It’s the Little Things

2 minute read

One of the reasons I use Apple products is that they get the little things right. Even the seemingly little things that take a lot of work behind the scenes. Apple is especially good at anticipating helpful conveniences and, when I need them, they’re there. Take the tapbacks in Messages - these are the little bubbles that can be added in messages to like, question, lol at, etc. a previous message in the thread. Great stuff, cleans up the timeline in busy group messages. Well done Apple. But wait, who liked my message? Who gave it a thumbs down? Not only do I get a realtime message when someone interacts with a previous message (it’s a notification and not part of the timeline), but when scrolling back through a timeline I can long press on the tapback bubble and see all the tapbacks for that text at the top of my screen, and at the top of the screen I can tap on the particular icon, HaHa, for example, and see the contact image for everyone who laughed at that text. All the bases were covered.

When Apple fails to take care of the little things, I get a little disappointed. Opportunity lost. I get it. There is a finite amount of time and every feature cannot make it into the final product. Even if it’s just a few lines of code to implement a feature it takes time and resources (way more than a developer typing a few lines into Xcode).

Nicknames. There, I said it. Apple could make iOS way better in a lot of areas by implementing nicknames. Two quick wins off the top of my head: WiFi networks and Bluetooth devices. Manufacturers usually do a good job of naming things, but not always, and even when they do, sometimes there’s still a good reason for nicknames, if I want to differentiate between two identical devices, for instance. But when the manufacturer swings and misses and names their device something generic, nicknames would be especially useful.

The image below shows my current Bluetooth devices. Some names are better than other. MY-CAR works for me, but my wife has the same MY-CAR in her Bluetooth devices and it’s not hers.

Bluetooth devices screenshot

When I tap the i next to the first item above (Bluetooth - HORRIBLE name) I get the following screen. What if there was a nickname text box that allowed me to give this device a meaningful name (Porch Speakers in this case) and when saved, the above list would then display the nickname I just gave it instead of the stupid name the manufacturer used.

Bluetooth device detail image

WiFi too. And especially here. How many 2Wrire, Linksys, or Netgear WiFi networks do you see? Maybe the device owner has no idea how to change the SSID, or maybe they don’t want to call attention to their network. Maybe you know the SSID and password for your neighbors WiFi - maybe they’re on AT&T and you’re on Comcast and you’ve shared credentials for when one network is down. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the network show up as “William’s WiFi” instead of 2WIRE7843?

It’s the little things. This feature, if implemented, would go unnoticed by an overwhelming majority of iOS users, but those that notice would have yet another datapoint on how Apple gets the little things right.