WWDC 2019 Developer Wishlist and Keynote Predictions

WWDC is now just two weeks away, so I thought I’d share what I’m hoping for in the way of developer tools/APIs.

UIKit Updates

  • A standard system font picker
  • A standard system color picker
  • An easier way to implement multi-column layouts that doesn’t involve nesting UISplitViewControllers
  • A keyboard navigation system for iOS that would allow users to navigate table views and collection views using the arrow keys
  • Greater variety of stock UI components and customization options for components on iOS (i.e. stop making us reimplement an expanding table view cell with a rotating arrow, or a circular progress indicator, or write dumb hacks like adding a blank UIImage as a navigation bar’s “shadow” just to get rid of that line beneath it)
  • More standard system icons that can be used both inside and outside of tool bars and navigation bars (like, on regular UIButtons)
  • A visual redesign of all current stock components on iOS, which, in general, are boring, ugly, and inaccessible
  • More Apple frameworks classes should be made Codable-compliant (i.e. UIColor).
  • I want to be able to force a dark appearance for all elements in my app. Snapthread’s never going to have a “light mode,” but I want to make use of iOS 13’s dark mode appearance for things like action sheets, pop ups, picker views, switches, etc regardless of the user’s display setting.
  • A cleaner way to check if a device is in landscape orientation than checking the orientation of the status bar
  • Support for rearrangeable buttons in a toolbar/nav bar on iOS

Xcode Improvements

  • Interface Builder improvements: basically, every visual customization that is possible for a UI component should be editable in Interface Builder. This includes layer customizations like corner radius, border, and drop shadow.
  • There should be more information than just a progress bar when uploading to App Store Connect from Xcode. At least Application Loader tells you the upload speed and how many MBs are left.
  • Closing the new Music app should not be a requirement for installing Xcode.
  • A way to hide/dismiss warnings in Xcode

Photo and Video

  • Developer access to the more recent Apple-made Core Image filters, such as Silvertone, Dramatic, Vivid, etc
  • A “What’s New in AVFoundation” session…there hasn’t been one since 2016
  • There are rumors that Apple will enable developers to train machine learning models on device. I’d like to see examples of that applied in photo/video contexts.

These are just my wishes… now for a few predictions.

WWDC Keynote Predictions

There are rumors that Apple is planning to grant developers access to its real-time document collaboration API. I think this is going to be a big talking point, along with the ability for apps to have multiple “instances” open at the same time (i.e. being able to compare two Microsoft Word documents in split view on iPad). I’m guessing there’s going to be more than one demo showing off these features, and so my prediction is that Microsoft is going to demo a new Office update, and Adobe will be there to show off real-time collaboration in XD or something like that (somebody’s gotta compete with Figma, right?). Or Affinity maybe? I imagine some sort of photo editor or design/drawing app will at least be shown to demo the new floating panels on iPad.

I have no doubt that Tim Cook, or whoever is doing the watchOS presentation, will mention Apple’s ECG app—how it’s already saved lives and will continue to roll out to more countries. None of the new rumored health apps seem demo-worthy, but there’s rumors of new Siri intents, and I’m betting at least some of those are going to get demoed on the watch—event ticketing, flight/gate information, etc.

I have no clue what third party Marzipan apps we’ll see onstage. Darkroom seems like a good candidate for Mac, as well as Ferrite and LumaFusion. Some weather apps might be interesting, but not that interesting. I’m stumped. Instagram? Instagram for iPad and Mac? (lololol) Games don’t make much sense because engines like Unity already enable devs to make cross-platform games.

Perhaps the biggest mystery of all is how Apple is going to fit all of this into a ~2 hour keynote. Close your eyes for a moment and think these words in Tim Cook’s voice: “iOS 13, with a gorgeous new dark mode…” I mean, you know they’re going to want to spend 15 minutes just talking about dark mode. Judging by Bloomberg and 9to5Mac’s rumor dumps, they’re only going to have about two. There’s just too much to cover. Apple has shown that they can put together a really tight keynote though, so my prediction is that we’ll see another fast-paced, throw-a-bunch-of-features-on-a-slide-and-move-on presentation.

