Zack Apiratitham

WWDC 2021 Wish List

See my other posts in this series: 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020.

It's becoming such a cliché now during this pandemic when we say that time is a weird concept. But the other day I was in for a rude awakening when I found out that it's almost June. I say this every year but this year really did fly by. On the bright side, we all know what this means: it's WWDC time! To keep on the tradition, here is my wish list for this year:

16-inch MacBook Pro with Apple Silicon

We all know it's unlike Apple to announce new hardware during their big event for new software, but I think this is the right crowd to announce this for. As previously mentioned, my current 2017 MacBook Pro is starting to make me feel like I could use an upgrade. And with how well-received the M1 chip has been, I have never been more eager to see the larger MacBook Pro get a refresh. The rumors this time around have started to really pick up with a couple of recent reports saying that there is a new 16-inch MacBook Pro with Apple Silicon coming very soon with "a redesigned chassis, magnetic MagSafe charger and more ports for connecting external drives and devices" as well as the HDMI port and the SD card slot. If these all turned out to be true, this would be the best MacBook Pro update in recent memory. It also would be an unprecedented backtracking from Apple. We just saw a similar thing happened with the new Siri Remote dubbed "The Apology Remote". So I think we stand a good chance of getting "The Apology MacBook Pro" at WWDC which would make a lot of people very, very happy.

Affordable External Display

I already said this last year, and I'm going to say it again: Apple needs a less expensive external display in their product line-up. The five-thousand-dollar Pro Display XDR is an amazing feat of engineering, but at that price nobody can justify that unless you are a media production company. We sorely need an Apple-branded display that is aimed more for the mass market. Think the 27-inch Apple Thunderbolt Display. They cannot honestly expect us to use the M1 iPad Pro (with Thunderbolt 3, no less) or these new Apple Silicon Macs with this insanely expensive monitor. Apple knows that the MacBook Pro is very popular among developers — no doubt among those in attendance at WWDC — and they connect their laptops to one or more external displays, myself included. I have been holding off on replacing my monitors in hope for a new Apple monitor for years. I am still using these two ugly mismatched 24-inch 1080p ASUS monitors (one of them being a hand-me-down) from my college days as my setup.

Again, here is all I'm asking: take out that 5K 27-inch panel in the discontinued iMac Pro (or the one you're putting in the new 27-inch Apple Silicon iMac), put it in an external display chassis, maybe add some bells and whistles like a webcam, USB-C ports, fancy speakers, etc., slap a $1,300-1,500 price tag on it (knowing Apple), and take my money.

Catch Up iPadOS with the Hardware

The iPad Pros are such powerful devices, and now with the M1 chip in them, they're as powerful as the brand-new iMac. iPadOS, on the other hand, needs a lot of work to catch up with the incredible hardware it's running on. I am really hoping that this year will be the year we see some significant improvements to iPadOS to unlock the device's potential. As a developer, I would absolutely love to be able to do some sort of software development on it. The multitasking model on it also needs some rethinking/refinements to make it easier to use and manage. I have been eyeing these new M1 iPad Pros ever since they were announced in April but am still holding out on them to see what they do with iPadOS 15.

Home Screen Widgets

The popularity of iOS 14's widgets surprised a lot of people, even Apple themselves. Knowing this, I'm fairly certain that Apple will iterate more on this feature in the upcoming iOS 15. My wish for that is for them to be more interactive as right now the only possible action is launching the app (or launch the app to perform actions in it). These widgets would be vastly more useful if we were able to use them to do things like checking to-do items off or controlling media playback right from the home screen. They could also go a step further and do away with the left-to-right top-to-bottom grid for the home screen and let us place items wherever we want on there.


