Federico Viticci

9442 posts on MacStories since April 2009

Federico is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of MacStories, where he writes about Apple with a focus on apps, developers, iPad, and iOS productivity. He founded MacStories in April 2009 and has been writing about Apple since. Federico is also the co-host of AppStories, a weekly podcast exploring the world of apps, and Dialog, a show where creativity meets technology.

He can also be found on his two other podcasts on Relay FM – Connected and Remaster.

| Instagram: @viticci |

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iOS 16: All the Things I Didn’t Like

Earlier this week, I published my review of iOS 16. As you may have seen, throughout the eight chapters of the story, I pointed out some of the flaws of iOS 16 and aspects I didn’t particularly like. That gave me an idea.

First, however, allow me to thank to everyone who read, enjoyed, and recommended the review. I’m glad the story resonated with MacStories readers. I take my responsibility to work on these annual reviews very seriously, and I’m excited about having found a format that lets me review a sprawling operating system such as iOS in a review that’s still approachable and fun to write.

Anyway: as I was writing the review, I realized that I had several complaints about things I didn’t like in iOS 16 (shocker, I know). So I had an idea: I asked Finn Voorhees1 to work on an update to my Obsidian plugin that lets me compile chapters of the review into a single Markdown file. This update, which will be released for Club MacStories+ and Premier members this Saturday, enabled me to mark specific passages of the review as “complaints” and extract them all at once. You will be able to use this new plugin option however you want: it’s going to work for any kind of text you want to highlight from a long-form story in Obsidian.

That being said, I compiled all my iOS 16-related complaints, organized them into sections, and you can find them below.

Here are all the things I didn’t like in iOS 16, which I hope Apple will fix in the future.

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iOS 16: The MacStories Review

Customization is back, and Apple’s having fun again.

When is the last time your iPhone truly surprised you?

The answer to this question is a fascinating Rorschach test that can say a lot about a person’s relationship with Apple’s mobile platform. Some might say it was over a decade ago, when they feasted their eyes upon the Retina display for the first time in 2010. Some might say it happened when the iPhones got bigger – and sales skyrocketed – with the iPhone 6 lineup in 2014. Others might argue that it happened with Face ID on the iPhone X, or the first time they tried Portrait or Night mode, or perhaps when they first took an ultra-wide shot.

My point is: if you ask someone about the last time an iPhone truly surprised them, chances are they’ll reply with a hardware feature. That’s not a shocker: Apple prides itself upon the tight integration they’ve been able to achieve between the iPhone’s hardware and iOS; they’ve successfully managed to turn their design philosophy into a selling point of their entire ecosystem.

People buy iPhones because they know they’re going to work well for a long time, and, usually, because the model they’re getting has a cool new gimmick they want to try. For this reason, it’s not absurd to postulate that, by and large, the iPhone’s software serves to enable hardware sales and subscriptions. I do not mean this pejoratively: I like Apple’s approach, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing annual reviews about their operating systems. But I also recognize that on the iPhone (the situation is the exact opposite on iPad) the software now largely takes the backseat compared to hardware and services.

Which is why whenever the iPhone’s software truly surprises me, I get excited.

Software-related surprises are more rarefied on iOS these days, but the kind of people who are reading this story can point to a few examples in our recent history. Apple buying Workflow, turning it into a system app, and outright claiming that Shortcuts is the future of automation was a surprise. The extent to which Apple integrated dark mode in iOS 13 was a surprise.1 The arrival of two iPad features – Picture in Picture and inter-app drag and drop – on iPhone felt like a surprise. But, of course, no modern feature comes close to the surprise that we all witnessed with iOS 14 two years ago: a renewed focus on user personalization with custom Home Screen widgets and the ability to create multiple Home Screens.2

That’s why, following last year’s welcome (if perhaps a tad uninspired) quality-of-life update that was iOS 15, I’m excited about a new version of iOS again.

iOS 16, launching today for a variety of iPhone models dating back to the iPhone 8, marks Apple’s triumphant return to user personalization, with a twist: while in 2020 customization might have felt like a happy consequence of Apple’s engineering, this time the company has intentionally marketed iOS 16 as an update that will make an iPhone feel truly your own. As we explored in June and July, the first thing you see on your iPhone – the Lock Screen – is fundamentally changing in iOS 16. With the ability to create multiple Lock Screens, choose from a diverse collection of wallpaper sets, and customize each one with widgets, you’ll now have endless possibilities for the screen you always see when you pick up your iPhone.

