Six Colors
Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

Support this Site

Become a Six Colors member and get access to an exclusive weekly podcast, community, newsletter and more.

By Stephen Hackett

WWDC 2021: Safari 15 to bring huge UI changes

When Apple’s annual updates ship this fall, Safari will be at version 15. Each new version of Apple’s browser is marked by security and performance improvements, but this year Safari is getting an all-new design as well.

Apple seems to be unhappy with the traditional browser design that includes navigation tools at the top, with websites being forced to live in their own view down below, and with Safari 15, it has blurred the line between browser and web content. This goes far beyond the mere splashes of color that Safari users may be used to seeing behind their navigation controls when scrolling a long webpage.

Now, the new tab bar takes on the color of the website, letting the entire window take on the personality of whatever website is visible. Apple says that this lets browsing feel more expansive, as the browser’s UI is now yielding to the content.

Safari 15

The color the tab bar takes on can be manually set by including setting a meta tag named theme-color in the head of the webpage.1 (Optionally, different values can be set for light and dark modes.) If this value isn’t set, Safari will choose its own color from the website’s background color or header image. Thankfully, Safari is smart enough to not use colors that interfere with UI elements like standard window controls in macOS.

Tab Groups are a new way to organize tabs and save groups of them for later. Conceptually, these are different from bookmarks in that they dynamically adjust as you open and close tabs and move to different webpages, but if you’ve ever used the trick to open a folder full of Safari bookmarks at once, it’ll feel a bit familiar. Tab Groups sync across iOS, iPadOs and macOS via iCloud. They are accessible via the sidebar in Safari and appear as a menu item in the tab bar itself.

To further minimize Safari’s UI, the tab bar and address field have been collapsed into one new user interface. When a tab is active, it expands into a full address field. Taken all together, Safari looks radically different than before:

Safari 15

On the iPhone, things get even weirder. The tab bar is now at the bottom of the screen and will minimize as the user starts scrolling. This new tab bar works a bit the Home indicator on a Face ID device. The user can swipe horizontally between tabs, like swiping between apps. A swipe up brings up an overview of open tabs and a UI to swap between Tab Groups.

Safari 15 on iPhone

Safari 15 brings big changes, and surely not everyone will be a fan. I, for one, think the expanded use of color is distracting, and the tabs-aren’t-just-tabs-anymore design confusing at times. I hope Apple might reconsider some of these more drastic design changes during the beta process this summer.


  1. Six Colors readers on Safari 15 will have already noticed. -J.S. 

[Stephen Hackett is the author of 512 Pixels and co-founder of Relay FM.]


By Stephen Hackett

WWDC 2021: MailKit set to offer new Mail extension possibilities

For many years, power users have been able to use plug-ins to extend the capabilities of macOS’ built-in Mail application. And for years, those users have been accustomed to those plug-ins breaking as Apple has updated Mail and the operating system.

This year at WWDC, Apple introduced MailKit, a new Mac-only framework for building modern Mail.app extensions. This framework is based on the same underlying technology that powers Safari app extensions and share sheet extensions.

Mail Extensions

There are four types of Mail extensions:

  • Compose extensions will allow new workflows when composing mail messages.
  • Action extensions help people manage their inbox by providing custom rules on incoming messages.
  • Content blocking extensions provide WebKit content blockers for Mail messages.
  • Message security extensions can provide further security by signing, encrypting, and decrypting messages when people send and receive mail.

These extensions can be bundled into existing Mac applications, or be offered on their own, but must pass through the Mac App Store.

Time will tell what types of Mail extensions are possible in this new framework, but if Apple’s WWDC session about them is any indication, this should be an exciting change to an app that hasn’t seen much excitement or change in quite a long time.

Apple is clear that extensions are the future; existing Mail plug-ins will stop being supported in the future. While this means that some favorites may not be long for this world, I’m excited that Apple is now offering a sustainable, official way for developers to make Mail.app on the Mac more useful and flexible.

