My WWDC 2022 Wishlist: iOS 16
WWDC is just around the corner so its that magical time that everything is possible before reality sets in. Here are a few things that I would love Apple to announce.
iOS 16: All about the Socials and Creation
Icon Packs, and more Customization options: iOS 14 and iOS 15 really show an explosion in people customizing and sharing the looks of their iPhones, even if it meant hacking it with 3rd party widgets and Shortcuts. I think Apple should embrace this trend and allow for custom icon packs and allow icons to be placed anywhere on the home screen if people want them. Maybe not be default, but allow it as a setting for people who want to do that. Also, I kinda wish iOS 16 would take on the newer iconography from MacOS so that the two match a little better now.
Wallpapers: I hope that Apple considers bringing back old iOS wallpaper and adding them to the collection as well as introduces the dynamic wallpapers that MacOS has, I think that’s a really fun feature of the Mac that your wallpaper changes depending on the time of day. Allowing 3rd party wallpaper apps to plug into the system settings would be pretty cool for services like Bing’s Wallpaper of the day that would have my iPhone change wallpaper automatically every day. I really like that feature on Android.
Interactive Widgets: Home screen widgets have been transformational for me with the iPhone over the last couple of years. I hope that Apple has finally figured out how to make them interactive without destroying your device’s battery life.
Notification Summary: Notification summary is a great idea, but the implementation has been a little bit messy and they ended up cleaning it up as the year went along. I’m not sure what the solution is with this one, but I’m sure they can come up with a more elegant solution.
Apple Music: Apple Music drives me nuts how it does not cache the “Listen Now’ tab offline. Apple brags about machine learning and how the library works offline. The Listen Now tab is my #1 used tab and its maddening that after all of these years I still have to wait 5–10 seconds to start playing music, I don’t have that issue with Spotify. Also, I kinda wish cover flow would come back. That was a fun feature that was admittedly useless, but just so much fun. I think they could do a cool version of it for the Listen Now , Browse, and Radio tabs.
Apple Maps: I wish that Apple would do for Menu’s that they did for magazines in Apple News+. Menu’s in Apple Maps right now are kinda weird with it throwing you out of Yelp. It would be nice if there was an in-app way to see prices and photos of what’s on the menu for a particular place like you do the hours.
Messages: I think that Messages should support RCS. I’m currently part of a group chat filled with many iPhone users and a couple of Android users. Its maddening to have a 10+ person chat that works like cell phones did when I was in high school and then to not be secure to boot. I also think that there should be a bigger push with sticker packs like Telegram does that doesn’t require you to have xCode to make, I think there should be support for sticker creation in Swift Playgrounds for iPad and an iPhone app as well. Also, I think that iMessage reactions should be like Discord and Facebook Messenger and allow for any emoji reaction. Messages should have a vibrant 3rd party ecosystem of filters that change throughout the year for events, holidays, etc that people and companies could make. A lot of us love chatting with friends and family, but would prefer it NOT to be tied to a social network if we could help it. Heck, if Apple introduced a vibrant sticker ecosystem with filters and better RCS support I could see them charging Android users to use the app and market it as a private social network like Path was a couple of years ago. I think Apple should also allow you to make a message thread as unread as well as support really big chats like Slack/Telegram do as a way to introduce a way for Apple-heavy businesses to have a Slack competitor built right into their Apple devices, including Message apps for Pages, Keynote, and Numbers to share documents in your work chats.
Swift Playgrounds for iPhone: This sounds absurd on its face, but I think that you could have a micro version of Swift Playgrounds for the iPhone that focused on learning Swift through daily lessons and challenges, including community challenges with rewards like the Apple Watch medals. You could also have a Message sticker and Messages filter composer in it as well that lets you share stickers or filters with people and post them directly to the App Store for other people to use and you possibly make money off of.
Activity App and Fitness+ Leaderboards: I love, love, love Fitness+, but I think that Apple should flesh out the community with the Messages backend and allow for you to search for local fitness groups like for running, swimming, biking, yoga, etc and chat with them, share photos, share smack talk + stickers, etc. The Activity app should also make its way over to Android as well as the Apple Watch. It would open Apple Watch to a much wider market of potential customers. It appears that Google may be finally getting serious about wearable with the Galaxy Watch 4 and the Pixel Watch later this year with their Fitbit integrations, Apple could kneecap that effort by making the Apple Fitness+ Community and Apple Watch available to the rest of the world.
GarageBand for Podcasts: GarageBand for the iPad and iPhone just are not built for recording and editing podcasts. The iPhone has a pretty good microphone built into it and you can always attack a microphone…I think that there should be a Clips-like App for the iPhone for audio recording, editing, and publishing. It would be nice to be able to record a SharePlay session with other people, including Android users via a FaceTime call link that they introduced last year. Maybe call the app “Conversations” or something like that.
