My favourite WWDC22 announcements and some disappointments
As a real Apple fanboy, on the 6th of June, I watched Apple WWDC22 (Worldwide Developers Conference) like I do every year. So, let me share a few announcements that I am the most excited about. I’m going to keep it brief and leave some room to express my disappointments.
Focus filters #
Focus is one of my favourite features of the Apple ecosystem. I am so excited that this year they are getting even better. The new Focus filters will allow us to correlate lock screens (also announced on WWDC22), Safari tabs, conversations in Messages, Calendar events and email mailboxes with a particular Focus mode. In addition, the Focus filter API will allow app creators to extend their apps to support this new feature.
“Meet Focus filters” from WWDC22 is an in-depth presentation by Teja Kondapalli that explains the ins and outs of Focus filters.
The new MacBook Air #
Alongside the many software announcements, those guys at Apple like to surprise us with some new hardware. The new MacBook Air, powered by a new M2 chip (also presented on the WWDC22), looks to me like a perfect machine. Good keyboard, great screen, long-lasting battery (up to 18 hours) and just enough ports all enclosed in this new thin (11.3mm) and light (1.2kg) body. Moreover, it’s portable enough to travel with and powerful enough to do all I expect from a computer.
I’ll be the first one in the queue for one of these (for my girlfriend 💋), so if you have any questions, I’ll be more than happy to help the moment I get it, which will be at some point in July.
Mail App #
Mail is one of these apps that, even though it’s not the most powerful, not the most user-friendly, nor the most intuitive, it’s the one I use because it just works. Unfortunately, over the years, it has become outdated, and right now is an excellent time to give it some love. They delivered!
The entire rewrite of Apple Mail comes with long-awaited features like undo send, scheduled emails, snoozing messages, powerful and insanely fast search, and much more. So it’s an excellent time to be excited about the Mail app again.
Most of these features require a combination of client and server-side functionalities. Still, looking at some alerts before scheduling (at least on the beta version of the latest iOS), I am concluding that this whole set of new features are working on the client side. Because of that, I hope it will work well with any email provider (Fastmail in my case), not only iCloud email.
For sure, Safari is not the new IE. The progress that Apple’s browser made in the last few years is enormous, and this year is getting even better. Regular users will appreciate many new features. Developers will like it even more.
Shared Tab Groups are going to improve team collaboration a lot. Passkey is the first mainstream approach to password-free authentication on the Web and native apps. In addition, it is entirely FIDO compliant, which makes this implementation work across all operating systems.
Tons of great news for developers too! Web Inspector Extensions, CSS Container Queries, Web Push notifications for macOS, CSS Subgrid, Flexbox Inspector, a lot of accessibility and animation improvements and more. If you are curious about what’s new for developers coming this fall, read “News from WWDC22: WebKit Features in Safari 16 Beta” on the WebKit blog. If you are looking for in-depth sessions about the new Web Push for Safari, Passkeys, Safari Web Extensions and others, look at “Web technology sessions at WWDC22”.
Although I am excited about most of this stuff, one of the things presented on WWDC22 is garbage in my opinion. Another slight disappointment is something I expected, but this has not been mentioned at all, and I can’t find any evidence that there’s any work on that front. Let me explain.
Stage manager #
Apple had at least a few attempts to improve windows management in the last few years. Expose, Spaces, hot corners, and some limited and hard-to-use windows tiling options, to name a few.
Presented on WWDC22 Stage Manager is another attempt to solve this problem, but I can predict the death of this feature quicker than Apple killed the touch bar. A good windows manager should do two things for me — reduce the clutter and maximise my screen’s real estate. Unfortunately, Stage Manager spectacularly fails on both of them. It is limited to only a few stages, which is insufficient for power users. Looking at some very early YouTube reviews of this feature, it seems like it also provides a poor experience for touch typers.
I imagine people can find it helpful on iPad, but I can’t foresee Stage Manager as a multitasking revolution on macOS. So I will keep using Spaces in a combination of Windows Management shortcuts that comes built-in in my beloved Raycast.
Apple Music and Podcasts App #
At this point, it’s embarrassing that search functionality in Apple Music is just broken. Frustratingly slow and not responsive. If not for all these carefully hand-crafted playlists that I have maintained for years, I would be a Spotify user. Apple, please fix the Music app!
Dear Apple — without you, Podcasts would not be a thing nowadays. Please fix podcast syncing. The list of unlistened episodes across my devices is big random. Thank god Overcast exists 🙇
Thanks for reading #
Thanks for reading. I am looking forward to public betas o to play around with some early versions of new OSs by myself. How about you? What are the features that you are the most excited about? Any disappointments or unfulfilled wishes?