iPAD WWDC Wishlist

With WWDC right around the corner, I thought I’d write about my iPad wishlist. It’s a short-list and not something I’ve been thinking about for months like my favorite podcasters.

#1 - Better videoconferencing support. If this is the only thing that comes true I would be quite happy. This breaksdown into 3 wishes. First, I want to background my videoconferencing app without my camera turning off. I apprecaite the level of security this initially provided but in a remote-first world it makes little sense. I want to be smiling at my co-workers and then pull up a doc in full-view, split-view or pop-over without my video turning off. It’s so basic and the reason I grab my Macbook Pro for one or two meetings a week (for most meeting I don’t care if I go dark but sometimes its important to not). Second, I want to use video-conferencing apps (Zoom/Meet) in split-screen and/or pop-over. I enjoy the iPad multi-tasking system and sometimes want access to notes, calendars, spreadsheet and other reference material while I am meeting someone. Finally and likely the most difficult change is the awkward camera angle. The iPad has its camera on top in Portriat mode which means when you are working in landscape (always) and you jump on a video-conf you are never looking at the camera and your gaze is distinctly different than everyone else who by looking at the meeting are centered and making eye-contacting. This feels like a difficult change without new hardware (which I would buy immediately) but there is likely a way with machine vision algorithms to make this situation better. Another acceptable solution would be support for external webcams, especially the holy grail of using your iPhone as your iPad’s camera. I sometimes will call in from an iphone so I can take notes on my iPad which works fine until the moment someone shares their screen and we are all looking at a spreadsheet and I’m trying to decipher it on my phone’s smaller screen (even when I have Apple’s biggest phone screen).

#2 - Pinned Apps in Split View. My most common multi-task setup is having a primary app in 3/4 screen view and another in 1/4 view. It’s actually my favorite multi-tasking view on any OS I’ve ever used. Apps looks great in 3/4 view and like iphone apps in 1/4 view and I think its perfect. I use slide-over for quick reference apps, like calendars or todo lists that I want to pull up for 30s and then dismiss. I wish I could mark any of my Split View screens as pinned so that when I then launch another app, it automatically goes into the non-pinned view. As a use case I might writing a document in 3/4 with Safari open in 1/4 for reference and then decide I quickly want to open Slack and ask someone a question. I hit cmd-space, search for Slack and hit enter and then slack takes over the entire screen, where I would have preferred it just poped into 1/4 and not take my focus away from the main document I’m working on.

#3 Keyboard Shortcuts / Better support for Split View. There is just so much that can be done here but essentially when I open an app I would love for a power-user feature where I can assign it to split-view of pop over. I would use a Shortcuts feature that allowed me to pair to apps to open, like open my calendar and todolist side by side.

#4 Chromium Support. I know there are security reasons that Apple doesn’t allow 3rd party render engines but the fact is some things on the Internet still only work in Chrome. In the big picture its uncommon but in the world of Shopify you will find many Shopify apps that don’t behave properly unless accessed with a Chromium browser. One of the reasons I use Screens to access my Macbook Pro a few times a week.

#5 Volume Keyboard Shortcuts for Magic Keyboard. This is my least important wish and the one that will likely come true. I listen to a lot of music, take a lot of calls, etc and volume controls are important. At first I didn’t fuss to much when the Ipad Magic Keyboard didn’t have volume controls but when I switch back to an external keyboard I find myself using them frequently.

Above all my top wish is that iPadOS continue to receive love and care from Apple. They’ve done a fantastic job building out the OS over the last few years and they make great decisions. I’m just excited and anticipating whatever it is they will announce. When my friends use the adage “all Operating Systems suck”, I’m always quick to respond, “well not iPadOS”.