Sure, there’s an argument to be made for Lock Screen widgets also being developed in service of new hardware, but I don’t think that takes away from the breadth of this feature and how Apple created a whole narrative around wallpapers, widgets, photos, and Focus modes this year. As you’ll see, the customizable Lock Screen will be the main character of this review: I’ve had a lot of fun exploring different permutations of my Lock Screen this summer, and I’ve been able to test dozens of widgets from third-party developers, which I’ll also showcase in this story.

In keeping with my theory that modern iOS updates always need to have a little bit of something for everyone, there’s a ton of other (some bigger, some smaller) features I’ll be covering in this review.3 Messages, one of my most used apps on iPhone, has received a substantial update with the ability to edit and un-send messages, making it, in some ways, even superior to WhatsApp for me now. Mail – of all apps – has gotten a major upgrade with modern features such as scheduled send and, almost unbelievably, a revamped search that actually works. Reminders has officially turned into a serious task manager with even more filters for smart lists and the ability to create and share templates with others.

The new Lock Screen takes center stage this year and everything else pales in comparison to the massive update it received, but, overall, I find iOS 16 a more fun and useful update than iOS 15.

So, as with every September: let’s dive in.

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  1. Then again, wasn't that in service of OLED displays? ↩︎
  2. Perhaps the iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island will be another major surprise for iPhone users. Fascinatingly, it's going to be a unique blend of hardware and software that shows how Apple has been playing the long game with their design strategy for the past few years, which is now paying off. However, the iPhone 14 Pro is not out yet and I haven't tested the Dynamic Island, so that's beyond the scope of this review. ↩︎
  3. That's in addition to the apps and features we've already covered in our annual OS Summer Series on MacStories↩︎

Shortcuts in iOS 16: The Potential of App Shortcuts for Everyone

App Shortcuts in iOS 16.

App Shortcuts in iOS 16.

A note from Federico: This year, I’ve decided to try some new things for my annual iOS 16 review. Some you’ll see on Monday. One of them is previewing small excerpts from the review in the OS Preview series on MacStories and MacStories Weekly for Club MacStories. Today, I’m posting a preview of a section of the Shortcuts chapter here, and a section of the Everything Else chapter in MacStories Weekly. I hope you enjoy these. I’ll see you for the full story – and more reveals – on Monday.


In iOS 16, the Shortcuts app hasn’t undergone a major redesign or technical rewrite; instead, Apple’s efforts have focused on adding more actions for system apps, extending the developer API, bringing more stability, and making Shortcuts more approachable for new users.

The last point is both important and likely the reason why some Shortcuts power users will be disappointed by this year’s update. There isn’t a lot for them in this new version of the app: as we’ll see in my iPadOS review, there’s no integration with Files quick actions, no support for Stage Manager actions, and no system-wide hotkeys still. If you’re an advanced Shortcuts user and were wishing for more system-level enhancements in addition to stability this year: I hear you, but we’ll talk about this later on.

What we do have in iOS 16 is a fascinating new feature to get newcomers started with the Shortcuts app, a grab bag of useful new actions for Apple apps, and some solid developer-related enhancements that will make third-party actions much better than before. Let’s take a look.

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A Month with iOS and iPadOS 16: A New iPad Era

iPadOS and iOS 16.

iPadOS and iOS 16.

Sometimes I truly have excellent timing with my stories.

As you may recall, a couple of months ago in the lead-up to WWDC, I published an article on my experience with using the M1 Max MacBook Pro for six months. That story was born out of a desire to get to know macOS again after years of iPad-only work; as I shared at the time, my curiosity was also the byproduct of Apple’s incoherent narrative for iPad power users for the past couple of years. Great hardware held back by lackluster software had long been regarded as the core weakness of the iPad platform; I hadn’t always agreed with the Apple community’s “consensus” on this, but an M1 iPad Pro carrying MacBook Pro-like specs with no new pro software features to take advantage of it was, indeed, a bridge too far. So when I published that story just in time for WWDC, I did it because a) that’s when it was ready and b) I wanted to bring some chaotic energy into the iPad discourse and see what would happen.

