The latest buzz online says that Apple may introduce a 7-inch iPad next year. The source of many of the rumors circulating is DigiTimes, a Taiwan-based publication that typically cites component suppliers as its sources -- and that has mixed success in its prognostications. You can read more on AppleInsider.
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.
I recently finished an article for the next issue of iPhone Life (on newsstands in February) about video aggregator apps. These are a lot of fun, in that they collect videos from your social networks and other favorite news or web sources and present them in a Flipboard-like fashion. I've written about Plizy in the past, and in my article I also highlighted Showyou. These two are my favorites, and both are free.
The Apple TV is an iOS device, and is certainly lagging behind other iOS devices in terms of sales. But according to a report on RapidTVNews, Apple is on track to sell 4 mlllion Apple TV settop boxes in 2011, representing one-third of global sales of an expected 12 million. The report says that the market for connected settop boxes has doubled this year, and it seems that the trend will only accelerate -- with Apple leading the way.
In a press release today that was mostly about the App Store for the Macintosh, Apple also gave salient figures for iOS: over 500,000 apps avialble, over 18 billion total downloads, and over 1 billion apps being downloaded per month. Of course, with all those apps it's a challenge to find the ones that meet your needs. Check out the iPhone Apps Starter Kit, which gives you a good basic selection of apps to check out.
DigiTimes can always be relied upon for rumors, though they have a mixed record regarding whether those rumors end up being true. Their sources of information are Apple's suppliers in Asia. And those sources are now saying that we can except the iPad 3 around March or so. The component manufacturers say that they're preparing to reduce production of iPad 2 components and are now delivering components for the iPad 3.
Flipboard is one of the most popular apps for the iPad. And it was so heavily downloaded when it was released earlier this week for the iPhone that the added traffic brought down Flipboard's servers. Now Google has jumped into this popular space — apps that aggregate your social media content, news, and other web content into a personally tailored, very attractive, magazine-like format. Google Currents (free) is available as a universal app for both the iPhone and iPad.
Texting is the main mode of communication for many smartphone users who disdain email, especially the younger generation. And in Asia, emoji icons have long been a staple of text messaging. They liven up text messages in a way not possible via emoticons -- those little smily faces or frowns made from colons and parentheses. Now Apple is apparently bringing emoji to the iPhone.
Big news late yesterday: the wildly popular Flipboard app (free) originally available only for the iPad is now available for the iPhone as a universal app. Flipboard is so popular, and so many iPhone users downloaded it, that CNET is reporting that the service is down. The app gives you an amazing new window onto Facebook and other social networking services.
Siri is a hit — one of the major reasons that sales the iPhone 4S haven't yet plateaued. Sales just keep accelerating. And everyone has been imagining that the lovable and useful Siri will become more widely available: on other devices, as an interface for other apps, and in additional languages. Now some new job postings by Apple give hints that this is coming.