February 10, 2016
Apple's hardware releases last year have felt like shots across my credit card's bow: things I almost like but not enough to buy for myself. Here are three dream products I would buy in an instant, if only Apple made them.
I am so sad that Apple has committed to a rectangular watch face. I've never seen a rectangular watch I liked. I understand the difficulties in making a good circular UI, but if anyone could crack it Apple could. The next Apple Watch will probably be faster and thinner and may have better battery life. But a round face would seal the deal for me.
My 2013 11" MBA is probably my favorite Apple computer of all time1. Literally the only thing I'm missing is the gorgeous retina display on the new 12" MacBook. A Skylake CPU update for slightly longer battery life would just be icing on the cake: everything else on the 12" MacBook feels like a downgrade. But with the 12" MacBook and rumors that the next 13" Pro will be thin and light enough to supplant the 13" Air, it looks like there might not be enough room in the lineup for an upgraded baby Air. I hope I'm wrong on this.
I love the iPad mini's 7.9" form factor for inside-pocket portability, but without native stylus support I've switched to a Samsung Galaxy Note 8 for stylus notetaking and sketching on the go2. The Samsung S Pen technology is exceptional, and inking on my 2013 Android tablet feels similar to using Intuos tablets and the Microsoft Surface pen3.
The Apple Pencil is at least as good if not better, but is currently only available on the ginormous iPad Pro, in which I have no interest. There are rumblings that the Pencil will make its way down to the 9.7" iPad Air but I hope Apple takes it all the way down through the iPad line. I'd love to come back to iOS for my portable tablet needs.
Notetaking on a Samsung Galaxy Note 8
I'm not holding my breath on any of these. In each case it feels as though Apple has made a deliberate decision to move in a different direction. Hope springs eternal though, and you can never put it past Apple to surprise us with something we hadn't even imagined.
1 I was lucky enough to have both an Apple ][+ and an original Macintosh 128k as a kid and they were awesome but I wouldn't trade my Air for them now.
2 I use Microsoft OneNote, which is free, supports mixing inking/sketching with typing, and syncs beautifully across iOS, OS X, and Android. And presumably Windows too.
3 I believe the Samsung Galaxy Note devices and the Microsoft Surface both use the same or very similar WACOM digitizer technology as that found in Intuos tablets. All attempts to make a good capacitive stylus (passive or Bluetooth) for modern devices pale in comparison: they all provide a completely different and wholly inferior experience.