The Future of Widgets

Apple Widgets IconWell, that was Awkward. I sat down to watch the WWDC 2020 and I was quite surprised to see widgets take the lead. Improvements to Apple’s native widgets are heading to iOS, iPadOS, and macOS. Am I in competition with Apple? After watching the event to end, I don’t think so. Instead, I think this creates opportunity for Photics apps. Ultimately, Apple showed renewed interest for widgets and this could increase the demand for such technology.

I think the trick is to plug into the new system. Apple is providing tools to make widgets. Although, when I tried to peruse the “Development Guides” for the “WidgetKit API”, there was a disappointing message…

We’ll be back soon.

I’ve been down this road before. It’s a lot harder to do Apple related app development around this time of the year. Between WWDC and the launch of the new operating systems, there’s a lot of confusion. Yet, the timing is actually pretty good. Even before WWDC 2020, I was planning to resume work on Widgets. Knowing Apple’s direction allows me to work more strategically.

That’s why I suppose this is good news. Widgets was created as an alternative to Dashboard — but Widgets is not quite a full replacement. By the time Apple’s Dashboard design patent expires, most people would have moved on already. That’s why today’s WWDC is encouraging. Instead of fighting against the system, the Widgets app and “Apparatuses” can work with the system.

Apple (specifically Craig Federighi) mentioned even more improvement to JavaScript performance in Safari. I’m figuring that includes improvements to WKWebView based apps. That’s another boon for Photics apps. The transition to ARM processors shouldn’t hinder Photics apps either, as it looks like the conversion is not too difficult.

Overall, it was a pretty good day. And looking back, the main reason why I was able to enjoy this year’s WWDC is because of widgets. I can see opportunity.

So, here’s the plan. For the next 3-4 months, the objective is to create more widgets. The dictionary/thesaurus (WordNet) is in development. Maybe that, and few more widgets, can join the fun. Then, as the release of macOS 11 (Big Sur) and iOS 14 drop, the focus becomes integration with Apple’s operating systems.