[Stephen Hackett is the author of 512 Pixels and co-founder of Relay FM.]


By Stephen Hackett

WWDC 2021: New App Store Features Coming in iOS, iPadOS 15

When iOS and iPadOS 15 launch later this year, the App Store will have new tools for developers to optimize their product pages to better stand out in the busy marketplace.

The first tool to do this is called the custom product page, which will let developers market their app differently to different sets of users. Each version of the product page can have a different set of videos, screenshots and text, and each one comes with its own unique URL for sharing.

App Store in iOS 15

In App Analytics, developers will be able to see which page performs best, giving them data to better reach potential customers in the store. The backend will provide both retention data and average proceeds each custom product page.

Each app can have up to 35 different custom product pages, so developers will be able to go wild if they are so inclined.1

The other addition to the App Store is product page optimization, which will let developers set up and run automatic A/B testing on their pages to see what works best for them and their app. Each test can have up to three options, and developers can set what percentage of users will see a given option. These tests have to go through App Review.

The iOS App Store is a big place, and it’s hard to stand out. With these new tools, Apple is hoping that developers will be able to manage their product pages more effectively. I don’t think this was at the top of anyone’s App Store wishlist for 2021, but I am very interested to see how developers will use this once it launches.


  1. Nobody tell James Thomson. 

[Stephen Hackett is the author of 512 Pixels and co-founder of Relay FM.]


By Stephen Hackett

WWDC 2021: macOS Monterey further blurs lines between Mac, Catalyst, and iPad apps

How one can define what a “Mac app” is has gotten more complicated as time has gone on. In the early days of Mac OS X, developers could choose between Cocoa, Carbon and even Java. As the latter two faded, we saw the rise of wrappers around web apps that via technologies like Electron.

But Apple has made the water murky as well, thanks to Mac Catalyst and more recently, the ability of M1 Macs to run iPhone and iPad apps natively.

Photos and Messages on macOS Monterey
One of those applications is built with Mac Catalyst.

Mac Catalyst

To recap, Catalyst allows a developer to take an iPad app and tweak it to run on both Apple silicon and Intel Macs. These apps can pick up a lot of native Mac UI and UX features along the way. Messages, for example, is a Catalyst app as of macOS Big Sur. Apple has done a lot of clever things to give developers incentives to use Catalyst. If an iPad app supports multitasking, for example, the Mac version gets multi-window support out of the box.

This year at WWDC, Mac Catalyst didn’t get the massive improvements it did last year, but Apple still took some time to go over how it can be used to make a great Mac app.

Apple has continued to improve the things Xcode does automatically when the “Mac” button is checked and a developer builds an app. Beyond that, though, developers need to fine-tune the Mac experience.

At first, all Mac Catalyst apps felt a little weird, as they were all displayed at a reduced scale of 77%, owing to the differences between iPad and Mac display. That’s has since been changed—now apps can be set to run in the “Mac idiom” at 100% scale. These apps also utilize native AppKit controls, making them look and feel like more traditional apps.

Apple encourages developers to think about the various display sizes that a Mac Catalyst app may encounter—it’s a far cry from what’s found on iOS and iPadOS. Not only are there a bunch of non-Retina MacBook Airs and iMacs still running around, but there’s probably a daredevil out there somewhere who’s running apps in full screen on a Pro Display XDR at 6K resolution.

Likewise, Macs are hooked up to a wide range of input devices, none of which is a touchscreen. Apps can’t assume that everyone has a trackpad, either. Any navigation that requires gestures will need to be re-thought for the macOS environment.