Like I said, sometimes I do have excellent timing with my stories. And in this case, not even my wildest expectations could have predicted that, in one fell swoop a week later, Apple would reimagine iPadOS around desktop-class apps and a brand new multitasking with external display integration, a new design, and – the unthinkable – overlapping, resizable windows with iPadOS 16.

Today, Apple is releasing the first public betas of all the operating systems that will launch to the wider public later this year: iOS 16, iPadOS 16, macOS 13 Ventura, and watchOS 9. We’re going to have overviews of all these public betas today on MacStories.1 As you can imagine given my annual reviewer responsibilities, I installed both iOS and iPadOS 16 as soon as they became available after the WWDC keynote on my iPhone 13 Pro Max and 12.9” iPad Pro with M1, and I’ve been using them as my daily drivers for the past month.

Obviously, I have some early thoughts and first impressions to share on iPadOS 16: it is fundamentally changing my relationship with the iPad platform and my workflow, which has been untouched for years since the introduction of multiwindow in iPadOS 13. Stage Manager, while still in need of refinements in several areas, is a game-changer for people like me, and it signifies a major course correction on how Apple thinks about iPadOS for power users.

But I should also say that I’m equally intrigued by iOS 16, which marks Apple’s return – after two years – to user customization with a drastic revamp of the Lock Screen, which can now be personalized with widgets, multiple wallpaper sets, and deep integration with the Home Screen, Focus, and even Apple Watch. The new Lock Screen is the proper follow-up to iOS 14 widgets we’ve been waiting for, and it’s going to be the feature that will push millions of people to update their iPhones to iOS 16 right away later this year. Besides the Lock Screen, there are dozens of other quality-of-life improvements to built-in apps and system intelligence that have caught my attention in iOS 16 in the past month, from the welcome updates to Mail and Reminders to system-wide unit conversions based on Live Text, Safari tab groups, and more.

There’s a lot to uncover in iOS and iPadOS 16, and I can’t possibly get into all of it today with this story. All the details and final opinions will have to wait for my annual review in the fall. Instead, below you’ll find a collection of initial thoughts, impressions, and suggestions for aspects of iPadOS and iOS 16 I’d like Apple to improve this summer. As with last year’s preview story, I’m going to include two recap segments at the end of each section with a list of improvements I’d like to see in iPadOS and iOS 16 before the public release.

Let’s dive in.

Read more


iOS and iPadOS 16: The Tidbits

iOS 16.

iOS 16.

As is always the case when Apple releases the first developer betas of new major versions of iOS and iPadOS, there are hundreds of features that don’t make an appearance in the keynote or aren’t mentioned in Apple’s marketing pages. Very often, those “smaller” features turn out to be some of the most beloved and useful tweaks to the operating systems we use every day. I installed the iOS and iPadOS 16 betas on my devices earlier this week, and I’ve collected some of the most interesting details I’ve spotted so far. Let’s take a look.

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iOS and iPadOS 16: The MacStories Overview

iPadOS 16.

iPadOS 16.

At its keynote held earlier today online and, for a limited audience of developers and media, in Cupertino, Apple unveiled the next major versions of iOS and iPadOS: iOS 16 and iPadOS 16. Both OSes will be released for free this fall, with developer betas available today and a public beta to follow next month.

After last year’s iOS and iPadOS 15, which were largely quality-of-life updates that mostly focused on improving the foundation set with iOS 14, Apple is back this year with a round of sweeping features for iPhone and iPad that are poised to fundamentally alter how we interact with our devices. From an all-new Lock Screen experience with support for widgets and personalization and a more powerful Focus mode to desktop-class features in apps for iPad and, yes, a brand new multitasking mode called Stage Manager, both iOS and iPadOS 16 are substantial updates that will rethink key interactions for average and power users alike.

