WWDC16 Considerations

As usual, I’ve watched the yesterday keynote a little later, about 30 minutes after the show. This made me avoid Twitter and general news until the late night, avoiding spoilers.

Here some of my considerations on the things presented during the conference:

watchOS

watchOS

Unfortunately, I can’t speak for this: I never owned an Apple Watch, and I don’t see any kind of motivations about buying one (if I ignore my little nerdy brain voice which continue telling me to buy anything).

But, I known some developers, and some features presented on that platform can raise the Watch usage, expecially when I listen about the performance improvements. As I’ve told before, I can’t speak for myself, but any other people, which own a Watch, I’ve talk with always complain about that. But things like Background Refresh and location aware features (like the SOS mode) are -except for some kind of hardware improvements in fall- possibly a battery-eating monster.

With great power there must be also come great responsibility

Making the Watch more usefull with a more reactive interface and more features, can bring more users to use it often, but this must not reduce a lot the battery duration, expecially for a wearable device. If it can’t last -at least- an entire day, it will become useless quickly.

tvOS

tvOS

Ignoring the fact I don’t understand why this haven’t a banner on the main Apple website, I’m pretty courious about this one.

In the last November I’ve finally updated my AppleTV2 (the first without HD, with 720p output) to the last one. This choice was driven by the fact I started owning more-and-more movies on iTunes (expecially for kids) and the availability of Netflix here in Italy. The only criticism I’ve on this is the stability: often I’ve some weird problems with store access and the audio output, problems which I’ve never encountered on the older TV.

Actually, except for the video consumtion apps (Netflix + YouTube + TED), I don’t have a lot of applications installed on my AppleTV: some games and some news apps.

The first thing I hope it’s an increasing stability of the overall OS; not rebooting it each days will be wonderful.

Yes, Siri in italian will be cool, also considering that a lot of new features presented are based on that, but Apple have trained me very well to manage the fact I’ll not experience all the functionalities presented and available in the U.S. (for the first few years of its availability, the AppleTV was really useless here for the lack of a movie store - oh, and we haven’t yet the tv series).

The dark theme is a nice addition, so there some chance I can stop burn my retinas (I don’t talking about the display) every time I press the Menu button in the late night.

One of the biggest surprise was the presentation, during the Keynote, of the Remote app; the new one can act really like the physical TV remote. I hope this app can being used in conjuction with the physical remote to having 2 controllers, usefull for avoiding the cost of an additional game controllers for a really casual gamer like me.

App syncronization can be usefull, but I hope it will be an option: having the same iTunes account on your phone and your TV it is common, but we always had to think to the AppleTV as a family device, and bloating it with personal used apps can be really annoying.

macOS

macOS Sierra

Where the hell is gone OSX? Just kidding, finally a change to bringing back simplicity in some part of Apple ecosystem (after messing things up on the hardware side).

I’m really excited about the desktop/laptop operating system by Apple, because it’s one of the first thing I install when comes out in fall. Also, I’m always courious to see how it performs on my MacBook! No, not the shiny, coloured, ultra thin, one hole MacBook, but a late 2011 white plastic one. I currently run the latest OS on this, and every year I’m really surprise on the performance side of the new.

Also here, a lot of things come on the Siri side: you can ask for tasks (like on iOS), performing related queries, searching with natural language for your files and even keep and interact with the results via drag and drop. A lot of cool stuff, those kind of cool stuff that suggest me there aren’t available everywhere at launch time.

I don’t want to become pedant, but I think sometimes focus on less features but making those available for everyone can be better. Also, I’m curious to see how it works in a modern work environment where all people do their job in the same open space: where a little too-much-clicky keyboard can be annoying for someone, people talking with their computers while typing can become a little hell. We will see a rise of loud cancelling headphones?

Payment with ApplePay finally comes also on the Mac, using the iOS devices as a proxy for secure fingerprint authentication: quick, convenient and server side, so businesses can implement it on their webpages, without the need to build a dedicated app of macOS. Cool.

Also, I love, love, the copy and paste feature. As a person who can’t live without clipboard manager on the macOS, have it shared between macOS and iOS it’s a great news! I know, I’ve already used some kind of managers who provides sync between different devices, but I always find a little tricky haven’t a native way to easly copy and paste from one environment to another.

Other new features provides Picture-in-Picture also on the desktop; personally I’m unable to get work done with any kind of audio/video noise in the background, but I can see a lot people enjoying this.

iOS

iOS 10

A lot of works has be done on the Messages application: finally, one of the most used iOS app (if not the most) get the attention it deserves. Bubble animations, hand (or finger) written messages, full screen effects and emoji related things put the app in pair -or ahead- most of their competitor. Also, the platform opening to external developers will bring to us a lot of new, convenient and fun things to the messages side.

Siri for the apps! Really, Siri for the apps! I wait for this since the day 0. I use Siri daily, at this time just for reading messages and dictating replies to my wife during my daily home-work-home bike commute. Having the abilities also to interact with Skype (which I use primarly for business reason) and other tools, like WhatsApp and Telegram, its a life changer. Seems that you’ve, as developer, be in some particular casistics which are pre-defined by Apple to use it, but covering messages, payments, booking and more it’s be a great start. I can’t wait to see how developers implements this crazy new features!

Finally, some general UI considerations: I found the overall interface nice, with a more separation in the contents, expecially when contents from different apps are merged in the same screen (Lock Screen, Notification Center). My only perplexity was I’ve seen a lot of standard apps with diametral differences not only in how they appear, but also in how you interact with that.

Maps and Messages presents third party apps interation from the bottom, Music and News got their typography-based UI with big, bold titles, and a scroll down interface; Home (the new HomeKit companion app) live a totally separated life with its big button and an horizontal scrolling interface; watching the demo sessions during the Keynote, when they jump from feature to feature, from app to app, makes me feel a little mess in the consistency of the OS usage experience. Probably it’s just too early to judge, as I only saw the Keynotes and the videos from the Apple site.

The elephant in the room [cit.]

Swift Playgrounds

When they’ve announced the Swift Playground I’ve just punched to my desk: finally! Now, after the promotion of the iPad as a Pro device, they provide a way to do real coding on that!

Then a demo was started and I was a little confused: what is that? A game? A learning platform? It’s ok for a teaching side, but how Apple can suppose I learn to code without touching a line of code?

Fortunately, after that they prove you also have a real Swift Playground environment to play with, so you can write your code, execute that and even share and run on Xcode itself.

Nice job guys! I’m a little perplexed because there isn’t yet a way to develop an entire app on the iPad, so developers have to wait (again) before throwing their laptop/desktop out of the window, but its a nice start.

If I can found a way to obtain a recent iPad (I recently falled in love with the iPad Pro), this will be the time I start studying the Swift language seriously.

Conclusion

Obviously, I’ve missed something. I haven’t talked about the Breathe app (I found it really weird, it’s just me?), or Apple Music, but I think I’ve touched all the things that will be important for me.

If you like to discuss about this article, feel free to reach me on twitter.

Written on June 14, 2016 - #Apple #WWDC16