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Concept: Enhancing AirTag with family sharing, widgets, and an Apple Watch app

Now that we’ve all spent time with AirTag, it’s time to start thinking about ways to make the product even better. There are several obvious ways to do this that many have noted over the past couple of days. AirTag is an incredibly powerful tool for tracking items, but lots of us would like to allow our friends and family to track important items or ask for their help in finding lost ones. Family sharing is just the tip of the iceberg.

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Concept: Apple Podcasts has so much potential; here are some ways it could be taken to the next level

Apple Podcasts is the AM to Apple Music’s FM. The two apps should be almost on par at all times, particularly now that the company is turning podcasts into an app that includes paid subscriptions. The app hasn’t always gotten the love it deserves, but that’s starting to change. There are lots of ways Apple could take the podcasts app to the next level as it enters into a new era. Here are some of my ideas…

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Concept: It’s time for the MacBook Air to get its iBook moment following the reinvention of the iMac

After the original iMac took the world by storm with its gorgeous and unconventional colorful design, Apple decided to package an iMac-to-go and call it the iBook. It was indeed everything the iMac was, in a laptop form factor, and it was available in a range of equally fun vibrant colors. It became the de facto student notebook, the approachable and fun machine for the average user, and it went where other notebooks weren’t willing to go. With the launch of the completely reinvented M1 iMac, I think and certainly hope we’ll see a reinvention of the MacBook Air that acts very much like the iBook. It should be the newest iMac, only to go.

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Concept: Here are some ways Apple could improve widgets, multitasking, and more with iPadOS 15

Designing for iPadOS is really difficult. I imagine there are countless battles among the Apple human interface team over what the right direction is for the platform. Apple set out on a path with iOS 11 and they’ve stuck to it since then, building on top of it every year. It’s become a house of cards that could come crumbling down with a single added idea. There are lots of folks who would like Apple to burn it all down and start over. I really can’t see Apple doing that. Imagining something seemingly as simple as adding widgets to the entire Home Screen is a monumental task, but it can totally be done.

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Concept: How Apple could combine the best of HomePod, Apple TV, and iPad to create the perfect smart display

As my colleague Zac Hall noted yesterday, the Apple home strategy is kind of a mess. It truly warrants a conversation around what the company wants to accomplish in customers’ homes. Because Apple TV and HomePod are both in weird states, it occurred to me that it might be valuable to imagine how the two product lines could come together. Enter HomePod TV…

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Concept: What might be next for the HomePod family?

With the discontinuation of the original HomePod on Friday, everyone is wondering what’s next for the HomePod family? Apple plans to now focus on the single $99 HomePod mini. It hits a sweet spot, being affordable and reasonably sized for any space. Apple might still have a larger- or medium-sized HomePod in the works, but I think the answer lies in portability and displays.

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Comment: It’s time for Apple to make its own accessories for AirPods

AirPods were introduced nearly 5 years ago and since then they’ve become a mainstay of Apple’s product family. They’re an essential tool that makes the Apple ecosystem infinitely better. But along the way, they’ve become less of an accessory and more of a flagship product, as evident from the top-of-the-line AirPods Max at $549. That’s no accessory. That’s a computer for your head that just so happens to talk to your other devices.

Apple makes great accessories, even for other accessories. Why doesn’t Apple make its own accessories for AirPods?

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Concept: TV+ has hit its stride – it’s time for official merch from the Apple Store

It’s been two years since Apple unveiled Apple TV+ for the first time in spring of 2019. It’s taken some time, but it seems as though the service has finally hit its stride with hits like “Ted Lasso” and “Dickinson.” Other shows have developed cult-like followings, such as “For All Mankind,” and major events like the new Billie Eilish documentary have been quite popular. It’s clear that fans are ready for Apple to make some official merchandise for their shows. One of the creators of “Ted Lasso” tweeted a few days ago that merch is indeed on the way. Here’s what that might look like.

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Concept: The natural next step for the iOS emoji keyboard after search is favorites

Apple iOS favorite emoji keyboard concept

As Apple adds more emoji with each subsequent iOS update, it’s getting harder and harder to sift through all them just to find the emoji you want to use. The “frequently used” emoji panel helps with this to some extent, but it is dynamic and only “remembers” so many. Typing descriptors to search for emoji can be tedious, and what if you don’t know the proper search terms to bring up the emoji you want? Or, if you are like me, you tend to frequently use just a select few emoji? The solution is the implementation of “favorite emoji.”

