After a conversation with my coworkers about the future of the Mac Pro and after reading Macworld’s predictions for the coming year, I’m going to throw my own hat into the ring.
I don’t have any sources at Apple, I haven’t done any research, and I’m not terribly good at predicting the future, but let’s see how this goes:
Mac OS X : Lion was just released in July so I don’t think we’ll see a major point release this year, but iCloud is a new and evolving product and iWork is past due for an update. I think we’ll see iWork for the Mac gain better iCloud document organization like it’s iOS companion. No more signing into the website to download your documents. Perhaps iWork.com will also reappear and allow easier collaboration. We’ll also see some smaller enhancements to iCloud in general making it easier for you to manage and delete your data (specifically in Photo Stream and Address Book). I think we’ll also see iMessage integrated with iChat and iBooks for the Mac.
iOS : We’ll see iOS 6 this year with an enhanced notification center including third-party widget support and easier-to-hit clear buttons. Siri will start to open up to more services and apps and we’ll see Apple introduce its own navigation app that doesn’t depend on Google. iTunes Match will be updated to allow you to sync music to your devices through iTunes in addition to downloading it so you can save time and bandwidth. iBooks will get a performance boost and new textbook features which will allow communication between students and teachers via iCloud. There will also be a notation feature which will sync nicely with iBooks for Mac. You’ll also be able to restore backed-up iCloud data for specific apps rather than an all-or-nothing deal. Oh, and AppleTV will get Hulu Plus.
Hardware : I think we’ll see a new Mac Pro with two or three Thunderbolt ports and fast, new processors. I’m not sure if the design will change and I wouldn’t be surprised either way, but they might have to do something funky with the Thunderbolt ports and the video card here. I think the MacBook Pro line will drop the optical drive this year and slim down a bit. What will they do with that extra space? Optional SSD blade in addition to the tradition 2.5″ drive. Spec bumps all around and the MacBook Air will get a new look to bring it closer to the new MacBook Pro. The iPhone 6 gets a rounded back, a better camera, faster processor, and LTE. NFC? Yeah, maybe. The iPad 3 gets that 2x res retina display that everyone has been talking about in addition to the iPhone’s improvements.
Pie-in-the-sky wish : Lose the skeuomorphic design. Ditch the leather and wood. iCal and Address Book feel like children’s toys, the iBooks bookshelf has lost its novelty and Find My Friends is… well I don’t even know what that is yet. I’d also like a cheap Mac with the expandability of the Mac Pro (I know, Thunderbolt, etc, etc). More than anything, I think it would be cool to use an AppleID to log-in to any Mac that allows it. It would have to be a limited-access guest account, but imagine how nice it would be to sit down at a friend’s house, log in, and have your bookmarks, contacts, settings, and music (if you’re an iTunes Match subscriber) all right there for you.