Top 10: Announcements I want to see from Apple in 2018

There is no doubt, that Apple has had a great 2017. They released the latest iPad Pro with the ProMotion 120Hz display, iPhone X and the iMac Pro along with software updates for all.

Apple has also had a few hiccups throughout the year including the announcement of the HomePod, supposedly released in December but delayed to probably as late as March 2018.

Lots of people also reported a lot of issues with iOS 11 not running well on older devices and recent controversy over Apple supposedly slowing down your older devices on purpose.

In this Top 10, I want to go over (in no particular order), what I personally want to see from Apple in 2018. This list may be different to yours since I am an app developer and is based on the devices I currently own, but I imagine a lot of people would have a few from my list.

Address the “Slowing Down” controversy by clarifying it in better detail what happens and when it happens:

Recently, someone tested an older iPhone on Geekbench and results showed that replacing the battery in his phone, essentially restored its processing power to it’s original state.

Apple came out and said that they prioritised slowing down the CPU to increase battery life and significantly reduce the chances of unexpected shutdowns/reboots.

The issue is that the media jumped on this news from Apple as “Apple is purposely slowing down your old iPhone”.

What I hope Apple does in 2018, is come out and explain this in more scenario, even if it’s briefly during WWDC and clarify what level of wear your battery has to be at for this to apply.

We know Apple added a feature in the battery section under the Settings app to say if your battery is really wearing out and to consider replacing the battery. A lot of people weren’t aware this was there, with some suggesting Apple should put out a notification after a certain time to suggest replacing the battery.

From what I understand, Apple has implemented these software tweaks to be executed when the battery is considered worn out, e.g. only able to hold say 70% of it’s original charge.

If what I just said is the case, then Apple should explain this more, but if it’s just applied to devices after being on the market for so many years, than they’d best keep quiet, but that is just down-right wrong.

Dramatically Improved Siri:

siri-ft

I think what would be on the top of everyone’s list, is a dramatically improved Siri.

Siri is in every Apple device we use these days. It’s on your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, AirPods, HomePods, all Macs running Sierra and Apple TV. Apple no longer sells a physical product (excluding accessories) that does not support Siri.

These are the 5 things I hope to see from a improved Siri:

  • Voice translation without an internet connection, but only for languages you opt-in for. E.g. take up 1GB of optional space but get more reliable Siri.
  • Allow more tasks to be executed with Siri without requiring an internet connection. E.g. send a text to sister saying “On way”. I understand not all can, but those that can, it makes sense.
  • Embrace machine learning to learn your voice every-time you talk to Siri and used as an advantage to improve voice translation for queries.
  • Expanding on last point, multi-person support for devices like HomePod, so it can better distinguish your voice from others. Maybe 2 or 3 people’s voices it can recognise per device.
  • Become less reliant on “I found this on the web for…” and be more like Google Now which can provide the correct statistics almost all of the time.

Would Apple go as far to rename Siri when they bring out a dramatic change? Possibly, but I highly doubt it.

Dark Mode on iOS:

darkmodeconcept

For those of you that haven’t read many of my blog posts, I am a massive fan of dark mode.

With iOS 11 Apple brought out “Smart Invert” which when activated, determines how best to handle the content on the screen to darken all of the visible elements on the screen. E.g. white background goes black, images stay normal, buttons change in colour to suit.

I implemented “Smart Invert” with Kelly Pool on iOS and it quite frankly, is not worth the effort. The main reason being that you can only say enable or disable Smart Invert on certain elements and that’s it. You can’t program apps so if dark mode is enabled, make my button text yellow instead of blue which Smart Invert recommends.

I’m sure developers would just like a simple API that will tell the app if the device currently has a Dark Mode enabled or not and apply the changes manually.

E.g. the following code could work.

if (DarkModeAPI == true) {

Make changes. E.g. set white background to black.

}

else {

Leave as it is.

