If you step back for a moment and look at the last few years of Apple evolution, you might notice a cycle, like the seasons, beginning to take shape.
We’ve had operating system revs in the fall, iLife announcements at the New Year, and something fun in the spring. It’s an easy rhythm to fall into, and of course just as soon as I get comfortable, the whole thing will be turned upside down. But for this New Year, I think the pattern is going to hold.
I remember asking an Apple product manager about a particular program back in New York. I said, “Not much has happened with that for a while. What gives?” He looked back at me, and in typical Apple fashion, he spoke in parables instead of facts and said, “Well, you know, every app has its day. Today it’s iTunes, tomorrow, who knows?”
In my opinion, there are a few Mac applications that are ready to be reintroduced to the spotlight. At the top of that list is iPhoto. As you know, this is software near and dear to my heart, but it needs a little work. I’d like to see a more robust database managing information beneath that user-friendly exterior. Rendezvous sharing, as we have in Image Capture and iTunes is a no-brainer. And the addition of a few more basic editing tools, such as unsharp mask would be quite welcome. And why not have it handle those little QuickTime movies our cameras shoot so we can add them to our slideshows?
I’ve been doing some work in iMovie lately and would like to see some enhancements there too. For one thing, it seems a little less stable in Panther than it used to be. I’ve even had it quit on me, which is unusual for an Apple app outside of Safari. I still want more audio tracks too. iMovie 3 was a solid improvement over version 2, but it needs to keep evolving. Many video shooters just aren’t Final Cut people. It’s too intimidating for them. Let’s keep iMovie moving along for them, and for the rest of us who like to cut video quickly, but want a polished product when finished.
Finally, I think iCal needs a bit of love. When I switched to Panther, I moved from Palm Desktop to iCal and Address Book. I don’t regret the move, but I think iCal is a good idea that hasn’t reached its potential yet. Little things need to be added, such as when you ctrl-click on the Dock icon you see today’s appointments, so we can fully embrace this app as our calendar program.
Like everyone else, I don’t know what Steve is going to say on stage at Macworld SF. It looks like we’ll have some iPod news, and probably an iTunes rev to go with it. But let some other apps have their day too. And I’m putting iPhoto and iMovie at the top of my wish list.