I've recently added more smart devices to the Home app and found some of the controls and automations lacking. For example, the camera automation includes options to turn the camera on or off based on the location of the members of the household. But there is currently no way to do that based on time of day. This would be really useful as I would like my indoor cameras to record when I'm at home but only during the time when I would be asleep to keep an eye on the house at night. Also the HomeKit Secure Video only saves recorded clips at 1080p and I think there should be an option for us to store them at full resolution. Sharing the Home with household members could also use improvements as I found things like notifications and access to settings to be real flaky.


While Apple made some good additions to Shortcuts in iOS 14, there is still a lot to be desired. Location-based automations need to run automatically without requiring user input. Right now by requiring confirmation, they fail at the very thing they're supposed to do. These automations need to also stop popping up as notifications every time they run, cluttering up Notification Center. Please just make it an option to turn these off.

Memories Management in Photos

I love the Memories feature that resurfaces old photos grouped based on people, places, or events into nicely curated collections. And putting this as widgets on my home screen makes it all even more delightful. However, I wish there were more controls built into this such as changing cover photo for each Memory or hiding Memories based on people, time periods, or places. I also wish they would add more inclusive holiday Memories to the mix like Chinese New Year or Diwali as the ones I've ever seen are only for days like Christmas or Independence Day.

Screen Time for tvOS

We already have Screen Time for iOS, iPadOS, and macOS, so adding this to tvOS is a no-brainer. I spend a lot of time on my Apple TV so I would really like to see some data here. I'm not sure what's taking them so long, it seems like it shouldn't be that hard to implement. I've been waiting for this since 2019 so I really hope this year is the year.

Apple Event Coverage on ATP

If you listen to Accidental Tech Podcast, you are probably aware of the running joke on the show about how incredibly long episodes covering Apple events usually are. During the most recent episode the hosts talked about how they were about to spend such a disproportionate amount of time discussing the Apple Podcasts announcement (which Tim Cook spent precisely one minute and quarter covering). That had me wondering about the exact ratios of time the guys typically spend talking about the event vs the event itself.

Unbeknownst to me, Apple in fact publishes their event videos with its own public RSS feed just like any other podcast. Now with the exciting realization that I won't have to manually comb through the archive of Apple media event videos, I whipped up a quick and dirty script to pull the duration data from the respective feeds and do the calculation for every ATP episode that covers an Apple event.1

So let's get the big question out of the way: which Apple event did they spend the most disproportionate amount of time discussing? That honor goes to the Mac event in November 2020.

A graph depicting the ratios between Apple Event vs ATP episode durations

The event itself clocked in at just under 49 minutes2 and the ATP episode discussing this came in at 2h 43m 45s making the ratio 3.34. This means that for every minute of that event, the guys spent 3 minutes and 20 seconds discussing it. That really should not come as a huge surprise as this was the shortest event they have covered so far. Plus what's more exciting to talk about than the very first Macs for the ARM transition that all of us Apple nerds have been anticipating for years?

And funny enough, in second place is the most recent episode from this past week's event, with the ratio of 2.57 (2m 34s per minute). If you're curious and too lazy to look it up, they spent 43 minutes and 34 seconds talking about that minute-and-a-quarter podcast announcement alone.

A graph depicting Apple Event vs ATP episode durations

Now let's look at some stats for all of the events they have discussed on the show. From the very first Apple event they covered (the WWDC 2013 "can't innovate anymore my ass" keynote) to the most recent one this past week, there were 27 events in total. Those events average at 1h 41m 9s while ATP episodes come in at 2h 12m 5s. This results in the average ratio of 1.47 (1m 28s for every minute of the event).

Since the pandemic, Apple transitioned to doing their events entirely online with shorter-yet-still-packed pre-produced events. The pre-COVID number is 1.24 (1m 14s) and the pandemic-era number, starting with WWDC 2020, is 2.38 (2m 28s). These recent short events really did come loaded with tons of stuff to talk about.

