Just throwing out a bunch of random crap now so if anything actually turns out true later on I’ll look like a genius.
iPhone/iPhone 4/iPhone HD
Different case than what we’ve been seeing! Do I really believe that? Not really, but it’s worth a shot, and at the least I’m hoping for all the seams and ridges to get cleaned up, if not some subtle beveling along the edges like the iPad.
Everything else has pretty much been covered with it, but one crazy thing I’ll throw out there that I haven’t seen, a new dock connector (or at least electronics) with digital video output. The current one can’t output protected content in HD (such as HD iTunes store videos), a digital output is needed for that.
iPhone/iPad OS 4.0
Other than new hardware based features (video chat) I’m gunning for new notification handling for both devices, and some sort of widget system for the iPad, maybe for the iPhone. The timing of the recent pulling of widget apps seems convenient. I figure it’ll be the lock screen that gets overhauled, but it has potential in the home screen as well. Other parts ripe for changes are the status bar and the double tap screen, previously the iPod controls screen, and fast app switcher as of 4.0.
Maybe expanded Bluetooth and USB support, or at least official support of certain USB devices. WiFi tethering could be possible with everyone else doing it.
Printing! I’m guessing it’ll require a print server of some sort to handle the driver mess, but maybe they’ll use the magical auto download and install stuff of Snow Leopard to lessen the pain.
Last two I’d like, better inter app file support (rather than individual file stores) and official Mac Screen Sharing support rather than the regular VNC crap out there now.
I’ve pushed for an ARM + iPhone OS based machine for over a year now, and going by recent rumors it may finally be coming. I don’t know if I expect it to be shown or even mentioned at WWDC, but at the latest I would expect it around the time of or at the yearly iPod event.
If they release a new dock connector with the iPhone I could see the AppleTV having that rather than the current component and HDMI setup, even if it would be a kind of a pain having to depend on Apple cables (with authentication chip!). It could be powered by USB too, kind of neat for a clean setup if the TV has a USB port somewhere hidden away, otherwise requiring a little USB power brick like the iPhones. Wireless only would suck (for high bandwidth media or bad connections) but that’s another possibility if they just stick iPod guts a standalone box.
Or it could just be like the current one, standard ports and all, maybe even a hard drive at that point. On the crazy end of the spectrum would be my dream stuff like Blu-Ray playback and CableCard for DVR functionality. Whatever the case the software and control interface is where things become interesting.
A lot of people are speculating stuff like “200,000 IPHONE APPS ON YOUR TV!” which kind of ignores a whole boatload of interaction issues.
One simple one is that most of them depend on directly touching objects on screen, which doesn’t exactly translate well from a touch screen to a TV out of arm’s reach. The usual reply to this is to have a touch screen remote like a cheap iPod touch. The problem here (other than cost) is that it…doesn’t really address the problem. You have a multitouch surface to interact with everything sure, but unless you’re looking down at the remote you can’t be sure of what you’re going to be touching. And if you’re looking down at the remote to use the apps it kind of defeats the purpose of running them on the TV outside of presentation purposes. It’s a horrible compromise in terms of usability and experience.
Another option is a screenless multitouch surface like a trackpad, but it runs into the same issue of not really being usable for iPhone apps, unless a cursor is on screen…which would be pretty damn ghetto so I doubt they’ll do that. Interesting stuff could be done with a new interface at least, like a gesture based one. Scroll around in any direction, tap for select, hold for more options, etc.
Another common one along those lines is the Wii remote type setup, probably the best of the “direct” type interfaces for TV, and Apple has similar stuff patented. The main issue I see with this one is that the setup can be pretty cumbersome. It could technically be done with just gyros and accelerometers, but the accuracy would probably suffer, and an accurate setup would require an IR bar like the Wii or some camera/sensor setup like Natal or Move, which is a bit clunky. If they can get over the setup hurdle I could see it happening. Like the touchpad I think there would still be issues with iPhone apps, like anything that would require multitouch, so I think it’d require a new interface here too.
(There’s also the combination of Wii remote with touch surface, same issues as both with respect to iPhone apps)
Lastly is the dark horse most people are ignoring, the current remote. This is my most likely candidate just cause it’s simple and the easiest to use (the gesture based touchpad is pretty similar actually). I’m guessing everyone has missed it because they’re stuck on the “RUNS IPHONE APPS” jock. New apps can be created around the interface with familiar iPhone OS developer tools. Other possibilities in this vein would be modified remotes, like accelerometer built in, and/or touch integrated somehow, like turning the directional pad into a click wheel. The main drawback with something like this is that it has no good “direct” control of any sort, so it would suck for something like web browsing if they decided to include that. In general the web kinda sucks for TV so I could see them leaving it out intentionally anyways.
Whatever the case my common theme is just that it won’t run iPhone apps…unless they don’t give a damn and just want to leverage them that much. God knows that’s a distinct possibility. I just think that the experience would blow enough for them to throw that idea in the trash.
The main thing people seem to be missing is that the hardware and base OS doesn’t have to determine the interface. The current AppleTV is based on Mac OS X…yet there is no mouse based UI at all, not even a desktop or any semblance of standard Mac OS X! The most likely outcome is that it’ll remain being it’s own platform regardless of the architecture and OS change.
Crazy AppleTV prediction addendum: new displays with AppleTV built in. They can work standalone as TVs and as regular computer displays.
I wouldn’t be surprised to hear nothing at all about Mac software or hardware. Maybe a blurb about 10.7 but nothing substantial. iWork is getting pretty long in the tooth and isn’t really compatible with the iPad one, but I’d really be surprised to hear anything about that, unless it’s related to the iPad or iPhone, same goes for iLife. Final Cut is supposedly getting revamped, but again I doubt it’ll be mentioned. Outside of 10.7 (and Xcode) no other software has any relevance at a developers’ conference. If they exist they could make an appearance online sometime after the iPhone launch.
Hardware does have some relevance, particularly since the top of the line is really long in the tooth…but I don’t see it being mentioned. The Mac Pro, iMac, MacBook Air, and Mac mini are all ripe for an update, so whatever ones that are ready will probably launch sometime after the new iPhone. I’m guessing hexacore for the Mac Pro, bumping 9400Ms to 320Ms, and maybe bumping the low end 27″ iMac to i5, basically nothing major other than the Mac Pro. The cinema display could use an update too, damn thing is still on DVI.
CLOUD! They shut down Lala finally, the big ass data center in North Carolina is probably operational by now, so I figure something cloudy is coming soon. Some sort of streaming based iTunes service is the obvious choice (…even with the new capped data plans), but one new thing I’ll throw out there is some sort of free service, like a limited version of MobileMe with stuff like Find My Phone, while data storage stuff (iDisk, mail, calendars, contacts) would be part of the pay service, or some other combination. Maybe some other combination of stuff to get freeness, like Mac and iPhone under contract = free stuff!
WHERE THE HELL IS THE MAGIC TRACKPAD? Hopefully mixed in the middle of the Mac launches like the Magic Mouse was a few months back.