I've been closely following WWDCs and their announcements for at least ten years now. And every year I wish I could visit the conference in person, but due to various reasons I never made it happen. Well, this year is going to be different as I will be traveling to Cupertino for the WWDC23 week!
Though unfortunately I was not one of those lucky few who got the golden tickets to Apple Park (maybe next year 🤞), I figured it would still be fun to go meet fellow Apple nerds and join in on all the communities events happening that week in the area. So far I know I'll be attending RevenueCat's pre-WWDC Barcade Bash, iOSDevHappyHour, and perhaps the Dub Dub Climb.
Before we get to all that fun, as per tradition, here is my wish list for updates and announcements:
All the reports around this have picked up so much in recent months that I think we'll really see it this year. At this point, it would be the biggest story of the week if Apple did not announce the long-awaited headset. I am for sure excited to see this finally, but sitting here right now I honestly don't exactly know why I would want one. The only experience I have with VR headsets is the original Oculus Quest, and that was mostly just for gaming. And we know how Apple is with gaming. What I'm expecting is for Apple to wow us in this regard like they did many times before when they introduced new product categories and give us compelling reasons why we might want one.
The rumored price tag of up to US$3,000 is unfathomably high and I will almost certainly not get one if that ended up being accurate. Perhaps we will be pleasantly surprised like with the original iPad where the actual price was half of what was rumored at the time.
iPhone Security Issue
If you've been following Apple-related news at all, you would have surely come across this bombshell report from WSJ of how thieves shoulder surf for people's iPhone passcodes before stealing them. And with just the passcode, they were able to change the Apple ID password and effectively locking the owners out of their iCloud accounts.
The implication of this goes deep and can really mess up more than just your digital life. Not only would thieves get access to all your iCloud stuff (photos, email, files, etc.), but if you also use the built-in password manager, the thieves could gain access to your bank account and other sensitive information. They really should not let people change the Apple ID password just by using the iPhone passcode. The chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and a 6-digit passcode is too weak for something as important as the iCloud account. I know that people forget their Apple ID passwords all the time and I can kind of get why Apple decided that it is worth the risk to make it easier for those people to gain back access to their accounts. But I think the risk here is too great.
I do hope they address this flaw in the system and come up with a mechanism to make this less likely to happen. For now given how we do so much on our phones, we would be better off switching to an alphanumeric password and treating typing it in on our phones as a sensitive operation, like for ATM PIN or bank account password, so that people can't easily shoulder surf for it.
Apple Music and Music App for macOS
Apple Music the service and Music.app on macOS are in dire need of some big improvements. The macOS app is just overall a terrible app (iOS app isn't much better either): songs would refuse to play for no apparent reason, navigation is incredibly slow and clunky, searching feels broken and slow. For the Apple Music service itself, it needs to improve on the recommendation algorithms, playlist curation, and just the overall stability and reliability of the service. I think it fails to meet some basic baseline-level features that its biggest competitor, Spotify, has been doing so well for years. Having said all that, with the recent release of Apple Music Classical, I am not holding my breath that they will do much, if anything at all, about this.
Safari Tab Groups Improvements
I really want to use this feature more as I always have so many Safari tabs and windows open at any given time. But the most annoying issue with this for me is the fact that if I am actively browsing using a specific tab group, opening a link from another app will always open it using a non-tab group window. I just want a way to control where I want links to be opened in. I have countless times run into this and then had to move that tab over to the tab group window I want. In the end I just gave up and stopped using tab groups entirely. I know that you can associate a Focus with a tab group and make external links open in that tab group, but I have a lot of tab groups and they don't nicely map one-to-one with Focus modes I have.
Home App and HomeKit
One thing about HomeKit that I would like to see is the ability to create more complex conditionals for automations. Right now automations are still based on simple and limited set of triggers, but I would very much like to be able to create conditionals to perform certain automations. For example: if the humidity is below 30% and somebody is home, turn on the humidifier, except between 10pm and 8am.
And strangely the Home app still doesn't have Home Screen widgets. I hope to see these in iOS 17.
- Something needs to be done with Siri with how terrible and unreliable it is. I want to see some meaningful and substantial changes to it this year.
- The Photos app does a pretty good job with facial recognition for people. But unlike Google Photos, it still does not recognize pets. I just want to assign names to photos of my pets.
- The Apple Silicon Mac Pro is still a thing right? It's been well over a year since John Ternus teased us that it's coming. I believe.
- I find Spotlight on iOS really useful and frequently utilize it for things like unit/currency conversions or dictionary. But what's missing for me is the ability to quickly translate words (or maybe even sentences) to another language. I want to just type in "Tuberculosis in Thai" and get an answer that way. Plus now that iOS comes with Translate app, I don't see why they can't do this.
- The workout streaks should not have to be every day. Give us the ability to define weekly streaks for workouts.