As always, you can expect in-depth coverage from me and the rest of the MacStories team over the coming weeks, throughout the summer, and, of course, when the OSes will launch to the public later this year. But in the meantime, let’s dive in and take a quick look at what’s coming.

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2022 Apple Design Award Winners Revealed

Last week, Apple announced the finalists for the 2022 Apple Design Awards: 36 apps and games in six categories: Inclusivity, Delight and Fun, Interaction, Social Impact, Visuals and Graphics, and Innovation.

Today, the company announced two winners (one app and one game) in each category for a total of twelve 2022 Apple Design Award winners.

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners and finalists:

Inclusivity

Delight and Fun

Interaction

Social Impact

Visuals and Graphics

Innovation

We’ll have more 2022 Apple Design Award coverage soon, so stay tuned.


You can follow all of our WWDC coverage through our WWDC 2022 hub or subscribe to the dedicated WWDC 2022 RSS feed.


WWDC 2022: Apple Publishes Keynote Video

Run, Craig, run!

Run, Craig, run!

Today’s keynote was a fast-paced affair that covered a lot of ground including upcoming updates to iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and watchOS. If you didn’t follow the live stream or announcements as they unfolded today, you can replay it on Apple’s Events site or catch it on YouTube.

The keynote video can be streamed here and on the Apple TV using the TV app. A high-quality version will also available through Apple Podcasts as a video and audio podcast.


You can follow all of our WWDC coverage through our WWDC 2022 hub or subscribe to the dedicated WWDC 2022 RSS feed.


WWDC 2022 Keynote: By the Numbers

Whenever Apple holds a keynote event, the company shares a variety of numbers related to things like user counts for certain products, software performance improvements, and customer satisfaction. With the company announcing the future of key platforms like iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS, there was unsurprisingly a lot of data mentioned during today’s WWDC keynote.

We’ve collected some of the most interesting numbers shared on-stage during the keynote:

  • Apple has now opened 17 developer academies around the world
  • According to Tim Cook, “many millions of developers” engaged with last year’s online-only WWDC
  • There are now 34 million registered Apple developers
  • Dictation is used 18 billion times each month. That’s a lot of words
  • Improved Maps will launch in 11 more countries later this year
  • According to Apple, over 130 products are in the pipeline with support for the Matter home connectivity standard
  • 98% of cars sold in the United States now support CarPlay; and according to a survey, 79% of U.S. buyers would consider a car with CarPlay integration

Mac Numbers

  • The second-generation chip in the Apple Silicon family, called M2, features:
    • 20 billion transistors, 25% more than M1
    • 100 GB/s of unified memory bandwidth, 50% more than M1
    • Up to 24 GB of unified memory
    • Up to 18% better performance than M1
    • 1.9x performance compared to a 10-core laptop chip while using 1/4 of the power
    • Up to 35% better GPU performance than M1
    • Specifically, Apple says it offers 25% better graphics performance at the same power, but up to 35% at max power
    • 40% more Neural Engine operations than M1
  • The new MacBook Air with M2, announced today, comes in 4 colors
    • It’s 20% thinner, weighs 2.7 lbs, and is 11.3mm thick
    • It has a 13.6” display with thinner borders
    • The display supports 500 nits, which is 25% brighter than before, and 1 billion colors
    • It has a 1080p camera with twice the resolution and twice the low-light performance
    • The Air has a 3-mic array and 4-speaker sound system
    • It supports up to 18 hours of video playback according to Apple’s benchmarks
    • It supports 67W fast-charging, so you can charge up to 50% in 30 minutes
    • It starts at $1199
  • As for the new 13” MacBook Pro, also carrying the M2 chip:
    • It’s 40% faster than the previous model
    • Supports up to 24 GB of unified memory
    • Supports up to 20 hours of video playback
    • This is not a number, but it comes with the Touch Bar. The Touch Bar!
    • Starts at $1299
  • The M1 MacBook Air continues to be a product in Apple’s lineup, and it now starts at $999.

You can follow all of our WWDC coverage through our WWDC 2022 hub or subscribe to the dedicated WWDC 2022 RSS feed.