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2012 Predictions: Macworld's annual forecast of the year ahead

Macworld Staff | Jan. 9, 2012
At the end of every year, we take the requisite look back, and the end of 2011 was no exception—we reviewed the year in iOS, the year in Mac, Apple’s financial performance, the year in quotes, and Macworld’s most read and most loved and loathed stories.

Pie-in-the-sky wish: Apple isn’t going to buy a cellular carrier, since it makes little sense for the company to learn to operate a completely different business. However, I’d really like to see Apple create a worldwide “mobile virtual network operator”—industry-speak for a cellular carrier that owns no towers or spectrum licenses, but instead leases its entire infrastructure from other carriers. Apple could then sell voice and data service for all iOS devices (and my predicted cellular-capable MacBooks!) with simple, affordable pricing that would make iOS devices even more attractive than Android-based smartphones and tablets.

John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Last year’s score: Mac OS X, 1.0; iOS, 0.75; hardware, 0.5; pie, 0. Total = 2.25/4.0

Mac OS X: I don’t expect any major Mac OS X news this year. For example, I don’t expect to hear about Mac OS X 10.8 at WWDC this year.

iOS: I think we’ll see iOS 6 in June at WWDC, on the same schedule as iOS 5 last year. I’m not sure what to predict about it specifically, though, because with the past few releases of iOS, Apple has picked off all the low-hanging fruit: copy and paste, multitasking, a better notification system—there’s nothing major like that missing from iOS today.

What I would like to see is SDK support for third-party apps to interact with Siri, and maybe for creating Notification Center widgets like the built-in Weather and Stocks options.

Hardware: New iPads early in 2012, including high-end models with double-resolution retina displays. I think Apple will continue selling the existing iPad 2 alongside the new ones, or introduce a new lower-end model that still sports today’s 1024- by 768-pixel screen, simply because I think the retina-display iPad will be a bit expensive. I think the new iPads models will use the same screen size as today’s—no 7-inch model.

I also think we’ll see a brand-new iPhone later in the year, pretty much on the same schedule as the iPhone 4S, but this time with a redesigned exterior. I don’t think we’ll see a bigger screen on the iPhone. This trend towards 4.5- and 5-inch displays on Android and Windows phones seems like a mistake to me—I think the iPhone needs to get smaller (especially thinner), not bigger. I also think Apple is very serious about pushing the boundaries of mobile-phone photography, so I expect to see an even better camera than the 4S’s in the next iPhone.

Finally, by this time next year, I expect the 15-inch MacBook Pro to look like a larger version of the current MacBook Air: thinner, lighter, SSD-only, with no optical drive. And maybe the high-end MacBooks will go retina display, doubling the pixel resolution.


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