How Apple can bring the Touch Bar and Touch ID to desktop Macs

Ever since the release of the new MacBook Pro, which introduced two features never before seen on the Mac—namely the Touch ID sensor and the Touch Bar—it’s been an open question. When will those features go from being available only on the 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro, and move across the entire Mac product line?

It’s probably only a matter of time before the Touch Bar and Touch ID sensor crop up on the MacBook, if for no other reason than it’s a laptop and Apple has already showed how to integrate those features into a laptop. (But given how svelte the MacBook is, it might take a while.) 

The real question is on the desktop. Yes, it’s true that roughly two-thirds of the Macs Apple sells are laptops. But Apple still sells a lot of iMacs—and many of Apple’s laptops are sometimes plugged in to big external monitors when they’re docked at a desk. (Apple specifically touts using the MacBook Pro with LG’s new 5K external display, in fact.)

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Sonos needs voice control, and not just Alexa

I’ve been a fan of whole-home digital music systems for a long time. When the platform I had invested years in gave up the ghost–thanks for buying and killing the Squeezebox, by the way, Logitech–I decided it was time to try the speakers my colleague Chris Breen had been raving about for years. And Chris was right–the Sonos stuff sounds great.

Then, all of a sudden, I largely stopped using the Sonos speakers and started using something far more inferior to play my music. That was the day the Amazon Echo came into our kitchen. The Echo is inferior in sound to the Sonos (even the ultra-small Play:1 speaker) in every way but one: you can talk to the Echo, but the Sonos speakers require that you use an app to tell it what to play.

Apparently my family weren’t the only ones wooed by the convenience and voice control of the Echo: lots of people did the same. Sonos responded with layoffs and an embrace of Alexa that led to an announcement that this year Sonos speakers will be controllable by Alexa.

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What the Mac needs in 2017

As sure as the Earth sweeps through its orbit around the sun, the changing of a calendar year is a time to reflect about what’s happened and ponder what’s to come. Last year I made a list of things I wanted to see from the Mac in 2016; the results were fair to middling.

Truth be told, 2016 was a rough year for Mac watchers. There were new MacBook Pros and a slightly updated MacBook, and of course OS X became macOS, but there were no new Mac desktops for the first time in a long time.

Keeping in mind that these lists are always a mixture of informed guessing and sheer wishcasting, here’s a list of some of the things I hope we see from the Mac in 2017.

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A wish list for the iPhone in 2017

There was a time when the iPhone wish list was miles long. In the early days of the smartphone, there were so many clear gaps that it wasn’t a question of what features needed to be added, but in what order.

But as the tenth anniversary of the announcement of the iPhone nears, the wish list has dwindled. The gaps have been filled in. The smartphone is amazing, essential, and a bit boring.

Still, we can dream, can’t we? And so here’s a list–both mundane and fantastical–of the iPhone features I’m dreaming of for 2017.

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The Mac in 2016: Grading our predictions

Last December I made a wish list for the Mac in the coming year. In true journalistic fashion, I hedged about whether my list was a bunch of predictions or just flights of fancy. In reality, it was a bit of both—I was trying to predict 2017 without wishing for things that seemed completely unreasonable.

So with that in mind, how did I do? Let’s look back at the dreams of 12 months ago and whether they were dashed or fulfilled during this rough year for the Mac.

A new name for OS X

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How Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is connected to the Mac

What do Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, opening this week, and the Mac have in common? John Knoll.

John Knoll is chief creative officer at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), the division of LucasFilm that has been a leader in creating special effects for decades. And, yes, ILM is responsible for the special effects in Rogue One.

But beyond his role as a leader at ILM, John Knoll is the executive producer of Rogue One, and the film’s story is credited to him. When Disney bought LucasFilm and announced that it would be making annual Star Wars films, including ones that weren’t the continuation of the story from Return of the Jedi, Knoll pitched an idea he had that had its origins in the opening crawl of the original 1977 Star Wars.

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A wish list for the iPad Pro in 2017

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro arrived a little over a year ago, and I’ve been using it as my primary iPad ever since. And while I love it–and also appreciate its little buddy, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro–there’s no doubt that there are ways it could be improved.

With the exception of the introduction of the 9.7-inch iPad Pro in the spring, this has been a pretty quiet year for the iPad. But I am optimistic about the future of the product line. I think 2017 could be a pretty great year for the iPad. So here’s my iPad wish list for 2017.

Sync up the iPad Pro models

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