Another year has ended and a new one has begun. In the time honored tradition of marking the beginning of a another trip around the sun, it’s time to make some New Year’s Resolutions. However, rather than make them for myself this year, I’m going to set my mind to thinking of some for Apple in 2020.
Resolution One: Fix ALL the Keyboards
Apple FINALLY moved on from the flawed and universally hated butterfly keyboard design with their latest 16″ MacBook Pro in late 2019. The reviews of the new (or maybe not so new) scissor key mechanism from tech journalists and users alike have been very positive. It will take time, but Apple needs to do it’s best to revise all of their current MacBook models to include this much improved keyboard.
Resolution Two: Continue to Prioritize Usability
Beautiful ascetics and great product design are part of the DNA of Apple going back to the company’s beginnings. Steve Jobs simply honed this to a fine edge by elevating design to be equivalent to product engineering. With an equal voice and seat at the executive table, Apple’s products were elevated to a level never seen in the tech industry.
However, in the years following Jobs’ death, it seemed that Apple started putting the cart before the horse, allowing Jony Ive and his team too much freedom and influence over new product design. The result was the form unfortunately overtaking function in some cases. There was a period where it seemed that thinness trumped all else, especially with MacBooks and the iPhone.
However, last year saw a noticeable shift away from this trend. The aforementioned MacBook keyboard replacement was a big one. Another was releasing slightly thicker iPhones that had more battery capacity as a result. Design is still key to their success, but Apple needs to continue in this direction and bring form and function back into balance with one another.
Resolution Three: Get the Home under control
Apple has been slowly refining their approach to the home over the last two years, but it’s time to kick things into high gear. They have opened the doors to developers and makers by open sourcing more of their HomeKit platform. Now they also have the advantage of a unified communication standard coming that will include themselves, Amazon, Google and others. This will undoubtedly open the doors to many more HomeKit compatible peripherals in the near future.
These are all positive moves for Apple and 2019 also saw HomeKit compatibility included with more Home Automation devices and AirPlay and the TV app added to several new Smart TVs. However, if Apple wants to be a bigger player in the home, they have got to put some weight behind this little bit of momentum to get more traction. They need a follow-up, or at least a plan for the HomePod. They need an updated Apple TV that showcases their Apple TV+ service. Most importantly, they need a unified vision moving forward. That will do more to get developers and accessory makers on board than anything else they can muster in the short term.
Resolution Four: Find a hit show
Apple TV+ got off to a rocky start with some tough early reviews. However, the service found its footing with Servant getting solid marks right from the jump and The Morning Show getting stronger as the first season progressed. And there are more shows with more potential on the way.
However, despite Apple TV+ becoming a solid option that has a reasonable price, Apple still needs a bona-fide hit if they want people to sign up and pay for TV+, rather than just use it because they got a free year with an iPhone. It doesn’t have to be a new Game of Thrones, but if they want to bring the eyeballs, they at least need to get something in the neighborhood of the first season of House of Cards. The sooner the better.
Resolution Five: Show services some love
When Apple News and Apple Music both got off to rough starts, Apple took fast action. They completely revamped both apps in year two and completely changed the trajectories of both services. Apple News+ is in similarly dire need of a similar complete overhaul that will make it worth the price of admission. Badly in need. Apple TV+ is a little less dire, but it would certainly be nice to make everything more discoverable in one central location.
A second round of love needs to come for Apple users in the form of a combination subscription deal for power users. As many subscription products as the company offers now, this really needs to happen. I figured it would come in 2019, but not yet. Come on, Apple. Don’t make us wait another year.
Resolution Six: Bring back the fun!
Remember the original iMac? The iBook? The iPod? Where has that Apple gone? I understand that times and styles change, but the sense of fun and playfulness that marked Apple’s rise through the 2000s has been replaced with, well, the exact opposite of that. I love clean, minimal design as much as the next guy, but the austerity of some of the company’s current hardware can leave you feeling a little empty sometimes.
I’m not complaining. I love my current Apple devices. However, it would be nice to see some of the fun return to Apple’s hardware design. I’m not talking about a regression to colored plastic cases. There are many more subtle ways to breathe a little life or a splash of whimsy back into a new Apple device. They seemed to be trending back toward balance in hardware design in 2019, so hopefully 2020 will bring us more of the same.
But that’s just me. What do you think? What would you like to see Apple resolve to do in 2020? Let me know in the Comments below, on Twitter @iPadInsightBlog, on Facebook or on Flipboard if you are reading over there.