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Here’s what the Mac needs in 2024 to not fall behind

The last 12 months have been pretty exciting if you’re of the Mac persuasion. We’ve had Apple’s best-ever computer chips, some incredible games landing on the Mac, plus an all-new size for the MacBook Air. Oh, and Apple also (finally) killed off the 13-inch MacBook Pro, its worst MacBook by far.

With 2024 just a day or two away, I’m starting to think about what could be coming next. I’ve got my wish list ready — if Apple can bring the following four things to the Mac over the course of the next year, I’ll be very happy indeed. Sure, I’ll also be incredibly lucky if they all come to fruition, but there’s no harm in being optimistic, right?

Face ID is a must

A close up of the 2021 MacBook Pro showing its display notch.
Digital Trends

At this point, the lack of Face ID on any Mac absolutely baffles me. It feels like such an obvious improvement over the status quo: You would sit down at your desk and simply look at your screen to unlock it, with no need to enter a password or even reach over to a Touch ID button.

Yet it still isn’t here, despite Face ID arriving on the iPhone all the way back in 2017. The fact that it took until 2021 for the iMac to get Touch ID — despite it being in iPhones since 2013 — doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence.

That said, we know Apple is working on bringing facial recognition to the Mac thanks to a slate of patents detailing just such a system. I can’t imagine it’s something Apple doesn’t want to bring to its computers — the company said in the past that Face ID’s chances of being fooled were one in a million versus Touch ID’s one in 50,000 — so something must be holding it back. I’m just hoping it’s nothing too fundamental and that Face ID finally splashes down on the Mac in 2024.

Proper AI capabilities

An iPhone on a table with the Siri activation animation playing on the screen.
Omid Armin / Unsplash

There’s no doubt about it: 2023 was the year of artificial intelligence (AI). From GPT-4 to Google Gemini, the past 12 months have been full of progress, surprises, and scandals. Yet one company was seemingly absent from all this new tech: Apple.

OK, that’s not quite fair. Apple actually bakes AI into tons of its products and features, from iPhone photography to FaceTime video reactions in macOS Sonoma. There’s a Neural Engine inside every Apple silicon chip, and it’s there specifically to handle AI tasks. But what the Mac is lacking is proper generative AI.

Think about how Microsoft is weaving Copilot into almost every aspect of Windows 11. You can use it to summarize meetings, generate images, draft emails, and much more. Apple’s Siri, on the other hand? Well, the less said about that, the better.

In 2024, I want all that to change. Tim Cook has already admitted that Apple is working on generative AI, and various leaks have suggested it’s coming soon. Come Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June, I want to see generative AI make a huge splash. It could end up taking your Mac to the next level.

The Dynamic Island

The iPhone 14 Pro Max and its Dynamic Island.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

The iPhone has had a notch for years, but it’s a fairly recent addition to the Mac. Right now, it’s pretty lackluster — it houses your front-facing camera and not much else (here’s hoping Face ID is soon added to the list). But there’s an easy way Apple could seriously ramp it up: turn it into a Dynamic Island.

If you don’t know, the Dynamic Island is a feature on the iPhone 15 that lets apps add contextual information to the black bar at the top of the device. It’s a nifty way to keep an eye on ongoing tasks and events, like countdown timers and sports scores, without opening any apps in the foreground. That makes it great for multitasking.

The Mac is tailor-made for this. After all, it’s a product where most people get their serious work done. Adding the Dynamic Island could help to make you even more productive throughout the day. The Mac already has a notch, after all, so why not put it to better use?

More AAA games

Lies of P being played on an iMac.
Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

Looking back, 2023 has been a defining year for Mac gaming. Not only have we had some (literally) game-changing hardware, from the M3 series of chips to hardware-accelerated ray tracing, but some seriously big-name games have landed on the Mac. That includes Baldur’s Gate 3, Lies of P, Resident Evil 4, and more. There’s never been a better time to play games on the Mac.

I want to see that momentum continue into 2024. We know Apple has the hardware to dominate gaming, but it needs more top-tier titles for Mac gamers to add to their libraries. Without that, it won’t be able to attract more players.

Apple has said it’s working with developers to bring games to the Mac, and earlier this year, it brought out a game porting toolkit to help them do just that. If it can attract serious numbers of players, it’ll help create a virtuous cycle of more games and more gamers. I’m hoping Apple can do just that in 2024.

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