With WWDC right around the corner, there are a TON of rumors and predictions going around. Some are good, and some are just plain crazy. Here are some of my last-minute predictions, along with a wish list.
Notice that I didn't say iWatch. Most people are expecting an iWatch-type device. That may be true, but I'm going a little more conservative on this one and just saying that they will announce some sort of wearable device. Definitely not for the face/head, and most likely for the wrist. Either way, I think the functionality of the device will surprise us all (at least I hope so).
Refreshed MacBook Pros/Airs
If you've been watching supplies close enough lately, you will have noticed that MacBook Pro (particularly 13") and MacBook Air availability has dropped significantly over the last few weeks. This, coupled with the fact that Intel just released their new Haswell processor earlier this week) indicates that a MacBook line refresh is imminent. One of the major improvements will be battery life (a la Haswell)... quite possibly a 50% (or higher!) improvement. Will the MacBook Air have Retina? I would love to see that, but I'm not convinced yet.
It's a no-brainer that iOS 7 will be announced and demoed (and most likely available as a beta) during WWDC next week. I think there will be changes to the guts of the OS (although not significant), a facelift (a flatter design conceived by Jony Ive) and new apps. iOS is ready to grow up and mature, and the iPhone needs it to (for continued market penetration). Availability won't be until later this year.
Mac OS X 10.9
As with iOS 7, there's no doubt that we will see a preview of 10.9 (big cat name to be determined at this point). As we've seen with past OS X releases, it will inch its way towards a tighter integration with iOS, and continue to bring more of the iOS functionality to the desktop (Siri, etc). I think we'll also see pieces of Ive's new flatter design elements in OS X as well. As with iOS 7, availability won't be until later this year.
Streaming Music Service
Although I still can't imagine what it would actually look like (and how it would be different from Pandora, Spotify, Rdio and the rest), I would love to see Apple finally release a streaming music service. Why? Because I know they would do it right. There's definitely a market for it, and although the existing services do a pretty good job, Apple would do an awesome job. They love music, and they would give it the attention that it deserves.
My Wish List
I love FaceTime! I find that I use it virtually every day to communicate with family, friends and colleagues, however, there are still a few features that I wish it had to make that experience even better. I would love to see it offer two new features: 1) multi-person conference calls (currently, it only supports one-on-one) and 2) FaceTime voicemail. Between the two of those, it would be an amazing communications network.
I still can't believe that the version of iWork on my MacBook Pro is iWork '09!! Wow! That's FOUR years ago, people! I would love to see some attention paid to iWork to bring it current and really blow other options (Office, OpenOffice, etc) out of the water.
iPad mini with Retina
One of the reasons I personally haven't moved over to an iPad mini for everyday use is because it doesn't support the Retina display. This would be great.
I would like to see a redesign of the iPhone with a few changes... no Home button (a soft button instead) to maximize screen real estate, Near-field Communication (NFC) for additional payment options and better battery life. Although it would not bode well with their 3rd party accessory makers, I would also like to see Apple officially come out with some cases. I still find it hard to find the perfect case to protect my investment at the same time keeping the low profile design.
I use and love iCloud. I think it's a great service. I was, however, slightly bummed when they removed certain services over the last couple years like iDisk, iWeb, etc. I have since replaced those with other 3rd-party offerings (for example, Dropbox instead of iDisk), but would like to see some of those features make their way back into the suite of applications and services offered.