Wishes for WWDC 2021

‘Tis the season for WWDC rumors, predictions, and wishlists! Spring is off to a shaky start here in Nebraska; we’ve had a series of colder, windy days that seem more at home in March than May, and the forecast for the coming weeks is much more “April showers” than “May flowers.” However, the foliage is definitely greening, the birds are still singing, and, best of all, we have kittens on our farm again (somewhere between 3 and 8…one of the two litters was moved to an undisclosed location by the momma cat).

My husband and I are fully vaccinated, nearby parks, zoos, and orchards are starting to plan fun outdoor activities, and things are generally looking up around here. Of course, I know that’s not true for everyone; I just want to express my gratitude for the circumstances I’m in, and I hope things are looking up for you as well.

There are things to celebrate even in hard times, and WWDC is when we all get to celebrate Apple engineers’ hard work over the past year. I really enjoy reading wishlists and predictions, so this year I’ve compiled a WWDC 2021 Community Wishlist. You’re welcome to contribute, just submit a pull request (or send me a note on Twitter and I’ll add it for you).

Here are a few things I’m hoping to see next month:

SwiftUI

  • Native search bar & pull-to-refresh
  • Ability for views to become/resign first responder, and to identify the current first responder
  • For List and Form to either drop their UIKit backing or be much more customizable (cell selection style and behavior, list background colors, etc. without using appearance APIs)
  • Iron out all of the NavigationView/NavigationLink bugs. It seems like there’s some regression in this area with every single update. Also, native navigation bar customizations that don’t require the appearance API (background color, text color, etc.)
  • A way to change the status bar style (light/dark) at runtime using the SwiftUI app life cycle
  • Some sort of “bottom sheet” view that can be pulled up and expanded
  • Accessory views for TextFields/TextViews
  • Inactive/destructive states in Context Menus
  • Context menu preview-providers (for showing a custom preview on long-press/right-click)
  • SwiftUI version of UIVisualEffectView
  • Native support for the share sheet

iPad

  • A first-party code editor for iPadOS that supports SwiftUI, UIKit, live previews, Swift Package Manager, light debugging tools, and the ability to archive and submit builds to App Store Connect
  • Another Home Screen overhaul for iPad, allowing widgets to be moved anywhere
  • An iPad feature similar to App Library but that is actually more like LaunchPad
  • The ability to back up to an external drive (i.e. Time Machine)

Everything Else

  • The ability to see and configure Smart Mailboxes in Mail for iOS
  • A method for adding third-party wallpapers that won’t clutter up your Photo Library and also supports light/dark mode
  • TestFlight for Mac
  • Some degree of widget interactivity. I would love to be able to easily start/stop timers, check to-do items, increment a counter, etc.
  • Third-party Apple Watch faces (😂)
  • For Apple to chill out and allow apps like Riley Testut’s Delta emulator to be installed on iOS devices in some sanctioned way (remember, emulators are not illegal)
  • For Apple to chill out and let developers accept payments via some approved processors (i.e. Stripe)
  • Improved TestFlight beta review times (or, just ditch the whole review process in its current form)
  • Subscription cancellation API for developers.

I’m sure I’ll think of more things in the coming weeks. Don’t forget to check out the WWDC 2021 Community Wishlist!

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