So in summary:

  1. I'm using the main feed of the show instead of the ad-free member or bootleg feed in order to keep the numbers consistent for its entire catalog. ↩︎

  2. Apple's shortest event ever in the archive actually. The second shortest being the October 2008 event with 52 minutes where Steve Jobs announced the unibody MacBook Pro. ↩︎

My Top 5 Books of 2020

If there was one good thing that came out of the horror of 2020 for me, it's that my reading habit got more solidified. Given that we can no longer go out to restaurants, sitting down to read a book after dinner has become a must-do daily routine. Even though I did not read as many books as I'd like with all the time available, this year I tried to read more widely by selecting novels and non-fiction topics I hadn't usually chosen. Trying to be a more critical reader, I also started taking better notes and highlights, and spending more time thinking about the ideas presented to me.

This year I read 23 books with 16 nonfiction and 7 fiction. While the number of books matches my 2019 number, the number of pages increased by 45% to 8,519 pages in total. This averages to 23 pages per day and 370 pages per book. In years past I almost always bought ebooks, but in an effort to build up a home library, I started buying mostly physical copies this year, so 17 of these I bought as hard copies.

The following are the five books that made my 2020 top list. Note that these are not necessarily books that came out this year, but just the ones that I read and found to be the most affecting and interesting to me personally.

How to Be an Antiracist cover

How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi (2019)

Like a lot of people this year, I was prompted to inquire more into racism in the US and to be better informed when it comes to these racial issues. Dr. Kendi argues that we cannot just simply be "not racist" as inaction against racism equates to helping perpetuate racism itself, and therefore we must actively be anti-racist to dismantle it. As a foreigner who spent a better part of my adolescent years in the US, his take on assimilation and "Americanization" as being inherently racist ideas hit me on a personal level and made me question my past actions in trying to fit in.

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism cover

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power by Shoshana Zuboff (2019)

The Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma pushed me to check this one out. Before reading this, I had already been ardently against the shady practices tech giants like Google and Facebook put in place to make billions with our behavioral data, but this book opened my eyes to so much more. It is a deeply troubling but incredibly important book for our time and goes way beyond the issue of privacy. There is no doubt that these companies — especially Facebook — are in no small part responsible for the spread of anti-intellectualism, conspiracy theories, the rise of extremism, and the overall political discourse in recent years. We are living in a dystopian world where these companies know so much more about us than we realize and effectively have the means to control us. This was the longest book I read this year, coming in at 691 pages. It is not a light read but it covers a lot of ground, exploring virtually every facet of what these surveillance capitalists are doing to our society, how they're undermining democracy, and what it could mean for the future.

Dune cover

Dune by Frank Herbert (1965)

This one has been on my list for a long while, and earlier in the year I finally picked it up in preparation for the film adaptation that has since been delayed. I have not read that many sci-fi novels, so I figured if I were to change that I definitely have to read Dune. It became clear to me not long into the book that Star Wars was heavily inspired by Dune: The desert planet, dew gatherers on Arrakis vs moisture farmers on Tatooine, Bene Gesserit's Voice vs the Jedi mind tricks, to name just a few. I don't think I need to say much more about this book as we all know how original and highly-regarded it is.

Letters from an Astrophysicist cover

Letters from an Astrophysicist by Neil deGrasse Tyson (2019)

This is a collection of his responses to people who wrote to him. His perspectives, ways of thinking, and outlook on the importance of science and reason deeply resonate with me. I have a long list of quotes from this book so I'll let his words speak for themselves:

Once you confess to not knowing what you are looking at1, no logical line of reasoning allows you to then declare that you know what you are looking at. [...] To go from “We don’t know” to “It must be God” is another example of an argument from ignorance.

True science literacy is less about what you know and more about how your brain is wired for asking questions.

But one must always recognize the difference between knowing that something is true, knowing that something is not true, and not knowing one way or another. It’s the not knowing part that leaves singular events susceptible to inventive accounts (especially from conspiracy theorists) of what may have happened.

