Name System (DNS) protocols to help prevent imposter websites from fooling your browser into thinking it’s a legitimatebanking website. I’d also like to see a new release of Apple’sIntelligent Tracking Prevention that stops websites from fingerprinting and tracking your browser as you surf. I also expect Apple to announce deeper, more seamless integration ofits “Sign in with Apple” identity protection service.
IOS 14 & IPADOS 14
After selling the iPad as a laptop replacement for years,Apple needs to continue to empower the platform with desktop capabilities if it wants to make good on that promise. InMarch, while the world was self-quarantined, Apple made bigstrides when it announced new iPad Pros and a Magic Keyboard with a built-in trackpad. In conjunction, Apple releasediPadOS 13. 4 with full mouse and trackpad support. Unlike lastyear’s attempt at mouse support that was hard to find and abit wonky, now you’re able to easily connect a mouse in yourBluetooth settings like you would a pair of headphones. Thisaddition creates a whole new way of interacting with iPadOSand the platform’s applications, bringing it closer to a laptopreplacement than ever before in its history.
It will be interesting to see what other desktop capabilitiesApple announces for iPadOS at WWDC. Perhaps Apple willdevelop a mouse-optimized toggle that maximizes screenreal estate and fine selection control and a touch toggle thatincreases the size of icons and controls so they’re easy to select and manipulate using a finger.
Additionally, now that Apple has opened the box to supportmouse and trackpad hardware, perhaps it can continue to expand connectivity to other hardware normally associated withtraditional laptop computers. Could an official iPad dockingstation be baking somewhere in the Apple labs?
The iPadOS could also use improvements in the full desktop browsing experience of Safari, so we could forget we’resurfing the web with a tablet versus a macOS-poweredlaptop. Such changes would bring the iPad even closer to thefunctionality of a laptop.
Other probable announcements may be improvements togesture discoverability in the form of one-time tutorials orreminders demonstrating the less obvious advanced featuresthe iPad has to offer. One example that continues to amazemy fellow iPad-owning relatives and friends is Split View andSlide Over. Increased user support in those areas could onlyimprove Apple’s hold on the mobile market.
A dream feature that Apple might announce at WWDC isthe ability to manually set a third-party app as your defaultweb browser, email platform, music player, and calendar(something Android has supported from the beginning). Todayif you’ve installed Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge on youriPhone, you are still forced to launch and use Safari whenaccessing web links in messages, emails, or other programs.
Since Apple is trying to promote the iPad as a laptop replace-
ment, it only makes sense to offer the same application pref-
erences on iPadOS as on macOS. Rumor has it that soon,
Apple will allow you to set some third-party apps as the
default on the iPhone, iPad, and even the HomePod. The
question is, would that third-party support go so far as to
integrate Siri’s voice commands? If third-party support really is
coming to the HomePod, then the answer is probably yes.
Photos could receive additional photo filters, multi-editing
functions, and expanded support for higher-end photography
needs for whatever competitive response Apple has to
Google’s HDR+ format.
Continuing along the lines of elevating the iPad as a laptop replacement, rumors have been circulating that Apple isconsidering using ARM processors in its laptops, the sameprocessor type Microsoft is using in its Microsoft Surface lineof tablet-laptop hybrid devices. Besides obvious battery lifeimprovements, an ARM-based iPad or MacBook would essentially be Apple’s competitive response to Microsoft’s upcoming dual-screen Surface Neo. If Apple were serious aboutoffering such a device, WWDC 2020 would be the time toannounce its intentions so that developers could start portingand testing macOS and perhaps even iOS/iPadOS apps beforesuch a family of devices ships.
‘ONE MORE THING’
When I attended WWDC in 2003, Steve Jobs surprised usby concluding his WWDC keynote with one more thing. Thatthing was the iSight camera, a state-of-the-art webcam. Heeven went so far as to add, in the style of Oprah Winfrey, thateveryone there would receive an iSight. While this is wishfulthinking, this year’s WWDC would be a great place for TimCook to showcase a prototype of the long-rumoredaugmented reality headset. I honestly can’t think of anybetter way to fully engage an audience of enthusiastic developers than to provide first opportunity access to one ofApple’s most secretive and highly anticipated products sincethe iPhone. Such a giveaway would certainly lead to the riseof innovative AR apps from developers.
Another anticipated but unlikely demonstration is a foldable dual-screen iPhone or iPad. With Samsung, Motorola,and Huawei already shipping foldable screen mobile devicesand Microsoft expected to release dual-screen tablets andphones, all eyes will be on Apple to see if it can improve uponthose technologies. Apple changed the computing world withthe Apple II, the Macintosh, the iPod, and the iPhone. Thetime has come for the team to do it again with the next bigleap forward that will reassert the company’s indelible mark inthe computer hardware industry. �
Mike Riley, a professional software developer and emerging information technologist,is the author of Programming Your Home, published by Pragmatic Bookshelf. Mike isalso a contributing editor and author of hundreds of technical articles and reviews fora number of popular technology publications. For more information, contact Mike viaemail at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @mriley.