Developer David Smith on sherlocking and his watchOS 7 wishlist

Developer David Smith, in his watchOS 7 wishlist post, writes, “Many of the features I’m going to discuss below exist in some way or form within 3rd party apps (many of which I myself have written!), and so by suggesting that Apple promote them into the OS itself I’m also suggesting that they ‘Sherlock’ some developers.”

Developer David Smith's watchOS 7 Wishlist. Image: Apple Watch
Apple Watch Series 5

David Smith:

The concept of sherlocking is something that I’ve given a tremendous amount of thought to. I’ve had many of my own apps sherlocked in some way or another over the years. The emotional journey that ensues follows a predictable pattern. At first it always feels a bit rough, like something was stolen from me. Then it feels really cool to have built something that Apple chose to emulate. Then it usually ends up being a good thing for my app.

This experience is not universal, certainly some features or ideas when pulled into the OS completely obviate the need for a 3rd party solution. However, that shouldn’t in any way restrain Apple from doing it. In doing so they would be explicitly choosing to make their platform worse, which is never going to be a viable design guide.

I believe Apple’s goal should be to provide the best, most capable experience that suits the needs of the majority of their users. They should pull up the features that resonate with their customers in 3rd party apps. They then provide the 80% solution, that works for most people but is less flexible or tailored. Then the 3rd party ecosystem continues to cater to the 20% of users who have specialized needs, continuing to push the limits of the feature, discovering the new frontiers and ideas along the way. Then the cycle repeats and the platform gets better.

I want to make apps for the best platform in the world. Period. If that is my desire, then I’ve long since learned that sherlocking isn’t a bad thing, instead it is an essential thing.

MacDailyNews Note: Among other things in his full watchOS 7 article, Smith covers Recovery/Sleep Tracking, Custom Rings/Goals, Rest Days, Automatic Workout Detection, True Independence, Multiple Complications, Complication Refresh System, SwiftUI for Apple Watch development, Always-on During Workouts, More than Just Breathe for Mental Health, Nutrition, Smart Alarm, Dynamic Status bar, More Customizable Watch Faces, and more.
Interns… Interns? Oh, yeah. (sigh)
Well, we’ll just have to TTK ourselves! Here’s to everyone’s health!


  1. Oh great Apple of infinite loop wisdom; please steal my ideas for the good of your stockholders. It is the right way!

    Remember that when M$ did this in the 90’s the DOJ, Sun, Stack Tech., and many programmers said M$ was too big and must be broken up. At least Apple did Siri correctly, and bought that company before integrating into iOS.

    1. It wasn’t the same thing. Microsoft was, and is a monopoly. Monopolies aren’t allowed to do what companies that aren’t monopolies are allowed to do. But additionally, what Microsoft was doing was threatening companies such as Hp and Dell, that if they supplied Netscape to their users, Microsoft would withhold information about new versions of Windows from them until after release, giving other companies an advantage. That’s explicitly illegal. There were other issues at stake as well.

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