Photos: My friends and family really love the automatic video creation in Apple Photos and I think that Apple should this year focus on social features of Photos, particular the shared album experience and introduce shared libraries for family sharing. I think that Apple Photos should also have an Android app that allows Android users to back up their photos to iCloud and same with Windows users. I think Apple Photos should become a private photo sharing community just for friends and family like Messages is with messaging. I would also like Apple to leverage more A.I. recommendations on photo editing, including smarter auto fixing, filter suggestions, a magic eraser function, and Live Photo ideas. The filters and stickers that I mentioned with Messages should also make an appearance in this more editing and shareable photo app.
Home app Redesign: New categories would be nice, especially for robotic vacuums, lawn mowers, sprinkler systems, ovens, fridges, washers, and dryers. I like the quick shortcuts they introduced to the top, but I thin that the iPhone and iPad app just do not scale very well once you get to a very large smart home. I love the ambient lighting features that they introduced last year and went out and upgraded my Hue Lights for that feature, but I do wish you could tell your lights to dim over time like I can with the Nest Hub.
Calendar: Apple Calendar is a little spartan by design, but a lot of people use it. I would love the option to display Apple reminders in my daily timeline like Fantastical and other 3rd party apps do. I would also appreciate more natural language calendar input that takes things like “Lunch with Brian at 2pm at Foosackley’s” and fills out the fields appropriately. Also, being able to quickly add an online meeting to a calendar event would be really handy beyond just FaceTime. I wish they would allow Teams, Zoom, Google Meet, Cisco WebEx and other 3rd party apps to be an option.
Contacts: I think that the Apple Contacts app is an app that could be more of a destination that it is currently is. For new contact creation I think that they should take the Live Text Engine and OCR and make it so that somebody can easily scan in a business card into their Contact book. I also think that the Notes field should be more of a focus going forward. It should be easy to add Contact notes via a Home Screen widget or Siri dictation. Notes should have the option to be encrypted with a password or FaceID/TouchID biometrics like they are in Apple Notes. I think that Contacts should also have an interaction history for a particular contact card that you pull up, including the last Messages conversation, calendar event, photos/attachments, phone call, Apple Pay transactions, etc. I should be able to open up a contact in the Contacts App and see my last engagement with them and private notes about them with ease. Also, I think that they should pull a feature form Cardhop and introduce a Business Card sharing feature that lets you set up certain fields and images to share with people via the Share Sheet/Tap to Share/QR code generation.
Whiteboard app: Apple notes has become my most used Note taking application for about two years now, namely because of the fantastic Apple Pencil support. I wish that Apple would add a Whiteboard app to their productivity suite of Pages, Keynote, and Numbers. With hybrid and remote work going mainstream in 2020 and beyond I think having an application on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac that let people collaborate on ideas without having to intermix them with their personal notes would be a useful thing, especially if it supported shapes, handwriting beautification, templates, etc. The whiteboard canvas should be infinite in every direction and inspire people to be creative with their brainstorming. You should be able to embed videos, photos, text, and documents from across the web and local sources.
Voice Recorder: Apple should take a note from Google’s Pixel phones and introduce live transcription of voice recordings to the Voice Recording application.
Phone app: The phone app on the iPhone is one of the areas on the iPhone that is most overdo for innovation. Apple brags about how smart the iPhone, but very little of that has come to the actual phone app. Its been years for the voicemail transcription beta and the competition uses its Assistant to screen calls for you, also stay on the phone for you for support calls, and help you navigate phone tree’s without you having to keep the phone up to your ear. I hope that the Phone app gets some love this year. The phone part of the iPhone is the worst part of owning an iPhone.
Apple Books: I love the Apple Books app, I guess because I just love books. I hope that the Apple Books gets a book subscription service for both ebooks and audiobooks. I would also love the ability to use the Apple Pencil to freely mark up eBooks, textbooks ,and PDFs and export those screenshots or notes to apps like Pages, Word, or another writing app.
Apple News: Apple News is one of my favorite iPhone apps that I use multiple times a day, I particularly like the Audio+ stories lately. It would be nice if Apple brought in a video hub like they have in the TV app on the AppleTV, especially for breaking news.
Mindfulness app: The breathe app is an app that I initially made fun of when they announced it for the Apple Watch, but I have come to really enjoy it over the years. I wish that the app also existed on the iPhone so that you could get to the Apple Fitness+ meditations easier and they also surfaced the background sound feature from system settings. I think that would surface that really nice feature for more people and offering the Meditations for free would be a cool way to get more people to consider Fitness+ as a service. Also, I would throw in a emoji-based mood journal as well. I think that could be fun way for people to keep a simple emotional journey with an emoji and a couple of lines of text.
Camera: The iPhone camera app feels a little overloaded at this point. I know it’s a hard balance to strike between everyday users and power users. I almost wish that there was a “Pro” mode and a standard mode that you could easily swap back and forth between with a button or gesture.