Five Surprisingly Missing Apple Features

Mac Finder - Calendar - September 18Apple life has been pretty good these days. With the new Macs, iPhone, iPad and iPod, the company has gone from near death to the most valuable public company in the world. But after hitting the top, where can Apple go from here? Actually, I see lots of potential for Apple. There’s still room for growth. You can tell by the missing features. Even though the company has grown so much, there are still some odd things about Apple — some surprisingly missing features.

For years, Right-Clicking was a problem for the Mac. Now it’s a standard option for Mac Laptops. Not all of the goofy limitations have been resolved. Here are another five…

An App Store for Apple TV – Last Fall, Apple TV was a fairly popular item. I’m not sure why. It seemed quite limited to me. That’s confusing to me, as it runs on a version of iOS. That leads to an obvious question — why doesn’t it have an app store? How popular would the iPhone be without apps? I certainly wouldn’t be an iPhone 4 owner today without the iTunes App Store. So, why is Apple holding back? Why didn’t the little black box launch with an app store? Even better, add a decent remote and a web browser!

With the ability to run high-definition apps and games on TV, it could dramatically change the console market. This goes beyond gaming though, as Apps could be like television channels. À la cart shopping could be a reality, which could significantly alter cable bills. 

With the holiday season approaching, I’m wondering if this could happen in the Fall. Yet, Apple is very secretive about their future plans. I don’t know if an upgraded Apple TV will launch next week, next month, next year or never. Yet, it seems logical that Apple will expand into the living room.

Screen Mirroring on iPhone – Although, if you have an iPad 2, you don’t have to wait for the Apple TV. You can simply use an HDMI cable (and an expensive adapter) to duplicate your iPad 2 screen to a television screen. That’s basically what the Apple TV should be. An iPad 2 can run movies, music, apps and a web browser. What I don’t understand is why this is limited to the iPad 2. I’ve already used my iPhone 4 to show Netflix movies on my TV. Why can’t Apple expand upon this? Jailbreakers can already enjoy this feature.

The iPhone 5 and iOS 5 should be launching soon. I don’t know if this feature will be included with either update, but I’m looking forward to checking things out.

Game Center for Mac – Game Center is a great addition to iOS. Millions of players can compare their scores, achievements and game libraries. They also can play together. That’s why I’m confused about the Mac. Are Desktop/Laptop owners somehow a difference species? No… and Game Center can help bring both platforms closer together.

House Ads for iAds – Not all of Apple’s projects are huge successes. It seems that iAds is one of the flops. Unfortunately, the fill rate is not so great. To counteract this limitation, Apple should give developers the option to run their own ads. AdMob has this feature and I think it’s great. Something like house ads can be added manually — through creative use of Xcode or GameSalad. Although, that’s terribly cumbersome for advertisement people. Something web friendly, like through iTunes Connect, could be more inviting.

I’m concerned about the future of iAds. Is Apple going to improve this service, or will it simply be killed? I think it needs to be opened up a bit. Running an iAds campaign is incredibly expensive. Instead, it should be more affordable and manageable, like Google’s Adsense.

Physical iPhone Keyboard – I really like my iPhone 4. But before my iPhone, I had a T-Mobile G1. Before that I had a Sidekick III. And before that, I had a Sidekick II. What do those smartphones have in common? They all had large QWERTY keyboards. These were physical keyboards, for fast typing. On my iPhone 4, I simply do not type as fast. I just never got used to the virtual keyboard.

Some entrepreneurial individuals have created their own add-ons to the iPhone. Today, it’s possible to buy a keyboard for the iPhone. Yet, why does it have to be this way? The iPhone should have a real keyboard — no bluetooth gimmicks, nothing to recharge. Although, an add-on could work. What if Apple made an official add-on to the iPhone? What if it was a nice keyboard/case that connected to a new iPhone power port? Wouldn’t that be an ideal situation? Apple could still sell the iPhone without a keyboard, but have a cool accessory for those that want it.