WWDC19 Wish List

2019-06-03    ✪Permalink

I’m really looking forward to watching Apple’s WWDC19 Keynote this evening (UK time). As an iPad first user, I think it’s going to be a big one for me. For better or for worse, big iPad updates now come every two years, so today is the pivotal moment when we get to see Apple’s plans for the future of the platform over the next two years. Here are my personal priorities for iOS 13 on the iPad.

Mouse Support

These aren’t meant to be in any particular order, but yes, I am putting this one first. When I first moved to the iPad as my primary computer three years ago, I used to laugh at people who asked for this. I thought you might as well ask for the iPad to be steam-powered or have a hand crank1. But given how much I’m now using my iPad, especially with the Smart Keyboard, I’ve been really feeling the need for this ergonomically. When using the iPad “like an iPad” this just isn’t necessary: the input surface and the output surface are one and the same. But with the Smart Keyboard – which Apple suggests you might want to use with your iPad Pro – the two surfaces become separated. We’ve had a way of dealing with this separation for over fifty years: it’s called a mouse, and I hope Apple offers it at least as an option for those who want to use it with their iPad.2

Better Keyboard Support

I love the Smart Keyboard, and I love apps like Things that really take advantage of it, but I wish more apps had such extensive keyboard shortcuts, and that the system did too. It needs to be at least possible to use an iPad solely with the keyboard. Keyboard input also needs to work better with multitasking, where it can often be unclear which app in a split view is the one responding to keyboard input and keyboard shortcuts.

Xcode for iPad

I recently built my first ever app, and I did it using Xcode on an old MacBook Air. The device was perfectly suitable for the job, but the iPad is still my favourite computer, and building apps is the one thing I want to be able to do there that I still can’t3. For an iPad-first user like myself, Apple is currently saying that I should just buy a Mac as well, and I slightly worry that they are tempted to prolong this situation because of the obvious revenue benefits. But what I really want is one great computer, not two. The iPad for me is so close to being that one great computer, and I hope that it can become that.

Odds and Ends

  • Improvements to the Shortcuts app and Siri shortcuts more generally.
  • Some kind of Swift for Automation technology, perhaps in Shortcuts.
  • Make the command-tab switcher work like it should.
  • Better Files app.
  • Widgets on the home screen.
  • Shared folders in iCloud Drive.

Ten years in, it’s time for iOS to fully mature into a self-sufficient computing platform. I’m looking forward to seeing how Apple moves towards that goal.

  1. What a ludicrous idea 😉 

  2. Even better would be a trackpad on the next Smart Keyboard. 

  3. There are a few other developer features that would be really welcome too.