In many ways, creating a good Mac Catalyst app is just like writing a good AppKit app. Apple’s tools are good, but making something truly great requires time and care. Even if Catalyst ends up being a transitionary technology in the long haul, it’s an important step, and one that seems to be going well. It’s getting harder and harder to tell what apps are using Catalyst, and that’s a good thing.

iOS and iPadOS apps on M1 Macs

There are over one million iOS and iPad apps already on the Mac App Store for users of new M1 Macs. While developers of many, many major apps have opted out of this program, Apple is working in macOS Monterey to improve the experience for users and hopefully make developers more willing to look at Apple silicon Macs as a reasonable target for their mobile development.

To be frank, these apps still stick out on macOS Big Sur. They work well enough, but they look and feel a bit foreign, even when compared to apps built with Mac Catalyst. But for developers who don’t go through that work, it’s a painless way to have their applications in front of Mac users.

In macOS Monterey, Apple is working to conform these apps to feel more at home on the Mac. In addition to mapping iOS functionality to things like the menu bar and Mac input devices that started in Big Sur, these applications on Monterey can now support Shortcuts for Mac, Apple Pay, full-screen video with HDR and new gesture support when a trackpad is present.

On the App Store side, developers can also now confirm that their app has been tested to work well on macOS, and they can set a minimum OS that they support, or let Apple automatically set that on the app’s needs.

Additionally, Apple is tweaking the Mac App Store to make these titles easier to find. No longer will users have to switch to the “iPhone and iPad Apps” tab to discover these apps; they will appear in-line with traditional Mac titles in the Store, blurring the line between Mac-first and Mac-second apps even more.

[Stephen Hackett is the author of 512 Pixels and co-founder of Relay FM.]


By Stephen Hackett

WWDC 2021: watchOS 8 to shave time off everyday interactions

watchOS 8

With watchOS 8, Apple isn’t setting out to radically change the experience of using an Apple Watch, but the new capabilities the release will give developers will make it feel more dynamic and useful throughout the day.

The biggest change in this regard is how applications will be able to work in the “Wrist Down” position. In watchOS 7, apps were dimmed and blurred out when the Watch was inactive, with the time overlaid in the upper-right corner:

Fitnes in watchOS 7

With watchOS 8, the blurring will be replaced with a new dimmer state, that is ready to become inactive with just a single tap:

Fitbod in watchOS 8

watchOS tells the application the state of the Watch, and the app should be able to quickly dim and hide personal data that shouldn’t be visible to others when the user’s wrist is down.

In this dimmed state, a watchOS app can still receive data from the system and update their UI. Workout apps or audio apps can update once per second when there is an active session going on to keep the user informed with a mere glance. Out of session, this time between updates is once per minute to preserve battery life.

In watchOS 8, Apple is also updating how apps are sent updated information from HealthKit. Critical data — such as fall events, low blood oxygen saturation and heart rate events — is sent immediately. Other data types are delivered hourly, if not longer.

If you use a Bluetooth heart rate monitor or other equipment and pair them directly with the Apple Watch, watchOS 8 has some features for you, too. Bluetooth device will be able to connect when their corresponding application is in the background, as long the app is being used as a Complication. From there, data from the device (such as heart rate) can be kept up to date directly, up to four times an hour.

Lastly, text entry is being sped up this year as well, as the Watch will remember if the user prefers Scribble or Dictation, on a per-app basis.

The Apple Watch has always been about small interactions, and with watchOS 8, Apple has continued to work in making those faster and smoother than before. Starting later this year, the Watch will be more up to date all the time, even when your wrist is down, while Health data and even text entry will be faster as well. These small interactions are often just seconds long, but time matters when it comes to the Watch.

[Stephen Hackett is the author of 512 Pixels and co-founder of Relay FM.]


By Stephen Hackett

WWDC 2021: Shortcuts for Mac

For years, automation on the Mac has been an onion of sorts. Automator and its ability to create Quick Actions, Folder Actions and even Applications has given Mac users the ability to create workflows with drag-and-drop efficiency since its introduction with Mac OS X Tiger way back in 2005.

Applications can donate actions for use in Automator, but this never took off the way it was intended.

