4 places where Apple can improve its integration of hardware, software, and services

Apple spends a lot of time talking up its secret sauce: that combination of hardware, software, and services that allow it to make what it believes are the best technology products on the planet.

And, as users of Apple products, most of us probably agree that this is generally the case. But even as good as the integration between these three legs of the company’s stool is, there are still some places that it falls weirdly short. Hardware and software that don’t work together, services that don’t provide the necessary glue.

Maybe they’re use cases that Apple doesn’t consider particularly necessary, or maybe the company just hasn’t gotten around to them yet. Whatever the case, they stick out like a sore thumb. Here are just a few examples of integration that’s, well, less than integrated.

Oughta correct

Ever found yourself adding a word to your Mac’s dictionary and then see it still underlined on your iPad? What’s up with that? It seems like you shouldn’t have to teach each and every device you own that a particular word or phrase is something that you frequently type. Given that iOS and iPadOS don’t even offer a real way to add a word to your personal dictionary, the least Apple could do is have them respect the changes you’ve made to your Mac’s dictionary.

Yes, there are workarounds, like adding a word to a contact card or a text shortcut, but these aren’t the kind of things you want to have to do every time you come across a new problem word. Instead, Apple should add iCloud syncing of custom dictionaries between all your Macs and iOS devices to make sure that the words you’re typing are always the ones you want them to be—not what Apple thinks they should be.

Remind me to email

ios13 reminders Apple

iOS 13 Reminders

In iOS 13, the Reminders app got a substantial makeover, not only gaining a new interface, but also new features to help you actually remember all those things you enter into it. Among them is the ability to remind you of a task when you’re talking to a specified person via Messages.

While that’s all well and good, Messages is—I hate to break it to you, Apple—not the only app I use for communicating with people. Though I get why the company is perhaps not ready to open that feature up to third parties like Slack or Skype, it’s missing a common first-party one right on the device itself: email. More to the point, once you pick a person to link with a task, it should remind you no matter which app you use to talk to them. After all, if it can recognize someone I’m chatting with over Messages, it can probably make a similar assumption when I’m using Mail.

Alas, Apple often seems to have forgotten that email is a thing. (In this, as in other places.) For better or worse, though, we’re all still using it, so let’s not pretend it doesn’t exist, much as we might wish otherwise.