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Concept: Apple Kitchen would be a natural extension of the company’s health initiatives

Each year, Apple becomes more involved in the health and fitness industry. It’s become a major player with products like Apple Watch and AirPods and services like Fitness+ and Research. Currently, Apple has working out, mental health, women’s health, heart health, blood oxygen measurements, and even hearing covered. But they’re missing one very important component of the healthy life story, and that’s nutrition and cooking.

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Concept: macOS ‘Monterey’ could introduce new apps, better notifications, and smarter privacy controls

Over the next few months we’ll be sharing concepts of each major Apple platform. Last month, we shared our concept for watchOS 8, and today we’re sharing the next one, in this case for macOS. It includes all new apps, improved privacy controls, clearer notifications, and more. But before I dove into designing this macOS concept, I wanted to figure out what Apple might call this year’s release.

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Concept: Visualizing what Apple’s blood sugar watch app might look like

Earlier today, reports came out saying that Apple plans to include blood sugar measurements as a flagship feature of this year’s Apple Watch Series 7. Later this year, Apple Watch could gain the ability to measure an incredibly important health metric for millions of people. With blood sugar measurements, diabetics could use their watch to stay healthy without finger pricks. This, of course, is contingent on the watch measurements being accurate. Apple wouldn’t ship a feature like this if it wasn’t accurate though.

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Concept: The Apple TV remote solution was right in front of us

It’s no secret that the Apple TV Siri Remote is controversial. It’s a powerful remote that many believe is poorly designed. It’s not easy to use in the dark, and it has very few distinct buttons. Lots of folks turn to their iPhone or Apple Watch to use as an alternate remote. That’s in part because the user interface can change. So this had us wondering what a better stand-alone Apple TV remote could look like. Turns out, the solution was in front of us all along.

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Concept Part 1: watchOS 8 could introduce new apps, new faces, and widgets

We’re about six months away from the unveiling of the next version of watchOS. We haven’t heard any rumors yet, so all of these ideas are based purely on conjecture. But at the end of the day, there are lots of ways that watchOS could be improved. From more detailed health data metrics to even more glanceable information, Apple has plenty of opportunities to make watchOS more powerful.

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Concept: It’s time for Apple to let apps have multiple instances on iPhone

With iPadOS 13, Apple introduced the ability for apps to have multiple instances. In other words, you can have multiple Safari windows open or multiple notes, for example. It’s an incredibly useful feature and it turned the iPad into a much more powerful computer. We think it would turn the iPhone into a much more powerful phone, too.

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Concept: How Apple could differentiate the Apple TV and supercharge tvOS in the process

Unlike the smartphone market, the streaming box market is chock full of competition. Apple joined the fray in 2007 with the first generation Apple TV but things didn’t really pick up until the second generation model in 2010. Along the way, Apple had to contend with new competitors like Roku, Amazon’s Fire streaming devices, Google’s TV efforts, and other smart TV operating systems like webOS on LG TVs. This isn’t even to mention indirect competition from game consoles like the Xbox and PlayStation. In 2020, Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD are by far the most expensive streaming boxes. But unlike other Apple products, the Apple TV doesn’t do much to justify the premium.

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Concept: With so many new products, Apple should replace the ‘Watch’ app with an ‘Accessories’ app

Apple has been releasing smart accessories at a rapidly increasing rate. Many of them are accessories designed to not just work with your Apple devices, but require you to use an Apple device. Currently, Apple has settings and management tools for their accessories all over the place. Apple Watch has its own management app, AirPods are buried in Bluetooth settings and peripherals customization exists deep in the Settings app. There’s got to be a better solution and I think it’s turning the dedicated Watch app into an Accessories app.

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Concept: With Fitness+, Apple should expand its Apple Watch lineup with a true Fitbit killer

By the time you are reading this, Apple Fitness+ will have probably launched. It’s not Apple’s first foray into social fitness but it is a giant opportunity for them to expand the Apple Watch’s user base. Apple Watch is the best selling watch in the world, but there are still tons of people who either want to wear a traditional watch or don’t want to spend the money on a new Apple Watch. The latter tend to purchase Fitbits or other popular fitness bands that still have basic smartwatch features and track their fitness.

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Concept: Getting more value out of Apple’s MagSafe Sleeve for iPhone 12

Nearly all of Apple’s MagSafe accessories for iPhone 12 provide a decent amount of value. But one of them has so much underutilized potential coupled with an astronomical price tag. Of course, I’m talking about Apple’s new MagSafe Sleeve.

Apple has been making really high-quality leather sleeves for various products for a couple of years now but the MagSafe Leather Sleeve is unique. Not only does the MagSafe Sleeve include a card slot, it also has a window that displays the clock and occasionally pertinent information. Unfortunately, Apple hasn’t taken full advantage of what it’s created.

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