WWDC 2022 Wish List


Looking forward to the annual Apple software developer conference to be announced for June and also following on from recent general view on the current state of software from Apple here are my software wishes that I hope Apple implements soon.

Notification Sync

Despite annual improvements and changes to the notification centre on macOS, iOS and iPadOS, the majority of users I am sure would agree that the way Apple implements notifications on our devices is still a mess and needs an elegant and cleaner solution to make it easy for the user to manage them. Most of us have multiple devices including an iPhone, iPad and or a Mac and for the majority of us that means that we have the same or some of our favourite apps on each device, logged in with the same details. I’m talking about email, social networking apps, sports scores apps – the kind of apps where you do want notifications or at least they are useful to glance at depending on which ever device you happen to be using. The problem is that unless you are using an app that has been configured for real time background updating, you are likely to see the same notifications in either banner or badge format across all your devices which results in you viewing, actioning a notification and then only to find when you pick up another of your devices later, the you see the same notification for the event/email/alert you dealt with before which is frustrating and leads to unnecessary duplications and having to waste time deleting and managing the notifications already processed previously.

There are some examples today of where apps and services do have a notification sync that updates in the background on all of your devices – iMessage is the first one that comes to mind. If a message comes through, all your devices ping with the notification and alert and the moment you answer/open the new message, all you other devices hide the notifcation whether as a badge or a banner. If you use Gmail, as either the app or their email service as your provider, most email apps including Spark, AirMail and Apple Mail will all do the same and update and remove notifcations on your other devices if new email is read or actioned which is great. Unfortunately, this way of syncing does not work for most other apps and services.

It would be great if Apple could in conjunction with developers utilise the iCloud API so that apps could sync the notifications for their apps for those who have a variation of the same app on each device, normally signed into the same account on each device. Imagine picking up your iPad and seeing on the lock screen that you had notifications for recent sports scores from Yahoo or ESPN or news alerts from Apple News or CNN etc. You could view the said notification, swipe to tap to access it which would then clear the alert from the notification centre and thus sync across iCloud to remove that same notification from all your other devices with the app installed. Instantly, this would make managing the notification centre easier and more logical to remove duplicate items.

Widgets on macOS Desktop

Putting the aside the technical complications that would be involved, after last year where the iPad got widgets on the home screen, having widgets moved out of the notification centre slide out on macOS and become not only visible but actionable seems like very low hanging fruit at this point. macOS is such a mature platform these days that their annual incremental updates seem to be concentrating more on tweaking its ability to sync and merge with iPadOS and iOS so that users, especially new to the Mac are more comfortable switching between the range of devices. The current placement of widgets in the notification centre on macOS is hidden by default and along with the notification centre, is a common complaint within it’s users and by moving the widgets to the desktop would bring some sense of parity with the iPhone and iPad.

Podcasts App

Apple has shown before that it has the ability to pay attention to popular apps and services and if it’s in their interests as far as their platforms are concerned, they will re-design their existing apps or buy apps and services for their own platform improvement. This sherlocking way of improving benefits its users of course but often to the detriment of the very developers it encourages and congratulates.

Their own Podcasts app that Apple has, is case in point an app and service that is surprising has not rushed to replicate similar features from other popular Podcast apps. Features such trim silence, configurable unplayed playlists, volume boost not to mention far better implementations of episode playback sync, chapter support. Despite their recent push for Podcasting, the slew of updates is slow in regards to their own native app and I am hoping that this WWC, we will see a revamp of the app with the kind of improvements mentioned that competing Podcasts apps have to sway me back.

Here’s hoping that WWDC ’22 brings anything close to these improvements as they seem to be obvious upgrades to make especially when they paid attention to particular areas in recent years at WWDC and maybe this year WWDC will be back in person again!