Spendlove's 2017 Wishlist

Speculating about the future is my bread and butter. Speculating over whether my future will involve bread and butter is a part of that. Speculation which, of course, results in crossing metaphors far more often than you'd expect, but I really like a quality slice of bread with some butter. Sue me.

Okay, that was a little off-topic. As I said, I think speculating about stuff that's coming up is great fun, and in the world of tech journalism I'm certainly not alone. But unlike everyone else, who is either constraining themselves by what's likely or insisting that so-and-so must do such-and-such to avoid being summarily executed, I prefer to treat my tech wishlist as just that. A wishlist.

That said, here are the things I'm wishing for in 2017, some of which are likely, others of which are patently ridiculous but would be totally cool. Unsurprisingly most of this is stuff from Apple, and also spoiler alert? Maybe?

1. Upgraded Apple Desktops

Supply chain rumors have already hinted that this is coming early next year, but all they're saying is that the iMac is likely to be updated to the latest GPUs and CPUs. Which is great, and I want that. But what I'm really hoping for is a little more complicated. I want Thunderbolt 3 across their entire desktop lineup. One on the Mac Mini, two or three on the iMac, and six on the Mac Pro. That fantastic I/O port would facilitate Apple's new PCI-e dock.

We already know that macOS can play nice with dual GPUs since the Mac Pro already has them, and one of the biggest complaints with modern Macs is that they sacrifice upgradablity for appearance. That's true, but Thunderbolt 3 has the potential to render all of this moot. Did you buy a Mac Mini with no discrete graphics, but now you want to play games with it? Buy the dock, buy a supported graphics card (probably from AMD), and you're off to the races. Did you buy a 5K iMac for audio work but have this fantastic internal PCI audio card from your old Mac Pro you still love? Buy the dock, slap it in.

Apple has been waiting for 3rd party manufacturers to cover this space, but it just isn't happening fast enough. So I'm hoping they'll take the initiative and lead the way on this.

Likelihood - Eh, maybe 50%. We know almost for sure that some upgrades will happen to the internals of the Mac desktop lines, though whether the Mac Mini and Mac Pro will be included is still unsure. In any case, those upgrades will probably include Thunderbolt 3. The dock is much less likely, but boy, would it be nice.

2. MacBook Love

Yes, I know that the MacBook Pro just got an upgrade. That's not what I'm talking about. As much as I love the MacBook Pro, it's out of my price range right now. The laptop line that was in my price range was the MacBook Air, and it's basically been killed in favor of the 12 inch Retina MacBook. So what I'm wishing for in 2017 is one of two things: Either a cheaper Retina MacBook, or a new MacBook Air that's cheaper than the MacBook.

That second one appeals to me the most, because in order for it to carry the "Air" name when compared to the MacBook, it would have to be impossibly thin, down in iPad land in terms of thickness. So that might require macOS running on an A-Series processor nabbed from the iPhone. Would I sneeze at that? Not if I can get a full version of Photoshop or Illustrator running on it.

Likelihood - Probably 10%. The odds of the Retina MacBook coming down in price are better, maybe 40%. And I'd be okay with that too, especially if *lightbulb* it were carrying Thunderbolt 3 and Apple were to release a Thunderbolt 3 PCI dock! Win!

3. Jony Ive's Perfect iPhone

For those of you who aren't aware, Jony Ive is the industrial designer who started working for Apple in the late 90's and has since been responsible not only for the appearance of every stunning Apple product starting with the original iMac, but also a number of very prominent design trends in the tech industry as a whole. Like the modern smartphone. That was Jony's baby, but ever since the very first iPhone, we've all been vaguely aware of one thing. Technology just wasn't up to par with Jony's vision.

I'm hoping, with the tenth anniversary of the first modern smartphone (iPhone) happening in 2017, that Jony will finally have the chance to give us the phone he always dreamed about. A slab of glass that is nothing but screen. No bezels, no buttons. A camera on the back, and glorious OLED pixels all over the front. And then maybe we can finally move past screens to holograms projected into the air.

Likelihood - Well, I think it's about 90% that we'll get something spectacular out of Apple to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the iPhone. I think getting a completely bezel free screen is maybe 40%. But I'll take those odds.

4. macOS 11

Okay, I'm on this again. Look, macOS 10 has been a fantastic companion for more than a decade, and I love it. It's powerful, it's reliable, it's predictable, full-featured, and still so easy to use. It's such a magnificently stable operating system I can understand why Apple is loathe to move on. And it's not like Windows has crept ahead in terms of stability or features like happened back in the OS 8 days. Windows 10 is the closest Microsoft has come to catching Apple since the release of OS 10, but in many ways, they're still just ever so slightly behind.

But as much as I love the venerable OS, it's starting to feel a little stale, much like Windows was right up until Windows 8. I'm not saying I want Apple to release a Windows 8... But at the same time, I would be in favor of them taking some risks. I'm not asking for a holographic OS like Tony Stark's from The Avengers or anything, but...

Well, hold it. Actually that is exactly what I'm asking for. Get on that, Apple.

Likelihood - Um... probably like 0.001%, or something.

5.  Perfect Virtual Reality

Now, I suppose it is possible Apple will release some sort of VR headset similar to Google's Daydream View or Samsung's Galaxy VR to accompany the tenth anniversary iPhone, and that would be cool. Using a phone as the screen seems to be a good way of making VR affordable to the masses, and that's great. But what I'm talking about here is platform agnostic VR.

Right now we've got Galaxy VR and Daydream Viewer, but those are both tied to specific phones. We've also got a semi-affordable VR headset tied to the PS4, and Oculus Rift and HTC Vive that are both not only expensive, but tied directly to exorbitantly expensive PC requirements. What I want is a VR headset that I can connect to a PC, Mac, Android phone, Apple TV, whatever. It costs something like $200, and enables me to experience VR on a wide variety of platforms for that one investment.

Likelihood - HA! -30%. Can you have negative percents? My keyboard seems to think so. But when you're writing for a site called Calling All Platforms, this is the kind of thing you dream about.