I am a major fan of technology in general. Western Digital's new media box for the living room is pretty cool, Google's Android mobile OS is really nice, and Creative Labs surprised people with their Zii Egg development package. However, I am a fan of Apple and their amazing products before any of these other great companies. I will give my hopes and dreams for other companies in 2010 and even give my opinion on some of the rumors that have been floating around, but for now, let's get Apple out of the way. Let's face it, they have been one of the most exciting tech companies in the last decade. People can't help but be excited to see what they do next.
1) The Next Generation iPhone
Every year the iPhone hardware and software gets a major upgrade. So far the rumors for the next gen iPhone have been about a CDMA version and a version made to work on the upcoming 4G cellular network. I haven't really heard much else. Here are some possibilities that I think could definitely come true for the iPhone this year. I do believe that with all the negativity involving AT&T, the iPhone will be available to more US carriers this year. The only problem I see with CDMA is the battery life. The iPhone already has poor battery life and CDMA technology is even harder on the battery. I think this year the iPhone will definitely get another speed boost and an upgrade to the camera. Other hardware changes I see possible would be the switch to an OLED screen. I still don't think that a real keyboard will be coming anytime soon.
2) Camera for the iPod Touch
Thanks to the people at ifixit.com, there is really good evidence that the iPod Touch was supposed to get a camera. I think that will happen this year. To keep from stealing sales from the iPhone, I believe the iPhone will get a camera upgrade and the iPod Touch will get the iPhone's current camera.
3) MIDI Controller App.
There is Keynote Remote, Remote, Air Mouse, LogMeIn, and many music making apps that are just so much fun. I believe the next step would be to make a MIDI controller app for Garageband and Logic. The multitouch interface has proven to be a great asset in mobile music making. I think that the iPhone/ iPod touch would make a multi-talented controller that can do so many things all from one control device.
4) New Multitouch Technology for Macs
I really enjoy the multitouch trackpad on Macbooks and the new Magic Mouse, but the technology can be taken further. Apple should replace the Macbook's trackpad with a multitouch LCD. It will function just as the trackpad but will have added functionality. A switch or keyboard shortcut could toggle between trackpad functionality and the added features. Apple could port the widgets used in Dashboard to the LCD. It would function almost like the apps on the iPhone. The Macbook's keyboard (and Apple's wireless keyboard) lack a numeric keypad. This new multitouch LCD could also double as a built-in numeric keypad and calculator. Spotlight searches and Cover Flow could also be moved to this LCD to quickly do searches and scroll through options. This added LCD could also replace the numeric keypad on Apple's full size keyboard.
5) The Mac Tablet
I am truly convinced that the Mac Tablet will be available soon. Major media is already preparing for it, multiple patents that would support the creation of such a device are surfacing everyday, and the components Apple has been ordering all point to it's imminent arrival. The only questions left are the features, OS and price. Based on the nature of the device I would expect a hybrid of OSX and the iPhone OS. Such an operating system could be enough to steal the wind out of the Google Chrome OS's sails when it arrives.
6) A Mac Netbook Running the Tablet OS
The ability of P.A. Semi to make small, quick, and low power processors for Apple could prove very useful in implementing a netbook platform for Apple. Imagine Apple using it's know-how from making the Mac Mini, iPhone/ iPod Touch, and a Mac Tablet to create a fairly inexpensive and extremely fast netbook. It is entirely possible for Apple to make a sub $500 netbook device.
7) Midway Mac Desktop
Apple has been gaining much popularity in recent years. Beautifully made computers and the consistent blunders of Microsoft have put Mac popularity at an all time high with seemingly no end in sight. To really steal some market share from PC makers, it would be in Apple's best interest to make an affordable and customizable desktop. The Mac Pro is overkill for the average person and the Mac Mini is a great machine but it lacks the ability to expand. If the geniuses over at Apple could put the Mac Mini's hardware in an easily accessible and expandable form factor, the price would stay reasonable and consumers that don't have a lot of money but still want options after their purchase would be happy. It's a step that would put pressure on Microsoft and the PC world.
8) The Future of iTunes
Apple recently purchased music streaming company LaLa. The most recent rumors indicate a major overhaul of the iTunes user interface and the ability to stream content for a fee, of course. iTunes already has podcasts and internet radio stations but they don't compare to the personal radio stations offered by Slacker Radio, Pandora, and LastFM. The ability to stream video will make iTunes more competitive with Netflix, Boxee and Hulu. Although Hulu is currently free, 2010 will bring subscription fees for the service. Content streaming on iTunes will also improve the highly overlooked Apple TV.
9) Apple TV in 2010
Sooner or later content streaming will be available through iTunes. It's not a matter of "if" but "when." This feature along with a DVR feature would make the Apple TV a hit. It isn't a bad product in it's current form but it definitely isn't great. The latest software update is a nice touch but the hardware still uses an IDE hard drive and was originally designed in the days of OSX Tiger. Updating to the current hardware standards, DVR capabilities, the iTunes streaming, and maybe even a full featured remote, would make the Apple TV an exciting product.
10) MobileMe 2.0
Cloud computing, whether we like it or not, is the future of computing. Apple's entry into the cloud is the expensive, feature packed MobileMe. If Apple wants cloud computing to catch on ( maybe they do, maybe they don't) there has to be a less expensive alternative. I was an early adopter of cloud computing but I don't need all the features MobileMe offers and I don't need to spend $99 a year to back up my data. Please Apple, give us some other options!