The world is no stranger to religious warfare—with abject slaughter of countless innocents in the name of one god or another. So [the] supposition that one needs God to behave or to give meaning to life—while it may be true for many people—is certainly not a pre-requisite to a fulfilling, law-abiding life.

Chasing New Horizons cover

Chasing New Horizons: Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto by Alan Stern and David Grinspoon (2018)

This book chronicles the decades-long fight to get the New Horizons mission off the ground against all odds, and I must say that I did not expect it to be such a thrilling read. Truly almost a missed opportunity for generations to come, the mission was a race against time as Pluto traveled further away from the sun and, had they waited too long, would cause the atmosphere to dissipate, preventing any kind of atmospheric study from being conducted. It is also an amazing underdog story as the team at the Applied Physics Laboratory competed against the more experienced Jet Propulsion Laboratory to get their mission selected with such tight budgetary constraints and all the red tapes. The second half of the book went over fascinating insights and science behind the eventual fly-by in all of its glorious details. The story gave me such admiration for these people doing the remarkable work of advancing humanity's scientific knowledge.

What I'm Looking Forward to in 2021

  • A Promised Land by Barack Obama. This is what I am currently reading and will be into 2021. I was too young (and too far away) to pay much attention to US politics during the 2008 election or his first presidential term, so it's been such an insightful read so far.
  • How to Avoid a Climate Disaster by Bill Gates. I have been waiting for Bill to write a book for a long time now so I am eagerly looking forward to this one.
  • The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green. As a Green brothers fan and Nerdfighter, this is a must-read for me.
  • To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini. I loved the Inheritance Cycle and have been looking forward to this for years. Despite that, I had no idea this came out earlier this year! Definitely will be the next novel I read.

  1. In answering a question about a UFO sighting, reminding us what the "U" stands for. ↩︎

Apple's App Tracking Transparency Feature


Apple in iOS 14 is planning to introduce a new App Tracking Transparency feature that will let users know when companies want to track them across apps and website. Following outcry from developers like Facebook and ad networks unprepared for the change, Apple delayed the implementation of the anti-tracking functionality until early 2021.

Craig Federighi, in an interview with The Independent (via MacRumors):

“If we sell cars with airbags, and we decided to put airbags in our cars before someone else did, and customers want to buy those, I think it's great that we've provided that that choice,” he said. “We're not waiting for someone to require we do it, we're we're making that part of what it means to use our platform.”

I think Apple should have shipped this feature already. They are not outright banning this practice but only giving users the awareness and option to opt out. These companies have been operating these data mining and surveillance operations for way too long without much oversight. They are now complaining because they know that they are collecting users' data without their consent. And they know that most users, if given the option to opt out, would do so.

This is not about small businesses or whatever bullshit they come up with, it's about them needing as much raw materials as possible to extract behavioral data from. And those data are then turned into "personalized experiences" which in reality just means figuring out what we want, think, and feel and then selling that information to advertisers or worse.

M1 MacBook Air Benchmark

MacRumors (via Hacker News):

The M1 chip, which belongs to a ‌MacBook Air‌ with 8GB RAM, features a single-core score of 1687 and a multi-core score of 7433. According to the benchmark, the M1 has a 3.2GHz base frequency.


In comparison to Macs, the single-core performance is better than any other available Mac, and the multi-core performance beats out all of the 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro models, including the 10th-generation high-end 2.4GHz Intel Core i9 model. That high-end 16-inch MacBook Pro earned a single-core score of 1096 and a multi-core score of 6870.

That is crazy talk. The entry-level laptop without a fan beating out top-of-the-line 16-inch MacBook Pro! Imagine what the higher-powered variant of this chip could do in a desktop Mac with more thermal envelope and wattage.

My current 2017 15-inch MacBook Pro has been feeling slightly long in the tooth and I was considering upgrading to the then new 16-inch model until Apple announced back in June that they are transitioning to ARM. Now I am certain that my next Mac will be an Apple Silicon Mac. My hope is that before or during WWDC next year, they will announce a 16-inch model of this.

