It’s the night before the WWDC 2006 Steve-note, and for a second straight year, the rumor sites have virtually nothing…
Of course, last year, Steve dropped the Intel bomb on us. An idea that was, at the time, so scoff-worthy that I wrote:
Oh, and respectable sources fell for the “Apple switching to Intel” story. Again.
So, in lieu of predictions, I offer a few things I’d love to see come out of Moscone West tomorrow:
- An explanation of the AAPL financial scandal - Previous WWDC’s have been used to crow about Apple’s great results, so now if all financial statements by the company since Sept. 29, 2002 are to be taken off the books then it’s imperative that Steve level with the audience and say, with the information available today, what the hell happened, and what the hell they’re doing about it. Saying they don’t have all the answers yet will be fine… that would be better than ignoring this particular elephant in the room. Not germane to the event, you say? Pffft. Steve was happy to crank up the Reality Distortion Field when the numbers were good… he just needs to push it up a notch now that the news is bad.
- Widgets for iPod - Dashboard widgets created opportunities for a lot of small developers with neat ideas. Apple should bring the force of that innovation to the iPod. A small, secure runtime environment in the iPod — Java Micro Edition (Java ME) is the obvious choice but there are others — could unleash a similar revolution in content that would help cement the iPod’s dominance. The content could be add in bundles with your music and movies (interactive features for your movies, games, updatable content), or just common helpful widgets. Just think: just as Microsoft gets their iPod clone out the door, developers big and small would be putting their efforts behind an iPod-only feature that MS couldn’t match.
- Document the “enhanced podcast” format and create a QuickTime exporter for it - According to Apple’s Podcasting FAQ, the way to create “enhanced podcasts” — audio with chapter stops, links, and pictures — is to use the beta quality “chapter tool” that’s been up there for like a year. That or Garage Band. Bullshit on that: if it’s a real format, then at least put a real tool behind it, preferably something more solid then a perpetual-beta command-line tool. A QuickTime movie export component would be a good start; documenting the format so that anyone’s apps could implement it would be better yet. After all, the EP is a conceptual frankenstein of ideas from QuickTime (chapter tracks, HREF tracks, video samples of arbitrary length) with MPEG-4 specifics (null-terminated strings, AAC audio), so it’s not like any of us have tools to create these today.
- Clarify Darwin’s status - Open or not? The specific answer doesn’t matter so much as the willingness or unwillingness to give an answer. Just as with the point about financials earlier.
- Lead the way on games by embracing the console side - Mac OS Rumors continues to insist that a “Gamer’s Dream Mac” is coming, with no word on what we’re going to play on it (oh, right, everyone get excited about Quake 4 again… wheeeeee…). Looking to the PC side for gaming guidance is a mistake — the shopper who buys the all-in-one no-hassle iMac is probably not interested in high-maintenance, patch-clamoring hassleware. It makes more sense to get into bed with the companies that make console games (given that they outsell PC games 6 to 1, they obviously have a better grasp of what the market wants anyways). A few hundred million dollars and some loaned-out Apple engineers could seed Mac gaming with key titles, if they can achieve release-date parity with their PS3 and XBox 360 counterparts. If I were Steve, I’d be placing some international calls to find out how much money (or free iPods) it would take to get Metal Gear Solid 4, Final Fantasy XII, God of War 2, Guitar Hero 2, etc., on the Mac platform. And keep in mind that not every market wants what’s popular in the US: Ragnarok Online could get you farther in some places than Everquest will.
OK, that’s my wishlist. What’s yours? Be sure to reply before the Stevenote begins; otherwise, it’s cheating.