Everything Apple Sherlocked in macOS Ventura, iOS 16, and iPadOS 16

Posted:
in General Discussion edited June 20
WWDC is both exciting and nerve-wracking for developers as Apple adds new products that are great -- but directly compete with them. Here are the announcements this year that will affect third parties.

Isolating a subject from its background
Isolating a subject from its background


A term known to many in the Apple community is "Sherlocking." Sherlock, named after the fictional detective, was a search tool introduced in Mac OS 8. It extended file search in Finder and was replaced by Spotlight in Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger.

After Sherlock's launch, a company called Karelia Software built a tool dubbed Watson. It complemented Apple's search tool and supported more internet functionality. But when Apple released Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar in 2002, version three of Sherlock contained almost everything that Watson offered.

Watson cost $30 but Sherlock was free as it was built into the system, and Karelia went out of business. The developer, Dan Wood, wrote a blog post saying Apple CEO Steve Jobs told him that this is bound to happen.

"You know those handcars, the little machines that people stand on and pump to move along on the train tracks? That's Karelia," Wood said at the time. "Apple is the steam train that owns the tracks."

After that, the term caught on and "Sherlocking" refers to products that Apple replaces with its versions. Many times, it has happened with third-party products such as Konfabulator, f.lux, Growl, and others.

Here are features that Apple has advanced, that developers have already provided.

Passwords

Apple announced passkeys, an initiative it has been working on with Google, Microsoft, and the FIDO Alliance.

These companies want to end passwords by creating a more secure version that people don't have to remember. Many users don't have to remember passwords thanks to password managers.

Passkeys in macOS Ventura
Passkeys in macOS Ventura


But passkeys are designed to be easier and faster to use, and password managers such as 1Password and Bitwarden will have to rethink their strategies.

Announced on June 3, 1Password is teaming up with FIDO to navigate the password-less future. In future versions of its password manager, starting with 1Password 8, users can sign into the app without a password by using WebAuthn.

WebAuthn is a protocol developed by the FIDO Alliance and World Wide Web Consortium. It enables password-less logins using public-key cryptography. In 1Password 8, users can integrate their private keys with the app, making it a virtual security key.

Apple's passkeys will support physical security keys based on WebAuthn. Although passkeys will be stored in iCloud Keychain, they can be used with platforms such as Android and Windows with QR codes.

Webcams

Apple will compete with webcams and webcam apps with Continuity Camera. It lets an iPhone be used as a webcam for a Mac with macos Ventura and iOS 16. No apps or wires will be needed other than a mount to hold the iPhone in place.

Makers of physical webcams won't go out of business but apps such as Camo, IVCam, and EpocCAM may be hit harder. These apps also let an iPhone user turn the device into a Mac webcam.

A consolation is that iOS 16 drops support for older iPhone hardware such as the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Customers will have to use these apps if they want a webcam without having to buy an expensive product.

macOS Ventura's Continuity Camera
macOS Ventura's Continuity Camera


Continuity Camera will be available on iPhone 11 or later running iOS 16. It will use the iPhone's Wide Angle lens to provide multiple views and use software features such as Stage Light to enhance the user's appearance onscreen.

Photo Editing

Apple is making it easy to automatically isolate a subject from its background inside a photo. This works within the Photos and Files apps by long-pressing the subject and tapping Copy or Share in the menu that appears. A Shortcut can be downloaded here on iOS 16, iPadOS 16, or macOS Ventura to automate the process.

Pixelmator Pro added a Magic Background Eraser in November 2021. Current testing reveals that Apple's offering has an edge as Pixelmator Pro sometimes has difficulty with similarly-colored subjects and backgrounds.

Erasing the background is a feature added to popular photo editing apps, but a cursory search of the App Store reveals plenty of single-purpose erasers.

Some of these focused apps might go away completely unless they can do a better job than Apple. Isolating a photo subject isn't easy, especially in front of cluttered backgrounds. But Photos does a surprisingly good job for a brand new feature in a beta operating system.

Package Tracking

Apple is bringing package tracking to the Wallet app in iOS 16. It displays detailed receipt and tracking information directly to orders.

Like the rest of Apple Pay, these are delivered securely and privately on the device. It works with e-commerce platforms such as Shopify and other merchants with any purchase made using Apple Pay.

Order tracking in Apple Wallet
Order tracking in Apple Wallet


Delivery apps are already at risk and Apple's move tightens the grip. On April 5 Mike Piontek wrote about the future of Deliveries, a package tracker.

The blog says that the company, JuneCloud, can no longer maintain the same level of service. Companies such as Amazon are limiting data access, and many more services won't be directly shown in Deliveries.

Instead, users will have to tap the "View Online" button inside the app to see tracking data on the shipping company's website.