Introducing WidgetLink

A few weeks ago after iOS 14 came out, the App Store was suddenly flooded with apps designed specifically around the new Home Screen widgets and customization. Some of them are Widgeridoo, Widgy, and the most notable one being "Underscore" David Smith’s wildly successful Widgetsmith.

An idea with a simple premise popped into my head: I wish I can have customizable Home Screen widgets that can open any URL. Since I had already been looking for an excuse to properly learn SwiftUI, I figured why not just try to make this myself as a learning exercise.

widgetlink icon small

WidgetLink is a very basic app that lets you create widgets on your Home Screen that can launch any URLs. This is not limited to just web URLs but also any app’s URL scheme. This means that not only can it open web links but any app or action can also be performed with their provided URL schemes.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that this is not a very useful or unique app with its functionality. There’s probably only one other person who might even find this remotely useful. The way it works is also not very elegant due to a technical limitation that's not within my control: when the link is tapped, instead of opening the URL, it first launches the app before opening the URL in a browser.

You might also be thinking “but Zack, you can already do all this with a Shortcuts widget” and you would be absolutely right. But with that you can only fit at most 4 actions on a medium widget with little customization on how they look.

Customization is a big deal with iOS 14 and WidgetLink allows you to pick text and background color, number of rows and columns, link image and its shape to suit your Home Screen aesthetics.

This currently supports small and medium widgets. The small one, again, due to limitation of the OS, can only be used to launch a single URL. You can long press on the widget to edit and choose which URL to display.

On the medium widget, up to 15 URLs can be shown (albeit looking pretty crowded). You can reorder the links inside the app by tapping the Edit button in the list view. This ordering will arrange the links on the widget in a left-to-right top-to-bottom manner.

iPhone 11 Pro Max 0 Widgets framed
iPhone 11 Pro Max 1 Links framed
iPhone 11 Pro Max 3 Settings framed

Special Thanks

This wouldn't be possible without the incredible 100 Days of SwiftUI tutorials which helped me tremendously at learning the basics of SwiftUI enough to get me started on developing this app. Also I'd like to thank my girlfriend Jess for a small but important contribution she made by picking the main color for this app (#FF613D) because I could not decide for the life of me what color to use.

These past few weeks have proved to be a great learning experience for me with SwiftUI. The declarative syntax was little difficult to wrap my head around at first and Core Data was not the most fun to work with. But my brain is now in SwiftUI mode and it’s going to feel strange to context switch it back to work on UIKit again.

Anyway, if you happen to be that one other person who thinks this might be something you could make use of, I would be delighted and honored if you give it a try. And please don’t hesitate to send any feedback my way.

Post Round Review: Wekiva Golf Club

Course: Wekiva Golf Club, Longwood, FL, USA
Par: 72
Tee Box: White - 6,427 yards
Course Rating: 71.5
Slope Rating: 129

Date: 26 September 2020
Tee Time: 2pm
Condition: Mostly sunny
Heat index: 40ºC (105ºF)

It’s been a long while since I played any golf, with the last full round of 18 holes being back in March. But at last, in recent weeks, I started picking it back up and going back to the range as well as walking the short par-33 back 9 at a local club after work. This past weekend was my first full round of 18 holes back after a 6-month hiatus.

I hadn’t hit my driver in months and that club had always given me much anxiety: mostly due to my own lack of confidence. And with the course being a par-72 at a little bit over 6,400 yards, using my driver was all but inevitable. Before the round, I just warmed up quickly with my 56-degree, 7 iron, and the driver, which actually felt pretty good.

Hole #1 - Par 4 - 384 yards

The round was off to a good start with a drive perfectly down the middle of the fairway, maybe around 250 yards from the tee. I got on the green in 2 but three-putted for a bogey 5.

Current Score: +1

Hole #2 - Par 4 - 341 yards

Second hole saw another great drive down to about 70 yards, which I then overshot the hole by 20+ yards. Luckily, I was able to save par with an up-and-down.

