WWDC21 — Quick Observations and Thoughts, Right From My Notepad

The WWDC21 week is coming to an end. We were many with high expectations. Did Apple deliver? Yes and no. No new hardware hence a shorter than usual (1 hour, 4 minutes) keynote. MacBook Pro refresh probably scrapped at the last minute because of the lack of capacity in the supply chain. My guess is that macOS Monterey will probably come pre-installed with these new MacBook Pro👨🏻‍💻 updates later this fall. /// This keynote felt strange, not the best WWDC keynote. I’m not sure why.🤨 /// I usually like Apple’s choices of websites or visuals to illustrate key features, not this year. It was particularly bad when showing the redesign of Safari. Most of the websites were drab and felt uninspiring. /// iPad multitasking seems much more usable. Apple rediscovered UI affordance. But I hate the home screen icon spacing, way too much wasted space! 🤢 We can finally reorder Home Screen pages!!! 👏🏻 👏🏻 👏🏻 It was shown on the iPad, but my guess is that it will be possible on the iPhone too. Oh and entering in Split View by bringing one app on top of another in the App Switcher, how cool is that! I called it! ☝🏻😎 Still no multiple accounts support for the iPad. /// FaceTime looks more and more like Zoom. Is Apple Sherlocking Zoom? FaceTime use cases seems a bit more complicated than before. It feels like these updates come a bit late as the work from home is about to ease a bit. Screen sharing: YES! 🙌🏻🤯 Did I mentioned that FaceTime is finally a cross-platforms thing? Android users are now welcomed. And Windows users too. With a browser. /// Recurring theme: it was a lot about people 👨‍👩‍👧 & sharing 👨‍👨‍👦‍👦 , health ⚕️, privacy 🕵️‍♂️ and tweaks. Lot’s of tweaks. . The “Shared with you” feature is limited to first-party apps… next year, API to open up the feature to third-party apps? Probably. Typical Apple way. Not sure about Safari redesign on iPad and iPhone 🧐🤨. /// Shortcuts on Mac? SO COOL! 🥳🤩🤯 I just can’t wait to get rid of my Automator scripts as well as Keysmith. I see this as a much more useful addition than it was on iOS a few years ago. /// Too bad, no Control Center redesign on iOS as rumoured😒. Is Control Center better on macOS Monterey? Remains to be seen. Universal Control: hoping Apple finally fixed their Bluetooth connectivity issues with mouse and keyboard in general. No smaller size widgets this year. All iPad demo and photos were done in landscape orientation, why? 🧐 /// I will probably get the 2021 12.9” iPad Pro with 1 TB later this summer💸🤑; won’t rush installing betas on my primary devices this year.🏃🏻‍♂️ Or I could wait for public betas in July. Will see. I love weather apps! and I’m happy to see Apple improving their Weather app🌤. Looks like a really nice redesign. Still no iPad version? 🤦🏻‍♂️ Why? /// Swift Playgrounds is the Xcode for iPad. Not clear how rich and deep apps built with it can be submitted to the App Store. /// Quick Notes will be really handy, eating into some of my Craft use cases. /// Is autocorrect for multilingue users finally fixed? /// #TAGS in Notes and Reminders, YEAH!!! That’s a nice addition. Apple’s Notes is gaining many new features with each release; looks like a more serious collaboration tool now. Apple is no longer afraid to offer feature-rich first-party apps. /// The loupe is back! /// The App Library in the Dock on iPad looks to be more useful than on the iPhone. Great tweaks of Notifications center. I like the more dense and tweaked notification banner design. /// Focus mode and notifications summary are useful addition, Do not disturb is now part of a focus mode, which makes sense. My guess is that it will take some time to setup and tweak. So part of this is automated with on-device intelligence. /// Still about the iPad: no word about external monitor improvements for the iPad Pro. 😒 Can’t wait for Grammarly and 1Password web extensions to come to the iPad; one less reason to use a desktop Mac. 😃 /// CityMaps with richer data looks like SimCity when closing in. /// Richer Spotlight search, now includes photos. Many nice updates to Photos, most of them around Photos Memories. Photos meta data is available under an updated info pane! 😌 At long last. Bye bye Metapho! It is now possible to create authentication codes for two-factors authentication, with the passwords section under settings. 🤷🏻‍♂️ What a weird place to access passwords! When is Apple going to create a real passwords management app? /// Offline Siri requests, cool on the air plane! Still 5 GB of iCloud storage for free. 😒 /// Account recovery is certainly a useful addition and save Apple a lot of support calls, but the Digital Legacy Program is clearly something I was wishing for (read my essay “A Guide for Preparing to Leave Your Numeric Legacy” 🪦💀. I took more than 500 screenshots of the keynote stream. 🤪🤗 Some nice additions to watchOS like new portraits watch face but no watch face store announced. Missed opportunity here.💰 If you want to stay on iOS 14 a bit longer, now it’s possible; Apple will even continue to provide security updates for a while. Good. /// Apple had no software story specifically directed to the iPad Pro hardware potentials. Swift Playgrounds is not this story. Maybe this fall? No tent pole features announced, but a lot of big and small improvements; iPadOS and iOS benefiting the most, but Apple continues to improve macOS in big ways. Speaking of which, no update to the way we use widgets on the Mac, still confined to the right side of the screen. Dumb.🤦🏻‍♂️ No word about refined to the way we manage and dismiss notifications. Frustrating. 🤬

Tim Cook at WWDC 2021
Tim Cook at WWDC 2021

This year’s updates are nothing shattering but are much needed tweaks in a lot of very focused areas of what makes a great user experience. Will this be the last digital-only WWDC? I’m betting on an hybrid version next year. Apple is so good at pre-recorded events. Let Apple regroup behind their controversial return to the office policy and prepare for WWDC22. ✌️

One thought on “WWDC21 — Quick Observations and Thoughts, Right From My Notepad

Add yours

Leave a Reply

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: