I've been a FreeHand user since the 80's and so am a hard fast fan. I've tried Adobe Illustrator so many times but have always moved back to FreeHand to do the work I need to do. I find Illustrator blotted with features I'd never use and a UI that I can't fully understand. FreeHand had a simple yet easy to understand set of tools and commands. For example I find Illustrators massive set of selection tools confusing, why do you need so many different selection tools when one can do the same job, FreeHand has one primary selection tool and keystrokes if you need to get deeper into a selection... simple! Also, the terminology of filters and commands in FreeHand are easy to understand, for instance the "paste into" command does exactly what it sounds like where as in Adobe Illustrator the same function is "Create compound Mask", it took me forever to find it and then I found it seems to has limitation as to how many points it can handle, FreeHand's function just worked!
So what do I want in a new application? Well basically a clean and simple to understand set of tools, similar to FreeHand, not too many subset tools unless needed. A set of commands that do what they say and don't make me spend hours testing them to work out what they do. I'd also like to see a palette system that gives you access to menu features and tools I'd use daily, Illustrator seems to have a lot of menu features (i.e.: step and repeat) but no palette access to them so you're forced to always go into the menu bar to access them which is very slow if you need to access them multiple times.
I'd also like to see a lot of FreeHand features, I miss the transform palatte which gives you easy access to move, rotate, mirror,etc objects live. I also loved that when moving, rotating, etc an object FreeHand kept the values of the action in it's memory so you could then simply select another object and use the "duplicate" feature to duplicate the exact same offsets to another object.
There's so much I'd like to see but not enough time to go into depth so here's a quick list of some other elements I'd like to see:
• A easy to use ColorSync profiling system
• Mirroring tool (accessible by a toolbar)
• Envelope distortion tool (accessible by a toolbar)
• Path combining tool (accessible by a toolbar)
• Path blending tool (accessible by a toolbar)
• 3D path effect tool (accessible by a toolbar)
• Scale, rotate, skew tools (accessible by a toolbar)
• Type palette
• Gradient attribute palette and some sort of fluid gradient tool similar to Illustrators gradient mesh
• Pantone swatch libraries
• CMYK colour compatiblity
• Advanced find/select tool for finding any element including colours line widths, text styles, fonts
• Name all colours in a document feature
• Replace colours/library swatch feature
• A good set of PDF export tools
• Spell checker
• Fast redraw and options for previewing a page
• Layers palette
• Alignment palette
• Properties palette similar to FreeHand (a central palette that gives you access to attributes of an object and the page all of which can be changed)
• Info palette containing co-ordinates, scale, rotate, info for the current selection
• Snap to guides and point feature
• Type on path similar to FreeHand feature
Hope this helps.