Current Score: +1

Hole #3 - Par 5 - 500 yards

This was when things started to go downhill. The tee shot hooked into a bush and after an embarrassing lay-up flub, I was chipping my 5th shot from front-left of the green then two-putted for a double bogey 7.

Current Score: +3

Hole #4 - Par 3 - 169 yards

This par-3 saw me pulled way left of the green with a 6 iron. An uncommitted chip trying to avoid a tree branch put myself in a bunker which followed by a pretty decent shot out to about 5 feet. I then missed the putt and walked off with a double bogey 5.

Current Score: +5

Hole #5 - Par 4 - 369 yards

Now I got the pull bug in my head and ended up pushing the drive way out of bounds into a nearby neighborhood. I eventually got on the green in 4 but proceeded to three-putt for a triple bogey 7.

I just played the last 3 holes 7 over par. But I didn’t really have any expectation anyway and didn’t really care all that much.

Current Score: +8

Hole #6 - Par 3 - 142 yards

An easy GIR with a 9 iron followed by a two-putt par.

Current Score: +8

Hole #7 - Par 4 - 367 yards

A fairway hit, another GIR, and a two-putt par.

Current Score: +8

Hole #8 - Par 4 - 410 yards

Another fairway hit. I missed my approach shot just short of the green but managed another up-and-down for par.

Current Score: +8

Hole #9 - Par 5 - 480 yards

A fairway hit, green in 3, and a two-putt par.

Current Score: +8

Hole #10 - Par 5 - 529 yards

I pulled my driver left of the fairway again but a good lay-up got me on the green in 3 and two-putted for par.

Current Score: +8

Hole #11 - Par 4 - 409 yards

This hole saw a great drive to around the 150-yard marker with the pin tucked behind a front-left bunker. A soft 8-iron shot nicely drew from right edge of the green down to about 6 feet above the hole. That approach was the shot of the day for me. I sank that putt for the first birdie of the day.

Current Score: +7

Hole #12 - Par 3 - 178 yards

Coming up on this hole, I was feeling pretty good with my game, realizing that I just played the last 6 holes at 1 under par. This quickly resulted in a thinned 5-iron hooking 30-yard left of the pin. I managed to chip over a bunker on to the green but three-putted for a double bogey 5.

Note-to-self (for the hundredth time): Stop thinking about the score, especially when you’re doing well and feeling in the zone, because you almost always ended up messing it up right after.

Current Score: +9

Hole #13 - Par 4 - 374 yards

Hit another solid drive to about 100 yards, my favorite approach distance. A well-practiced 56-degree shot put myself about 15 feet short of the hole. I missed the birdie putt and walked away with a par.

Current Score: +9

Hole #14 - Par 4 - 432 yards

I again pulled my driver into the rough and had to hit the second shot around a tree with my 4 iron. Chipped on to the green and missed an 8-foot par putt for a bogey.

Current Score: +10

Hole #15 - Par 5 - 488 yards

Attempting to avoid the chronic hooking, I pushed my tee shot to the right edge of the fairway. It was a par-5 so I was able to lay up, got on the green in 3, and two-putted for par.

Current Score: +10

Hole #16 - Par 4 - 320 yards

My tee shot yet again pushed right into the rough but luckily I had a shot at the green with about 100 yards left. Put that on the fringe and walked away with a two-putt par.

Current Score: +10

Hole #17 - Par 3 - 145 yards

This was a par-3 over water with a deep bunker front of the green. Put my 9-iron tee shot left of the green and chipped on with a two-putt for bogey 4.

Current Score: +11

Hole #18 - Par 4 - 390 yards

On this last hole, I piped it straight down the fairway with about 130 yards left. A PW shot put that on the green about 20 feet short of the hole. I then unexpectedly drained that uphill putt for a birdie to end a solid back 9 at +2.

