The watchOS improvements I want to see at WWDC [Mockups]

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How Apple could give watchOS a tune-up
How Apple could give watchOS a tune-up.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

In the three short years since Apple Watch debuted, Cupertino has massively improved its smartwatch. Remember the early days, when Glances took ages to load, only to show out-of-date information? When the Fitness app refused to stay in the foreground during a workout? Or when the side button launched a doodling app?

Since the launch, Apple has rolled out big upgrades to watchOS every year at its Worldwide Developers Conference. But there is still loads more that could be done to really unleash Apple Watch’s full potential.

With this year’s WWDC confirmed for June, here’s my wish list of the all the new watchOS stuff I’m hoping will be announced in San Jose, California. It’s a pretty long list, so I’ve broken it down into three separate posts, starting with usability. In followup posts, I’ll focus on fitness, apps and setup.

Today in Apple history: The ultra-fast Macintosh IIfx speeds into stores

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Mac IIfx
The IIfx was the fastest Mac of its day.
Photo: Old Computr

March 19: Today in Apple history: The ultra-fast Macintosh IIfx speeds into stores March 19, 1990: The ultra-fast Macintosh IIfx makes it debut, sporting a hefty price tag appropriate for such a speedy machine.

The fastest Macintosh of its day, it boasts a CPU running at a “wicked fast” 40 MHz. It gains an additional speed bump from a pair of Apple-designed application-specific integrated circuits. Prices start at $9,870 and run up to $12,000 — the equivalent of $19,000 to $22,000 in 2018 terms!

5 ways Apple will rule Mobile World Congress (without even showing up)

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Everyone who is anyone in mobile (except Apple) will be at Mobile World Congress 2018.
Everyone who is anyone in mobile (except Apple) will be there.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Mobile World Congress 2018 When the entire mobile phone industry heads to Barcelona next week for Mobile World Congress 2018, there will be one notable absence: Apple.

Cupertino doesn’t do trade shows. Not even really big ones like MWC. Yet, despite its absence from the massive Spanish trade show, Apple’s influence will loom large over Barcelona’s beautiful horizons.

Here are five things Apple fans should look out for at MWC next week.

Apple’s first Austrian retail store looks absolutely gorgeous

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Apple Store
Apple's new store in Vienna sits on a popular pedestrian shopping street near the Vienna State Opera.
Photo: Apple

Apple just gave us a sneak preview of its first store in Austria, and it’s pretty stunning! Apple Kärntner Straße, which will open this Saturday in Vienna, is designed with “the original heritage building in mind,” Apple says.

The totally Apple-y redesign of the building, which sits on a famous shopping street between St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Vienna State Opera, combines exposed columns outside with large window openings.

Today in Apple history: Hippie-themed iMacs fuel Cupertino flashback

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The Flower Power iMac G3 and Blue Dalmatian iMac G3 were two of the wackier Macs in history.
These were two of the wackier Macs in history.
Photo: Apple

February 22: Today in Apple history February 22, 2001: The iMac Special Edition, sporting custom Flower Power and Blue Dalmatian designs, puts a wacky face on the computer that saved Apple’s bacon at the turn of the century.

A far cry from the super-serious, aluminum-heavy industrial design that will come to define Apple, these colorfully patterned iMacs are some of the most irreverent computers Cupertino ever dreamed up. (C’mon, when was a real Dalmatian blue?)

Under the consciously tacky exterior hummed a pretty darn great iMac G3, though.

Today in Apple history: iPod mini is ‘world’s smallest music player’

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The iPod mini, which Apple
Apple makes big waves with the iPod mini.
Image: Apple

February 20: Today in Apple history: iPod mini launch shows off 'world's smallest music player' February 20, 2004: Music goes small as the iPod mini arrives in Apple stores.

Released with 4GB of storage and in five colors, the diminutive iPod mini features a new “click wheel” that integrates control buttons into a solid-state, touch-sensitive scroll wheel. Despite its small size, the new music player’s market potential looms large. In fact, the iPod mini soon becomes the fastest-selling iPod yet.

Today in Apple history: Apple invents ‘slide to unlock’

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Apple didn't invent the Slide to Unlock gesture.
"Slide to unlock" drew audible gasps from the audience when Steve Jobs first showed it off.
Photo: Jared Earle/Flickr CC

December 23: Today in Apple history: Apple invents slide to unlock December 23, 2005: Apple files a patent application for its iconic “slide to unlock” gesture for the iPhone.

Although the iPhone is still a secret research project at the time, the ability to unlock the device by sliding your finger across it signifies everything Apple wants the iPhone to be: easy to use, intuitive and technologically miles ahead of the competition.

Jony Ive will host free design talk in Washington, D.C.

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Ive
Jony Ive will be talking about the future of design.
Photo: Apple

As one of Apple’s more elusive executives (when was the last time he spoke live at a keynote event?), it’s not every day that you get to hear chief design officer Jony Ive talk about what he does best.

If you live in Washington, D.C., however, you’ll get the chance later this month. Ive is speaking about the “future of design” at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum.

Best of all? The tickets are free.

Today in Apple history: Apple signs damaging deal with Microsoft

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Windows used a number of elements of the Mac UI
One of the most damaging deals in Apple history.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

November 21: Today in Apple history: Apple signs Microsoft deal November 21, 1985: Following Steve Jobs’ departure, Apple comes close to signing its own death warrant by licensing the Macintosh’s look and feel to Microsoft.

The deal, between Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Apple CEO John Sculley, comes hot on the heels of the Windows operating system’s release. The pact gives Microsoft a “non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, perpetual, nontransferable license to use [parts of the Mac technology] in present and future software programs, and to license them to and through third parties for use in their software programs.”

Oh, boy!