Apple WWDC22 Impressions Part 3

In parts 1 and 2, I discussed this year’s WWDC, iPhone Lock Screen customization, and the multitasking featured called Stage Manager. Now onto other small things.


Miscellany

In addition to the Mac and iPad (finally) getting the iPhone’s Weather app, Apple’s WWDC22 keynoted many other items.

Messages

I’m glad to see this app/service is getting nice additions: edit messages, undo send, and mark threads as unread!

Wallet

Apple is somehow implementing a new Pay Later service to allow payments for purchases. It seems okay, but is it? Not sure about this one. Interesting…

Family Sharing

As head of my household of seven (7), where I manage (so far) two of my sons’ iPhones through Screen Time, we share the Apple One Family Plan with iCloud Storage, so the new management features for child accounts and the iCloud Shared Photo Library look like great new additions to try out. Hopefully they prove worth while in daily life.

watchOS 9

Sadly, the Apple Watch software seemed to get the least amount of attention. That said, the Workout app is getting several great enhancements, like Heart Target Zones, Recover Zones, and the like, which I’m really eager to use in my running routine. But there isn’t much else going on here. The watch is great for fitness as-is, so if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it, you know?

Here comes watchOS 9; watch out.

M2 Hardware

Oh yeah, besides software, there was also hardware announced this year. The next evolution in Apple’s custom CPU design, the M2 chip, is here! It seems mostly iterative with incremental advancements, but they all look good nonetheless, pushing things relentlessly forward. Apple’s M1 chip is still a marvel – it powers my MacBook Air with aplomb – yet the M2 and a redesigned MacBook Air are already on the computing scene. Better is still better!

I figure my M1 machine will last a looooong time, so when I eventually upgrade, Apple will probably be on the M7 or so.

Safari

I must point out Safari Tabs. In every single demo throughout the entire keynote, on both the Mac and the iPad, I noticed the “new” Safari Tab design from 2021 wasn’t shown a single time! The “old” tabs were prevalent throughout. Correct me if I’m wrong, but if this is accurate, I’d say that’s a subtle confirmation that last year’s tab redesign has proven unfruitful.

In my own use-case, while I love the look of the new tabs, especially on iPad, and I used them for a while at first, I switched back to the “classic” tabs. Why? Overall, they work better or are easier to use. Function over form.

Passkeys

Do I enjoy and rely on iCloud Keychain? Why, yes I do, especially in conjunction with TouchID on my Mac, iPad, and iPhone (yeah, 5 years in, and I still have never used FaceID). So when Apple announced Passkeys – the harbinger of Passwords’ death – my jaw went slack. How does this work!? Nevermind, just let me start using it!

Gaming

If Apple is serious about getting into gaming, I really think its software is the less important part of the equation. It must design and build hardware, a dedicated game device – a Switch-like console! Seriously, it should reinvent the overpriced AppleTV hardware with a new focus on being a game console first and a multi-media device second. And this means Apple should make a game controller with physical buttons.

While Apple could solely enter the gaming market via “PC” gaming on Mac, it would need to sell dedicated gaming hardware to truly signal its prowess and intent as a company invested in gaming beyond Apple Arcade and mobile games sans gacha mechanics.

Desktop-Class apps

This year, Apple pushed iPad software forward as much as it has pushed its hardware in recent years; it’s a lot!

Along with Stage Manager, the iPad can now use a fully extended display, it enables free-floating resizable app windows, it unlocks storage memory for additional RAM usage, and all apps are getting more Mac-like features such as tool bars that can have their icons rearranged.

For pro-tablet folks, the iPad is seeing a seismic shift in functionality. But will it truly be unleashed fully from its mobile OS foundation? And does it really matter when pro-level people could just use a Mac instead? Time will tell. I’m eager for Federico Veticci’s annual iOS/iPadOS review extravaganza and Christopher Lawley’s insights in daily iPad living on this.

For me, as one who loved the iPad being my computer but wanted and needed more, I’m intrigued by the possibility that iPadOS might finally and truly be the mythical “laptop replacement” long sought after. But why? Since I now love using my M1 MacBook Air, why should the iPad replace it? Well, for me, it’d be about cost. When it’s time to replace an aging device, the iPad plus Magic Keyboard might be purchased for less money than a MacBook. Otherwise, with Apple’s M1 chips reinvigorating the Mac, I’m more inclined to spend a bit more to ensure complete computer productivity. And the iPad is still best, I think, as “just” a tablet.

Customizable toolbar on iPadOS! Nerdvana.

Wrap up

Apple’s WWDC22 added many new features across its devices. Overall, it’s exciting for tech geeks, nerds, developers, and consumers, but there’s always a risk of tipping the balance towards too much complexity. Apple usually keeps that balance well, but we won’t know how well until the stable software is released later this year.

While both promising and exciting, I also remind myself that there’s typically only a small percentage of new features that I actually end up using in my daily routine. Apple’s hardware and software are already exceptionally useful, so it’s less common to see innovations that greatly affect people in new ways. Last year’s “Live Text” for example, I’ve used it maybe one time.

That said, the Lock Screen customization on iPhone and Stage Manager on Mac (or iPad) look to be the most impactful of Apple’s advancements in years. I’m looking forward to them!

Do you have a favorite new feature you’re looking forward to? Please share!


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