Thankfully, Automator came with an escape hatch: the ability to run scripts within workflows. This meant that bailing out to something like AppleScript or even a shell script was simple.

None of this even touches the wide range of third-party tools for automation on macOS such as Keyboard Maestro, BetterTouchTool, Alfred and more.

As good as these utilities are, as the platform owner, Apple needs to steer the ship when it comes to automation on the Mac, and with macOS Monterey, it’s poised to do just that … with Shortcuts.

Shortcuts on the Mac, at last.

What was once Workflows on iPhone and iPad, then bought by Apple and reworked as Shortcuts is coming to Mac later this year, and so far, I’m impressed. Shortcuts on the Mac looks like it does on iOS, and feels like a Mac app. Its data even promises to sync over iCloud to other devices seamlessly.

It’s important to know what sorts of applications Shortcuts can be used to automate. Here’s what Apple says on the macOS Monterey features page:

Run compatible iPhone and iPad shortcuts on Mac with M1 or on Intel-based Mac systems with Catalyst apps.

However, things are actually a bit more complex than that. Developers of traditional Mac apps — even those built with AppKit — can add Shortcuts support to their projects via Intents, just like support is added in iOS apps.

That might seem surprising, but considering that Apple pitched this as the start of a longer transition, getting traditional Mac apps on board is going to be required if Apple wants to discontinue Automator somewhere down the line. Even though the app future is probably more SwiftUI or maybe Catalyst, almost every major Mac app uses the much older AppKit framework. Ignoring those apps really wasn’t an option.

Moving workflows from Automator to Shortcuts couldn’t be easier. Drag and drop your .workflow file onto Shortcuts, and it will be transformed into a Shortcut automatically.

To make this work, Apple has added many new actions to Shortcuts, based on the most popular actions in Automator. Here’s the complete list:

Shortcuts Actions based on Automator

In short, the importer crawls your Automator workflow and translates it, step by step, into the correct Shortcuts actions. If for some reason it can’t be translated, Shortcuts will let you know. Given Automator’s rather thin support, my guess is that most people’s workflows will just come over without any issues.

Additionally, Shortcuts for Mac brings with it new actions extending what the software will be able to do on macOS:

New Actions in Shortcuts for Mac

With these new actions, I think Shortcuts is going to feel Mac-native from day one. Most people won’t miss Automator.

You may have noticed that in those screenshots, Apple highlights AppleScript, JavaScript and shell scripts as actions within Shortcuts for Mac.1 Like Automator before it, this will allow users to fall back to more traditional automation methods within their larger workflows, bridging Shortcuts’ new fanciness to the old solid foundations under macOS.

Over the last several years, there has been a lot of hand-wringing about what Shortcuts would mean for old-school Mac automation. It is clear to me that Apple thought about this, and has designed Shortcuts for the Mac to be able to support the old and new, all at the same time. That’s not always Apple’s modus operandi, but it was the right move in this case.


  1. Shortcuts for Mac comes with command line support, so you can run a Shortcut via shell scripts, or run them by name in Terminal. 

[Stephen Hackett is the author of 512 Pixels and co-founder of Relay FM.]


By Stephen Hackett

Is WWDC a hardware event?

If you ask a bunch of people in Apple community if WWDC is a hardware event or not, you’ll get a bunch of different answers, but I think most people consider WWDC to be a software event mostly aimed at developers.

What does Tim Cook have up his sleeves this year?

I don’t think that’s wrong. The bulk of WWDC takes place in sessions and labs, where developers get an in-depth look at what makes Apple’s updated operating systems and platforms tick.

Over the years, however, WWDC has also become a place for Apple to speak to the public. Sure, most users don’t know what it is, but for those who are plugged into what the company is doing, the WWDC keynote is a big deal.

As such, I got wondering. How many WWDCs actually feature hardware announcements in addition to the traditional software news?

