WWDC Wishlist

The Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is tomorrow and Apple usually reveals new software during this event. Tomorrows WWDC will likely be no exception. Like others, I have a wish list list that I would like to see in baked into OS X, iOS 10, and Watch OS 3. Below are some of the things I hope we will see tomorrow during Apple’s Keynote.

iOS

  • Multiple selections in iOS: I have started to use iOS more now that I have an iPad Pro. Surprisingly, using iOS to conduct my daily work has been almost frictionless. Almost. One of the pain points I have run into on iOS is the ability to select multiple items. For example, if I need to email a colleague several items sourounding a project (e.g., manuscriopt, data graphs, and data tables), it takes multiple taps. First I must long press on the email message, then select the place that the attachments reside (e.g., Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud Drive), and then select the file which closes the file picker and brings you back to your mail message. If you are only sending one file, this is what you want. However, if you are selecting multiple files, this means that you must repeat the process for as many files as you want to attach to your email message. As you can imagine, this gets cumbesome very quickly. It would be great if iOS 10 brings with it the ability to select multiple items throughout iOS (not just in emails).
  • Better display of workout data: The Apple Watch and iOS, collect a lot of health and fitness data. Using the Health app on the iPhone allows you to easily view this data (e.g., step count, workouts, heart rate). However, you are only able to view these data in small graphs on the Health app dashboard or via a larger (but still abstract) graph if you tap into a graph and turn your phone into landscape mode. Even with the larger landscape mode graph in the Health app, Apple uses a bar graph that is not easily readable. The data could be displayed in a much more pleasing and easy to read way (For an example, see how the Fitbit app displays its data).

Watch OS

  • Better fitness tracking on Applewatch:
    The Apple watch fails at many things (e.g., anything outside of a notification device). However, it is actually a decent fitness tracker. It provides good data, works in conjunction with your iPhone for step count and health kit, and has a heart rate sensor. That said, the implementation of these features still feels like a first generation product compared to other fitness trackers—even with Watch OS 2. Let me be clear, the Apple Watch has the data and capability to compete with other dedicated fitness trackers, it just fall short in the execution. I will note two instances where this is the case below:

    • Automatically starting/stopping workouts: The Apple Watch can track workouts and the data it provides is good. But, to get that data you must tell the Apple Watch that you are working out. This may seem like a small point but it is not. Every time you begin a workout you must physically tap a start button (or initiate a workout through Siri with dictation) on the watch and also remember to tap the stop button when you are finished with your workout. If you stop working out for any length of time you must force touch the watch face (with your sweaty fingers) to pause and resume the workout. Other fitness trackers like FitBit do all of this automatically. If you are wearing a Fitbit, you can just start running and the device will automatically begin a “workout.” For a company like Apple who sells itself on devices that “just work,” this seems like a collosal fail. It would be a welcome addition if Apple adds this functionality to Watch OS 3.
    • Automatic sleep tracking and quality: Like workouts, the Apple Watch (or iOS) does not automatically track duration and quality of sleep. If you want to track your sleep duration with with iOS without an Apple Watch, you must open the Health App and manually add the times at which you fell asleep and woke up. What is the problem with this? Almost no one is going to remember to do this every day and those that do are likely still going to have inaccurate data because of errors in their ability to remember when they actually fell asleep and woke up. If you are fortunate enough to have an Apple Watch, you are in a slightly better position. You can install a sleep app for the Apple Watch like Sleep++ by Cross Forward Consulting. Installing this app will not get you around having to track your sleep manually but it will provide you with “start sleeping” and “stop sleeping” buttons on the Apple Watch. Additionally if you wear the Apple Watch while you sleep, the app will use the motion data from the Apple Watch to give you a rough estimate of your sleep quality.

OS X

  • Not much to report here: When I started this post I felt that I would almost surely have wish list items for all three Apple ecosystems (Mac OS X, iOS, and Watch OS). However, after thinking about what I would like to see in a new version of OS X, nothing sprang to mind. Even as I write this sentence, I cannot come up with anything that l am dying to see in a new Mac OS. I am not sure what that means. Has the Mac OS reached an apex? Maybe my new 9.7 inch iPad Pro is pulling more towards iOS?. Although I have no wish list items for OS X, I am excited to see what Apple can pull out of its hat.
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