Mac/iPhone/iPad features for other types of professionals

I’m tired of “Pro” meaning “video/audio/photo professional.” Yeah, we get it, such folks need a lot of chip power and are happy because a $6000 monitor is so much cheaper than the $30,000 monitor they’d have to buy otherwise.

Speaking as a professional who uses my Mac and iPhone intensively every workday, I’d like to see some attention paid to the needs of pros who deal in other kinds of data. Here are a few products and features I’d like to see from Apple that would increase my productivity.

  • Standalone Retina displays in several sizes, plus:

    • Industrial design that matches the Mac mini, MacBook Air/Pro, and the iMacs
    • Sizing that allows the displays to sit next to the iMacs without needing a book underneath to hit the same height
    • An option for switching to portrait orientation
    • A plethora of ports—I shouldn’t need hubs of any sort
  • Better ergonomics in the iMac line—it’s embarrassing to have to prop them up on books to get them to the proper height. Screens should be able to raise up and down as well as tilting back and forward.

  • Center-focused keyboard and trackpad options for desktop Macs. The keyboard/trackpad layout of the laptops provides balanced ergonomics that’s almost impossible to recreate on the desktop, where the mouse or trackpad is always pushed off—sometimes way off—to the side. (I do it with a Contour Designs RollerMouse.)

  • Front-facing cameras on the Macs that approach the quality of the iPhone/iPad cameras. Videoconferencing is here to stay, and while it’s good that Apple went from the ludicrously terrible 720p to 1080p in the 2020 iMac and 2021 MacBook Pro, that’s not nearly far enough. Plus, Center Stage support is essential so people are not locked into a tiny box in front of their computers for hours every day.

  • FaceTime support that would massively reduce the need for authentication actions beacuse the Mac could see that you were in front of it. Touch ID is a step in the right direction but doesn’t go nearly far enough. Want to make people more productive? Allow them to stop dealing with passwords all the freaking time.

  • Function keys with tiny screens on them, which could provide some of the best of the Touch Bar features (something understandable rather than F3) while still retaining a tactile feel. Since the early 1990s, I’ve mapped my function keys to my primary apps for fast task switching, but I could imagine plenty of other uses if they were easier to see and remember.

  • Rounded edges on the front inside of Apple’s laptops. That edge is really sharp and hard on the hands for those who type for long periods of time.

What other features or product changes would you like to see? Perhaps I’ll turn this into an article when we’re done.



(not that it’s going to happen)

I’ll second the request for Retina display with multiple inputs, full adjustability, and built-in TB4 hub.

My son, who’s doing a PhD in computer vision, also desperately wants CUDA and Nvidia GPUs. I agree that it’s not going to happen internally, given the M1-series GPU approach. But I do think that Apple and Nvidia should make up such that eGPUs are possible.

I think the problem with this one is that Apple never wanted to be in the stand alone monitor business, just as they never wanted to be in the printer business. Aside from the iMac and MacBook lines, the only Apple branded monitor is unique among the models marketing to a very specific user segment who would be switching to PCs otherwise.

Steve Jobs commissioned LaserWriters because neither Apple or Adobe could convince manufacturers that there would be enough of a market to turn a profit. It was hasta la vista for LaserWriters as soon as manufacturers realized there was a humongous market.


For notebook Macs, an Ethernet port. I’ll take a slightly thicker machine that can have an ethernet port without using a dongle.

I’d argue at least a second USB-C port on all iPads would be nice as well.


That may be, but the fact that there’s only one semi-reasonable monitor for Macs in the LG UltraFine 5K display shows that the industry isn’t interested in providing what Mac users need. Which has been when Apple has gotten into peripheral businesses in the past.

Fair point, and I would think the new MacBook Pros would be thick enough to enable that.

Interesting, for what purpose? I don’t have a sense of how extensively people use USB-C on the iPad Pro now.

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Connect power and a peripheral at the same time. Connect to two peripherals at the same time. Or if there is one on the portrait end and one on the landscape end, you can use whichever is most convenient to connect.

Function keys with tiny screens on them

I’m evaluating a Stream Deck and it is quite sweet. It should be particularly useful for people who use their macs at a desk. There’s a Keyboard Maestro plugin and an AppleScript Plugin that work so far. I’m still customising it.

The profit margins on monitors tends to be very low, and the field is saturated. I think that’s why Apple developed an ultra high end, high priced, Pro monitor to work with with its high end Mac Pro. There is a well established professional market segment that would need a monitor of its caliber, along with a fancy schmancy stand that can very easily change perspectives. When the Mac Pro was released, there wasn’t an equivalent display or stand that came close in the market. AFAIK, there still isn’t. But I will bet that if the Mac Pro sells enough to define a market, there will be competing monitors with equally high specs, and maybe more, at lower prices. Apple will probably gracefully back away from the high end monitor market.

