Barry Eitel

As should be expected when you gather any fan base together, looming questions about Apple’s future fluttered around this year’s Macworld/iWorld, often debated on the Expo Hall floor, at Appalooza and at the bars surrounding Moscone.

The perpetually turning, conniving and whispering Apple rumor mill has big plans for 2013. Supposedly, we’re getting upgrades to everyone’s favorite iDevices, including a cheap iPhone “Mini” and something the Chinese press is calling an “iPhone Math.”

There’s also been lots of gossip about an “iTV,” a television set thingie that many believe could turn the industry on its head and be the next game changer from Cupertino (and the first since Steve Jobs’ passing).

There was a panel during Macworld discussing everyone’s favorite corporation’s future entitled “State of Apple 2013,” although it should’ve been called “Get Off Apple’s Back, People.”

Dan Moren, senior editor of Macworld, talked tech with cofounder of gdgt Ryan Block, Wired staff writer Christina Bonnington, Ars Technica editor Jacqui Cheng and tech blogger John Gruber.

In their eyes, Apple’s critics were misinformed, jealous and/or paranoid.

“People like the underdog,” Bonnington said. “People just cut Apple down because it’s in the headlines all the time.

“People don’t even know what they want,” Cheng added. “They want something new and exciting. People need to be more patient.”

In terms of new products, the panel’s requests were small.

“Almost every single screen size, down to the half inch, is covered,” claimed Block.

“Make things waterproof,” requested Bonnington, “that’s what I want.”

“So much of the room for improvement is incremental,” concluded Gruber, claiming he just wants better battery life and better cameras for the mobile devices.

The panel’s hope for Apple’s future is not so strongly shared by all.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, no stranger to criticizing his child, had strong words for the company in the wake of Macworld/iWorld. He shared his thoughts with a German magazine yesterday.

“Currently we are, in my opinion, somewhat behind with features in the smartphone business,” Woz commented. “Others have caught up. Samsung is a big competitor. But precisely because they are currently making great products.”

He’ll still wait in line for the next great iDevice, though.

“The launch of a new Apple product is for me like a big, major concert which you absolutely must attend personally. It's history,” he continued. “Sure, I could order online or call the store manager so that they smuggled me in the back door. But that would be nothing. No, I will have the experience like any normal customer. But one thing is certain. If Apple made lousy products, I would not be in line.”

For more of Allvoices' coverage of Macworld/iWorld 2013, the Ultimate iFan Event, check out