What I want in my next Mac

Keith White
23 September, 2008
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With the iPhone and iPods getting so much attention, I’ve turned my thinking for a moment to the things I would like to see most in the next generation of Apple hardware and software.

Here’s my totally idiosyncratic dream team of wanted features. I’m not sure if they’re feasible or if Apple doesn’t have some already under consideration, or even development. But “such stuff as dreams are made of”.

  1. Inbuilt simulated surround sound through Bose speakers with a wireless subwoofer.
  2. An inbuilt digital TV tuner as standard. My PowerMac 5500 could play TV way back in 1997, so why not now?
  3. Easy creation of a personalised handwriting font, perhaps via Ink from samples of my handwriting. Or perhaps two fonts – one formal and one more casual? You could also do this years ago by filling in a sheet of handwritten samples and sending it off to a company who did the magic for you. [ed. -- at least one web based solution -- Fontifier -- now offers this, although Apple would probably do it better].
  4. Safari gets a digital research assistant — Google on steroids. I set research criteria and it finds, collates and summarises the information I need. I can also use it to locate training materials in different media on a selected topic. Somewhat like the Knowledge Navigator as fantasised by then Apple CEO John Sculley in 1987. He put a date of 2010 on his dream, so we’re not too far ahead.
  5. iPhoto with lens distortion correction and Photoshop-standard blemish removal to its tools so I can fix nearly all my photos from one adjustment pane.
  6. GarageBand getting muscled up, firstly to include real waveform editing such as you can do in nearly all audio programs from Audacity up. Then instead of the Jam Pack approach where you buy a whole set of instruments of a certain style, Apple now offers a massive array of instruments you can buy one at a time.
    And finally, Magic GarageBand has far more options including a Band-in-a-Box-like ability to set up a chord sheet, pick a style and combo and then create a complete arrangement.
  7. Apple has acquired Bento and added it to iWork with the ability to import from and export to all major database formats including particularly AppleWorks, Filemaker Pro and Access.
  8. Pages now has a new feature called Books. I can download text files from Project Gutenberg which flow smoothly into my selection from a library of stylish templates. Instant, elegant e-books.
  9. The iMovie 08 aberration has been absorbed into iPhoto 09. iMovie 09 has reverted to the iMovie HD (6) workspace but now allows multiple video tracks. The Ken Burns effect has been further refined to give even greater control à la Still Life. Title effects have been improved to LiveType standard.
  10. Apple has acquired ScreenFlow (at a fair price and by asking nicely) and added its features into Grab to do motion screen capture right up to HD quality. Captured footage opens automatically in iMovie 9 for post production work.
  11. Quality voice recognition is now built in so I can dictate up to 100 wpm with minimal training. The software refines its accuracy by analysing my Skype calls and other voice inputs.
  12. The built in iSight camera has an HD option.
  13. iDVD has acquired interactive scripting features from big brother DVD Studio Pro. These have been brilliantly simplified to a series of drag and drop buttons to respond to a wide range of user interactions.
  14. Apple software engineers have created i3D, a jaw-dropping new program which combines the best features of Quidam and Poser for simple creation of 3D figures and objects.
  15. iPhone touchscreen technology is available on my screen as a switchable overlay, turning my Mac into an interactive display when I need to.

Too much to ask? Well, what’s on your wish list then? Share your thoughts in the AMW Forums.

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