June 1, 2014

What I’m Interested to Hear from WWDC 2014

It’s interesting to speculate about what Apple will reveal tomorrow. Leaving aside the hardware speculations, there’s always a lot to wish for on the software side. While iOS is already on version 7 (has it been that long?) it still has a lot of areas that need work. Will Apple fix any of these? That’s the question …

For instance, there’s the whole issue of input – I mean keyboard input. Apple has been sticking to their own keyboard since iOS was introduced and so far it doesn’t look as if they’re going to loosen their grip. And that’s rather annoying for those of us who want to get any typing done on the iOS virtual keyboard 🙂 Apple’s suggestion mechanism for the keyboard just doesn’t cut it for fast typists. I really wish they’d open up the keyboard so that we can have choices. Will that ever happen though? No idea.

Another area that can use a lot of work is that of profiles – both user profiles and system profiles. By user profiles, I mean the ability for different people to use the same iDevice in parallel. Granted, this isn’t a huge deal most of the time except for games on a phone – I just hate it when somebody takes my phone, starts playing a game and goes through a level that I hadn’t played 🙂 But on iPads where more people tend to share the same device, the issue even extends to areas like contacts, calendars and so on. So it would be nice if there was a way for multiple people to share the same device without stomping all over each others’ data and settings.

But more importantly, iOS still lacks any kind of system profile functionality. Here, what I mean is being able to have a set of customized device settings that you can switch to at will. For instance, I might not want the phone ringer on at specific times during the day. Or I might want the device to switch off mobile data when I connect to specific WiFi access points. Currently, all we have is the very limited Do Not Disturb feature – but that’s a one-size-fits-all solution. You can set the phone to turn off the ringer for a specified time interval every day, but you can’t even customize that to further, for instance, to be able to turn off the ringer at a different time each day. Or, for several different time periods on a given day.

So what are we likely to see this year? That, I don’t know. But given the way Apple has been moving – the introduction of auto layout, and then the refinements to auto layout a year later etc, it looks very much as if Apple is working from a set playbook. They have a plan and they are steadily ticking the boxes in getting their plan in place. So, it looks very much as if larger screens (or at least screens with different resolutions/sizes) might be on the cards. But will they reveal anything this year that further cements moves in this direction?

And what about gaming? Apple seemed to be giving a nod to 2D game developers by introducing SpriteKit last year. But SpriteKit is a bit limited in what it can do. Sure, it can be used to create 2D games easily – but it still has some rough edges. Will Apple be polishing out these rough edges this year? Or will it simply let SpriteKit languish in the same state it was in when it was first introduced?

So many questions! Hopefully, at least some will be answered soon 🙂

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Tags: Technology
Posted by Fahim at 5:05 am   Comments (0)