I have used Apple products for a long time, having been a Windows user for all my tech life and a Blackberry lover and fan for the early part of the smartphone era it was a huge leap for me to buy iMacs for my home and studio, a MacBook Air for when I’m out and about, iPhones for my wife and I since they started and iPads – well, we have a few. Plus I’ve been fortunate to review and use almost every other Apple product available. But what are they missing?
In 2014 the race for the tech dollar is hotter than ever, with no signs of cooling. Samsung is taking it right up to Apple in the mobile space, for both phones and tablets, HTC, Sony, Nokia and others are still pushing and shoving for their share too. In the personal computing world all the big brands are still at it, and selling loads more than Apple for sheer scale – however the discerning buyer is considering Apple more and more for their desktop and portable computing needs.
When it comes to Tablets, Apple dominates – not in volume, but in choice. By far and away they are the “preferred” choice for many buyers – but in the market there are simply hundreds of options.
So how can Apple stay ahead of the game? What is Apple missing in terms of key features.
These are the things that I find on other devices which make me frustrated they are not on Apple products when in each and every case – it can be done.
1. Add Cellular / Mobile data to MacBook Air
My MacBook Air is my number 1 choice for computing on the go – over and above my iPad. I can open it and use it in a flash, I can use it anywhere, it’s light, well designed, great looking, and solid as a rock.
Everywhere I go I have to take with me a USB dongle for mobile broadband. My Telstra 4G stick has to come in the bag with it. Why do I need a bag at all for it? Because otherwise I’d lose the USB dongle.
Apple knows how to do it, they have a “Cellular” option on iPad and iPhone. They know more about cellular connectivity than anyone.
The Lenovo X1 has an option for a Mobile Broadband compatible model. In the back is a small slot, pop it out and insert a SIM card. Windows 8 then shows a Mobile Broadband connection and I’m online.
For that simple reason, despite my lack of love for Windows 8 – the X1 has been my weapon of choice since it arrived.
Apple must add a SIM card slot, Cellular connectivity, Mobile data, whatever you want to call it – to the MacBook Air.
2. Bigger + Retina Screens on Macbook Air
The 11 inch MacBook Air I own has a huge amount of wasted space in the lid. Around the edge of the 11 inch screen is almost 2cm of grey space. I’m not suggesting they go “edgeless” but throw some more screen in and you can make the MacBook the same size. Again, Lenovo did this with the X1 and it’s impressive.
Now you’ve got a bigger screen (or if you don’t) – Make it retina. More pixels. Please. The websites you see on a MacBook air require twice the amount of scrolling. This is a silly thing, but when you’re using forms (or the WordPress back-end) it means a lot of missed functionality under the “fold” as it’s known.
Make it better, add some depth and this little screen will really pop!
Having used the Samsung Gear 2 now for a week, I’m sold – the “Touchscreen” Smartwatch is a thing. Smartwatches are awesome, We’ve told you about those before. But add a full and impressive colour touch-screen and some cool app integration, this gets serious.
Phone in pocket and at a glance make or take calls.
Phone in pocket and you can read and reply to texts.
Check your emails, Monitor your fitness, even control your TV channels and volume – this is fantastic.
Apple can do it better, we know that, but will they? They must.
4. Low cost iPhone
Call me a nark but lets remove the elitist price-tag from these things. I get the quality. I get the value. But for the iPhone 4S – production should be making that now several year old phone a lot – lot – cheaper. Let’s aim for $350 ok?
The youth market would snap that up like candy.
5. “Kids Mode” for iOS
I see it on the Samsung tablets and the Samsung phone, as well as other Android phones. The quick flick into “kids mode” means that only certain apps are available to the little ones.
To get back to the “main” screen they need the password. No in-app purchasing, no unsupervised browsing.
Yes, Apple has an excellent settings area for “restrictions”. This means I can disable, YouTube, Safari, Apps over a certain rating, even all purchasing. But – turn it off, and those settings are gone.. Turn it back on – you have to set them all up again. Plus, it should be one or two clicks in total to put your child into that “safe” environment. This is a huge potential market.
6. Widgets and Custom home screens
I love that just by flicking past the screens on an Android phone I can see what’s coming up in my diary, what’s in my inbox, what the weather is, and can even post direct to Facebook, browse photos and play YouTube clips.
The Widgets for Android are game changers for users. It’s a great ultra customiser which Apple doesn’t even come near supporting.
Even if it means picking your top 100 developers – offer widgets, it will enhance the iOS experience no-end.
7. iTunes for Android
Last but not least – iTunes is available on Windows PC’s. To allow people to sync iPods and now iPhones, and once Music, then Movies and TV shows became available Windows users could download them, buy them, rent them.
So – why, in the mobile space, are Android users excluded? Does Apple think this will mean people won’t buy iPhone again? People will buy Android when off-contract. Maybe. But not many.
What it would mean is that a huge number of Android users – millions of them, would get access to iTunes Music, Movies and TV shows.
Google sells and rents them – yes, so why would Apple let them own that market.
Let me buy a song, movie or tv show and watch it on the device of my choice. It’s good for Apple, and the only possible reason for not doing it is fear that it would cannibalise future iPhone and iPad sales. If you think your product doesn’t sell itself without iTunes you’re missing the point. iTunes is a nice bonus on iOS devices. The device themselves is what people are buying.
Make it happen Apple.
In fact, make them all happen. Ok.
Discuss. Let me know what you think!