A New Year’s Wish List for Apple

| John Martellaro's Blog

Technical predictions for the new year are passé. Suggesting what Apple ought to do is obnoxious. But I don't mind telling everyone what I hope Apple will do in 2014. Here's my own personal wish list in no particular order.

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1. Mac Pro. I hope the Mac Pro really takes off, so much so that Apple can lower the price of the base model at some point in 2014. A matching 4K display would be nice to have too. This is a grand experiment and risk for Apple. I want it to pay off big time because I want one badly. Many others do as well.

2. Apple UHD TV. My Plasma display is old. The TV I'm dreaming of is a full 4K UHD, 55-inches, LED backlit with 802.11ac and the guts of the current Apple TV, but with an A7 SoC, taken to the next generation of user interface. No more on- screen keyboards driven by an awkward remote. Instead, perhaps, a cursor slaved to my hand. Here's a great, must-read summary of the state-of-understanding of the Apple next generation TV project.

Summer 2014 is a great time for Apple to do this and then start leveraging and improving. If I had to wait any longer, it would be demoralizing and even unseemly.

3. iWatch. I want an iWatch that looks smart and does something smart. I know Apple will figure that all out. As for me, I want a stand-alone product isn't required to be slaved to an iPhone, but adds usefulness if I decide to do so. And, of course, it must have a sapphire crystal. I want this because my Swiss Army watch is getting old. In addition, I want Apple to get on with things. The sooner the better for us and for the critics.

iWatch concet by Martin Hajek

4. iWork '14. I wish that Apple would complete the current upgrade plans soon and then aggressively continue development of this excellent cross-platform productivity suite. Even though I think iWork will win in the long run, the time is right in 2014 to make this suite the go-to productivity suite for iPad and Mac while Microsoft fumbles away its future. I hope the Apple product manager(s) can get the resources they need to take this suite to the next level of excellence. I'm wishing for no more headaches.

5. Larger iPad. A 12.9-inch iPad Pro for business, scientific and government use would be terrific, stymie the barbarians at the gate, and flesh out Apple's product line. It would also look great in the science fiction movies next year. As for me, I love my iPad Air, and it's all I need.

Left: 13-inch iPad concept via Macrumors. WIth permission.

6. Personal iCloud. Apple has a problem in my view. With the movement away from tower Macs as family servers and the movement towards family storage in the form of affordable RAID 5 systems, Time Machine is no longer the comprehensive single Mac family solution. I've seen a discussion of a rumored OS X-based family server, called "iCloud Home" connected to, presumably, massive RAID 5 storage that acts as a household personal iCloud. This is the next frontier for Apple beyond the aging technology of Time Machine, and there are few companies that could handle it with Apple's panache.

7. iBeacon Retail Sales. One of the persistent issues with secure commerce is the surfacing to the merchant of a personal credit card number -- and their storage of it in their own system. With the development of various technologies like Apple's trusted network security for 500 million customers, TouchID, iCloud Keychain and iBeacons with Bluetooth LE and Apple is probably the leader now in secure retail sales.

With a touch of your iPhone's home button, TouchID authenticates and the AppleID is used to make a purchase, billed to your credit card on file with Apple -- which is never seen or stored by anyone. All this is in testing right now in Apple's own retail stores, and I want to see it go mainstream in 2014. I would, however, like to see two Apple keychains. One for iCloud Home (see #6) and one for credit card purchases only.

8. Great Mail App. It's a long and sad story. No company can make real money with an email app so long as there are free "good enough" email apps for the Mac. Our only realistic options, if one can call it that, are Thunderbird and Outlook for the Mac.  Ycch.

I'd like to see Apple take the bull by the horns and create a ground-up rewrite of the Mail app for OS X such that it is the finest email app ever written. For years now, a meme has emerged that defines what a next generation email app should be like, but only Apple has the vision, expertise and resources to build an agenda-free email app for OS X to die for. Apple? Please?

9. iPhone Sapphire Display. I'd like to see my iPhone 6 have a full sapphire display. It would be simply awesome. Sapphire, along with ruby, is hardness 9 on the Mohs hardness scale and can only be scratched by a diamond. Just think! No more plastic display protectors with those darn bubbles.

10. Investor Savvy. My final wish for 2014 is that investors come to realize the long term potential of Apple in light of its manufacturing strength, available cash, innovation and ability to disrupt entire markets. See #7 above. Is it too much to ask that investors ignore irrelevant and spurious supply chain reports that cause a selling panic? Is it too much to ask that they do some serious reading and understand Apple's potential? One can only wish.

These are my personal wishes for Apple in 2014. What are yours?

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Shooting star via Shutterstock.

Comments

JustCause

I wish for the return of true Pro hardware, not iPhonified hardware that can’t be upgraded or expanded (except by cables). A 17 in MacBook upgradable to 32GB of RAM with drive replacement, 2-3 variations of 4k displays and a Mac Pro with upgradable GPU, RAM and drives.

mrmwebmax

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A truly stylish iWatch is #1 on my list, and that means all-metal construction, including the band. I want something that’s useful, yet something that’s also a stylish piece of jewelry. Surely a company that makes computers look like works of art can make a watch that’s fashionable and useful. NO nylon/plastic bands, thank you. Real metal. And a sapphire crystal, of course. And a digital display of time, please?

John, as for making an iPhone screen out of sapphire, while the hardness is great for scratch-resistence, what about brittleness vs. Gorilla Glass? Would sapphire be more likely to shatter? Also, can Apple’s sapphire-growing company grow sapphire boules in sufficient diameter as to have enough material for an iPhone screen? That would be a heck of a large-diameter boule.