I decided to look back twenty years. It’s a nice round number, and it’s roughly the start of the modern era, as Mac OS X was taking shape pretty nicely by 2000.…

This is a post limited to Six Colors members.


By Stephen Hackett

All hail consumer hardware

Three years ago, I wrote about how far Apple has strayed from its once-iconic Grid of Four product strategy:

The Grid of Four

To quickly recap, this is what Jobs and company came up with after his return to Apple and the Great Purge of many, many Macintosh models. It was so obviously simple: a user could find where they were on the grid and purchase the right machine for them.

Apple has moved way beyond this strategy, blurring the lines between consumer and professional Macs, even as notebooks have taken over the industry.

On the mobile front, there have been some clarifications over the last few years, with the resurgence of the MacBook Air and the death of the 12-inch MacBook and its one lonely USB-C port. Sure, having two models of the 13-inch MacBook Pro is still a bit awkward, but maybe that will get sorted out with time as well.

Over in Desktop Land, I think things could be shaping up to make a lot more sense than they used to, especially when it comes to the iMac.…

This is a post limited to Six Colors members.


By Stephen Hackett

Safari is the Loneliest Browser

A few years ago, I switched from Chrome back to Safari, wanting a more fluid experience between my Macs and iOS devices. While I now enjoy having my bookmarks, tabs and history everywhere I go — as long as iCloud is working — there is one Chrome feature that I wish Safari would swipe: multiple profiles.

Profile Switching in Chrome

In short, this feature is designed to let you have multiple instances of Chrome, all with their own settings, bookmarks, history and more. This comes with a bunch of obvious potential benefits.

If you want to use Chrome for both personal and work browsing, creating a separate profile for each means you can be logged into the same website with multiple accounts but never accidentally be in the wrong one. As someone who uses Gmail for both personal and work email, this can be a real lifesaver. You can also keep work bookmarks and history separate, keeping your personal data nice and tidy.…

This is a post limited to Six Colors members.


By Stephen Hackett

MagSafe in a USB-C World

When the first MacBook Pro was announced in 2006, it was better than the PowerBook G4 is a myriad of ways: it was way faster, promised to run cooler, included a camera for video chats and — of course — included an amazing new charging technology that made it to the top of Apple’s “Design” webpage for the machine:

MacBook Pro Design Webpage
From Apple.com, via the Wayback Machine

Like many of Apple’s best features, the idea was so simple. Instead of a connector that had to plug into the side of the machine, this one was simply held on by magnets. This would protect countless Mac notebooks from repair after their power cords were tripped over by a pet or yanked out by a careless child.

MagSafe was introduced to great applause, and it quickly worked it way into the hearts of Mac users the world over. It showed up on the 13-inch MacBook a few months after the MacBook Pro was introduced, and was even present on the LED Cinema Display that came out in 2008.…

This is a post limited to Six Colors members.


By Stephen Hackett

The Hackett File: A Look at GoodLinks

GoodLinks
GoodLinks runs on the Mac, iPad and iPhone.

Since the dawn of time the App Store, I’ve used Instapaper to save links for later, but last year I checked out GoodLinks, thanks to John Voorhees’s review at MacStories.

GoodLinks is developed by Ngoc Luu, who also develops Jason’s favorite iPad text editor, 1Writer. And like that app, GoodLinks has a simplicity about it that betrays the complexity it offers.

The Mac app is admittedly much simpler than its mobile sibling, but it looks good and offers a sharing extension, so getting links into it from something like Safari is just a couple of clicks away.

Both versions support tagging for organization, as well as the ability to star an item to find it later more quickly. Additionally, the title and summary of saved items can be manually edited, which is a nice touch if a webpage has some wonky metadata that GoodLinks can’t parse.…

This is a post limited to Six Colors members.


