First Impressions of iOS 12 and watchOS 5

I’m going to be very concise and straight to the point, partly because I’m trying to get some stuff done tonight, and partly because I’m somewhat annoyed.

First, the good things:

  • My iPhone 6 is somewhat usable again, although I would not use the word “fast”.
  • Trackpad mode (holding down the space bar) finally works on a phone.

Now, for the bad things:

  • The keyboard switcher (world icon) and the number toggle key (123) are swapped on the iPad, but remain in the same positions on the iPhone. Whomever decided to change this is an unqualified moron, since the inconsistency is maddening and I am constantly hitting the wrong key.
  • The Shortcuts app broke pretty much every single workflow I had (which I was expecting), and can’t even access third-party storage providers outside iCloud Drive.

However, the changes that really got to me were on watchOS:

  • The Workflow app and complication vanished from my watch (which I was not expecting) and has no replacement in Siri shortcuts. This means that the workflows I used during my morning commute (which sent SMS to ask for public transport schedules from my various stops and similar things) are now useless to me.
  • Furthermore, Shortcuts have no UI on the watch whatsoever, so even triggering them by voice does not let me use the menus I had built for quick inputs.
  • The Siri watch face, incidentally, is still completely useless and seems to have no content customization options whatsoever.

Although change is usually towards progress, I was expecting most of Workflow to survive the transition. It didn’t, and I probably should have taken notice of this sooner (but this year I decided to skip all the betas). The upshot of this is that Shortcuts is pretty much useless to me in its current form, and realistically is likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future.

I fear that Apple has zero intention to bring these use cases back, since multiple choice menus and number input in Workflow inside the watch are likely to be too “advanced” for them to care (the “unfinished” excuse doesn’t apply here, since the whole thing was working before).

However, I’m pretty annoyed that something I have relied on every day for nearly a year has stopped working. Or, rather, I’m furious.

I know for certain this is still possible in Android Wear (I built an app with similar functionality when I was playing around with my Sony watch), and it is enough to offset any other improvements from the updates.

That said, I will update this post with more pluses/minuses if I find the time…