Email

The updates to Mail aren't as huge as Apple makes them out to be. Still, they bring the app to parity with other email apps. Features such as scheduling emails, canceling email delivery, and reminders to open an email later are three new reasons to keep Mail as default.

macOS Ventura options in Mail
macOS Ventura options in Mail


Mail can also intelligently detect if items from an email are missing, such as an attachment or a cc'd recipient. If a person forgot to respond, the system will send an automatic suggestion at a later time.

Search

Spotlight has more capabilities to stay ahead of or in line wwith competitors such as Alred and LaunchBar.

Users can now find images from their photo library, across the system, and on the web. Photo search works by location, scenes, objects, and people, Live Text lets the Mac owner search for text inside images.

A productive update lets people take action in Spotlight. Creating a new document, running a shortcut, or starting a timer will appear in the tool.

Finally, Spotlight includes rich results for movies, actors, artists, TV shows, businesses, and sports. Some competitors remain ahead of Spotlight but Apple took it a few steps closer.

Window Management

Stage Manager is a new way to manage and organize apps and windows in macOS Ventura and iPadOS 16. The current window is displayed in the center, and other workspaces appear on the left.

macOS Ventura Stage Manager
macOS Ventura Stage Manager


Alternative window management apps such as Mosaic and Moom may still have advantages. Apple's macOS can display windows side-by-side but competitors support other configurations.

Video Conferencing

An example of how Apple products work together is an update to FaceTime.

Items can be dragged and dropped across workspaces, and the system will remember each window's position concerning others. People can make use of Handoff to transfer live video calls between devices.

Although not full Sherlocking, this is a feature that other video conferencing apps don't have. It makes FaceTime that much more appealing to users.

What Apple should have killed

A refreshed 13-inch MacBook Pro was one of the new laptops Apple announced that contains an M2 chip. It also still contains the Touch Bar, a contentious feature with calls for its demise. Already the 14- and 16-inch models have discarded it.

Apple introduced the Touch Bar in 2016, a thin OLED strip that sits above the keyboard and replaces the function keys. It offers touch capabilities and displays function keys, app controls, media controls, and more.

But some users said it served no useful purpose, and many app makers didn't support it.

Apple will inevitably compete with developers and other third parties as the company strives perfect the all-in-one experience.

MacBook Pro Touch Bar
MacBook Pro Touch Bar



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 36
    Fred257Fred257 Posts: 210member
    The M2 MacBook Pro has no updated camera.  Why would they do this? I love the Camo App. Works perfectly on my 2013 MBP with Mojave and iPhone mini.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 36
    mr lizardmr lizard Posts: 353member
    Current testing reveals that Apple's offering has an edge as Pixelmator Pro sometimes has difficulty with similarly-colored subjects and backgrounds”

    Ha. I’ve seen several videos on YT of Apple’s subject isolation struggling with similarly-colored subjects and backgrounds. So no, Apple has not figured this out. Don’t believe their demo. 
    williamlondoncornchip
  • Reply 3 of 36
    hammeroftruthhammeroftruth Posts: 1,199member
    The touchbar is one of Apple’s products that they never really had much faith in. When you look at them in the Apple stores, most employees don’t know that much of what you could do with it. From that perspective, it’s clear that Apple didn’t want to spend a lot of time training their employees on how to really get good usage out of it. 


    williamlondonMrBunsideBeatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 36
    The touchbar is one of Apple’s products that they never really had much faith in. When you look at them in the Apple stores, most employees don’t know that much of what you could do with it. From that perspective, it’s clear that Apple didn’t want to spend a lot of time training their employees on how to really get good usage out of it. 


    I'll give the hardware devs a pass on this one - they weren't certain how it could be used but threw it into the real world to let others see if they could figure something out. They could not.

    Physical keys with embedded LCDs would be useful for apps like Logic and FCP, but again has no obvious advantage for most users
    cornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 36
    dcgoodcgoo Posts: 269member
    MrBunside said:
    The touchbar is one of Apple’s products that they never really had much faith in. When you look at them in the Apple stores, most employees don’t know that much of what you could do with it. From that perspective, it’s clear that Apple didn’t want to spend a lot of time training their employees on how to really get good usage out of it. 


    I'll give the hardware devs a pass on this one - they weren't certain how it could be used but threw it into the real world to let others see if they could figure something out. They could not.

