It's that time of year — when we see Best lists for the past year and predictions for the coming year. CNET has posted Five predictions for 2012. Some are obvious, others more speciulative. Let's consider some of them.
* Redesigned iPhone 5 — This one seems obvious. Already there's a lot of evidence that we'll see a redesigned iPhone with a 4-inch screen. As the artilce points out, other carriers are going in the direction of a larger screen. Also, a redesign would fit the cycle that's held so far: a new design every other year, with a speed/feature bump in the intervening years. In 2011 we saw a new camera, faster processor, and Siri, but the iPhone 4S is essentially the same dsign as the iPhone 4. It seems inevitible that we'll see something new around June of 2012.
* Siri opened to developers — Given that Apple hasn't yet clamped down on the hacks that are already out there, and given how this would broaden the appeal of Siri even more, I agree with CNET that Apple will open up Siri to developers in 2102 so that you can control a wide range of apps via voice. Siri is the new interface for mobile devices that will replace touch for many many functions, and there's every reason to assume that it will eventually permeate the platform.
* No Apple TV set — CNET's Josh Lowensohn predicts that we won't see an Apple TV set in 2012, though feels that it will eventually come. Part of his evidence is that Steve Jobs's biographer, who had stoked expectations based on a passage in his book, said in an interview that the Apple TV set was still very theoretical and that Apple wasn't at all close to actually bringing out something. I think this is a next big market for Apple, and clearly it was one of the things that Steve Jobs was focussed on at the time of his passing. So it will happen, especially if Apple wants to continue its statospheric growth. I'm guessing we'll see a major development in this area in 2012 — either a full-fledged TV or a big step forward in Apple TV, such as integration of Siri.
* iTunes fades — Another article on CNET predicts that iTunes will fade in 2012 in favor or subscription services. That is, you pay a set fee per month and have access to all the music you want. The author, Greg Sandoval, says that music downloads is a tired concept and that Spotify is positioned to have a greater effect on the market.
Others are predicting that the iPhone juggernaut will overtake Nokia in 2012, and I think this is a good bet. Apple is forecast to sell nearly 200 million iPhone next year. According to MacRumors, which cites a Morgan Stanley report, that would nearly double the iPhone sales for 2011. The market analyst also is predicting that Apple will sell 80 million iPads, compared to 25 million having been sold so far this year.
It's hard not to be amazed by Apple's success, and pretty obvious that the momentum will carry into the new year. No wonder that the Steve Jobs autobiography is the bestselling book of the year on Amazon, and #1 on the New York Times bestseller list.