Santa was pretty good to me at Christmas, but what does he have in store for 2012? Here’s my roundup of what I want from the folks in Cupertino and elsewhere. (I hate listicles, but ’tis the season for that sort of thing.)
1) An iPad with the “Retina” display. This you can bank on. Other features that I expect to see upgraded in the third Apple tablet include the cameras and the storage capacity; although I would like to see a slightly smaller version, about the size of the Kindle Fire, I think it’s going to take another product cycle for the company to be comfortable with disregarding its expressed views on the subject.
2) The “real” iPhone 5. Not because of anything in the feature set; it’s more of a materials science issue. Curved glass isn’t cheap, and curved “Gorilla” glass is enough of a challenge that Apple decided to ship the iPhone 4S last year even if it meant that some customers wouldn’t have to run out and buy all new accessories. Remember, kids, the real money is in selling us 10 cents of silicone for $29.99.
3) The Steve Jobs action figure, with or without the kung-fu grip. Apple’s claim to own the likeness of the late Dear Leader isn’t that far-fetched; the question is “Is it enforceable?” Although California law will back up such an approach, other jurisdictions may disagree.
4) A refreshed Mac Pro. If Apple’s still interested in paying lip service to its high-end users, this is the year for the company to prove it. Killing the Mac Pro would not only put paid to the company’s dwindling support among professional artists, it would define Mac OS X’s Server package as being strictly for hobbyist and SOHO use only.
5) iCloud for Snow Leopard. I can use iCloud from a 10-year-old installation of Windows XP, but not from Snow Leopard? Really? Prove to me that this was an engineering decision, because it reeks of good old-fashioned greed.
6) More capabilities for Siri. Expanding what is now a novelty to support dictation, voice control of system settings, and eventually, third-party applications makes too much sense to not be on the roadmap. Apple’s conservative approach to Siri support makes sense for a beta-level technology, but by the middle of next year, the “beta” label will be difficult to justify.
7) More platforms for Siri. There’s no technical reason to keep it from older devices such as the iPhone 4 and the first two iPad models; this, like iCloud for Snow Leopard, is simply about separating customers from their money.
8) A 15-inch MacBook Air. This is very likely; the question is will Apple make the Air configuration its only 15-inch model, or will it transition customers over the next couple of years’ models? I want the extra connectivity of the MacBook Pro, but in a lighter package; a larger MacBook Air might convince me to part with some hard-earned money.
9) A Safari that doesn’t hog memory. Someone will have to explain to me why Safari on Mac OS X does such a poor job of memory management; if I have 100 browser windows open (with relatively similar content in each) and Safari is using 6GB of memory (real and virtual, including the core and Web Content processes), then one would imagine that closing 92 of those windows causes the application to release those resources, but that’s not what happens. Like my ex, Safari just takes and takes until you cut it off entirely.
10) More ways to access applications on Mac OS X. Actually, that’s something we don’t need: there are already three ways to get to an application – Finder, Dock and now, Launchpad – and until we get a thought-activated interface, I think that’s confusing enough for now.