I talk a lot about artificial intelligence, but surprisingly, a large number of people have not tried ChatGPT, DALL-E, Midjourney, or Stable Diffusion to taste what’s possible; I’m using OpenAI’s DALL-E 2 to generate the intro image for this and future newsletters by giving it the subject line as a prompt. Who knows what we will get back, but man, this week’s intro art is beautiful. I would gladly hang that on my wall.
I’m also exploring a new way we can all connect with an app called WaveLength. WaveLength is reminiscent of old-school forums and allows us to talk about things we find exciting in a big unmoderated chat room. The app is currently only available on Apple platforms, but I’m hoping it makes the leap to Android in the coming months. Join my new group, Thoughts on Tech & Things, and let’s keep in touch on topics throughout the week.
Last, if you like what you read, please recommend my newsletter to friends who might enjoy it. They can subscribe to my website here or on LinkedIn.
All that augmented reality talk at WWDC made me forget to discuss the new iOS, iPadOS, and macOS releases. This was a pretty meh release, but in the meh years, Apple sometimes wows with major OS features that will be tied to a hardware announcement this September. Our Director of Mobile, Rob Koch, who was in person at WWDC, thinks the next iPhone upgrades the cameras to produce 3D videos and images for the Vision Pro.
It definitely makes much more sense than recording videos or taking pictures in a giant head rig. Also, Apple is best when it taps its ecosystem and lets devices work together. That’s how we get really cool features like the continuity that transform your phone into a webcam for Mac and soon Apple TV.
I still have hours of developer content to watch, but the most critical announcements for developers in designers I’ve encountered so far include:
⚡️Live widgets – The customization of the lock and app screens continues with improved widgets. Widgets have more control over their appearance and can run code instead of deep linking to a view in an application. Apple also allows widgets to execute tasks on applications on a different device, like unlocking a car door on your Mac by triggering an iPhone-only application.
⚡️SharePlay – is quickly becoming one of my favorite stealth features in the Apple ecosystem, and Apple is allowing developers to tap directly into APIs to promote sharing. Apps that offer a sharable experience, like working out, could benefit from using these calls to help create deeper connections with their users.
⚡️ PassKeys – Passwords suck, and we really need to move to a new solution. Every app needs to ditch login screens and registration to move to PassKeys. Get a head start and make this standard operating procedure for all your web, mobile, tablet, and desktop applications.
⚡️ SwiftData – CoreData has been begging for an update and a rewrite in Swift, and we finally got it with SwiftData. This feature will help speed up development time for applications and make the persistence of all types of data in iCloud even easier. This will also make it easy for applications in the Apple ecosystem to keep in real-time sync across phones, desktops, or the mixed-reality headset.
⚡️ SF Symbols and easier animation – Subtle animations and movement are big parts of the Apple app experience, and Apple is making it easier to incorporate this in applications with a growing library of symbols and glyphs. San Fransisco is the font Apple created for its platforms several years ago, and SF Symbols is a growing library of easy-to-use standard icons you can drop into your applications. These symbols also have support for animation and allow you to customize how they look.
⚡️Apple’s Game Porting Toolkit – While iOS has had huge success as a gaming platform, the Mac has always been left behind. It appears Apple has finally decided to get serious and change this by making a toolkit that allows game developers to port games directly to the Mac with ease. Early reviews say this toolkit is magical, and I can’t help but wonder if the goal is to court game developers for some new platform.
DrupalCon kicked off Monday in Pittsburgh with the DriesNote by Drupal founder and Acquia CTO Dries Buytaert. If you forgot, it’s understandable, as some fruit and eyes may have one-uped it.
In his keynote, Dries focused on the importance of innovation and the need for Drupal to be prepared for disruption so the community can jump the coming S-curves of innovation.
As Dries put it, the most significant technical evolutions come as S-curves that represent the transition of the old to the new. For example, the shift from blockbuster rental stores to receiving DVDs by email took time to happen. It came as a curve where the power of disruption transformed how we did things in the past. Some of these evolutions take generations, while others happen at breakneck speeds.
We’re all experiencing an S curve now, but the end destination is still undetermined. The storefront we all use to buy products or communicate with brands is shifting. Once, it was easy to point to the web CMS or e-commerce, but increasingly people transact from other platforms like social media. Drupal is seeing tons of disruption from generative AI, social media, headless CMS implementations, and much more. With so many questions on the storefront, it’s time to plant seeds to keep the platform relevant for the future.
To prepare for this shift, the Drupal Association is focusing on building the soil as developers and site builders plant 1,000 seeds of innovation. This will lay the groundwork for thousands of innovative flowers to bloom.
In the DriesNote new Drupal Association, CEO Tim Doyle made it clear that the Drupal Association is aggressively raising funds to make the soil rich and help fund innovative community projects that can ensure Drupal is ready for these future shifts.
I love my new Tesla. The car’s not perfect, but it does so many things right. One of those things is the Supercharger network, which I’ve quickly learned is vastly superior to these other charging networks. I’m not alone. Ford and now GM have both signed on to make Tesla’s North America Charging Standard (NACS) potentially become the standard of the land.
I hope other charging infrastructure companies see this momentum and fix the problems with broken chargers and bad UX. I also can’t help but wonder if Mary Barra knew of this GM announcement before her interview on Marketplace. If you have a moment, listen to the whole thing, it’s a great conversation on the state of EVs in the US and how GM hopes to get us there. Did Kai’s concerns in this interview on the lack of charging infrastructure push GM to ink a deal with Tesla? Doubtful, right… these agreements take months and months, right?
Tons and tons of folks are talking about AI, but lots of folks are sharing loads of unfounded hype. Will AI change our lives? Certainly, but if you need a tool to figure out who’s saying crazy stuff, check out the subjective takes on this website for rating AI reporting. I rate my newsletter 3 MarvinsAI.
Our other favorite Open Source CMS, WordPress, made a small splash by adding AI integration to its jetpack plugin. If you need inspiration or help to hit a writing deadline, this new tool can make generating content in the WordPress admin easy.
Traditional image formats like JPEG, PNG, or GIF need to prepare for a 3D future. It was a small mention during Apple’s State of the Union – but an unexpected need in the shift to VisionOS is a format that allows 2D objects to come alive when viewed with a device that supports depth. For example, the satellite shown here should exist as one asset that works on iPhone and iPad as a traditional 2D object but come alive as an interact-able 3D object when viewed on VisionOS.
To help us get here, Apple announced support for an open format named Material X that allows us to store additional information, such as depth, in an asset. I’m curious to see if this format becomes increasingly ubiquitous, especially in traditional 2D spaces like web browsers.
To help developers and designers create these 3D assets quickly, Apple announced a new product, Reality Composer Pro, that should be available for download this month.
⚡️More links to tech & things:
- Microsoft Is Bringing OpenAI’s GPT-4 AI to US Government Agencies
- Amazon is using generative AI for product reviews
- Winners announced for the DrupalCon Pitch-burgh Innovation contest