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What's up for Apple in 2012?

Ryan Faas | Dec. 30, 2011
2011 was a big year for Apple.

I also wouldn't be surprised to see Apple add AirPlay-based gaming and limited app support -- after all, AirPlay gaming can already be done on the iPad 2 and the iPhone 4S. I do think that Apple will be very cautious about game or app support and I doubt such features would run directly on the Apple TV without a supporting iOS device.

While there may be a voice-control element based around Siri included with a new Apple TV or Apple HDTV, it will probably be an optional feature, and traditional navigation using an Apple remote or an iOS device and the Remote app will be included. In fact, voice-control systems could always be offered with complementary remote-control devices or apps to avoid the problems that would arise when background noise or loud conversations render voice commands ineffective.

Previews of Lion's successor at WWDC

There's been a lot of speculation about what the next version of OS X will look like. The idea that Lion might be the last release before the Mac and iOS platforms merge completely has even been floated since the announcement of Lion last fall. About the only assumption I can really make about OS X 10.8 is that it will be more iCloud-ready; there are plenty of ways Apple can -- and probably will -- make Macs more cloud-centric. Beyond that, the only thing we can expect is a limited preview at Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

 

The patent battles continue

Over the course of 2011, Apple became embroiled in patent lawsuits with Android manufacturers in countries all over the world. Keeping track of the ongoing skirmishes in what can only be called an all-out patent war has been like tracking division games during the NFL season. It's pretty clear that this war is far from over and that Apple is not interested in making money (or peace) by licensing its array of mobile technology patents. The company seems to be intent on crushing Android, which Jobs, on multiple occasions, emphatically described as stolen.

While I'd like to see cooler heads prevail, I don't see Apple backing down. What that will ultimately mean for any of the companies involved -- or even for the patent processes around the world -- isn't clear. One thing that it will almost certainly do is engender more antagonism between companies and even end users, something Apple would be better off without.

If there is any upside to this situation, it may well be that it exposes the need for an overhaul of the patent processes in the U.S. and around the world. After all, the system for registering patents was set up long before the advent of today's technologies, and it doesn't always seem to offer sensible and consistent guidelines for innovations in the 21st century.

 

 

 

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