We're less than two weeks away from WWDC 2022! Like the past two years, this year's WWDC is going to be fully online which I think makes for a much better and more accessible way to hold this conference. Last year was the first year that I participated in surrounding events and met people in the Apple developer community with events from Diversity in Swift, iOS Dev Happy Hour, and WWDCCommunity Week as well as the Digital Lounges. So this year I'm looking forward to participating in those again.
But before all that, we have the keynote on Monday to start off the week, and like years past, here is my wish list for this year's updates and announcements.
Mark Messages as Unread
For such a popular app on the Apple platform, Messages is quite lacking compared to its competitions. One big glaring miss is that there's no way to mark messages as unread. Look, we've all been there. Sometimes we can't reply to certain messages right away or we accidentally opened a message that we planned to look at later. And with the Messages app, once a message is opened there's no way to mark them as unread, and this results in people forgetting to reply to those messages. Imagine how much anxiety and hurt feelings would have been saved if this feature existed.
Full Resolution Photos in Shared Albums
I love using iCloud shared albums to share photos with friends and family when going on trips. But photos added to those albums get resized down to 2049px. While this might be sufficient when viewing on a phone or tablet, it's too small for viewing on a 4K TV or 5K monitor. And it's entirely unusable if you want to make large prints out of them. It would be ideal if they allow for uploading full resolution photos in shared albums. And yes, this would require more storage and we know how much Apple hates giving away free storage. So I would be perfectly happy if they make this feature only available to paid iCloud+ users, or count that extra space towards your iCloud storage quota. When you think more about it, the current approach of resizing and uploading a copy to the shared album doesn't really make much sense. If my entire photo library is already stored in full resolution in iCloud, it would be more efficient to just use that original copy of the photo for the shared album instead of having to make another copy just for sharing.
Studio Display Camera Fix
My long-awaited wish was granted back in March when Apple released the Studio Display. But the big brouhaha around this display is its webcam with the embarrassingly bad picture quality. I was excited when this was announced and reserved my judgement when reviews came out critical about the camera. After two full months of waiting, I finally got mine and the camera really is not great. My $70 Logitech webcam looks much better than this built-in one. For a $1,600 monitor, the camera hardware should be at the very least the same as front-facing camera on the latest iPhone, and ideally the back camera. But they decided to use a lesser camera that somehow looks worse compared to the exact same camera in the iPad. The recent software fix they released barely made it better so I do hope that with macOS 13, they will further improve this.
Focus Mode Block List
iOS 15 introduced Focus which allows for better control of notifications and alerts. As a person who limits the amount of notifications to be as few as possible, I was super happy that they added this feature. But there's one huge pain point that I need them to address when it comes to setting them up. Currently when setting up a Focus, you have to select individual apps you want to allow notifications while in that mode. So if I want to prevent a small set of apps from sending me notifications at a certain time of day (like work-related apps), I have to manually select every single app except those few. It's incredibly cumbersome. So I hope with iOS 16, we would be able to define a block list for a Focus mode. This would make this feature significantly more useful.
Home Controls in Control Center
Home Controls in Control Center is a really convenient way to interact with HomeKit devices. But it is frustrating using those tiles. The first offense is that I cannot specify the position of each of the device tiles. That's a bit annoying but whatever, I could just get used to their "recommended" positions. But no I can't do that either, because these damn tiles never stay in the same place! Every time I make adjustments to a device, they literally shuffle around in front of my eyes! So I can't rely on muscle memory and have to carefully look for what I want. Just take a look at this screen recording of me interacting with HomeKit in Control Center. They seriously need to address this.
Some Other Stuff
- The Mac Pro was teased during the spring event back in March, so we know for sure that it's coming. I really hope we get a sneak peek of it during the keynote, but I don't expect it to ship until the end of the year.
- I sound like a broken record at this point but I would really like Screen Time for tvOS. I thought this wouldn't be that big of an ask but Screen Time has been around since 2018 and we still don't have it for the Apple TV.
- Home Screen widgets are great but I really think they need to make them more interactive.