Apple has been building monitors for MacBooks, iMacs, iPhones and iPads for decades. They would have no problem developing and grinding out their own line of external monitors. My thinking is that there isn’t enough profit out there. There aren’t enough Mac models that require external monitors, and current market is loaded with high quality products from many manufacturers. Apple doesn’t do cheap, and the profits just aren’t out there for non professional displays.

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features or product changes would you like to see

My “ideal” would be for all iMacs to be convertible to external displays/webcams/USB-C hub. (and not through Universal Control) If the internals of iMacs were reengineered for the M1 chip, this should not be infeasible. Even if it was a one-way firmware install, which was not “officially supported”, in the long run it’d beat sending in an old computer for recycling.

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I do agree that the iMac should have some limited adjustability of screen height. However, I actually like the height of my iMac. The key element of my setup is that I have a very stable keyboard tray, large enough to hold an Apple extended keyboard and trackpad. The tray is positioned a few inches below the arms of my desk chair where my forearms usually rest. The monitor sits directly above the keyboard. In that position, my eye position is about 3 inches below the top of the screen, just within the area suggested in several discussions of office ergonomics.

If you try to make do with the iMac sitting at the same level as your keyboard, you will see it as too low (or your keyboard too high). For someone of average male height (about 5’9"), setting the keyboard at a comfortable height and the base of the iMac about 3 inches higher, should work well.

Definitely. Also, the iMac should have USB ports somewhere other than the back. Maybe not on the front but at least along the bottom or side edge. People still have peripherals that they don’t leave connected all the time.

I assume you mean FaceID. Yes, it seems like a no-brainer for an iMac. Maybe they’re concerned that having it on on the iMac will increasing the clamor for it on the laptops, where component thickness is still a problem (I assume it’s coming, that the new MBP notch is as wide as it is to establish it as a norm for when there will be components that need the space).

I wonder if there are technical challenges to implementing FaceID securely and reliably when the device is further from your face. Microsoft has Windows Hello but I don’t know how good it is in comparison.

Entering a real fantasyland of wishes for different classes of pros, how about cables/ports that can’t be pulled out with a minor tug? RJ-45 Ethernet and full-size DisplayPort both include solutions, MagSafe is very solid when pulled perpendicularly. XLR microphones are a non-computer example.

It wouldn’t have to perfect, just firm enough so gravity’s pull on a dangling peripheral or long cable wouldn’t be enough to pull it out. Obviously, firmer connections are not for everyone so it would be better implemented as a feature of “pro” cables and peripherals but would work on all Macs.

Amen. I used to do technical sales support, and the sales guy would get frustrated with me because I insisted on fully securing the SCSI connectors (I’m that old) while setting up the demo. I always told him “Jack, I’ve never had a demo fail due to the cables being securely fastened.” He got the point.

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iMacs with multiple ports. It’s patently absurd that they don’t have models with a mix of ports, and

  • Pro version that allows for aftermarket additions (like ye olde card method) at a reasonable price
  • User replaceable parts

17" or bigger options (I find my MacBook “Pro” 16" is virtually unusable for many types of work. I end up returning to my iMac just to edit Filemaker databases. Laptops are no longer just for carrying about.
. Multiple PORTS Please
. Function Keys, and in my dreams: arrow keys.

I presume you’re referring to the 24-inch iMac, which has just two Thunderbolt ports plus a headphone jack, with the higher-end model adding Gigabit Ethernet and two more USB 3 ports?

The 27-inch model has two Thunderbolt 3 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, four USB-A ports, a headphone jack, and an SDXC card slot. That seems pretty reasonable, and I’m not too bothered that the consumer-level 24-inch iMac has fewer ports.

Is it just the physical size of the display that you’re concerned about? The 16-inch MacBook Pro displays more content on screen than the 17-inch PowerBook G4 did in several of its scaled resolutions.


I understand about the pixels/resolution, but I find it necessary to enlarge everything I do (fonts/images etc)—— higher resolution is not always helpful for reading fine text. At least for my aging eyes):

27" inch? COOL! thanks SO Much (amazingly hadn’t noticed its existence)

To be clear, the current 27-inch iMac is a model introduced in in August 2020 and has an Intel processor. The iMac released this year has an “M1” Apple Silicon processor and only comes in the 24-inch version (with the port variations Adam described).

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An adjustable stand with VESA mounting possibilities for iMac (not necessarily in all available colours, a neutral colour will be fine) & no longer hide the VESA-version of iMac in the store.