}

By implementing it this way, it becomes optional for developers to set this up and also for apps that might have a dark mode setup manually for their apps, it could be a simple addition to support a toggle in the app’s settings or the toggle from the device’s settings or Control Centre. E.g. if (DarkModeButton == true OR DarkModeAPI == true) then show dark content.

Unify iOS and Mac App Stores:

macbookproretina

Just after doing iOS programming for a few months, I could start to understand why not many people programming for the Mac App Store. There are simply more iOS devices than Macs.

The problem is that a lot of stuff today including browsing on Facebook or Twitter still realistically needs to be done in a web browser, with no official true apps from either for macOS.

The biggest reason this has not been done to date, is with UIKit for iOS and AppKit for macOS are completely different frameworks for all visual elements of an app. By creating UIKit for macOS, this will make it a lot easier for developers to support it.

Bring apps to the Mac would help make the Mac App Store be a better competitor to the Windows App Store on Windows 10 and Xbox One’s.

I would love this to happen, both from a developer perspective and for personal day to day usage.

Next-Generation of AirPods:

airpods

If Apple releases new AirPods in 2018 (which recent rumours suggest), I’m going to go out on a limb and say they will not replace the current model, but rather be an alternative.

The biggest question I have with updated AirPods if they are an additional model, is if they would be priced higher or made the same price as current AirPods and old ones become cheaper?

I’m more inclined to think Apple might bring the current AirPods to be slightly cheaper and the new ones be slightly more expensive than current AirPods, but what would the difference be?

I’d expect the following changes in the next generation of AirPods:

  • Apple W2 Chip which improves on everything from the W1, including battery efficiency.
  • Wireless Charging Case Included.
  • Gesture controls on each earpiece. E.g. swipe up and down for volume on one and swipe up and down on one for fast forward and rewinding songs.
  • Same design as current AirPods, but maybe at least one additional colour, such as Black.

Control Centre Reachability on iPhone X:

Control Centre on iPhone X is not in the most pleasant space on the phone.

I understand why they implemented it there from a visual point and that it can be activated when doing anything on the phone, but it is hard to reach at times, even more so if you are left handed, which neither the time nor the connectivity indicators can be swapped.

I have been thinking for the longest time, if Apple were to move Control Centre, where should it go and how best to handle it.

I reckon Apple should incorporate it into multitasking, so when you activate multitasking, the apps appear side by side at the top and all of control centre below it. This would also be best because reaching the top of the screen to swipe up on apps to dismiss is not a huge priority since iOS is designed to keep apps in memory in the background and uses slightly more battery, every-time you force close an app via multitasking.

Doing all of this will keep it consistent with multitasking and Control Centre being on the same screen on iOS 11 on iPads.

Apple could either also leave Control Centre to be activated via the top right corner or allow a swipe down from there to change the few quick toggles like Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Mobile Data etc.

Address controls for home-button less iPad to have consistency with the iPhone X:

If you try to replicate the iPhone X gestures on the iPad Pro running iOS 11, it is not possible to do the same features.

Currently, you’d have to do a long swipe up to multitasking and press on blank space to get to the home screen, but a long swipe on the iPhone X if you do it quickly, will take you to the home screen directly.

On an iPad with iOS 11, a quick flick upwards brings up the dock, but on iPhone X, that’s enough to go to home screen. Maybe they should make the dock a short swipe that you hold longer, or just keep the dock for the multitasking screen, which is still an advantage over the iPhone for multitasking.

On an iPad, I would be happy if they replicate the controls that the iPhone X has (except Control Centre obviously) but I’m questioning Apple, how would they keep these gestures consistent between iPads and iPhones for when they remove the home button the iPad, which could happen in 2018.

Bring less dramatic features in iOS 12 and increase quality control and improve current features:

Anyone who has followed my blogs for the longest time would know that I did a wishlist for each major iOS release, and we usually get disappointed or get some of what we said but not many.

I truly believe, Apple needs to take almost an off-year with iOS as silly as it sounds.

What I’m suggesting is Craig Federighi and his team should focus on a few new features but no where near as many as iOS 11 and focus on refining and improving all aspects of the operating system.

