macOS 10.14: Improvements that Apple’s Mac operating system could use

It’s that time of the year when we pull out our prognosticating hats—you were issued yours, right?—and try to imagine what Apple might announce a couple of weeks hence when they take the stage at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference.

The main event at WWDC is generally the future of Apple’s software platforms, most crucially macOS and iOS. So, with that in mind, it’s time to whip out that old standby: features that Apple’s platforms still need.

This week we’ll start with macOS, which just celebrated an important milestone, as the current generation of macOS (formerly OS X and Mac OS X) has now been shipping as long as the classic Mac OS was when Mac OS X first arrived on the scene. Seems like only yesterday, doesn’t it? 

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How Apple’s big picture ventures get small for the consumer

Sometimes it’s fun to think big.

Apple as a company usually focuses on products: things that it builds that consumers will end up using. Smartphones, computers, tablets, and so on. While other tech companies sometimes put forth their moonshots—big, costly ideas intended to reshape the world, but which rarely do—Apple generally seems content to operate by pushing the envelope on the here and now.

But that doesn’t mean that the company hasn’t got larger ambitions: it just doesn’t talk about them. In many cases, that’s probably because those ideas haven’t yet reached the point of becoming discrete products that the company can create and ship. When you’re taking on a large idea, especially one in an entrenched industry, it can be tough to distill that big idea down to the atomic level of a product. 

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The iMac’s lasting legacy

Plenty has already been said about the 20th anniversary of the iMac, the computer that played an instrumental role in bringing Apple back from the brink. But the legacy of the Bondi Blue iMac is still with us in many ways today—not just in the computer that shares its name, but in an overriding philosophy that Apple continues to exemplify across its product line.

If you wanted an indication of how Apple would be doing business in 2018, you could do worse than cast back two decades and look at the decisions that it made when it produced that first iMac. (A machine that itself took a page directly out of Apple’s own playbook for the original Macintosh back in 1984.) The line is anything but subtle.

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iPhones Rumors: What you might find (or miss) in the next iPhone

The old Apple adage says it's never too early to start speculating about the new iPhone. Here we are in May, a month still to go before Apple's next major announcements at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, and already, the rumors are flying fast and furious about the company's next unveiling after that.

So, as I like to do on occasion, it's time to round up a few of the most prominent rumors about Apple's next iPhone and consider how they might affect Apple's smartphone line. And because every good roundup should have a theme, let's call this one "included (or not)."

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Apple and the land of low, low prices

Tim Cook likes to remind everybody that Apple doesn’t compete on price, but instead makes the best product possible, and then prices it at what the company thinks it’s worth.

But though the company may not traditionally play in the low-cost markets in which so many of their competitors make their bread-and-butter, that doesn’t mean that Apple hasn’t occasionally aimed to provide lower-cost models to consumers. The iPhone, iPad, and Mac lines have all had their lower-end models with varying degrees of success.

At a time when it often seems that the breakneck pace of technological development has slowed somewhat—at least compared to the last decade or two—it seems worthwhile to take a look at what Apple produces when it focuses on bringing its tech to lower-cost devices, and what the state of those products are today.

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Apple’s new model: Please subscribe

Over the past year or so, Apple’s spent a lot of time talking up its Services division—which includes not only Apple Music, but also the likes of iCloud, the iTunes Store, and Apple Pay—and for good reason. Analysts have been paying a lot of attention to Apple’s Services, not least of all because it’s shown solid growth, even at times when other segments of Apple’s financial results have been more lackluster.

So you can bet that Apple’s not about to walk away from the services business anytime soon. In fact, if recent reports are any indication, the company is devoting even more effort to the segment, with at least two brand new services in development and the shifting of two of its biggest storefronts to a more subscription-focused angle.

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Apple innovations that you can’t live without

As a technology columnist, it’s tempting to spend a lot of time noting the places where Apple can improve its products. There are always glitches, bugs, and design tradeoffs to pick on. 

But, on the flip side, it’s worth calling out the places where Apple has made great strides, not just in terms of introducing new features, but also for those capabilities that actually improve our everyday lives, or even just refining the technology that already exists to make it that extra little bit better. 

So to shift gears a bit in this week’s column, I’d like to mention a handful of Apple innovations that I’m pretty thankful for—even if they could occasionally still use a tweak here and there.

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