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.
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?
Shooting star via Shutterstock.