The week after WWDC is like a small hangover, no agony or sharp pain, just the long dull ache of reality setting in after too much manufactured fun. Tech Media coverage of WWDC18 was flat and uninspired, maybe it was the lack of a new hardware announcement or a major new software initiative. The mood was captured by Japanese tech journalist Tsutsumu Ishikawa’s sour tweet, “Come to think of it there wasn’t any NFC announcement.” Come to think of it there actually was, Contactless Passes are a new thing and it will be interesting to see what developers will do with them.
The oddest thing was the reaction to the depreciation of OpenGL and OpenCL in macOS Mojave. It was all here and now hand wringing. No journalist or blogger seemed to be up to the job of putting together the bigger long term picture: that depreciation announcement plus Metal everywhere plus external GPUs, UIKit bits coming to AppKit was all just more writing on the wall that Intel CPU Macs are toast. Wouldn’t it be weird and wonderful if the new Mac Pro turns out to be the coming out party for the Apple A-Series Mac. Watching the media frenzy would be half the fun.
One thing I forgot to add to my WWDC18 Wish List was restoring a Location selection to the macOS iMessage account settings. Apple has done a good job integrating iOS and macOS functions over the years, global copy/paste, Handoff, etc., but there are strange and frustrating omissions such as Location in macOS iMessage.
Apple ID has a default Location setting that used to be determined by the iTunes account credit card issue country. This isn’t the case anymore, and the country setting in Apple ID settings doesn’t seem to change it either. It’s not a problem on iOS because Location settings in FaceTime and iMessages override default Apple ID country settings to correctly format local country iPhone numbers so they display and message without any problem. iOS iMessage says it best: “Choose a country or region to allow iMessage to message local numbers in your address book.” I guess Apple means Contacts but we get the meaning.
Once upon a time macOS iMessage had Location selection but it was removed in OS X El Capitan and has not reappeared since. macOS iMessage is basically unusable unless all the iMessage contact numbers are formatted with country codes.
Of course Apple Support advice is: format all of your contact numbers with international prefixes.
No thank you. iOS handles everything flawlessly with a Location setting, please fix macOS iMessage so that it does too.
WWDC18 is almost here with the usual wish lists appearing everywhere. Here is mine.
1) CoreText Reboot: as said before it’s time for Apple to revisit their long convoluted advanced layout architecture story yet again and rewrite it. Make Unicode rendering secure, offload rendering to the GPU, intelligently integrate OpenType Variable Type font capability, not via the creaky, crappy OS X era font pallet, and for goodness sakes migrate real vertical layout and other advanced typography goodies high level as possible across iOS and macOS. You know, the GX Vision thing. And don’t tell me Apple you don’t know what that means.
2) Apple Maps Cartography Reboot: the Justin O’Beirne era cartography must die before Apple Maps can be reborn into a fulfilling useful life. Also please use Japanese data suppliers that actually know how to read and write Japanese, and have been to Japan.