When we blink out of a pile of wrapping paper, the editor of Stuff barks: “It’s time to put on your guess pants! Blast Apple 2022 Rumors On The Internet! Say random things about how the iPhone 14 Pro Max will be made entirely of bees! “
In fact, he didn’t. Maybe because it’s still under a pile of wrapping paper. But mostly because that stuff is and we don’t do that. Instead, we’re munching on the last of the mince pie and pondering what Apple will hopefully send us this year.
(If someone can sneak this list into Tim Cook’s reminder app, we’d be grateful.)
Bring Mac desktops to the max
Last year we got a new MacBook Pro and then an even bigger new MacBook Pro. They were both really very professional. But desktop Pro Macs haven’t had the same love as the iMac Pro quietly gone and the Intel Mac Pro goes on trying to convince people to spend more than five grand to celebrate like it did in 2019. Successor systems have to rock this year with sporty, efficient, high-performance Apple silicone.
Crush all of the bugs
When software goes wrong there is a tendency to think “that’s me”. More and more people at Apple think: “Actually, no – it’s you.” In this respect, 2021 was not a high point for Apple. The internet was flooded with people who couldn’t use widgets on their mobile devices (they’re still broken on a Stuff iPad Pro); iCloud remains a mess in terms of syncing (as in the thing it was primarily designed for); and numerous other vulnerabilities suggest that Apple’s software QA is not nearly as strict as its hardware QA. That needs to change.
Think differently with design
Apple needs to keep the momentum in redesigning Macs in meaningful ways. We were skeptical of the 24-inch iMac until we got one on our desk. It blended into the home more than it felt like an intrusive piece of tech. Natch, pro Macs have to scream about their raw performance, but what about the MacBook Air and Mac Mini? Color and friendliness instead of a piece of gray for the former? Something – finally – right mini for the latter?
Start a Mac upgrade program
In 2015, Apple created a new way to access an iPhone. With the iPhone upgrade program, you take out a 0% APR for an iPhone and AppleCare, which gives you a new iPhone for a manageable monthly payment. You can keep the program running and update it annually, or you can borrow the current cycle and keep the latest device. In the US, Apple introduced something similar for business partners and notebooks. We want this to be extended to consumers and all Macs.
Bring the Touch ID back
Touch ID never went away entirely, but we mean bringing it back to the iPhone. COVID is going nowhere, and demanding masked people also have an Apple Watch or tap a passcode repeatedly to unlock an iPhone doesn’t feel very Apple. (OK, maybe “buy another expensive thing to make things work” is all Apple, to be fair.) The iPad Air and iPad mini intelligently integrate Touch ID into the power button. The iPhone 14 should follow suit.
It’s a big challenge, but at some point Apple has to put someone in a position of power who loves and gets games, just as its executive team loves music. At the moment, the Mac game ecosystem has been plagued by another change, the game selection in the Mac App Store is miserable, the findability of high-quality mobile games is poor, streaming on mobile devices remains demonized and Apple Arcade is increasingly disappointing and is relying on newly labeled premium games. Titles and Originals that are freemium games with the IAP torn out.
Don’t forget the iPod touch
There’s a good chance Apple forgot their iPhone without the phone bit. Go to the Apple Store page and try to find one without resorting to search. No? We couldn’t find out either. But iPod touch is fantastic and portable – ideal for kids who need a small, lightweight device to do most of the functions of an iPhone. Plug in a compass and a more modern chip than the A10 Fusion and we’re good to go.
Simplify product lines
With Apple overhauling a number of its products, it seems like there is room for streamlining the line-up in the coming year to make it less confusing. We already have the 24in iMac. There will be a bigger one, but do we need that and an iMac Pro? Maybe the bigger one can just be the iMac Pro? Likewise, it may be time to end the MacBook Air branding and bring the MacBook back for people who don’t want to turn pro.
Make a headset for the rest of us
Apple creates technology that people actually need, not what they think they need. The company has made significant changes to the PC space several times, reinventing smartphones and wearables. Next up is headsets, and Apple needs to leverage the company’s capabilities in AR and spatial audio in ways that go beyond niche products to create one product for everyone. (Although: Apple. So it will begin life as a headset for “everyone with deep pockets.” Still, it is a start.)
Select the notches
Apple isn’t the only company adding notches to smartphones, but the notch increasingly feels like a design element that is partially used to differentiate its products. If so, it’s awful. While this isn’t the world’s biggest distraction, the notch does affect immersive smartphone experiences, with apps and games not always taking it into account. Seeing it on a MacBook Pro wasn’t ideal. But we shudder when we think of how intrusive a notch would be on a redesigned MacBook Air with a white bezel or – horror! – an iPad.