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.

HomeKit

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.

Shortcuts

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.


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Hey, I’m Zack. Thanks for reading!

I'm a software engineer, Apple nerd, and space enthusiast. I write about and share random things that happen to interest me. I’m originally from Krabi, Thailand and currently living in the suburbs of Orlando, Florida, USA.