By Stephen Hackett

On Continuity’s Complexity

For several years, Continuity has been a growing set of features that ties macOS to its more mobile cousins. Here’s how Apple describes these features:

When you sign in to your Apple ID on all of your devices, you can use Continuity features that make it seamless to move between your devices. Click a feature below to learn about it, such as how to automatically unlock your Mac when you’re wearing your Apple Watch or how to use your iPad to extend the workspace of your Mac.

Better together, mostly.

Under the Continuity umbrella live several different features:

  • Handoff — Switching to an application or document from one device to another.
  • Universal Clipboard — Copying and pasting content from one device to another.
  • iPhone Cellular Calls — Making and receiving calls on Macs, iPads and iPod touches on the same Wi-Fi as an iPhone.
  • Text Message Forwarding — Sending and receiving SMS and MMS messages on non-iPhone devices.

This is a post limited to Six Colors members.


By Stephen Hackett

Apple’s ‘vintage’ list needs rethinking

This week, Apple added several machines to its list of vintage models:

  • iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2013)
  • iMac (27-inch, Late 2013)
  • iMac (21.5-inch, Mid 2014)
  • iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2014)
  • iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Mid 2015)

If you aren’t familiar with it, Apple’s vintage list is for products “that have not been sold for more than 5 and less than 7 years ago.”

Maddie Stone at OneZero explains:

Once Apple hasn’t sold a product for seven years, it’s considered “obsolete,” meaning the company won’t offer any repair services. But vintage products exist in a liminal space: Despite what I learned when I called Apple Support, Apple Stores as well as AASPs can, in theory, repair them for you “subject to availability of inventory, or as required by law,” according to Apple.

In practice, people in the repair community told me Apple isn’t particularly interested in fixing vintage tech. “The AASPs I’ve spoken to in the past have told me they don’t bother with customers looking to repair older devices,” said Rob Link, a right-to-repair advocate who owns a company that sells repair parts for older devices including iPhones, iPods, and iPads.

This is a post limited to Six Colors members.


By Stephen Hackett

The Hackett File: The End of the Intel Era

In the very near future, the Mac will join the iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch and all of Apple’s other devices in being powered by the company’s own systems-on-a-chip, and over the next several years, Intel Macs will slowly fade into history.

One of these things is not like the other … for now.

There’s been plenty of ink spilled over comparing the upcoming Apple silicon transition to the previous transition to Intel—including by me. However, there’s one last angle on this that I would like to explore: the state of the final old-school Macs at the time the transition started.

Let’s start at the end of the PowerPC era. By the time the Intel switch was announced at WWDC in June 2005, Apple’s notebooks were in pretty sorry shape. The desktop Power Mac G5 has been out for two years at this point, and the iMac G5 was about a year old.…

This is a post limited to Six Colors members.


By Stephen Hackett

The Hackett File: Apple’s Home Products Should Think Cheaper

Apple’s two smart home products have something in common: they are far too expensive for the markets they compete in.

Apple TV 4K

The Apple TV 4K. Not that’s easy to tell, as it shares its design with the previous model.

The Apple TV 4K was announced in September 2017, over three years ago. It carried forward the app-based model and software that debuted on the previous generation announced in 2015. (Which is still on sale, because of course it is.)

While Tim Cook’s proclamation that “the future of TV is apps” hasn’t quite panned out, and Apple Arcade is a bit lackluster on the platform, I believe the bones of tvOS are in pretty decent shape. The Apple TV app is a nice way to pull content in from across multiple streaming services, even if Netflix is notably absent. Features like AirPlay and multi-user support are nice additions as well, and see frequent use in my living room.…

This is a post limited to Six Colors members.


By Stephen Hackett

The Hackett File: It’s time to expand the Apple Watch line

Since first introducing the Apple Watch, Apple has worked hard to clarify the product, steering it to where most users found it the most useful — notifications and activity tracking. The fanciful dream of the Apple Watch taking over every single task once managed by the iPhone is mostly dead and gone.


This change has happened in both hardware and software.

