As I noted earlier, Apple’s Mac event is just a week away, and the invite is highly suggestive of two things:
- New Aluminum MacBook Pro’s and/or MacBook Air, and
- Mac OS X 10.7 Lion
The majority of the invite itself looks like the lid of a an aluminum Mac notebook, with the Apple logo freshly cut out (I’d love to get my hands on one of those scrap Apple logos). And then there is the lion peeking out. And let’s face it, I don’t think Apple will stick with the cat theme for Mac OS 11, so my bet is definitely on Mac OS X 10.7.
Needless to say, I have my hopes and dreams…
New Mac Portables
I suspect there will be slight refreshes to the MacBook Pro. Faster processors, bigger batteries, USB 3, and maybe even higher resolution screens (maybe even 16:9). Honestly, I wouldn’t mind if the Pro line took a page from the MacBook Air and moved the optical drive to an external accessory. I rarely use my optical drive, and would love to use that space for something else.
The MacBook Air has always been an enigma to me — super light & portable but severely underpowered and overpriced. Also, with the 13-inch screen, a 13-inch MacBook Pro seems like a better investment.
For weeks there have been rumors that the Air may go to an 11.6-inch screen. I think this seems right. Shrink the screen, shed even more weight, give it the all-glass trackpad like the MacBook and MacBook Pros, and for crying out loud, figure out how to squeeze more than one USB port in the thing.
And hey, if the price can be chopped further, I think you may have something neat on your hands.
Whenever there is news of an upcoming major update to Mac OS X, I always find myself at a loss for what Apple could possibly add to make it better. And, of course, I am always blown away. Last time, for Snow Leopard, I was blown away by the cost — $29. Once installed, Snow Leopard blew my mind with the overall “super polished” responsiveness. Even though there wasn’t a great deal of new features, it was obvious there was a lot of refactoring under the hood.
For Lion, I can only fathom a couple things that seem like shoe-ins.
Apple’s giant drum to parade around this year is FaceTime. It’s in the iPhone 4 and the latest iPod touch. I also think it is going to be in the next iPad.
For years, we’ve had video calls in iChat on Mac OS X. However, right now, FaceTime isn’t getting a lot of my attention since I can’t do a video call with my relatives who don’t have an iPhone 4 or new iPod touch. Lion will likely change this. I bet iChat will gain FaceTime support for video calls to Apple’s mobile devices.
Hey, maybe Apple will give iChat a much needed facelift while they are at it.
Apple has been slowly adding Multi-Touch to the Mac over the years. Mostly, this has remained exclusive to Mac portables, but recently came to the desktop with the advent of the Magic Trackpad (which I love, by the way).
I think Apple will eventually bundle the Magic Trackpad with the iMac as the default pointing device, likely around Lion’s release, as I am sure it will utilize a fair amount of Multi-Touch interaction.
I am unsure how extensive Multi-Touch will permeate within Lion, but I’d wager it will be a foundational release to eventually move away from the traditional mouse for good.
One thing I appreciate about my Mac apps that have iOS counterparts is the ability to sync their data via WiFi. The problem is that this is cumbersome. You have to launch the Mac app and the iOS app and have both devices on the same network in order for them to sync.
Some apps, such as 1Password have taken to using services like Dropbox to sync data cross device and cross platform, without requiring the user to do anything beyond the initial setup.
That is a much more fluid and transparent way of doing things. I hope Apple provides a method for developers to easily hook into a drop dead easy way to sync information from a Mac to an iOS device. Label this as hopeful.
Apple has been building a gigantic data center on the east coast for some time. I have long wondered if that was either for a streaming iTunes service, or for a free MobileMe. Overall, MobileMe is much better than .Mac, which it replaced, with one glaring exception – iDisk. It is slow and just plain doesn’t work all that well.
I’d really like to see iDisk get overhauled to be a lot like the aforementioned Dropbox. That would actually facilitate that iOS syncing integration pretty well.
My hope would be that MobileMe would move to being free with Lion, but I do actually feel like I get my $100 per year out of it. The advantage of making it free is that more users would adopt the technology, making for a leaner, cleaner experience. Also, iOS device owners on Windows may feel more inclined to have that seamless integration between Mac OS X and iOS.
Undoubtedly, a major Mac OS X revision brings some fresh UI paint. Maybe I’m crazy, but iTunes always seems to be the forerunner for design choices that later find their way to Mac OS X. Particularly, I am think of the “traffic lights” going vertical, and the title bar possibly going by the wayside. It seems to work well in iTunes, though I am unsure how well the removal of the title bar would fare in other places, such as Safari (that is, unless, Tabs on Top finally made their reappearance).
I can definitely see the traffic lights going vertical. I’d bet a nickel on it.
iLife and iWork
Who knows, maybe we’ll see fully 64-bit updates and overhauls to Apple’s two famous software suites. I know I wouldn’t mind seeing both of these appear.
That’s my wish list and educated guesses.