WWDC Preditions: Results

It was a packed presentation. How did I do?

iPhone (2 out of 3)

Not much time was spent on iOS for iPhone. Lets face it, like Mac OS it’s pretty feature complete until the tech changes that.

  • UI Refresh: DING!
  • More music features: DING! But not much was made of this on stage. But still… DING!
  • Dark Mode: UH UH!

iPad (3 out of 5)

iOS 11 == iPad Biggly

  • Drag and Drop: Double DING!!!!
  • Split View App Picker: Kinda DING. The dock counts. Right? I’m counting it
  • A finder type app: OH DING!
  • No 10.5. UH UH! I have one next to me right now. Lovely it is too.

Mac (1 out of 2)

  • Spec bumped Mac Pros. DING! I’m writing this on a 15 inch Kaby Lake Aluminium slab
  • New version with touch bar updates: Ok, there was a new version (D’Uh) but no touch bar changes of any significance. I’ll take this as a UH UH!
Apple Watch (0 out of 2)

Not much meat here.
  • More sports biz waz. Not really
  • A step away from the app model. There is a Siri face, but I don’t think that really counts.
tvOS (1 out of 3)

More on this later in the year according to Timmy Cee, but not much today. It did get a dark mode though. At least there was some dark mode action
  • Amazon Instant: DING!
  • TV app outside US. UH UH!
  • Talk of Apples TV shows: NOPE!
Siri (2 out of 3)

Some changes, but not the focus people expected.
 
  • Siri Speaker: It was announced. Not sure why, but it was so; UH UH!
  • New Siri domains. There were a few, but not the number I expected. Technically I was right though: DING! *sigh*
  • New AI smarts: Not really on Siri, but lots of talk of Machine Learning so kinda: DING!


Total: 9 out of 18

Not great, but very happy to be right about the Mac and delighted to be wrong about the 10.5 inch iPad

Troops in the streets and more surveillance

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Well, it took all of 2 days to happen. Despite the proclamations that the terrorists will not change our values, we’re already doing exactly that. Less privacy and troops on the streets.

Government officials appear to have briefed newspapers that they will put many of the most invasive parts of the relatively new Investigatory Powers Act into effect after the bombing at Manchester Arena.

The specific powers being discussed – named Technical Capability Orders – require big technology and internet companies to break their own security so that messages can be read by intelligence agencies. Government will ask parliament to allow the use of those powers if Theresa May is re-elected, senior ministers told The Sun.

From the Independent

There is no indication that it would have prevented Manchester, it would be almost impossible to implement and is gross violation of civil liberties. If it were implemented then it would cause no end of security issues.

All this comes one week after the NHS was taken down using an technique developed by a US government agency, and leaked online.

At best this is the government looking to give the appearance of action, and to make Teresa May look like the strong leader she isn’t. At worst it’s the latest step in a deliberate and continuing plan to erode civil liberties. Whatever the truth is, it’s a stupid move.

Things 3 released on May 18th

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I’m not sure why I have such an obsession with this app. It is without a doubt beautiful in all its incarnations, but it’s by no means the most usable and it’s not close to being in feature parity with the likes of OmniFocus and Todoist. It is delightful to use though, even if too many taps are needed for simple tasks.

Anyway, suffice it to say I am excited by the imminent arrival of Things 3 and on my birthday no less. It was meant to be!

I truly hope that they’ve added functionality and not just updated the UI. Unfortunately the tease UI of the quick entry field does not bolster my hopes. Tags look to have been relegated to a selection item, and there is no sign of an option to attach files to a todo. There are a couple of new items, one of which looks like a flag option, the other is a mystery. Perhaps sub items on a task?

I guess I’ll find out on the 18th.

Things 3 by Cultured Code

Things 3 is coming

More than three years after its announcement, it finally looks like Cultured Code is about to release version 3 of its task manager, Things. Things is the most beautifully designed task manager I have ever used, and I used it and stuck with it for years. A lack of significant functionality updates finally made me switch to Omnifocus, then to Todoist. I have high hopes that Things 3 will bring up to par with its competition. I would switch back in a hot second if version 3 offered;

  • File uploads
  • An email address to send tasks too
  • An API to allow automation

Unfortunately, Cultured Code have not released any details about what version 3 will and will not do.

