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OS X 10.9: Five new features we’d like to see on our Macs

iOS 7 might be stealing the show as far as pre-WWDC rumours go, but we reckon Apple have got something special planned for Mac, too. Here's our OS X wish list.

OSX - Siri - Main
Could Siri in OS X 10.9 actually happen? There’s only one way to find out (hint: it involves waiting until monday)

With Apple’s keynote kicking off WWDC 2013 on Monday, the rumour mills are well and truly in motion with plenty of speculation about what’s in store for Jony Ive’s iOS 7. When it comes to OS X 10.9, though, things are a little on the quiet side. We already know that Apple are planning to show off the latest versions of both iOS and OS X at WWDC, so it seems only fair we take a few moments to share our wish list (and occasional wild speculation) for OS X 10.9.

1. A Flat(-ish) UI (AKA the obvious wish)

We already know that Jony Ive is stripping back those overblown textures on iOS 7 in favour of something far more stripped back, even ‘black and white’ (although not literally). It kind-of makes sense, then to see the exact same thing happen with OS X. Contacts, Calendars, Notes, Reminders, and the absolute indignity (not my words, those of someone else on the iCreate team who’ll remain unnamed) that is Game Center – we’re hoping all of these will get Ive’s flat-ish treatment.

On the subject of that, don’t expect either iOS 7 or OS X 10.9 to end up looking like Windows 8 (complete with a missing key feature – we’re looking at you, Start Menu), if the WWDC app icon is anything to go by, subtle gradients and even more subtle drop shadows will play a part here. To be honest, we don’t care how ‘flat’ this looks, as long as someone takes that green felt out to the woods and puts it (and everyone else) out of its misery.

2. Better iMessage integration (AKA the ‘for-the-sake-of-the-kids-please-fix-this’ wish)

Apple’s OS X 10.8.4 update might’ve gone some way to sorting out the abomination which is iMessage on OS X, but it’s still not quite gone far enough; messages are occasionally out of sync (even after the update), it’s not always fast to sync up once loaded and you can forget about avatars from Contacts working properly.

It’s not that iMessage is unusably bad, but it certainly didn’t seem to get the same amount of spit and polish (you ned a lot of that polish for the wood textures) that the rest of Mountain Lion’s apps got. Maybe that was due to it being launched in Beta for Lion users earlier on, maybe it’s just because cross-platoform messaging services ain’t easy to make, we’re not sure. All we do know is that we want it running as smoothly as Usain Bolt on a fine Summer’s day in London’s glorious Olympic stadium.

TotalFinder 2
TotalFinder on OS X 10.8

3. Tabbed Finder (AKA the power user’s wish)

This one comes courtesy of our esteemed Reviews Editor, Stephen Ashby, who reckons it makes perfect sense to introduce tabs into Finder for convenient switching between different folders across your entire Mac. After all, who wouldn’t prefer a few less pesky finder windows getting in the way of that starfield desktop behind? Of course there’s the argument that third-party apps already do a stellar job of providing this functionality, but that’s missing the point. To paraphrase Shirley Bassey, nobody does it better than Apple.

If you’re desperate to get this feature right now, or just fancy seeing what it might look like if Apple decide to take a look at our wish list before Monday, you could always download TotalFinder – there’s a 14-day free trial and it’ll cost you no more than $18 if you want to keep it forever (or Apple decides to ignore our wish list before Monday).

4. Siri integration (AKA the ‘crazy-but-still plausible’ wish)

Siri is on the iPhone, the iPad and even the iPod touch, so why no OS X lovin’, Apple? Isn’t about time everyone’s favourite, reliable (well, most of the time) virtual personal assistant made his/her (depending on where you live) to the Mac? We could see Siri sitting into OS X’s Notification Center perfectly (Don’t believe us? Check out the image above) and with most Macs almost always connected to the internet, it doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch to ask your Retina MacBook Pro for a few details on the terminal velocity of an unladen swallow.

While we’re at, Siri as a whole is due a bit of an upgrade, no? If Google voice search can work offline, recognise speech with military precision and provide a natural language answer quicker than you can say, “Ok Google, who is Jean Claude Van Damme?”, then Cupertino can surely play catch-up, right?

5. iCloud user accounts (AKA the ‘are-you-just-plain-crazy?!’ wish)

Here’s our wildcard wish; iCloud user accounts. Imagine being able to rock up to any Mac in the world and, for a small fee of just $99 per year), type in your iCloud ID to have everything you keep on your Mac (and we mean everything – from desktop backgrounds to app settings) appear on that machine. Everything you do remains backed up to iCloud (hopefully North Carolina wont’ mind a few more servers knocking around) and is available anywhere in the world with a decent enough internet connection to download your data.

Okay, it might be a long shot, and we’d hazard a guess that there’s a few technical hurdles (read as: a lot of technical hurdles) in the way of this happening, but we can dream, right?

What we do know for sure is that we’ll find out exactly what’s in OS X 10.9 on Monday (including which big cat it happens to be named after). Of course, we’ll be covering the whole keynote over on Twitter (@iCreateMagazine) and everything you need to know will be up here, on the website, right after it ends.