What about you? What are your predictions? Feel free to share your own thoughts/blog posts with me on Twitter @bhansmeyer, or Micro.blog @becky.


App Store Pricing

App Store Pricing (it’s not a free market!) (2008)

This past week I came across this old post by David Barnard from 2008 and ended up reading it several times (I didn’t really start reading dev blogs until ~2013, so I’m sure I missed many gems like this). Between this and all of the discussion about how Marzipan may negatively affect users’ pricing expectations, I feel…well, I feel fired up, actually.

More than ever I realize that it’s futile to try to compete on price. So if you’re an indie dev, and your non-subscription-based app is priced under $5, I want you to go into App Store Connect and bump that baby up to the next price tier. See what happens. If the world doesn’t end and your sales don’t nosedive, bump it up again. What you’re doing is not evil or greedy, neither is it comparable to Adobe doubling the price of their Photographer bundle. That’s apples and oranges. And if someone says, “I was planning to buy your app at $3.99, but there’s no way I’m paying $4.99,”…forget ’em.

$5 should be the absolute rock bottom price for a quality indie app, full stop. So, for whoever might need to hear this: stop kidding yourself, you’re not going to make it up in volume, raise your dang prices, thank you and good night.

5 Localization Resources for Indie Devs

Let me first say two things. First, these tools aren’t very helpful if you have a lot of text in your app. By “a lot,” I mean long sentences, tutorials, lengthy error messages, etc. Second, my app has enough text that I had to ask for help. I can’t afford translation services, but I have three wonderful volunteers who have helped me make Snapthread available in Spanish, Italian, and French.

That said, I usually find the following resources helpful whenever I attempt to translate single words and short phrases on my own.

1. Babble-on’s “Missing Apple iOS Localization Term Glossary”

A long name for a great resource containing nearly 300 common words and phrases found in iOS apps with translations in the following languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Dutch, Russian, and Chinese (Simplified & Traditional).

2. Linguee

Linguee is a language dictionary available in quite a few languages. One of the neatest features of Linguee is that if you search for a term, it lists other websites where that term was translated under the heading “External sources.” There it shows a side-by-side of the website’s text in both languages, with your term or phrase highlighted. Linguee warns that these external sources are not reviewed, but you can look at the URLs and judge for yourself. For instance, if I search for “photo library” in the English-German dictionary, I can find instances of its translation on websites from Corel, Sony, Snapfish, and more.

3. Boomerang by Illuminated Bits

Boomerang is an iOS app by Ish ShaBazz and Heidi Helen Pilypas. It helps automate a common task: using Google Translate to translate something to another language, and then translating the result back into the original language, just to double check. I like to use Boomerang as my final check after translating a word or phrase.

4. Apple’s Support Documents

If you’re wondering what Apple calls some of its own features, apps, and technologies in other languages, you might try checking out the help pages at support.apple.com. At the bottom of every page is a country name with a flag icon next to it (mine says “United States”). Selecting it allows you to choose another language to display the page in. Often, the names of features, apps, menus, and buttons will be capitalized, or in a bulleted or numbered list so they’re easy to find.

5. Other Apps: Beg, Borrow, and Steal

Look, being an indie with a shoestring budget is hard. If you’re looking for really common words or phrases like “Exporting,” “Frequently Asked Questions,” or “Restore Purchases,” consider finding a big name app that already did the work for you. This requires a good memory (or a lot of screenshots), as you’ll need to change your device language, navigate through your chosen app, write down (or screenshot) the translation of any strings you need, and then make your way through Settings to switch back to your native language. It’s not for the faint of heart!


If you want to do a really thorough job localizing your app, you’ll probably need to enlist the help of a professional translation service (you might also consider bribing a bilingual friend). A really thorough job would involve translating your app subtitle, description, keywords, screenshots, and every string in your app, including VoiceOver strings. However, if your app is mainly driven by icons and gestures with very little text, the resources and ideas above may be helpful to you!