Thursday, January 3, 2008

MacWorld 2008 Wishlist

Here's my personal wishlist on the computer side. Some of this has already been speculated in the press by analysts and reporters. But here's the wishlist of features that I, as a user, want.

1. Longer battery life
My MacBook has a decent battery life (~ 2.5-3 hours), but not enough to last a cross-country 4-5 hour plane trip. And lugging a large extra battery defeats the purpose of buying a 13" small laptop.

Now if this comes through a NAND-flash based 'permanent' storage or new battery technologies, I don't really care. If NAND-flash also decreases weight, even better! Tiger does start up fairly fast (from cold start or sleep) so I have no complaints/needs on that side.

2. Blu-Ray DVD support for Media Center for Music & Movies:
I plan to use my new Mac (iMac/mini/MacBook whatever it is) as a true media center connected to the LCD HDTV. FrontRow is outright excellent in playing movies, videos and music (and also for pictures) with its simple 6-button remote. In comparison the 50 button DVD remote gives me fits whether its dark or not. Blu-Ray support is key to ensuring the future of this vision.

3. Better multi-monitor support (I don't know the answer but there has to be a way)

At work I have a 20" LCD connected to my MacBook to increase the screen real estate available. Usually my office email or a browser window is always open there. Or sometimes a second spreadsheet or document that I am referring to while writing/editing the main one. This is incredibly useful not having to repeatedly alternate between windows - yes a real productivity booster.

Mac OS X loves Fitt's law, and I love the ability to just blindly hit/push the mouse to the top of the screen and always find the menu. (Also useful are the 4 hot corners, for setting up screensavers, all windows...). But this means that OS X sticks the menu's either to the main display or to the secondary display. Either way the applications in the 'other' window have no menu's. So if you have Excel in the 'secondary' window you have to go to the main window to click on a toolbar or menu item!

I have not seen a good solution to this problem. I am surprised that other users have not complained or solved this problem, given the large number of graphics experts who use Mac's and typically use multiple displays for their work. Also a lot of people at home are starting to use multiple displays, so pretty soon (I hope) the ratio of multi-display users tilts over 20% to get some attention.

May be a solution is to allow users to duplicate the menu & toolbar on every display on which the application has a window. Just one checkbox in the preferences window. Not sure if this is something the OS alone can do, or it requires all applications to support. If its the later, "Dear Mac Business Unit Product Manager at Microsoft, ...."

4. Hardware upgrade for the Mac mini

5. Lower prices for the wireless keyboard and mouse.

Yes, the other speculated things would be nice too...
  • Rental of movies will truly make the media center vision for Mac's a practically reality. Even though I have a Netflix-enabled computer connected to the LCD HDTV (via VGA/RGB)... you still have to browse via a web interface on the computer to select your movie and without any remote control. And ofcourse Netflix online movies do not work on Mac's (until the Silverlight version comes out - if it does).

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