Round Summary

wekiva 26 sept 2020

In total I hit 44 out and 38 in for a ten-over 82. For the first round of 18 after a long break and almost no practice sessions, I am quite pleased with the result.

Fairways hit: 8 of 14 (57%)
Greens in regulation: 10 of 18 (56%)
Up-and-downs: 2 of 6 (33%)
Putts: 35
Three-putts: 3

Some Takeaways

  • My irons and approaches felt pretty good without any catastrophic miss-hits, except on the two par-3s which costed me 4 strokes.
  • My putting did save me quite a few stokes. On those holes that I parred, there were several 4-5 feet knee-shakers as well as a couple of 6-8 feet ones.
  • The driver definitely needs work to straighten out these push/pull inconsistency.
  • Mentally, I need to stop worrying about the score and just relax and focus on one hole at a time.

Apple Central World Opens Friday in Thailand

Apple Newsroom:

Apple Central World’s distinctive architecture is brought to life with the first-ever all-glass design, housed under a cantilevered Tree Canopy roof. Once inside, customers can travel between two levels via a spiral staircase that wraps around a timber core, or riding a unique cylindrical elevator clad in mirror-polished stainless steel

Really great looking store. The all-glass exterior with the canopy is pretty much identical to that of the Steve Jobs theater at Apple Park.

apple nso bangkok forum 07282020

The Apple logo on the Video Wall also has a cool design, spelling out “Krung Thep” in Thai.

In the Thai-language news site MangoZero, Patta.pond got a chance to do a quick tour of the store and has some more photos from the inside, including the Boardroom in the basement. And if you look closely, I think one of the framed photos is the Steve Jobs theater.

Some WWDC 2020 Thoughts

Apple WWDC20 keynote tim cook 06222020

This year's WWDC keynote felt much denser than in years past. I think this is partly due to the fact that the entire keynote was prerecorded ahead of time, and compared to regular live stage keynote, this allows for a more fast-paced presentation. I surely felt quite overwhelmed afterwards with all the information that was bombarded at me for almost 2 hours. But despite everything that's going on in the world, Apple managed to put together such an amazing set of new features and functionalities to their software lineup.


The Home Screen update is probably the most striking by far for this release. And it is, no question, sorely needed. During iOS's 10+ years lifespan, the Home Screen remained virtually untouched and looked outrageously archaic in recent years. Until now. As a person who dislikes having the iPhone filled with pages and pages of apps, but prefers a clean single-page Home Screen, I am elated to finally hide all the folders away and replace that space with the new Widgets. I never need all those apps to always be visible anyway since using the search functionality is way more efficient.

Another feature that also made me really happy was the inline replies in Messages. The official word on the iOS 14 preview page says that this can be done "to a specific message in a group conversation". But now that I am running the beta on my devices, I am happy to report that this also works in one-to-one conversations too! I've been waiting for this day since WWDC 2017 and my wish has finally been granted!

The new Translate app is pretty neat but Thai is not even an option. Can't say I'm surprised though. Hopefully that will come soon in the future.


I don't use my iPad nearly enough but there are quite a few exciting changes coming to iPadOS this year. First off, the new search ability, which is taken right from macOS's Spotlight, looks amazing. This will further elevate iPadOS closer to the productivity machine that Apple has been striving for.

But the most exciting feature by far for iPadOS for me is Scribble. This is such a simple and obvious feature but it's going to make using the iPad a much more pleasant and natural experience. You can even scratch to delete and circle to select! In hindsight, this feature feels like it's a long time coming given the fact that Apple has had this handwriting recognition technology since the Newton in early 1990s.


The two updates to the AirPods are the two best features they could have picked for them. The spatial audio sounds awesome and no doubt contains some amazing technology behind it. I definitely look forward to trying it out.

The one feature that took the trophy for the AirPods is the automatic switching between devices. This has definitely been one of the biggest pain points when using the AirPods since I tend to use them with a few different devices. Whatever Apple magic they're doing behind the scene to detect the device being used, I really hope it works seamlessly.


