Every year, just after the latest major version of iOS goes public, something else happens deep inside Apple: In addition to any features that simply couldn’t be completed in time, or had to be pushed back for any reason, along with all the new features marketing thinks are essential to keep selling iPhones and iPads, and all the features engineers are pitching as transformative or just plain awesome get put in a big pile. And then they’re sorted through, prioritized, approved, and rejected, until it starts to take shape: The next major version of iOS.
And then it’s second cup of coffee to the right and straight ahead to the WWDC keynote, Craig Federighi on stage showing off the biggest new tentpole features, and the first developer beta.
That’s what’s happening inside Apple right now: iOS Lucky Number 13 is being readied for its big June 3, 2019 debut and mid-September release. And thanks to Gui Rambo, we have our first major glimpse at what several of its big new features are going to be.
iOS 13: The Holdovers
Last year, well before WWDC 2018, word got out that some of the features originally planned for iOS 12 were being pushed back to free up time for a performance update, something to make older iPhones and iPads run like they were young again.
Features getting delayed isn’t uncommon. Having everything ready for the big fall release, which typically includes new iPhones, Apple Watches, iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS, at the very least, isn’t like shooting an arrow at a bullseye. It’s like shooting arrows at other arrows that then all have to hit that same bullseye.
So, some planned features aren’t ready in time and don’t get announced, or get folded into future betas or releases, or are announced, either for a future beta or release, or are so compelling they get shown off anyway with the firm belief they’ll be made ready in time for the fall, and with the new, added risk of a public delay.
But several big new features being preemptively delayed to make room for something else was unprecedented. But also showed just how important Apple felt the performance improvements were: The best and the brightest engineers, the ones typically assigned to build the big new features, were instead assigned to making the underpinnings work much better and much faster.
Here’s what Ina Fried of Axios said we gave up then:
Pushed into 2019 are a number of features including a refresh of the home screen and in-car user interfaces, improvements to core apps like mail and updates to the picture-taking, photo editing and sharing experiences.
And Mark Gurman on Twitter:
iOS 13 “Yukon” will have a big iPad-focused feature upgrade as well, including an updated Files app. some other things in the works are tabs in apps like in MacOS, same app side by side, Apple Pencil stuff. The home screen redesign is iPad focused.
Here’s what Gui Rambo from 9to5Mac says we’re getting now.
iOS 13 Dark Mode
Back in 2013, Apple released iOS 7, their first major software redesign for iPhone and iPad. And it was bright. And white. So very bright and white that many of us hoped immediately for a dark mode. Something to make it the opposite of bright and white, especially at night.
And, in 2014, Apple gave us just that. But not for iPhone or iPad. For the then brand new Apple Watch. But that was ok. That was cool, because after inverse colors and smart inverse colors, which were kinda sorta but no not really, in 2017 Apple gave us dark mode… for Apple TV. Fine. Everything was fine. Because in 2018, we finally got dark mode… for the Mac.
Yeah. Ouch. I’ve already joked that this means, this year, we’ll absolutely, finally get dark mode… for HomePod.
But it sounds like the half a decade plus of trolling is, at last, behind us, and performance improvements done, the design evolution is continuing, and this year we’ll actually be getting dark mode for iPhone and iPad.
It probably won’t be the more ambitious ThemeKit I’ve had on my wishlist for a while, the frameworks that would make it easier for the system and apps to offer not just dark and bright modes but low and high contrast, cool and warm colors, neon or pastel, and much more customization than is currently possible.
But, dark mode beggars can’t be dark more choosers.
So, my question is: how easy will it be to switch back and forth. Because, as much as everybody always wants to dark mode all the things, dark modes can be as oppressive as they are impressive, and it’s important to be able to easily go from bright as day to black as night.
Let me know how you want it to work in the comments.
iOS 13 Fonts
My other big visual wishlist item for iOS 13 was FontKit. One look at Adobe Photoshop for iOS and it was impossible to see, more than a decade later, the absence of anything even resembling font handling — from the company that made their Mac name on typography, no less — as a glaring, gaping omission.
Management is going to be implemented in a Settings panel. There’ll be a new Font Picker controller so you can get your styles on inside text fields, and an alert if you download a document but don’t have the fonts installed to go with it.
I’m not sure how much space fonts will take up given the size of modern iOS device storage, but for people who either have the smallest amount or have filled up even the largest already, some kind of on-demand resource management, where newer, more frequently used fonts are kept local and available and older, infrequently used fonts are kept online until needed, would be interesting to see.
I’d obviously love Futura, but let me know which fonts you want most — and all your comic sans jokes,
iOS 13 New Home screen
A new home screen design seems to get rumored every year, even though the iPhone’s springboard layout has been essentially unchanged since launch in 2007. It’s gotten multiple screens, the minus one screen, spotlight search, and other additions, but no major alterations.
There were yet more rumors of redesign last year but it reportedly got pushed back to free up time for the performance updates. It was also unclear if it was an iPad-specific redesign or one that touch both iPhone and iPad.
Nerds want something that’ll take better advantage of the bigger screens or allow for almost complete customization. Mainstream want you to leave their icons alone and not confuse them or they’ll come for you. And cut you.
Widgets are better off remaining on the minus one screen, because the home screen, name aside, is a portal not a dwelling. But, there’s a lot Apple could do with allowing different content types, like contacts with 3D Touch contextual shortcuts, and having a space for Siri suggested apps, something that would allow for object permanence for the apps we always want to be able to launch like muscle memory and dynamism for the apps we only want when we want them.
Reports are so still so nebulous, though, it’s hard to tell what, if anything, we really could be getting this year. Throw me your speculation or just your wish-list in the comments.
iOS 13 Multi-Window Apps
The Mac is all about multi-window workflows. Until a few years ago, though, you couldn’t even stack two iPad apps side-by-side. Hell, you still can’t even do that on even the biggest iPhones. Now, in addition to side-by-side, swipe over apps, and picture-in-picture, we have drag-and-drop………Read More>>