541: wwdc 2020

I’m about a third of the way through the podcast but I think David and Stephen make some good points about new iOS features that no one asked for (Siri answers, PIP) while not saying anything about features people were hoping would be improved. "Fancy features but not a lot of features… a lot of low-hanging fruit’ picked.

After the difficult birth iOS 13 experienced, I wonder how much of iOS 14 involves stealth stability fixes…

App clips a “sleeping giant”? Given that it’s iOS-only, and how few people download 3rd-party apps to begin with, it’ll need to be very overt and very simple to use to get traction. I get the feeling this might have potential but only if Apple pushes it hard to devs and works to educates consumers. WIll it?

Sidebar: David quoted “We are embracing color in this release” - yes, now that Jony has left the building.

Scribble: text boxes are so small… I hope iOS recognizes handwriting that extends well outside the small text boxes. (Personally I’d prefer a given text-box to auto-expand when a Pencil is recognized.)

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Let us know what specific things that were announced you’d like us to dig into more on future episodes!


I’ve noticed with Scribble the text-box does get bigger and the handwriting that is outside the text-box is recognized.


Cool. I didn’t go back to the video but I’d assumed iOS was smart enough not to insist that handwriting fit inside small boxes.

But I didn’t notice the boxes change, at least in the videos I saw. If that does happen I will be very happy.

I saw it once while testing in iMessage. I haven’t done an intensive test though.

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Please please please delve deeper into the ARM transition. As power users, the Mac remains the most powerful platform, and this is momentous. Especially – what does this mean for pro workflows (cough Mac Pro cough)?

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The best part was Big Sur foreshadowing an iMac with touch screen for designers (similar to the Surface Studio).

So looking forward seeing Procreate on that with pencil support:)

And Messages getting a green logo is huge for me. That was giving me OCD induced pain for years, haha.


Speaking of things video-related, a dev on Twitter strongly implied (I guess he’s being coy because of non-disclosure agreements) that Apple capitulated to Google re YouTube’s proprietary VP9 video format, and under iOS 14 you should be able to get video at higher quality than 1080p.

Aaaannnd… it’s official. Ryan Christoffel just posted about it as one of the updated features of tvOS:

And someone posted this on Twitter:

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I don’t think Apple brings touch to Mac (although I’d never rule it out), but I do wonder if all the touch friendliness in maOS foreshadows a time in the future when iPadOS disappears and this new touch-enabled macOS powers the iPad.

With iPhone/iPad apps coming to ARM Macs unmodified, I think there’s a bigger case for at least basic touch support on the Mac. I don’t think macOS is going to absorb the iPad. If anything, they’re meeting in the middle more and more.


I’ve long expected that an ARM ‘iBook’ should be the equivalent of a Windows foldable notebook that also ran iOS apps in a dual-boot mode. Attached keyboard, trackpad and touchscreen, with a few tweaks to macOS to allow basic touch gestures only, like scrolling and zooming, while offering a full iOS experience.

But this is not apparently what Apple is promising. (I also expected ARMacs to be locked down to App Store apps only, which appears to be wrong too.)

The question is what kinds of iOS apps would be allowed to be used on an ARMac if there isn’t touch support, and how these unmodified apps (that’s what Apple said they’d be) would work if they depend on touch.

We don’t have the whole story, and so far Apple is just teasing the basics. I hope we’ll learn more as WWDC progresses.

@MacSparky mentioned that to connect his Airpods to the Apple TV, he digs into the settings. This can be expedited by holding the play/pause button on the Siri remote.


In the discussion of Big Sur, @MacSparky and @ismh asked why any developer would use Catalyst to runs their iOS/iPadOS apps on the Mac if they just heard their apps will run natively on ARM Macs.

I might be missing something, but even after the transition to ARM is done in two years with all new products having ARM chips, there will still be millions of Intel Macs running up-to-date operating systems for years to come. We tout how long our Macs can last as one of their best features and that means that developers who want their iOS apps to run on the most Macs will have to have Catalyst apps for years yet.

That presumes that Catalyst is ready for prime time. It really hasn’t been in the year since it was unveiled. It’s been finally updated and I hear good things about it now, but devs, especially small ones may not want or be able to bifurcate their dev work by developing and maintaining Catalyst apps for the benefit of competing in a market they may well have no experience in, while the alternative is having their apps simply run on new Macs.

Just because legacy Intel Macs will continue to exist doesn’t mean that any new iOS app ported over will succeed, especially if there are existing native apps in that space.

Most iOS devs around the world aren’t Mac devs, the Mac market is much tinier than the iOS market, and the Intel Mac market is going to shrink. (And a not-insignificant percentage of people sticking with old[er] machines will plausibly be resistant to buying new apps - either because they don’t have the funds, or they don’t want to buy apps for a platform they won’t be using in a short time.)

It definitely has theoretical advantages. Guy English a dev who works (worked?) for Apple recently said, “Catalyst also gives you access to APIs that will help you make your app be a better citizen on macOS. Running iOS apps on Apple Silicon based Macs will be sort of like running old iPhone apps on the iPad I’d guess. It works but it’s less than ideal.”

But Apple needs to convince iOS developers that they want to do this, and devs need to calculate that it’s worth their while. Until the just-announced embellishments to the framework it definitely hasn’t been

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Steve Troughton-Smith just tweeted,

Interesting tidbit from the ‘iPad and iPhone apps on Apple Silicon Macs’ session: you can just build & run your existing iPhone or iPad app without needing an iOS Simulator or opting in to anything to do with Catalyst — it just runs

Now tell me what percentage of strict iOS developers (who vastly outnumber any Mac devs) are going to want to learn Catalyst and maintain Catalyst apps for Intel-Mac?

The devil is in the details but if the dev session report is accurate then I’m not sure too many iOS devs will necessarily see the value proposition in Catalyst.

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A thought came to my mind today: Was Catalina so buggy because the b-team did it while the a-team worked on the ARM transition…?
I know, «what do I know», it was just a thought.

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I had something of this thought too: some of the “unforced errors” of Catalina are because Apple needed to move the interim OS to a point where the binaries of Big Sur ARM and Big Sur Intel are much more alike than different.

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Could you dig more into how apples pricing for macs might change now with the in house silicon.

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