I finally get my watchOS sleep tracker! I can't believe it took them this long to include sleep tracking capabilities to the Apple Watch. The Face Sharing is also pretty neat. Sadly still no custom watch faces.

Also the handwashing detection is probably the most 2020 feature there is. I don't think I'll personally find it that useful since I tend to just take off my watch whenever I'm washing my hands.


The star of the event by far is the macOS. As we all expected, Apple announced that they're transitioning to use their own SoCs for their Mac lineup. They seem to have a pretty aggressive timeline with the first ARM Mac debuting later this year and that this transition will complete in just two years. Not sure what Tim's definition of "complete" is. Does this mean in two years they will stop making new Intel-based Macs? Or stop supporting them?

This release also comes with probably the biggest redesign of the macOS UI that I can remember. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this design language yet. It almost feels like they're doing this UI refresh in anticipation of a touchscreen Mac. It clearly has a lot of iOS elements in it, just look at the new Control Center. A lot of the buttons and controls look bigger and have more space between them. But all in all, I think I kinda like it? We'll see.

And apparently macOS Big Sur is officially macOS 11.0! Or is it...?

WWDC 2020 Wish List

wwdc 2020

See my other posts in this series: 2016, 2017, 2019, 2021.

My favorite Apple event of the year is finally upon us! This year's WWDC is all virtual due to COVID-19 but that doesn't mean the main event is not going to be full of exciting announcements. Here are the things I wish to see tomorrow, in no particular order:

ARM Mac Transition Plan

This is not anything new to those who have been following Apple news. But with this recent report from Bloomberg that Apple is planning to release a Mac with their own processor soon, WWDC is a perfect event for them to discuss the transition plan with the developers in (virtual) attendance.

There are a lot of talks about a completely re-imagined macOS, or possibly a brand-new iMac to go alongside this transition. But I think Brendan Shanks puts it best on what is probably going to happen when this eventually happens:

My core prediction: The Mac is getting a re-engining, not a re-imagining.

Much like the Mac’s switch to Intel, this transition will be fundamentally simple and, ideally, invisible to end users.

This means:

  • No massive hardware changes, like adding touchscreens.
  • No massive software changes, like requiring apps to be sandboxed, or come from the App Store, or be written with UIKit and Catalyst.
  • No complex schemes, like hybrid ARM/Intel Macs that run apps on both processors.

Screen Time for macOS and tvOS

This was on my 2019 wish list and unfortunately nothing was mentioned. So please Apple, this feature would be so useful to so many of us.

New Affordable External Display

Last year I was hoping for a new Apple external display and that became a reality. But we all know how absolutely ridiculous the price is for the Pro Display XDR, and nobody needs this thing unless you're John Siracusa or a movie studio.

So to clarify from last year, I would like an affordable Apple external display. All I want is for them to grab that 5K panel they use for the iMac Pro, put that in an external display package, and sell it.

More Stable iOS 14

Saying iOS 13 was a buggy release is to say the least. I believe they should do something similar to what they did with iOS 12 and just make iOS 14 less feature-rich but more stable and optimized overall.

SwiftUI Improvements

The biggest surprise for me from last year's WWDC was SwiftUI. So this year I'm hoping to see some more improvements with the framework.

Updated Apple TV and Remote

It's been nearly 3 years since the latest Apple TV was released. I do think it is now time for some updated hardware, especially the remote. But I think this is a longshot. It's more likely to be announced during the fall event.

Updated HomePod

The HomePod was announced 3 years ago at 2017's WWDC and since its release in 2018, there has been no update to the hardware. I'd like to see some new hardware, ideally a new smaller and cheaper model and perhaps a price cut to the main one.

macOS 10.16 Avalon

I quite like this name that Myke picked during the Upgrade's WWDC Keynote Draft episode.