Ben Szymanski

Software Engineer • Vlogging about efoils, tech and music • 🇺🇸 & 🐊

With the fall of the Mac and my slow migration away from the platform, I've been starting to consider Apple more of a sealed gadget company than a computer company. In the future, I won't be buying Macs. Apple products I will still be buying will be things like iPhones, HomePods and AppleTVs.

If they’re going to neglect the Mac, they should be working on gear to blend their tech in as invisibly as possible to our physical environments... including Apple TV and HomePod. I’d like to see them double down on both, actually.

The things I'm most interested in from Apple is AppleTV and HomePod, the two which that just sort of blend into my environment. Especially the AppleTV, which is hooked up to a projector.

... This feels like the future.

If I didn't absolutely hate iOS programming so much, I'd be making tons of lightweight productivity apps to put on there.

I made a prototype mail client for AppleTV, but never could get a few of the issues sorted out.

The last bit is a true story.

I made a hastily written prototype of what I guess would have been the first email client for the AppleTV. I started by creating a working mail client using AppKit (my preferred framework, of all the Apple frameworks). It fetched mail from my iCloud account and displayed them in a neat stack of cards, with each card set in perspective as they progressed backward.

The interface would be simple. The primary use-case for this mail client wouldn't be to really read and respond to communicaes. Instead it'd let you preview the messages and swipe left or right (Tinder style) on if you wanted to keep the email or send it directly to trash.

Anyway I built this out and had it working again real email in my iCloud account, all in a single Mac app window! I then needed to port it to iOS/tvOS and looked at the default project layout, got annoyed with the storyboards and dropped the whole project.

The Mac app no longer compiles for some reason and I really don't care to fix it to get it to compile again. I mean I guess I could try, but I figure that as soon as I get it compiling again I'll have to deal with runtime errors which will drag me even further down rabbit hole. It's kind of awakening, to find out how basically all of my native projects and experiments no longer compile. This mail app is about a year old.

I do have this one single mock-up I made, though.

tv os mail app mockup

The blue-to-white gradient in the background should look familiar. ;)

It's apparently possible to create ReactNative-based applications for tvOS, which is the only way I'd ever resurrect this idea.

I can imagine a future where the common-folk aren't using desktop computers anymore. They'll be using tech that blends into their work/home environments. Stuff like smart speakers, giant-screen interfaces, projectors, wearables (though I loathe this last category). Gear like iPads and iPhones will probably be the closest thing to desktop computing that most of the populace will have.

This is also why we must make Computing Fun and why we have to lay the groundwork for desktop computing to continue to exist for those of us who care and appreciate it.

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