Happy National Gum Drop Day (Wednesday 15th February for everyone else). This week I have decided to give a view of features I’d love to see in the current Macintosh Hardware releases.
This little (yet admittedly expensive) notebook still has the power to amaze. A leap forward from the initial release, the latest version is much more powerful and usable, whilst retaining the small form factor and low weight it is famous for.
The one thing that I feel is missing from this ‘ultra-portable’ unit is built in 3G. The unit is marketed as use anywhere, “from room to room, dorm to dorm, or cubicle to cubicle and stay connected”, but forgets to mention that you need a wireless network to do so! If the designers in California can implement a Micro-SIM slot and a built in antenna, it could be the ultimate in a travelling businessman’s mobile office. Besides, who wants to spoil the great looks with a USB 3G dongle hanging out of the side.
This is Apple’s power-notebook (hence its predecessors name of ‘Power Book’) and is well deserved of the title. The current generation packs a core i5 (with a core i7 on the higher level models) Intel Dual or Quad core processor and the Thunderbolt Port it proves to be the equal of most tasks you can throw at it.
There are two key points that I feel could do with improvement on the current MacBook Pros and, if rumours are to be believed, will most likely be implemented in the next revision.
The first would be a USB port on the right hand side. I’m naturally a right-handed mouse user and so, if I were to use a USB mouse with my MacBook Pro, I’d have to make sure to use a longer cabled product or extension lead. This issue is compounded by the fact that the current Apple USB mice have a shorter lead then previous.
The second is the overall form factor. With the successes of the MacBook Air, a similar design ethos for the MacBook Pro could result in either a smaller, thinner unit, or the ability to pack in improved internals (another Hard Drive? A much increased battery size? More ports?).
A mainstay to the Apple Hardware line up since 2005, the Mac Mini has proved to be a much loved, yet sometimes ignored offering. It provided a cheap and simple upgrade for an aging PC box, or as a smaller form factor desktop unit. The current unit is ideal for most home user use and so still deserves a place on the Apple Store.
Personally, my main complaint is to do with one of the great uses for the Mac Mini – Home Theatre setups. With the small size and great looks, it adds a great number of features to a living room setting except one – the ability to play Blu-Ray discs. This has been further aggravated by the removal of the Optical Drive in all units. With this feature reinstated, and the addition of a Blu-Ray drive, the current Mac Mini would be the perfect home entertainment addition.
A new addition to the Apple product list in Late 2009, the Mac Mini (server edition) removed the optical drive in favour of a second internal Hard Drive and an included copy of Mac OS X Server. This configuration provided an ideal Apple Server solution to SOHO (Small-Office/Home-Office) businesses.
An ideal feature I’d love to see in the Mac Mini Server is the SSD cards as found in the MacBook Airs, but still retaining the dual Hard Drives. The idea being the main server OS lives on an 80 to 120 GB SSD, leaving the two 500 GB (or 750 GB if you go for the CTO option) Hard Drives free for RAID’ing, or just using as-is.
The iMac. The iconic Apple product, used to dig them out of a rather large hole, back in 1998. This has lived on in a large number of versions including the well-loved flat panel unit, and the current Aluminium cased unit.
With the iMacs, the most common complaint is how close the SD card slot is to the optical drive. Many an end-user has blindly tried to plug in a card and accidently pushed it into the optical drive instead! This results in a trip to your local AASP to have it removed. Potentially the SD slot can be moved to the left hand side, or just lowered a considerable distance from the optical drive.
A second point (suggested by our Workshop Manager) is to remove the lower 2-3 inch aluminium frame below the display. This would enable the iMac to become a full-on border-to-border-to-border-to-border display, giving an amazing visual effect on the end user.
Once called the Power Mac, this was remodelled in 2006 with Intel processors and a name change to the Mac Pro we know today. Largely unchanged in external style since the Power Mac G5 and internally since its first release, the Mac Pro has been the power user unit of choice for design and editing professionals.
The immediate thing that springs to mind is a general speed bump update! The last revision was back in November 2010 and the Mac Pro is starting to get long in the tooth compared to the iMac line (of which the 21.5-Inch model has had two updates in the same time period). This opportunity could be used to finally bring Thunderbolt to the last Apple Macintosh that doesn’t have it.
The second feature I’d like to see is a full-on Xserve replacement, even if that results in a Mac Pro, minus the handles, to enable it to sit sideways on a rack shelf (rather than currently taking up 16U rack space!).
It certainly is nice to play dreamer with features for future Apple products and I have to admit to enjoying writing this blog post, but what about you?
What would you like to see added to future generations of the Apple product line?
As always, let us know in the comments.