Home Technology Apple’s Best New iPhone and iPad Features Are Way, Way Overdue

Apple’s Best New iPhone and iPad Features Are Way, Way Overdue

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“Finally.” That was my reaction to many of the announcements in Apple’s June 10 WWDC keynote.

When Apple said that people will soon be able to personalize their iPhone app icons, or rearrange the ways controls appear in the Control Center, I didn’t feel impressed. Apple first announced customizable aesthetic home screens in 2020 with iOS 14, and today’s updates feel like they’ve arrived about four years too late to make me sit up and take note. Instead I was left wondering why it had taken so long.

I wasn’t the only one who felt this way. CNET Senior Editor Lisa Eadicicco noted that she had been asking for activity goals more customizable by day and rest mode “forever.” Even Apple acknowledged that it had “finally” redesigned its iOS photo library to make it feel more organized.

I was especially caught off guard by the announcement that Apple would be bringing the calculator app to the iPad. “What do you mean, the iPad doesn’t already have a calculator?” I thought to myself. Where has Apple been hiding it? Had it simply forgotten to add it until now?

It’s not as if a calculator is complex tech beyond the iPad’s computing capabilities. A calculator is such a simple and basic tool that it was an “app” available on phones before we even called them apps. I just assumed that it wouldn’t have taken until 2024 for Apple to think it might be a useful tool for iPad users too.

With Apple, I’m used to the company showing me things I never knew I needed. But right now, it feels like it’s playing catch-up — and not just in terms of my expectations.

At WWDC, Apple also announced that you’d finally be able to mirror your iPhone screen and see your notifications on your Mac. This is a feature Windows already offers through Microsoft’s Phone Link, making it long overdue for Apple to be jumping on the bandwagon. 

It will have been easier for Apple to integrate screen mirroring than for Microsoft, as Apple owns and operates both MacOS and iOS, whereas Windows has to partner with another company and system (Google and Android) to make mirroring work. Apple also already has screen mirroring in place with the Apple TV — and it has done for years. Plus, iPhone-to-Mac mirroring is already available to developers. And yet it didn’t get there first when it came to offering it to customers.

Expectations are always high going into any Apple event, and this is largely due to the company’s well-deserved reputation for impressing us with the tech it announces. It might not be totally fair, but when you establish a legacy of wowing people, you also create a sense of anticipation and excitement for what’s next. No wonder then that the fact Apple’s big update for iPad this year is the addition of a calculator is not blowing me away, but instead has me saying, “At last.”

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