With the end of the year fast approaching, I can't help but think what the new year will bring, particularly for Apple. With the latest OS release for iOS and OS X, the new field for Apple changes will most likely be hardware. While I have no connections with anyone that could even remotely speculate as to what Apple is going to release, here is what I would like to see happen for 2012 for all things Apple:
- Apple TV for Gaming: Right now, the Apple TV does video and audio streaming, with some screen sharing when using an iPad 2 or iPhone 4S. That's nice and all, but I would really like to see the Apple TV do more. It's got the guts with it's A4 processor, and with iOS, it could provide a nice gaming platform. All it needs is some sort of controller, be it built into the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad or a new remote control that is WiFi enabled for controlling games. It would require a whole new thought process in Apple gaming development without multi-touch, but it would bring the set top out of the video/audio only and bring it into the realm of gaming. It may require a hardware upgrade, but it hasn't been refreshed in a long time.
- iPad with Retina Display: This is what is keeping me from upgrading to the iPad 2. If I'm going to invest in something that is an upgrade from what I have, it needs to be a serious upgrade. Right now, my iPad does everything I want, with the exception of having that Retina display for reading ease. This is probably a no-brainer, with reports coming in that the next iPad (iPad 3?) will have the Retina display I want. Good, because it's on my list for this next year. ^_^
- Rack-mounted Mac Pros: With the demise of the Xserve, which concerned a lot of my trainees, Apple no longer has an "enterprise" server for their Server app. While the Mac Mini has pretty much taken the spot, a really beefy server can be handy from time to time. Right now, that's the Mac Pro, but it's large, doesn't fit in a rack well, and doesn't look like a rack server. Make it rack-mountable, and server farms using Apple will be happy.
- Apple Blade Servers: This one is totally coming from my wish list, but with the miniaturization that has gone into the Mac Mini, is an Apple Blade Server so far-fetched? It could be something as simple as a bunch of Mac Mini's tied together with Thunderbolt cables, all in the same chassis (so it would look nice). The potential is definitely there, it just needs the market.
- Corporate Apple Cloud: iCloud is great for providing access to your iTunes purchases and documents. But many companies would like to keep that to themselves, and setting up a cloud within their network and plugging it into network desktops (virtual desktops?) would be awesome. Cloud computing has a lot of different definitions, so this is not likely to happen by 2012. Still, a corporate cloud that will allow access to any corporate licensed software, protected by login and LDAP/Mobile Management permissions and standardized across multiple servers? I can see that as a huge bonus for corporations looking to move to Apple. It would also justify an Apple Blade Server, by the way. ^_^
- Siri for iPad: I can understand Siri being removed as an app for all iOS devices and being released, integrated, exclusively for the iPhone 4S because it is in beta. But it would be nice, perhaps with the next iOS update, to give all devices access to Siri. It would depend on when the beta is over, I suppose, but that would be awesome, particularly for the iPad.
- LTE Support: While I will most likely not upgrade my iPhone 4 unless the iPhone 5 is a killer product (not sure how likely that will be), I would like to see an iPhone 5 with LTE support, as well as an iPad 3 with the same LTE support. I would like fast, responsive data (preferably with a decent price tag for a lot of usage), and it looks like the best option out there is going to be LTE. I know there are a lot of problems with offering some 4G technologies (like battery life, for one), so I'm not holding my breath. But with carriers now rolling out their LTE networks, you would think it would be an easy thing to do.
- Cable-Cutter Apps for Apple TV: Netflix and YouTube/Vimeo are good starts, as are the various "channels" that come with NBA, MLB, NHL, etc. for the Apple TV, but I would like to see other offerings that will, if not exclusively then combined, let me cut my cable connection for TV. Even it that means signing up with a cable company on a per channel basis for live streaming through my internet connection, so be it! With the rise of Internet streaming, a cable company has become less critical beyond providing Internet service. Perhaps with less cable TV, the Internet portion of my Cable experience will improve. It also reduces the number of set top boxes for my TV to one: the Apple TV. That way I only pay for the channels I want, not channels I will never look at ever again. Another way to accomplish this? Subscription service per show. I realize there are a lot of players in this, so it won't be easy, but it would be great for the end user.
So that's my list for 2012, nothing huge or ground-breaking. I'm not looking for an Apple HDTV, or an Apple car. Just some changes that would make me happy professionally and personally. So, that being said, it's time to hunker down, and look for what the future will bring from Apple.