Predictions for the future
Here is my short list of technology predictions for the future regarding Apple.
VOICE OVER IP
iOS will have built in voice-over-IP as it has iMessages today. Today iPhone knows that it is talking to another iPhone on the other side of iMessage App. It is just a matter of small step to include this detection progress into your phone addressbook and whenever you call aonther iOS (and you have bandwidth to support it) you get a free call. Well, not free free, you still pay for data, but you get the idea. Some people argue that this would be too big kick-in-the-balls for the telecoms. However, this already happened with fixed line telecoms. We all had land line phones. Then we upgraded this to include fast internet connection, and today those fixed line telecoms serve the purpose of only ISP. Most people I know no longer use “ordinary” land lines. This will happen to mobile phone carriers as well. Their “land line” will diminish and only internet connection will remain.
Apple will build a TV. In essence, it will be a large iPad. There will be App Store to hold apps for TV which can be used with remote as interface, access to iTunes and all the shows and movies there. In combination with iCloud this is ideal. You never store anything on your TV, there is no need to download, only stream. Of course, the TV needs to have all sorts of connectors on the back so you can watch ordinary stuff as well. Why TV? Simple, Apple needs to extend the reach into consumer market even further. Not everyone is OK with the way iPad works and feels. For some, it is too complicated. And TV – if well designed – means more market. It’s a no brainer.
SCREEN SIZE AND RESOLUTION
iPad will get Retina class display. But the physical size of displays in both iPod/iPhone and iPad will stay the same. People all over the internet debated why should it stay the same, and all sorts of answers arise. Most common is that on iPhone now, while you hold it with one hand you can use just your thumb to cover entire screen, there is no need to fumble your phone in hand. However, there is one more and I would say bigger reason: if you enlarge the screen while keeping the pixel count the same, things start to look more pixelated (obviously) and a lot of design tricks would no longer work. Using one pixel line on Retina class display makes that line almost invisible, yet it serves a purpose. It would be impossible for the designers to design high quality Apps when one pixel has a different thickness depending on the device. This would bring Apple into Android fragmentation world where designers have no clue how exactly their App will look like. No go.
SOFTWARE, NOT HARDWARE
Future Apple devices, primarily iPhone and iPad will make progress more through software and less through hardware. Yes, each new divce will sport faster processor, more RAM and better camera, but these are obvious upgrades. iPhone 4S has shown the obviousness of this trend: the biggest upgrade is software based; Siri. iPhone 5 will, of course, have bigger CPU, but any major breakthrough it will have will come through software. Maybe iPhone 5 will have that voice-over-IP in it? The point here is that the software will become the distinguishing detail between new devices, not hardware.
Apple will sooner or later start tapping into business sector. It will be through corporate level software integration. Business-grade iCloud accounts? Integration of SIRI into business through some means (“Siri, pay invoice number 3451 which ACME inc. sent”). I am not sure how, but it will happen, and it will happen soon.
Apple will extend their core business into a field which can further support their devices. Apple could branch out to be a mobile network carrier. And they would only need to use data, not regular GSM voice transfer. Simply because at this moment, the only weak link in the entire ecosystem is the carrier. From lousy support carriers give to their subscribers, to bad coverage, to occasional blackout. Most of Apple devices today are basically useless if there is no data network available, preferably high speed one. They will need to sort that out, and the only way to sort it is to go independent.