Is the Mac Dead?

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There is a lot of talk at the moment about the Mac being dead. Nonsense. Apple cares about the Mac. At the moment Apple just doesn’t seem to be delivering much. Look at the major lines;

– iPhone: The case has not had any significant design changes. iOS 10 was not really a significant update.

– iPad: No new iPad Pros in a year. The 12 inch is now 12 months old. The new “iPad” is a spec bumped Air. The be honest, the hardware is great. It’s not the problem. The problem is the software! iPad has had no love since iOS9 when Apple introduced some half baked but much needed multitasking features. If Apple sees the iPad as a Mac killer, you’d think they’d be putting more effort into the Software.

– iPod: New colours. Maybe?

– Apple Watch: This seems to be progressing well and gets much fashion love in terms of new bands.

– The Mac: New models of laptops appear regularly and there is some innovation there, even if the specs are not what Pros really want. Ok, it’s not great on the desktop. The Pro has seen no updates since Dodo’s roamed the Earth. macOS gets regular love love with Apple sticking to its yearly updates.

Apple has not delivered much over the last year or so. Where there attention is at the moment is anyones guess. Perhaps great things are in the pipe. Perhaps they’re having manufacturing issues. Perhaps they’re experiencing some organisational issues.

The Mac is not neglected. Apple just isn’t delivering at the moment. 

Todoist and Workflow and Checklists

Image Copied on 2017 03 10 at 11 19 am

I have a long history with todo list managers and iOS. I started off with a jail brake todo list written by Erica Sadun long before the app store. Later I started a multiyear love affair with Things by Cultured Code. Unfortunately, that ended poorly. The app was glorious as far as it went, but it never got updated. We have now been waiting 3+ years for version 3 of the app. I’m not sure what these guys are doing on a day to day basis. Eventually I got fed up and moved to the powerhouse that is Omnifocus. I still love this app. It’s native, stable and packed with features. Unfortunately it’s macOS / iOS only and it has no API and what I really wanted to do was automate.

To be fair, Omni are working hard on adding automation features, but the simple fact that Omnifocus is an app not a service means that what can be done will be limited and collaboration will always be problematic.

My latest move is to Todoist. So far I am very happy. The apps they provide are not native and they’re not as nice as Things or Omnifocus, but they are good enough. And it is everywhere, iOS, macOS, Android, Windows and the web. The functionality is great. I can tag, and filter to my hearts content in a manner similar to Things and far more easily that Omnifocus. And it has an API! This opens up all sorts of possibilities. For me it means I can create repeating checklists using Workflow for iOS. You should try this app.

My first step was to make this simple workflow. It lets you write a list in any text editor that supports the share sheet. An example list might be…

This is an item
This is another item
This is yet another item 

You then hit the extension button, select the workflow extension and then the “List to Todoist” option. The todos get pushed into you inbox, with each line a separate todo. The Todoist app is then opening in the correct location.

So far so good. This is perfect for brainstorming. You can also use a similar kind of workflow for creating checklists. Here’s an example workflow for a packing checklist. This one takes some pre-canned todos and adds them to an existing Todoist project, then opens the Todoist app at that project.

 

Using the iPad as your main computer

Federico Viticci has been using the iPad as his main computer for the last year. He has a fascinating story about his experiences on the ever excellent MacStories.

Reading the story it looks like the amount of effort required to make the iPad take over the duties of a PC is still to great for most people. Having said that, I have no doubt that the iPad is the future of general computing and it’s great that people like Federico are sharing their experiences. Until the iPad does start to over take the PC or Mac as Federico says;

The Mac and the iPad can coexist in a market where customers believe one is superior to the other. I prefer working on the iPad; others like their Macs more. And that’s fine because, ultimately, the Apple ecosystem as a whole grows stronger and we all reap the benefits.