Industry watchers have been waiting to see how Apple might break out of the doldrums it's been in since the passing of Steve Jobs. Apple is still in good shape, with great products and cash out the wazoo, but there's been nothing magical for a while.
The company needs to do something to demonstrate that the magic isn't gone; it's just been resting.
It won't take anything earth-shaking to make that statement, simple actions will return Apple to the limelight. One or two such actions will propel the company back up on the stage where it wants to be.
Here are five things so Apple can pick and choose what it wants to do.
Retina in the Air
The MacBook Air has been around for a while and it's still a fine piece of engineering. The two available sizes cover most everyone's needs, while still being as thin and light as can be. The long battery life is outstanding, and the recent price drops make them more affordable than ever.
As good as they are, they're still missing the Retina Display now found in almost every other Apple product. They're good without the high-resolution displays, but they'd be almost perfect if they had them. Of course, Apple would need to make sure the battery life wasn't impacted too badly while using the Retina Display, but it's done that before with the iPad.
Bring back the big MacBook Pro
The two MacBook Pros are a work of art with the simple aluminum casing and the Retina Display lacking in the MacBook Air. Long battery life and outstanding performance are enjoyed by owners of either the 13- or 15-inch model. Like the MacBook Air, they are great laptops without shortcomings.
It's time for Apple to bring back a 17-inch MacBook. The larger display would be a boon for some professionals who need as much screen real estate as they can get when on the go. Imagine the beautiful 15-inch MacBook Pro stretched out to accommodate a 17-inch model. That would be something.
I still see folks working in public venues with old 17-inch MacBooks. When asked why they do so, they almost always mention needing the larger display. If you build it, Apple, I'm pretty sure they will come.
Speaking of the MacBook Air and Pro, they have one glaring omission that Apple simply must fix. It's high time to make integrated 4G/LTE an option on every MacBook in the store. Forcing customers to do without connectivity or to use a mobile hotspot when away from Wi-Fi is not very cool.
Make LTE an option at purchase time, and price it properly. Give MacBook owners the ability to get online everywhere, like they can do with all of your other products. Your competitors do this, you know.
Join iPhone and iPad at the hip
You know what would be cool? Sitting in front of the TV, iPad in hand and iPhone in the pocket. Phone call rings in on the iPhone, and also on the iPad in front of you. A swipe of a finger and you're engaged in the call on the iPad. Finish up and hit the end call button, then pick up with whatever you were doing on the iPad before the call.
Linking could be done over Bluetooth, and should handle text messaging as well as phone calls. The iPad should handle this stuff just as well as the iPhone. Why take the phone out of the pocket when the iPad is right there in front of you?
Release the iBeats line quickly
If Apple is indeed buying Beats Audio, and it seems likely, then get a premium line of iBeats headphones to market fast. Change them up a little, say put the Apple logo with the Beats logo, and get them for sale in the Apple Store. Have both wired and wireless models to appeal to everybody.
To be really cool, put a Touch ID sensor on them so they wake up the MacBook, iPad, or iPhone to which they are connected. The action would also wake up the headphones and get them connected. This would make them part of the Apple ecosystem by offering a user experience tailored to Apple's products.