At first, Apple positioned the stainless steel model as the default Apple Watch, with the cheaper aluminum “sport” model as somewhat of a step down. Unsurprisingly, it seems that the vast majority of Apple Watches sold are of the aluminum variant, and Apple has shifted, putting a larger focus on those models—leaving fancier finishes on sale, but maybe a little on the back burner.

watchOS has changed drastically over its short lifespan. I’m hard pressed to think what other operating system and platform has seen so much fundamental change in just five years.…

This is a post limited to Six Colors members.


By Stephen Hackett

The Hackett File: When Apple stumbles

Ping

With iOS 14 now humming along in beta form, many people (myself included) are excited about the possibilities of widgets. I’m excited to see what the developers of some of my favorite apps do with them over the coming months.

However, I can’t help but think that we’ll all suffer from a little Widget Madness before scaling back to what we find truly useful.

That’s not to say that I don’t think widgets will be popular and successful — I just think that there will see a spike in popularity before things level off.

Of course, not all technology that Apple ships does level off. Some things miss the mark with consumers and wither on the vine. Here are a few examples in recent history that come to mind for me.

iMessage Apps

With 2016’s iOS 10, Apple attempted to make Messages more than just a replacement for SMS that could sync between all of a user’s devices.…

This is a post limited to Six Colors members.


By Stephen Hackett

The Hackett File: A Tour of System Preferences in Big Sur

Any time there is a big set of UI changes in macOS, I like to see what Apple has done to the System Preferences app. As you can see, Catalina and Big Sur’s versions of the app are pretty different:

Big Sur is still pretty early in its beta lifecycle, so some of these decisions could change over time (and I’m sure the Notifications icon will be swapped for a high-resolution one) but I think we can get a good feel for where Apple is going here.

First, the application still has the sam structure that Apple introduced lat year, with the Apple ID and Family Sharing preference panes taking up the top of the window,1 with the other panes filing in below in sections that were stripped of their names after Mountain Lion. System Preferences even retains the Spotlight-style search UI:

This year, many the icons have been revisited to better match Big Sur’s more colorful and lifelike palette of application icons.…

This is a post limited to Six Colors members.


By Stephen Hackett

The Hackett File: Life After WWDC

WWDC 2020 has come and gone, and for the first time in the event’s 31-year history, the conference was entirely online.

In the Ye Olden Days, developers could get copies of WWDC sessions on VHS or DVD, and eventually watch them online. Over the last few years, Apple has worked hard to get session videos online faster and faster.

Of course this year, none of those edit-and-upload-as-quickly-as-possible skills were needed, as the entire conference was done in advance, ready to stream online like content from Netflix or Hulu.

This revised format, forced upon Apple and its community due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, worked very well. Session videos were shorter and tighter, and since they can be watched whenever it’s convenient, developers don’t have to worry about juggling sessions to fit their schedules.

Then there’s the much more important topic of access. Apple has bajillions of developers, but WWDC is impossible to attend for most of them.…

This is a post limited to Six Colors members.


By Stephen Hackett

The Hackett File: The battle for the next iPhone connector

Since USB-C first appeared on the 2015 MacBook, Apple users have seen it appear on more and more products, usually with its more powerful friend Thunderbolt 3 along for the ride into battle.

USB-C met a fierce adversary on its road to total control, though: the Lightning port.

Lightning first appeared on the iPhone 5, and quickly took over as the default connector on just about everything Apple sells that isn’t a computer. On my desk alone, I have Lightning ports on my keyboard, Trackpad, AirPods case and iPhone.

There’s only one realm where Lightning has fallen to USB-C: the iPad Pro. That change has made using audio interfaces, external storage and other accessories much easier to use with the device, even if other, lesser iPads are still under the iron fist of Lightning.

The truth is, many of us would like to see USB-C take over everything in the Land of Apple.…

This is a post limited to Six Colors members.



Search Six Colors