Before being an indie iOS developer, I was first and foremost an Apple fanboy. I love everything about Apple, the good and the bad (!). Every new year bring a new set of rumors and wishes related to Apple and I wanted to bring mine more specifically centered on Apple and its iOS platform.
So what should we expect in 2011 from Apple and for the iOS platform?
- Verizon iPhone. This one is easy. Wait for 2011-1-11 Verizon's press conference tomorrow for a confirmation. This will be a CDMA iPhone 4 essentially with a custom build version of iOS to support it.
- Ping for Apps. This one is more like a wish than a prediction. Ping for Apps would help developers to be in touch with their user base and have a voice on bad reviews.
- iOS SDK 5.0 beta. This should be previewed in the march time frame. The main new thing about it would be the inclusion of the "Notification Center". A set of iOS APIs to allow the centralization of application notifications. An application could post a notification right on the screen and / or to the notification center for later viewing. On the end user side, the user would pull down the status bar or the iPhone screen in order to bring a list of recent notifications. Beside that, I really don't know what next for iOS in term of SDK APIs. On the iPad, I wish Apple would offer a more complete document management solution than the current one based on iTunes File Sharing. Oh and expect to have an updated lock screen with more useful information: mail count, events of the day, pending notification count, etc.
- XCode 4. This one should be ready for the next WWDC along with iOS SDK4 and the first beta of Mac OS X lion. I expect a big round of iOS app updates submitted to the App Store because of developers recompiling their apps in order to take advantage of LLVM performance improvements.
- iTunes in the cloud. This one is to be tied to MobileMe making this an opt-in option. Steve Jobs said that MobileMe would get a lot better in 2011 in response to a mail from a user. So buying a song would first make it available on the MobileMe account for streaming. Then on the computer, iTunes could retrieve the purchased song on the next iTunes startup.
- iPhone 4GS. Don't expect a big upgrade on the iPhone this year. Big upgrades seems to be set at more or less 2 years interval at Apple: iPhone 2G (2007) -> 3GS (2009) -> 4 (2010). iPhone 4 was a really big upgrade and I expect Apple to refine a few things on it (antennas, processor speed) before we see the real iPhone 5.
- AirPlay everywhere. This will be the year where AirPlay takes off. Expect an iOS update that allow Mobile Safari to play video over AirPlay.
- Apple TV SDK. Yep, in 2011, along with iOS SDK 5.0, expect to see the announcement of Apple TV SDK. Yes "only" one millions of units has been sold last year but if Apple want to build more value into its Apple TV offering, they have to start an App Store for the TV.