Some ideas deserve another go round
(Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac)
You know that saying about someone being so smart that they've forgotten more about a subject than the average person has ever known? Much the same could be said for Apple and good ideas. While not every concept in the company's history has been a winner, there are a good few we'd love to see Apple take another crack at revolutionizing -- whether it's because there's an obvious market out there waiting, or simply because it would make us happy to see them.
Which ones made the grade? Check put the gallery above to find out.
The wearables market
Back in the mid-1980s, Apple released its own line of clothes… and they were pretty bad. Although it kind of made sense for a company with an ardent following to let its customers show off what massive fans they were of the "little Cupertino company that could," this official Apple apparel is now a painful reminder of the worst the 80s had to offer.
Jump forward 30 years, however, and Apple now has the former CEO of Yves Saint Laurent on its books. While the iWatch looks like it’s going to be Apple’s first toe dip into the world of wearable tech, why stop there? After all, we recently reported on the sensor-filled shirt that can tell your iPhone how fit you are. Why couldn’t Apple corner this market?
Clothes that look good solve solve a problem in our lives? Sounds like a job for Tim Cook and co.
17-inch MacBook Pro
The 17-inch MacBook Pro reached the end of the line back in 2012. In some ways, it’s easy to see why Apple made the decision that it did. Compared to the overwhelming popularity of its 15-inch younger brother, the 17-inch model apparently registered disappointing sales. It certainly didn’t help that it was virtually impossible to open up -- let alone comfortably use -- a 17” MacBook Pro on a train or airplane.
But there is definitely a group of power users who use their MacBooks for tasks like video editing who would welcome the return of the extra two inches of screen real estate. Especially as Apple has focused more and more on the possibility of, for instance, shooting video using your iPhone and then editing it from the back of your car, a return to the “ultimate mobile studio” would be more than welcome. Particularly if it meant we’d finally see a 17-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not advocating that Apple bring back the Apple Bandai Pippin as originally implemented. Apple’s 1996 answer to a games consoles was an unmitigated disaster: lasting just one year and selling a beyond-miserable 42,000 units. But as someone who remembers when the Apple II was one of the best gaming machines around, I’d like to see Apple embrace games a bit more. I’ve written about how we’re currently in something of a golden age for iOS games -- and Apple is definitely helping to spotlight interesting developers -- but things could definitely go one step further. Hopefully we’ll get this with the long rumored Apple TV refresh.
Back in 2011, when Tim Cook was first announced as Apple CEO, The Onion joked that his first order of business would be to start producing printers. Now obviously printers are not the next iPad, but it’s easy to forget that the Apple once revolutionized home printing in the same way the company later did with portable MP3 players.
One of the first commercially-available laser printers, Apple's 1985 LaserWriter was light years faster and better than any of its rivals back in the day. Even in a “post-PC world” people still need to print, and the idea of a “Designed by Apple in California” solution that could work with any device in the Apple ecosystem makes me ready to whip out my wallet here and now. Could Apple re-imagine printers? How about a 3-D printer, which prints its own paper?
The iPod with Click Wheel
Way easier to use than the iPod nano, the iPod Click Wheel was a brilliant and intuitive solution to the question of how you scroll through hundreds of songs in your pocket. The iPod Classic lives on, but its UI could certainly do with a refresh. Forget video and photos -- these can be done on your iPhone. Instead Apple should focus on adding the basics: Wi-Fi sync, a podcast client, and iTunes Match.
Don’t think of this as reinventing the wheel; more like bringing it up to date.
Apple recently got < a href="http://www.cultofmac.com/283918/read-apple-settles-ebook-pricing-suit/">bitten for its book-selling efforts, so it’s understandable if the company was a bit trepidatious about setting out to revolutionize publishing, but its pretty clear that digital books can do a helluva lot more than Kindle is currently making possible.
As originally pitched, iBooks looked as though it was going to dramatically shake up the way we read books: adding multimedia elements that would markedly separate it from the low-fi offering Amazon currently gives. Sadly it seems that iBooks have been somewhat forgotten in recent years. As Amazon moves into more areas that compete with Apple, it would be great to see Apple work to re-imagine a format that has stayed the same for years.
Got your own pick?
Agree or disagree with us on any of our picks? If there’s a concept, product, or feature you’d like to see Apple take another crack at, let us know in the comments below.