    Physical keys with embedded LCDs would be useful for apps like Logic and FCP, but again has no obvious advantage for most users
    I still miss it though, on my 16
    freeassociate2watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 36
    This term really needs to be retired. Wood was an idiot for thinking that a feature built into the OS before his product launched wouldn’t be improved on in obvious ways. He set himself up for failure. Zero sympathy.
    Beatsforegoneconclusiontmaywatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 36
    This whole article is one big stretch for clickbait.
    Beatsforegoneconclusiontmayentropyswatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 36
    I’m just jumping in to show some love for the Touch Bar! I totally understand why it’s not for everyone, but I was really pleased to see it survive. I’m someone who hardly ever used function keys in the first place, so the Touch Bar is a nice little feature for me that I use occasionally, certainly more than I ever used that row of keys before. I wish developers would show it a bit more love, but now that it seems banished to the 13” MBP only, I fear it’s days are numbered. Personally I think it should be an option on all the MBPs, I’d happily pay a little extra for it, but it sounds like I might be the only one!
    edited June 10 Beatsbaconstangchasmjibwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 36
    pmcpmc Posts: 10member
    In the not so distant past, the article title would relate to the body of the article. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 36
    boboliciousbobolicious Posts: 1,028member
    I still use f.lux and ask how Apple could incorporate something so similar so obviously...?  
    Should those who 'trust' Apple with their data (iCloud?) carefully consider such...?

    www.cnet.com/tech/tech-industry/what-steve-jobs-really-meant-when-he-said-good-artists-copy-great-artists-steal/
    edited June 10
  • Reply 11 of 36
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    Is there not space to add a function key row while keeping the Touch Bar?

    Spotlight seems to compete against Google than apps. Which is kind of a catch 22 since Google pays Apple billions to behave.


    Edit:

    looks like there is enough space for a function key row in addition to a Touch Bar. I would hope this is the end goal for Apple. I would argue you can expand the Touch Bar since the escape key would be below. If possible, I would even make the Touch Bar thicker.


    edited June 10 rarejib
  • Reply 12 of 36
    danoxdanox Posts: 1,340member
    Something like Little Snitch would be nice…..
    marklarkbaconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 36
    lmasantilmasanti Posts: 162member
    If Apple develops its own internet search engine… Gourmand dixit… will we say… “Apple shellacked Google”?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 36
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    lmasanti said:
    If Apple develops its own internet search engine… Gourmand dixit… will we say… “Apple shellacked Google”?

    No because Google stole the idea from search engines before. Google didn’t invent shi*. What they were good at was stealing user info, that’s how they become #1 years later while offering nothing innovative. 
    baconstangOferlolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 36
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,948member
    No mention Of Apple Pay later I mean thing most likely to disrupt a company’s business model enough to cause them to close. 
    Beatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 36
    This term really needs to be retired. Wood was an idiot for thinking that a feature built into the OS before his product launched wouldn’t be improved on in obvious ways. He set himself up for failure. Zero sympathy.
    A little harsher than I would have been but more or less agree. If you a developer extends the functionality of OS then they can't be surprised when Apple does something similar. Watson wasn't an entirely original idea, it was inspired by Sherlock and took the next logical step. Shockingly, Apple also took the next logical step. The idea that Apple should stop extending functionality because someone built on what they did first is just ridiculous. 

    As for the Touch Bar, the author clearly isn't a fan but seemly can't abstract enough to understand that others may disagree with them. The reality is the Touch Bar has fans and while they may not the majority there are enough of them that is worth it for Apple to keep Touch Bar in one model of MBP. How does a person become a pundit and not understand different use cases?

    You know that feeling you get when somebody embarrasses themselves so badly YOU feel uncomfortable? Read Appleinsider commentary?


    jibwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 36
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    So reading the webcam section made me wonder…

    How would you guys feel about an Apple camera that is only the Pro Max square bump cut out and maybe shaped like a clip? You can attach it to your computers or monitors or anything you wanna film like on a tripod or bike?

    Would that sell?
    Ofer
  • Reply 18 of 36
    danoxdanox Posts: 1,340member
    mattinoz said:
    No mention Of Apple Pay later I mean thing most likely to disrupt a company’s business model enough to cause them to close. 
    Apple Pay came about like iMessage the Mac and iOS ecosystems weren’t getting any real support, Apple Watch the same, Apple is currently in the process of Sherlocking game development software for the same reason no support from AAA game developers.

    Apple over the years has had to roll up it’s sleeves many times because of lack the support on Mac or iOS.
    edited June 11
  • Reply 19 of 36
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    danox said:
    mattinoz said:
    No mention Of Apple Pay later I mean thing most likely to disrupt a company’s business model enough to cause them to close. 
    Apple Pay came about like iMessage the Mac and iOS ecosystems weren’t getting any real support, Apple Watch the same, Apple is currently in the process of Sherlocking game development software for the same reason no support from AAA game developers.

    Apple over the years has had to roll up it’s sleeves many times because of lack the support on Mac or iOS.

    Apple needs to destroy the Unreal Engine with their own that takes full advantage of Metal and Apple Silicon. We’d see some crazy fast games. With full support we’d see better games on older hardware also.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 36
    Most of this seems like the standard way that software development always works. A particular kind of app catches on with the public and you'll see other developers coming out with their own versions of it. Some will provide improvements or interesting alternate approaches, some will just be cynical rip-offs. 
    jibwatto_cobra
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