooses to implement this feature as “Mark as Unread”, flagging, or something else entirely, they should implement it, and soon. As more of our communication, both personal and professional, moves online, it’s never been more important that we keep our commitments to each other, that we respond when we say we will, and that we keep dialogue flowing. We’ve long had a great tool for doing exactly that; now that took just needs to meet users where they are.

This article has also been filed as feedback for Apple at FB9838778.

Update: After posting this article, a friend at Apple reminded me that one of the first things he did when he got to the company was try to file a radar for this missing feature. Except he didn’t have to because he found an open bug from yours truly filed in 2009. I’ve been asking for this feature for 12 years and I don’t plan to stop any time soon! Maybe I should try this approach next.

#apple #design #feature #feedback #imessage

WWDC 2020

Apple’s first online-only Worldwide Developers Conference is just a couple days away, and I’m excited to watch as many sessions as I can and chat with new and old friends in the Apple developer community. We’re even opening up the Lickability Discord server so we have a place to meetup and watch talks together. Come join us!

This week, Apple is also under pressure from the developers of Hey and the community at large to change App Store policies on in-app purchase, but I’m not holding my breath on that.

Here’s what’s on my personal WWDC wishlist this year:

✍️ Documentation for all public API
⚙️ Setting default apps
📱Redesigned SpringBoard
🔨 Buddybuild relaunch
🐦 SwiftUI usable in production
📧 Snooze + send later in Mail
💎 Cataylst improvements
💬 Mentions in Messages
🔖 Pronoun sharing in iMessage/Contacts
🖥 Shortcuts on Mac
🔗 Universal Link Settings
🔒 iCloud Keychain Import/Export
🗓 Calendar Redesign
⌚️ Apple Watch Sleep Tracking
🧠 Smart Playlists & Albums on iOS
🧭 iOS Safari Tab Redesign
📲 Customizable Lock Screen Actions
🎛 Control Center Extensions

#apple #iOS #lickability #wwdc

Tokens Acquired by Gikken 

Of course, we didn’t purchase it to shut down or leave unchanged, so we’re planning a major makeover – Tokens 2.

Most importantly, Tokens will finally start supporting IAP promo codes! On top of that, we’ll refresh the look and make an iOS app to make it possible to generate codes on the go.

Great news for such a useful developer tool that’s been missing from my toolbelt for a while. My only question is whether Apple will approve the iOS app.

#app #app store #apple #ios #programming