Steven Troughton-Smith’s WWDC Wish List

Steven Troughton-Smith is a developer with some influence. His post is being quoted widely in the Applesphere today.

WWDC Wish List

I call out these things:

• iBooks Author for iOS

iBooks Author is an offshoot of the iWork suite that seems like it would be perfectly suited to running on iOS. For book-writers, iBooks Author on iOS could mean a fully-integrated writing & publishing solution that doesn’t require a desktop computer. One could even build multi-touch ‘enhanced’ iBooks on-device. To me, firmly rooted in the iOS camp, it seems like a no-brainer to bring to iOS.

It’s lonnnng overdue.

• File & disk management for iOS

From the start, iOS has tried to do the ‘right thing’ re file management. However, nine years on, this imaginary era where physical filesystems don’t exist hasn’t come to pass. Finally, we have an iCloud Drive app and third-party document providers, but we can’t interface with files on external storage, beyond importing photos to the camera roll. I think it’s time to implement this at the system level: allow document pickers to open files in place from external storage, and allow apps to copy files to external storage. On OS X, document pickers provide sandbox exceptions to the folders you, as a user, choose to give an app access to. Build on this model – maintain security, but stop pretending filesystems don’t exist.

Oh hell yes!

And I never even considered this one, really:

• Expanded USB device support for iOS

A hard sell, especially when the Made for iPhone program is such a big thing for Apple, but there are all kinds of devices I’d like to be able to use on iOS through the USB adapter beyond audio, keyboard & mass storage devices. I’d like developers to be able to write user-mode driver apps to talk to existing hardware – in my case: capture cards, TV tuners, serial adapters. External cameras, input devices, etc. Having every single USB device require an MFi authentication chip and certified accessory apps really hurts. You could buy a pre-existing iPhone MFi RS232 adapter and use their already-approved SDK to make an app that talked to (/synced with) e.g. a Newton, Raspberry Pi, or Arduino. You can’t use Apple’s USB adapter to do the same with a non-MFi USB serial adapter. I don’t expect this to change, but I wish it did.

He’s not saying it, but I will: I think Apple should drop the Lightning Port and go with USB-C. Jon Ive will wail that it’s not thin enough.

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