2 weeks ago for day 162, with 696 words.

The state of the Apple (post-WWDC 2019)

It's been a long while since I wrote something about tech so why not do one today?

WWDC is done, and we roughly know what to expect in terms of software for the next year. Apple also announced the new Mac Pro; it took them more than 2 years to come up with checks notes a fancy, very expensive ATX case equipped with a cheese grater, as well as a 6K monitor that comes with no stand by default whatsoever, because you have to buy that one separately for a cool $999. This is so Apple it hurts.

Just like iOS 12, iOS 13 feels like a very iterational release: new features include dark mode and a bunch of minor things that could have fit into a minor dot release. Notably absent for 13 versions now the "landscape mode only if I'm playing a video" switch. Maybe in version 14?

WatchOS has a bunch of new things as well, none of which I care about because I don't have an Apple Watch. I used to have a Series 3 for a while but I could not get used to it; it was uncomfortable and I just don't like having anything hanging off my wrists.

iPadOS is a much bigger thing, which continues the computerization of the iPad. A (sort of) filesystem! Support for USB drives! Even better multitasking! Better safari! And so on. All very welcome improvements if you want to use your iPad as a computer, which I still don't, mostly because I still can't comfortably do the work I do from an iPad. With a couple of compromises, I probably could do it: I'd probably have to rent a dedicated Linux machine somewhere in the cloud, SSH in there and then deal with the problem of using vim with an iPad keyboard. No thanks.

OSX 10.15 (yes, I know, macOS, whatever) comes with Catalyst which is (partly) Apple's response to Electron, a way to convert your iPad apps to Mac apps and in an ideal world have the same codebase for an iOS/iPadOS/macOS app, or at least for the latter two. I'm as worried about Mac apps being dumbed down as the next guy because of this but I'm gonna wait and see for like a year to see what will actually happen.

The new OS also sherlocks Duet Display/Luna Display, letting you use your iPad as a secondary display. I'm actually happy as a customer about this because having it baked into the system likely means better performance.

I don't develop for Apple platforms but SwiftUI (with Catalyst) is a big thing, and likely a very good thing.

I snark about all this because I care. I have an iPhone X, a 2017 iPad with the Pencil and a 2018 MacBook Pro, all of them my main computing devices, and they will likely continue to be for the foreseeable future. The things that annoy me on iOS (not being able to set Gmail as my default email app, for example, or the plague of in-app browsers instead of opening all links in Safari) are not likely to change anytime soon, so I learned to live with them. A default install of macOS drives me nuts but with a bunch of customizations, I can make it into a very capable system of getting things done and it remains my favorite desktop platform by far. There are a bunch of small things it does well that are non-existent or just less convenient on Windows.

As for the iPad, nowadays I use it for very light tasks — taking notes, or watching Netflix on flights. I used to draw on it and one day I might do it again.

Fall will give us new iPhones (and iPads, but whatever) with the usual stuff — faster CPUs, 10% better cameras and likely a third, wide-angle one — and while it will be tempting to get a new phone, I will likely stick with my X for another year, since it does the job and does it well. Peak smartphone is a thing, and we're living it.

Now if they'd only fix the damn keyboard on the MacBooks...

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By KTamas

Freelance IT consultant ✨Retweeter of snarky tweets, technologist, artist, writer, community builder ✨Tweets in 🇺🇸 and 🇭🇺@KTamas

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