What I expect from WWDC 2014

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Apple will hold its annual developers conference in San Francisco in June. WWDC will kick off on June 2nd in Moscone West. As every year the web is full of (accurate and inaccurate) rumors regarding what does Apple have in its pipeline. Based on the various rumors, I’ll write about what I wish from Apple this year.

It is clear that as last year was iOS year, this year’s WWDC hot announcement is going to be about the mac mainly. Since Mac OS X Leopard, tha mac operating system has seen incremental updated in terms of user interface (in terms of features much has changed since then. Even the rewrite of Finder in Cocoa alone that was released in Snow Leopard is a huge under-the-hood change). Last year Apple did not change OS X UI, not because Johny Ive thinks that it is ok, but because no company -even Apple- can handle two operating systems revamps in a single year. So they just decided to start with iOS, which definitely needed an overhaul, its UI seemed dated for a long time.

So, following the trend I will start my wishlist with OS X. I think that OS X needs a UI update, but not a huge revamp like the one we saw last year in iOS. OS X is already flatter and cleaner than iOS 6. A good example of where OS X is going are the apps that Apple updated or added last year: Xcode, Calendar, iBooks, iMovie and Garageband and the iWork suite. All these feature a clean, content centric UI with simple -not shadow heavy- buttons (especially Xcode and iWork) and more white space. I see these changes taking place across the system and all the current inconsistencies throughout the system will get sorted out. It is clear that last year Apple did not have time to go further with OS X. They removed the cheesy UI from the calendar.app and the notes.app but they did not do the same with messages.app, reminders.app and game center.

A big chapter in the design of OS X are icons. I hope that we do not see huge changes in the app icons. Icons are and should be art, not clip-art like the icons Apple has chosen for iOS 7. Also all those pastel and neon colours on the desktop (where people probably do productive stuff) will be a huge eye pain. I expect we get translucency here and there, like in the notification center. Another point of Apples current direction are shadows. Apple completely removed shadows from it mobile OS. On the desktop shadows are needed at least at windows, so the eye can quickly distinguish the active window. Even not as heavy as the shadows used in Mavericks, they should definitely be present in the next version of OS X.

In terms of features, I would love to see a window managing system in OS X. Microsoft did it great in Windows 7, so Apple can do it too (and do it even better). Airdrop should finally be the same Airdrop for all devices, allowing file exchange between the Mac and iOS devices. Siri would be a nice addition too, but personally I do not use it much in iOS either.

My please-Apple-don’t-do-these list contains a few things that I personally do not want to see them ported to the mac from iOS. First of all borderless buttons. This just doesn’t work on a desktop OS (it does not even work on a mobile OS but this is another story). Second in my don’t-list are ultra thin fonts. Apple presented iOS 7 with Helvetica-Neue light, which was a pain to read in iOS devices with retina displays. During the betas they changed the font to Helvetica-Neue regular which is much better but it remains thin. Such a font in the desktop would be a mess. Not all users have retinas displays, and computers are used all day long for work. Having to read such a thin font for 8 hours a day, especially in white backgrounds will cause our eyes to bleed. Apple knows all these and knows the reaction from end users to many of iOS UI decisions they’ve made, so I am sure that they will not do the same decisions on OS X.

Regarding iOS 8, I expect it to be an incremental update like iOS 6 was. Healthbook will definitely be one of the new features as fitness market seems to be the new trend. I expect some slight UI changes in iOS (like the UI changes in iOS 7.1), so things get better and I hope (but I do not expect it) that Apple will improve many of its default apps’ icons to make them look they are made by Apple and not a 1st grade student.

As every year before, we will probably see some new hardware in WWDC. I think that time has come and Apple will release a retina macbook air (there are rumors for a retina 12″ macbook air without a fan). I would love to see a revamped apple tv with an app ecosystem (and an SDK for devs). The current Apple TV has 8GB of storage used for the OS, artworks and caching. So even if we see an Apple tv app store, I do not think that it will be available for current Apple TV models.

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One thought on “What I expect from WWDC 2014

  1. Shawn Rubel

    This should be a really interesting conference, looking forward to learning about their next steps in the evolution of design..who knows what they’ve got going on up their sleeves. :)

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