6 ideas we wish Apple would revisit



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.

Games consoles

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.


(photo: Wikipedia)

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.

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  • MBoorman

    Oops. Looks like the wasn’t included in the link in the article. Thanks for the info though!

  • AlanAudio

    7: HyperCard

    HyperCard was the major reason that prompted me to buy a Mac in 1989 rather than a PC and I’ve used Macs exclusively since then. I realised that I could use HyperCard to create stacks that would be immensely useful in my work. The reality was that HyperCard turned out to be much more versatile than I initially imagined.

    What Apple should do today is to bring that same sort of concept to IOS, so that users ( not programmers ) can create simple Apps to do special tasks.

  • jay

    universal notification sync!!!!!!

  • cleesmith

    17inch Macbook Pro? Yes! Printers? Only if they are ultra portables or 3D. Game system? I fully expect the Apple TV to grow into that. I’d also prefer they buy Nintendo.

  • David Alexander Harrison

    The contemporary wearables idea just gives me a mental image of a silver t-shirt with an Iron Man style electroluminescent Apple logo on the chest…

  • I’ve got the last 17″MBP one year ago, luckily, and I second what you say.

    Also, I’d add that I’d love Apple to allow users to easily replace RAM on iMacs and MBPs as before. Probably I won’t buy any new Apple computers from now on because of this limitation. :-(

    • mahadragon

      I have a 27″ iMac that was made in 2013 and I was able to add my own ram easily.

  • A.J.

    They already have a gaming system. It’s called Apple TV. Runs on the same iOS platform as the iPad and iPhone. All it requires is a dedicated gaming controller. Or integrate with the iPad/iPhone. It’s only a matter of time before this feature is unlocked.

  • Steve

    The only one I would agree with is the 17″MBP to replace my current one with a more powerful unit.

  • Amita D. Amladi

    I particularly agree with the 17 inch MacBook Pro — but only if they include a model that has an internal optical drive to view DVDs and Blu-Rays.

    I got a 13 inch MacBook Pro with internal Super-Drive this past Christmas, and though I LOVE it and take it practically everywhere I go, I would still love to have a 17 inch MacBook to see DVDs & Blu-Rays on a bigger screen when the TV is in use. Even though I’m not planning to buy one right away, I still from time to time, search online for new or used secondhand17 inch MBPs with internal optical drives. However, since the 17 inch MacBook would be mostly stationary, I guess it really wouldn’t matter that much if the optical drive was external

    I just hope they at least keep producing the 13 inch MBP with the internal optical drive, so that those of us who are constantly using CDs, DVDs, and Blu-Rays while on the go, do not have to carry additional components!

    Because that is just about the only thing (with the exception of being unable to upgrade the RAM, hard drive or whatever) that I HATE about the new retina MacBook Pros, and MacBook Airs!

    Apple needs to allow users to easily replace RAM on iMacs and MacBooks as before — and they ALSO need to keep at least one model with internal optical drive in each size class (13 inch, 15 inch, 17 inch) or at the very least, keep at least 1 model with optical drive in the smallest and largest size class!

    Otherwise, even when my current MBP needs to be replaced, instead of switching to a retina model, or a MacBook Air, I’ll probably just buy another non-retina MacBook Pro with internal optical drive on eBay, Amazon, Craigslist or somewhere!

  • aardman

    If Apple wins the eBooks case on appeal, expect them to come back with a vengeance and obliterate Amazon’s monopoly again. And this time Jeff Bezos won’t have Eric Holder’s lap to cry on anymore.

  • Kr00

    17″ MacBooks and an Air. My 2009 model runs great, but it won’t live forever.

  • Alexander Barus

    I would love to have a seamless integration between LaCie Fuel Wi-fi hard drive to iOS devices. Expanding your collection of movies,music,photos,documents on the go is not well executed within Seagate Media ecosystem. :-(

  • mahadragon

    Apple is in the apparel market already. The Corporate Retail Store in Cupertino (official campus) sells Apple branded clothing. I was just there couple months ago. Picked up an Apple hoodie, hat, and a t-shirt. They also have children’s clothing.

    I was sad when I found out they didn’t make printers anymore. I was looking forward to using a LaserWriter with my 27″ iMac. Would be nice if they could make a printer that produced professional quality prints. Nothing exists on the mass market like that now.

    As far as console goes, they could just turn the Apple TV or Mac Mini into a gaming rig with a controller and that would work.

    • David Voros

      They used to have an online retail store with clothes and other items. I miss that.

  • Marvin Muniz

    Game Consoles!

  • David Voros

    Knowledge Navigator

  • Gary L. Wade

    One thing you can do to add longevity to a MacBook Pro 17″ (until Apple adds a true replacement model) is to replace the HDD with an SSD. I recently purchased the Samsung 840 EVO 1TB Internal Serial ATA III Solid State Drive for Laptops (MZ-7TE1T0BW) for less than $500 to replace the 500 GB HDD that came with mine, and I’m greatly pleased with the speed. If you don’t want to do the installation yourself and have a Best Buy close by, they’ll install it for around $49, and if you’ve got a full Time Machine backup, you can restore it to your new drive when you get home. It took me under an hour to restore around 450 GB from my Time Machine backup using an eSATA interface by way of an ExpressCard.

  • roadrscotty

    I want to see idvd come back for a while. I think apple was premature in deciding that dvd drives and dvd burner software was obsolete. Six months ago, I bought an iMac, my first apple product since an Apple 2c. In the last week I bought a product that would convert my old vhs tapes to digital and then supposedly let me burn them to dvds…..providing I can come up with software like idvd. Look Apple, there are still 60 yr olds that have vhs, dvds, cd and other old media. It’s not quite time to close out applications like idvd.