Apple

Apple Talk: Top 10 predictions for Apple in 2012

From Apple blunders, to the unleashing of Siri and the great Apple TV set puzzle...
Apple CEO Tim Cook will be under intense scrutiny but even Steve Jobs made mistakes will he was in charge

Apple CEO Tim Cook will be under intense scrutiny but even Steve Jobs made mistakes will he was in chargePhoto: Apple

...cause more uncertainty for those trying to gain traction. Some would-be competitors will fall by the wayside. In 2011 it was HP. In 2012 it could well be RIM.

Prediction 6. Apple makes a mistake and the media goes crazy

Apple makes mistakes. It will inevitably make one in 2012 and Tim Cook will be under intense scrutiny. Investors will wail and gnash their teeth. Lest we forget, Cook was effectively operating as Apple CEO for most of 2011 and the company has hardly suffered.

Apple made mistakes while Jobs was in charge and will probably commit some more. Cook strikes me as the kind of guy who goes to sleep with a risk register under his pillow.

Prediction 7. Siri

The Siri voice assistant application on the iPhone 4S will emerge from beta and proliferate across other Apple devices, starting with the new iPad and later on to the iPhone touch. If it makes it onto a new version of Apple TV that would really make things interesting.

I just can't imagine it being released on legacy devices, only on new products - if only for reasons of server capacity. Siri may also provide new scope for developers to enhance the Apple experience.

I expect Apple to announce that the service has shed its beta tag at the same time it opens the technology out to developers. Should this announcement happen, the logical time and place is June at the Worldwide Developer Conference.

Opening up the Siri voice assistant app to the vast iOS and Mac developer community could propel it far beyond the reach of competitors

Opening up the Siri voice assistant app to the vast iOS and Mac developer community could propel it far beyond the reach of competitorsPhoto: Apple

Siri has been a marketing revelation for Apple. Opening it up to the vast iOS and Mac developer community could propel it far beyond the reach of competitors.

Prediction 8. Old friends, new enemies

Apple may start to move away from Samsung and Google as suppliers as it increasingly competes with them. A master operations guy, Cook will not risk his beloved supply chain efficiencies.

Likewise, Apple has been snapping up companies specialising in mapping technology. It may feel confident enough to ditch Google maps in favour of its own in-house mapping service.

Meanwhile, the patent wars will continue with the same levels of ferocity and tedium. Apple and Samsung lawyers will know each other better than their spouses and partners by the end of 2012.

Prediction 9. No Apple TV set

Jobs managed to set imaginations racing when he stated posthumously in his biography that he had finally cracked the problem of the TV. That may be the case but that doesn't mean we're about to see one. This issue is likely to be the big rumour of the year.

It's not beyond the realms of imagination but it may be too soon for Apple's tilt at living room domination. The matter of negotiating with the networks is a small matter. Any updates to the existing Apple TV box might offer some clues as to future directions Apple has for the ultimate consumer product market.

Prediction 10. MacBook Pro will evolve into something resembling the MacBook Air

Jobs described the Air as the future of mobile computing. Don't expect the company to let Apple's range of powerful notebooks linger in the past. But whether the two ranges will merge is a different matter altogether. The company does like simplified product ranges, especially as the marketing focus shifts from the tech-savvy to the tech-curious.

Jobs described the MacBook Air as the next generation for MacBooks and added that Apple believed all notebooks would be like it one day. Don't bet against that day falling within the next 12 months.

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