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Apple in 2024: what Stuff needs to see

As the festive season fades – and the cranberry sauce stain on the carpet stubbornly refuses to do so – the Stuff editor declares: “It’s the first day of 2024! Don your conjecture cap! Eat a speculation sausage. Or whatever you need to crank out an article about what Stuff wants to see from Apple this year!”

Slowly, we emerge from a pile of wrapping paper, keyboard at the ready. And, as ever, rumours can get in the bin. This one’s all about what Stuff would like Apple to do in 2024. So if someone can sneak our entire wish-list into Tim Cook’s to-do list, that’d be fab.

Daisy was fooled by Vision Pro into thinking this staircase was in fact lush office space.

Get Vision Pro right

Contrary to popular thinking from certain parties, Apple has never upended an entire industry every other week. But its infrequent major disruptions make spectacular waves. The Apple II. The Mac. iPod. iPhone. iPad. Apple Watch. Vision Pro is the latest – and a curiosity in being pitched to eventually replace much other Apple hardware. So Apple must get it right. We’ll be eagerly watching. But not through a first-gen Vision Pro, because they’re really spendy.

Make sense of iPad

In 2023, Apple rationalised its MacBook Pro line. This year, iPad needs the same treatment, because Apple’s tablet line-up is currently a confusing mess. The 10th-gen iPad is the only one that sensibly locates the selfie camera. (Use an iPad Pro for a call and everyone thinks you’re looking off to the side!) There are effectively two entry-level iPads. And now, there’s even a third Apple Pencil, with rumours of another and a larger-screen iPad Air on the way. Enough. Strip it all back. Make each iPad properly distinct and simplify buying decisions once again.

Give Apple TV some love

Apple once referred to Apple TV as a ‘hobby’. These days, it feels like a hobby Apple’s grown tired of. We’d like Apple in 2024 to unleash the full potential of Apple TV, whether that’s making it matter in gaming or reducing the price to the point everyone has to buy one. And also, removing skeevy ads from the TV app. (An MLS sidebar link you can’t get rid of? Seriously?)

Give more iPhones some Action

It’s fair to say Apple isn’t big on letting folks customise their devices. Which is why it was a shock when the iPhone Action button turned out to exist in the real world, rather than purely in the heads of rumourmongers fishing for clicks. And it’s great. But you only get one on the iPhone Pro and Apple Watch Ultra. Next year, we’d like to see the Action button on far more devices.

One down, one to go. Your days are numbered, Lightning.

Chuck Lightning in the bin

We were so close. The new 2023 iPhones all arrived with USB-C. The AirPods Pro charging case went USB-C. Apple banged on about how it was simplifying charging. And there was much rejoicing. Until Apple ruined everything by upgrading the iMac with an M3 chip but leaving its wireless desktop accessories with Lightning connectors. Perhaps a redesign is coming. Let’s hope so – the hilariously inaccurately named ‘Magic’ Mouse certainly needs one.

Give iPhone Pro a desktop mode

Yes, we know. Pigs might fly. Etc. But here’s the thing: the iPhone 15 Pro is a powerhouse. It has USB3 transfer speeds. The A17 Pro chip kicks serious bottom. And there are loads of fantastic pro-grade apps available on the App Store. So… let us use an iPhone Pro as a proper computer. It has 4K video output already, so it’s only Apple holding the concept of one device to rule them all back.

Open up sideloading

We’d have more sympathy for Apple’s stance on sideloading (ie that it’s evil incarnate) if the company’s App Store rules weren’t so asinine as to effectively ban streaming gaming and emulation. It’s likely Apple will eventually let people install what they like on their iPhones and iPads, but only when forced to and in specific jurisdictions. Better for the company to get ahead of the game and make out sideloading was its idea all along.

Add multi-user profiles to iPad

Look, we get it. Apple reckons you should perform specific tasks on specific devices, and each family member should have their own set of devices. For phones: OK. For iPads? Nah. Apple should long ago have added profiles to iPadOS, like accounts on Mac. At least give parents a ‘kids’ profile in 2024! (Apple accountants: NO! BUY YOUR KID AN IPAD! IN FACT, BUY THEM EVERY IPAD! MONEY MONEY MONEY NOM!)

What we’d like to do with Apple’s rings system.

Rethink streaks

Apple’s approach to exercise streaks is robotic. It considers you a cog in a machine, doing the same activities daily, without exception. That’s not good for motivation and can even be dangerous if you’re prompted to exercise the day after a marathon. Apple should rethink in 2024. We’d like more flexibility in the system, giving people the option to skip a day when sick, or keep streaks going by exercising a user-defined number of days per week.

Get apps everywhere, faster

In March 2023, Apple Classical arrived. Only for iPhone. The iPad version? November. The Mac version? Crickets. Elsewhere, the Health app now finally exists for iPad but remains conspicuously absent from Mac. And the lack of Calculator on iPad showcases an enduring stubbornness only Apple can muster. We get that priorities can shift, but nonetheless hope 2024 sees Apple apps make it to all platforms they’re suited for on day one, rather than on day 234 – or worse.

Provide back-ups by default

During 2023, Apple reported it had expanded the power of iCloud. What it meant was there were now two even more expensive tiers: 6TB and 12TB. The free one remains a miserly 5GB, which even back in 2011 wasn’t amazing. Today, it’s embarrassing. Apple’s mantra is “it just works”, but iCloud mostly works to boost Apple’s bottom line. If it worked for everyone, all mobile devices would be backed up, for free, protecting your digital life from disaster. So, how about that in 2024?

Make AI work – for us

Whether we like it or not, AI’s coming for us all. And although Apple refuses to use the term, AI is already baked into its devices, with its operating systems improving your experience through machine learning. In 2024, Apple should continue to differentiate itself by making sure AI works for us, rather than steals work from us. Apple platforms have always been about helping people be more creative. But that doesn’t mean doing everything from scratch for them.

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