The reason I brings this up is because of all of these issues that happen recently in the software, including security issues with HomeKit, calculator lag, and keyboard suggestions with missing symbols etc. All of these are proving that the quality (pun intended) of Apple’s quality control when it comes to software, is starting to go down hill.

I’ve seen a lot of online forums where people are seriously starting to consider switching to or back to Android or have already, due all of the issues people are having in the software.

That being said, Apple prior to iOS 11 was releasing or marketing it as 10 major additions to the OS for many years. If you apply that philosophy back this year, I reckon Apple should do about 5-7 of these so-called significant features and spent the equivalent of the other 3-5, working on making the rest of the operating system completely secure, have great performance and as stated earlier, future-proof so iOS apps can run on Macs etc.

Again, I had the calculator lag bug and a few other minor ones hardly reported, but it’s been basically perfect for me ever since iOS 11.2.0, despite others still saying there having issues with that version onwards.

Quite frankly, a feature such as a Dark Mode API and toggle in Control Centre would be considered a major feature but honestly, I would imagine with the expertise the software engineers they have, this would be a very quick addition, so they could spend more time on refinements.

A lot of old-school Apple users say that Snow Leopard was one of the last best OS X releases, but I’d argue a lot of the recent ones have been really good. Since a lot are saying Snow Leopard was really good for stability and reliability, I wish iOS 12 could be considered at the same level.

Updated iPad Pro with smaller bezels, Face ID, no home button and A11X processor:

ios9-iphone&ipad

I currently own an iPad Air (1) since 2013 and it is really now showing it’s age, more so since I got use to the OLED screen on the iPhone X.

Essentially I’ve considered updating my iPad this year, but with the cost of the iPhone X I delayed upgrading my iPad until they release a so called iPhone X like iPad.

That means, I want an iPad Pro that has:

  • No home button.
  • Consistent thin bezel around the entire device.
  • Rounded corners on the display.
  • Face ID (with it working in landscape mode as well).
  • A11X Processor.
  • Starts at 128GB for base model pricing (just for iPad Pro line-up).

I have my doubts Apple would add an OLED Display, but if they did, it would really increase the price of the device significantly, so happy if that sticks with IPS.

Option to hide home bar on iPhone X in iOS 12:

Apple replaced the home button on the iPhone X with a thin home bar on the screen.

This was vital for the learning curve of the iPhone X, but since it became second nature for me after a week of swiping up from the bottom, I do question if it can be removed entirely.

By doing this, it will increase the height slightly for content in scroll views in the middle of the screen and move the tab bar at the bottom further down.

I would love something like this to be included as a natural evolution in the iPhone X software design, but I whole heartedly agree, it should be opt-in to hide the home bar due to the learning curve.

Announcements I did not include in Top 10, due to doubt in execution:

  • MacBook Pro with thinner bezels: May happen with next major redesign but won’t be in 2018 if they did one in 2016.
  • New MacBook Pro’s without Touch Bar: Doesn’t affect me much as will not be upgrading my MacBook Pro Retina anytime soon, but I do think they need to make the function keys standard and then allow the Touch Bar as an optional extra exclusively through the Apple Online and Retail Stores.
  • Redesigned iMac with less bezels or more screen: Again doesn’t affect me as won’t upgrade soon, but its the one major turn-off for getting an iMac with the large bezels.
  • More customizable home screen: Doubt Apple will do it now, otherwise they would have. It’d have to be like one of three major changes in a major iOS release for them to do it now.

I think the point we are starting to get to with Apple is that we need to hold them accountable for the stuff they are not doing well at and be very vocal about it, otherwise nothing will be done out it. Now this doesn’t mean change all of your devices from Lightning to USB-C, but rather step up their software quality control!

Apple is currently a trillion dollar company in waiting, so the question has to be asked. Will Apple become the first trillion dollar company, and in 2018? I honestly believe they will be the first, but if in 2018 it will be at the very end. They will have to execute almost everything I said above for them to reach that trillion dollar level.

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