WWDC 2022

With little surprise, Apple held its annual developer conference. Everything we knew was coming was announced: iOS 16, iPadOS 16, watchOS9, and macOS 13 (Ventura). There's a bunch to break down, including some hardware. I have thoughts. Let's dive in.

If I were to distill iOS 16 to core updates, this version brings improvements to the lock screen and Messages. Basically you get to "un-send" and edit a sent message. You get a 15-minute window to do those things. To me, that's too long. The other cool thing is the ability to hold on the subject of an image and drag it into a message or another app. Looks pretty cool and I'll be interested to see the use cases for this.

The lock screen customizations are pretty interesting. You can change the font and layout of the time. There's an area to add widgets and, finally, notifications seem to be wrangled in a better way. The endless list of notifications is the WORST.

iPadOS gets windowing, which brings it more in line with an actual computer. Stage Manager is the feature and it's also coming to macOS Ventura. Apple seems to semi-acknowledge their webcams are crappy with the ability to use your iPhone as a webcam, similar to Camo. No wires or configuration is needed. I'm also excited to see the ability to finally hand off a FaceTime call to another device.

For the Apple Watch, I continue to be let down by the omission of a "rest day" feature. Anyone who uses the watch knows it encourages streaks and achieving records. But in reality, the algorithms can get into dangerous territory where someone overexerts themselves. I've said for years that rest days should be a feature for the Fitness system. Some way to earn them, perhaps by closing a Move ring 5 days or something. Either way, since it's not in last week's announcement, that hope is dashed until 2023. Fun!

Apple showed off their second-generation chip, the M2. The M1 blew the doors off any other computer on the market and Apple hasn't taken its foot off the gas. A redesigned MacBook Air and updated 13" MacBook Pro get the M2 right now. In some ways I'm surprised Apple is moving so fast with its chip iterations, but I also know they were held back by Intel for so long, they're eager to move as fast as they can. Given the resurgence of practical Mac design and now internals over the past few years, it's easy to see why Apple wants to keep a good thing going.

One notable tidbit is Ventura drops support for any Mac built prior to 2017. This seems to be a major gap Apple is creating to divide Intel and Apple Silicon machines. By culling the Intel Macs as fast as possible to deposit them into the Unsupported category, the incentive to upgrade will certainly exist faster for many out there. While yes you can easily continue to run a Mac with an older OS, there is a point where it becomes impractical. I don't agree with Apple's aggressive cutoff for support for these machines. If anything, Apple could easily take a page from Microsoft and offer an "extended support" model wherein a computer only gets security and critical patches, but no full version updates. Keep the Intel machines in service (which is the best move for the environment) but support them in a limited fashion.

The entire keynote was almost two hours, so there is a boatload they went through. I can't even remember it all myself, but in the end, people will usually only use a handful of improvements and the rest gets relegated to a digital dust bin. It's nice to see Apple giving this year's updates some meaningful features and we know some will play into the hardware they'll introduce in the fall. For now, the best message I can take from everything is Apple is pushing their M-series chips hard and they're very focused on the Mac.