John Martellaro

mrmwebmax:

Also, can Apple’s sapphire-growing company grow sapphire boules in sufficient diameter as to have enough material for an iPhone screen?

I don’t know.  I’m just wishing for it.

barryotoole

Well, Sapphire as an iPhone screen will surely be better, but I’ve seen no problems with screens without protection in iPhone 4, 4S, 5 OR 5s. Out of habit with my previous handsets, I did apply one to my first iPhone, the 3GS, but with bubbles and all, it wasn’t fun.

CudaBoy

I want Apple to think different. Something they haven’t done in an epoch, or is it era?  A Watch? No way. It’s been done.  I’d be happy if Apple had a TV that could be controlled by a smart phone or say… motion gestures, oops Samsung already has it. Well, maybe a small tablet with GPS and HD resolution, oops -Nexus 7 has it. Apple sure has a great thing going if they never changed - as witnessed by the last few years but for the old guys like me - not the drone bandwagon-ers , it sure would be nice to see some innovation once again.
  I want Apple to abandon the “cloud” paradigm. Sorry, I hear y’all saying fluffblahpoopblahpoopblah… but you know what? Suck it. The “Cloud” is almost as stupid as you donating your DNA to a thinktank at birth, or having a Face/Linked/My page for that matter. Orwell must be laughing in his cloud. 
Am I asking too much? Of course I am. It’s like asking for Paul and Ringo to get back together and make believe they are the Beatles.  The Dream Is Over.

webjprgm

I don’t get why everyone hates Mail.app.  I would say that maybe it’s just that I’ve never used a “real” or better mail app, but all the comments/articles I read about this say there is no such alternative.

I like Mail.app’s organization. I’m used to folders. It has good search features.  It has threaded conversations. (Outlook was harder for me to get working those same features working.)

I’ve seen some concept ideas on the internet, but none of them appeal to the way I use email.  I do not like Gmail much either.

webjprgm

#3 - I still don’t know whether I’d want an Apple watch. It has to be quite a bit better than my $40 digital watch + phone in pocket.

@mrmwebmax: I personally prefer metal band with black rubber links. This comes back to style preferences, which is going to matter a lot for the whole iWatch design.

#2 - No way that I’m going to buy an expensive new TV from Apple. But if they can make the AppleTV actually work well I’d want it. 3rd party apps, peripherals to make it a real game system, and, yes, some better keyboard entry. I like the Wii’s method well enough, because pointing at letters to type them is much faster than cursor keys.  I currently tend to use the iPad and Airplay, so my AppleTV is mostly a dumb receiver box.

BTW, an argument for 3rd-party apps: YouTube app on iPad is much easier to search than YouTube on AppleTV, and when that isn’t getting what I want then search in Safari and tap a video which will open in the YouTube app.

JustCause

@CudaBoy I don’t totally agree, I think they should keep the Cloud, but make it optional. For example I shouldn’t need iCloud to sync Reminders or Notes, we should be able to do peer to peer activities without the Cloud (that’s the whole point of Bonjour). I want my privacy.

(Side complaint: For example why does the Music app in iOS 7 keep bugging me for my Apple ID when I’m playing my own music …..)

JustCause

Implement GateKeeper for iOS, maybe limited to signed apps only, but it would give Apple a way to allow people choices without dealing head-on with censorship, porn, etc…

wab95

John:

I just came across this little gem of yours while having my morning coffee.

First off, this is a very thoughtful list. Just a couple of thoughts.

#5: I am intrigued at the thought of the iPad Pro, as you and others have taken to calling it. I had determined to purchase an iPad Air, and still might, although I’ve already made several large purchases this month, and just yesterday purchased a Breitling for my wife, thereby insuring that my iPad purchase will be deferred. My consolation is that, come next Spring, there might be an iPad Pro complete with 64-bit processing and other features too numerous to contemplate here, that will more than compensate for the iPad Air that I did not purchase. Apps depending, I can see that becoming my go-to device particularly for deep field work, and leaving my trusted MBP safely ensconced at my desk. I hope this comes true.

#6: I particularly like this concept. However, with Transporter and their like having taken the initiative, Apple will have to come up with something compelling to gain traction, such as ecosystem integration with industrial strength security.

#7: Retail I suspect is going to be huge, whether or not it becomes fully realised in 2014. It’s just a matter of time before all of the pieces align on this chess board.

#8: I’m with webjprgm; I don’t quite relate to the fuss about Mail. Sure, it has its limitations, but I cannot tell you how many times Outlook has failed me on the Mac. Even now, it no longer opens in my main account due to some ‘server conflict’ as some bright lad in Mumbai, with whom I spoke when I called MS for technical assistance, put it. They offered to resolve said conflict for a $100+ fee, which I shockingly declined. I was only using it on the advice of our university’s IT department, as a way of getting our Exchange server to operate better on my MBP. I’m getting by just fine with Mail now, thank you very much.

#10: Is this an attempt at humour? If not, permit me to point out that wisdom, intelligence, perspicacity and insightfulness are non-communicable conditions, and even if acquired, do not appear to be chronic, but acute and short-lived. Individuals are intelligent, thoughtful, and sagacious, but groups are anything but, falling prey to the intellectual paralysis that is conventional wisdom - a polite term for collective cluelessness when it comes to anything Apple. Sadly, there’s no vaccine against the condition, no antidote nor palliative for these poor buggers thus afflicted. As with a madman ranting naked in the streets, all one can do is move along and avoid eye contact with these poor wretches.

As for me, I have no true wish list, at least this year. I will happily wait and be surprised, hopefully pleasantly, as a new crop of products and services roll out.

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