My WWDC22 Wish List

It’s WWDC time. The rumor mill has run its course, and the usual suspect Apple pundits have weighed with their predictions and wish lists. Since I’m trying my hand at this blogging thing I thought it might be fun to write down my own personal wish list.

The keynote is only a few hours away, so let’s get into it. Without further ado, here are my most wanted improvements for this years lineup of iPhone, iPad, and Mac software updates:

  • Scheduled Send for Messages on iPhone, iPad, and Mac

    Like scheduling emails to send later but for Messages. Google recently added support for scheduling messages to send later in Google Messages for Android, and I’ve been hoping Apple would bring this feature to iOS ever since.

  • FaceTime video messages

    Like voicemail, but for FaceTime. I’m not the first person to ask for it, and I won’t be the last. Even Google’s FaceTime clone (Google Duo1) supports video messages. If this ever happens and it works with Group FaceTime calls, Apple would have effectively built their own SnapChat Stories clone for FaceTime — a social network that is exclusive to iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

  • Improved external display support in iPadOS

    Another year, another WWDC, another round of speculation about “better multi-tasking” and resizeable windows for iPad and iPadOS. I personally like that the iPad is a more focused operating system – it’s part of the reason I enjoy doing real work on my iPad. I have also descended into the abyss that is multi-tasking gestures for iPad (and keyboard shortcuts as of iPadOS 15), and I feel pretty confident in saying I have developed a mastery over the current capabilities.

    I think I’m one of the few who doesn’t completely hate the current multi-tasking system. Having said that, the improvement I’m more interested in is better external display support. iOS has supported connected screens for some time now, and a few of the apps I use regularly have made good use of external displays, but not enough apps do this well. I’d love to see the multi-tasking improvements Apple has already delivered on the iPad extended to external displays.

  • Keyboard shortcut “viewer” menu for macOS

    One of my favorite features in iPadOS 15’s new and improved multi-tasking system is the keyboard shortcut viewer2. Just press and hold ⌘ (or the globe key) in any app to see what keyboard shortcuts are available. I use this all the time on my iPad and I’m constantly disappointed when I try it on my Mac.

  • Always on display (iPhone)

    If the rumor mill is to be believed it sounds like we may actually see always-on display come to iPhone this year. As a former Android user, this is one of the features I miss the most. Recent improvements in Apple device display technologies — including ProMotion for iPhone 13 Pro and 1hz refresh rates on Apple Watch — all seem to indicate that Apple has the necessary building blocks and is ready to make this one happen. If this does happen I suspect we won’t see an announcement at WWDC because it will probably be hardware gated.

    Bonus points if we also get something like the Google Pixel’s “Flip to Shhh” to go with it.

  • Reverse wireless charging

    Have you ever set your iPhone face down on a table, and then set your AirPods case on the back of the iPhone. It’s so natural! Did you ever wish your iPhone could charge the AirPods case? This is called reverse wireless charging, and it’s already available in some Android phones. The hardware to support this on iPhone is already there, and technically the iPhone does already support reverse wireless charging, but it only works with Apple’s MagSafe Battery Pack and MagSafe-enabled iPhones3 (running iOS 15.4.x or newer).

  • Tags for Mail on iPhone, iPad, and Mac

    The flagging system in is outdated. It’s time for tags. The Notes app added support for tags last year in iOS/iPadOS 15 and macOS Monterey, and it was good enough to get me to switch back to the Notes app (though the real draw was Quick Notes – a truly killer feature on iPad). The same system — with smart folders – would be a huge win for the Mail app.

    The Mail app for Mac already has user-configurable Rules that work very similarly to Gmail’s excellent filter system.

    The Mail app for Mac supports custom mail Rules, but no action to tag emails (yet).

    The Mail app for Mac supports custom mail Rules, but no action to tag emails (yet).

    Setting Rules to tag emails would bring one of Gmail’s best features to Apple’s native email app.

  • Mail extensions for iPhone and iPad

    Of the many APIs that are available for app developers to connect to on iPhone and iPad, email has always been off limits. Third-party applications can ask for permission to access your contacts, photos, and location – but there’s no such support for granting access to your emails. However, in 2021 Mac developers got access to a new MailKit framework in macOS Monterey, enabling developers to extend the built-in Mail app features for composing messages, managing your inbox, blocking content, and encrypting/decrypting/signing messages with new “Mail extensions”, while protecting user privacy. Apple also brought Safari Extensions to iPhone and iPad last year, so is it possible we could see Mail extensions come to iPhone and iPad?

  • iCloud custom email distribution lists

    Last year Apple announced support for configuring custom email domains for iCloud+. They even followed that up with support for configuring custom email domains directly from the iPhone in iOS 15.4. I set this up and have used it with a few personal domains, but the current offering is very limited. I’d love to see Apple continue to develop this offering and support for email distribution lists would be a great next step.

    Apple iWorkspace & multiple iCloud accounts

    Is Apple is building a G Suite Google Workspace competitor right under our noses? Will there be a day when small businesses could setup their business on iCloud+ instead of Google Workspace or Microsoft 365? Apple has all the building blocks, including email (custom domains), chat (Messages4), cloud storage (iCloud), and collaboration (iWork)? If so, does that mean we might see support for multiple iCloud accounts on iOS, iPadOS, and macOS… someday?

  • Literally anything for HomeKit++

    I have one of the new smart locks that supports Apple Home Key, and it’s brilliant.

    My Apple Home Key in my Apple Wallet.

    My Apple Home Key in my Apple Wallet.

    Unfortunately, HomeKit feels like one of Apple’s slowest moving platforms, so it would be great to see some improvements at WWDC.

OK, that’s it for my predictions wish list. I’m looking forward to seeing what gets announced and playing with the betas.

I hope you have a happy “dub dub”! ✌️

  1. However, somewhat unsurprisingly it seems that Google Duo is now set to be merged with Google Meet, so who knows what will happen to my favorite Google Duo feature. ↩︎

  2. I’m not sure if this menu has a name, but the iPad User Guide describes the features as “View multitasking and other systemwide shortcuts” and “View shortcuts for the app you’re using”. ↩︎

  3. iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro or iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro. ↩︎

  4. Sure, Messages isn’t a Slack or Microsoft Teams alternative – but it could be for a small business! I have met at least a dozen people in the last year who say that they have started using “texting” for work (these are all small business). More and more people are buying Macbooks and iPads for work, so it wouldn’t surprise me if the convenience of sending messages from the Mac is prompting small business owners to use Messages for chat. ↩︎