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WWDC 2013 Countdown: Four Things Apple Should Announce In June

Four weeks from today, Apple CEO Tim Cook will take to the podium at the Worldwide Developers Conference to deliver his keynote. During this event, we’ll finally have a better idea what Cupertino’s plans are for the year. Between now and then, we’re going to offer occasional reports on what type of products and features Apple should announce on June 10. For our inaugural report, we offer four such features/products.

iWorks ‘14

Apple may want us to live in a “post-PC” world. However, the reality on the ground is that most businesses still rely on desktops and laptops to get the majority of their work done. To achieve this, most businesses continue to rely on Microsoft’s Office suite, which really isn’t a surprise. Apple’s productivity suite, iWork, was never the market leader. However, there was a time when it was a suitable alternative to Microsoft’s product. In recent years, however, Apple’s suite seems to have become little more than an afterthought. How else to explain the fact that Mac versions of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote haven’t seen a significant update since the waning days of the George W. Bush presidency? You can’t, of course. Hopefully, an iWork reboot is coming. If not, maybe it would be wise for Apple to put it out of its misery once and for all.

iPhoto reboot

Last refreshed in October 2010, Apple’s most popular photography application for Mac is in need of a major overhaul. Like iTunes before it, iPhoto ’11 has become so bloated in recent years that the joy of using it has largely disappeared. To make iPhoto more usable, Apple needs to figure out a way to make the photo streaming process less taxing on the Mac. Plus, would it be asking too much to see photo stream images via the Finder? Additionally, while iPhoto’s Face feature is nice, it probably isn’t a benefit for most users. Therefore, Apple should give us a way to turn this feature off, as you can do in Aperture.

iOS trial software

The Mac ecosystem has always been a great place to try out quality software before you buy. Unfortunately, this has never been the case for iOS. Despite the rise of freemium apps, Apple has never gotten around to creating a system where full featured paid apps can be tried for free. One can hope that we will see this change in iOS 7.

Rethink iTunes Match

When it arrived in November 2011, iTunes Match came with an interesting premise. For $24.99 per year, Apple would scan and match tracks (even those on CDs) to a users’ music library and convert the files to a better format, when applicable. Apple has always sold iTunes Match as a yearly subscription. And yet, once you get past the first year, there is little to justify shelling out $24.99 again. Even if a user, for example, stops paying for the iTunes Match service, all copies of the DRM-free AAC iTunes Store versions of tracks that have already been downloaded onto any device can be kept, whether iOS devices or computers. Going forward, Apple needs to rethink the iTunes Match premise to keep it relevant. Rumors continue to suggest that Apple is readying a free "iRadio" service for iTunes users. Perhaps iTunes Match should be reinvented to included some "premium" iRadio features along with the song matching. Otherwise, make iTunes Match a one-and-done proposition in terms of price. What new products and/or features do you want to see Apple announce this year?
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