Thoughts on WWDC17 keynote

Apple’s 2017 WWDC Keynote is over and I’ve tallied the results and confirmed that it appears that just one of the items on my wish list came true: Siri improvements (maybe?). I’m assuming that one is coming true, since Apple is baking Siri into their impressively expensive Siri and music speaker they call HomePod.

I’ll be honest: I didn’t expect Apple to touch on most of my ideas during the WWDC keynote, especially since it is generally more developed focused, but I waited a couple of days before compiling my thoughts to see if someone with a developer account uncovered the fulfillment of my other wishes. They haven’t.

The one item I had hoped to hear something about from earlier developer testers is the extreme slowness that I experience on my 2016 13″ MacBook Pro with Touch Bar when using the Keychain password manager. Any time Safari auto fills my username and password on a website, I see the beach ball spin for a second or two before the fields are filled. Going into the password manager itself in Safari also takes a long time to load after authenticating with my fingerprint. This seems to be a delay caused by the interaction between macOS and the new secure enclave used by the Touch Bar Macs to securely store passwords and fingerprints (like on iPhone). You better believe I’ll be grabbing that public beta to test out the performance in High Sierra as soon as it’s available.

Everything else besides Siri were small changes that wouldn’t made iOS better for me, but aren’t huge deals. Whatever.

Surprises

iMac Pro? That’s all that wasn’t spoiled ahead of time and is interesting. I like that Apple is starting to take Pro-sumers seriously again, but I’m guessing that this means the redesigned Mac Pro is quite a ways off. A new iMac with beefier specs and more holes cut in it for airflow is hardly Apple design and innovation at its best, so I’m looking forward to what’s really next. Those Space Gray accessories look pretty killer.

HomePod. While not entirely a surprise, this $350 speaker with Siri chilling inside is intriguing. Siri is fairly terrible on iOS right now, with most of my questions being kicked over to a web search that I need to physically unlock my iPhone to see. I am super interested to see how this works with HomePod. Making me pull out my iPhone and tap on a web search isn’t going to cut it for a speaker I’ll shout at from the couch when I’m feeling lazy. If I wanted to use my eyes and my fingers I would have just taken my phone out.

My next computer

I’ll admit that I’m a little tired of playing the spec and battery life guessing game when it comes to buying computers. My $1,700 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar is now outdated, replaced by the next generation of processors that should have been in my model, and so now I’ve got a piece of junk. Not really, obviously, but I don’t think iPad gives users this feeling.

With the introduction of closer desktop-level multitasking, iPad is quickly becoming a legitimate computing platform – and one that I might make my primary platform. Beyond web browsing, email, and Office apps, there’s not a ton that I don’t think I could do on iPad that I do on my MacBook now. Sure, I’d probably never write that app I’ve been thinking about. It’s been 5 years and I haven’t gotten beyond installing Xcode, anyway.

There’s some part of me that just wants to have an iPhone and iPad that go everywhere with me.

The end

So, that’s it. Not the most exciting WWDC keynote, but still solid. I think we’re nearing peak OS innovation here, where we will see fewer dramatic redesigns of iOS and macOS. These are mature, feature-packed, secure, and stable modern operating systems that honestly don’t need much. Apple has seemingly moved to maintenance mode, making adjustments and feature additions based on feedback (customizable Control Center, anyone?!). This is good. I like this.

Keep it up, Apple.

Published by

Michael Singletary

An avid reader, sometimes writer, and always father.

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