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For 2010: Apple iPad, 300,000 iPhone Apps & More

If you’ve been paying attention to technology rumors, an Apple tablet (i.e., “iPad”) is at the top of many people’s list for most likely rumor to become reality next year. But when I read a recently published iPad prediction along with the number “300,000″ as a baseline prediction for the number of iPhone applications by the end of 2010, I was intrigued.

Continuing my reading found me focusing on an acceleration in something called “socialityc” applications which is a new category that fuses traditional analytic business applications along with social and collaboration software and how big this category as becoming since so many of us have shifted our attention away from virtually all traditional media sources toward new and social media ones. 

The key? These predictions had come from the well respected, global technology analyst firm IDC which is the real reason I sat up and took notice.

Why should you care? You might not if you were unaffected by the recent economic downturn and your community is giving you money without a referendum. You might not care if you aren’t experiencing any disruption, new opportunities or benefits from the internet or web. But if you have an interest in what is most likely to occur with technology in 2010, read on. 

In their free “IDC Predictions 2010: Recovery and Transformation” (download the PDF) the firm predicts modest growth in the information technology and telecommunications area (and back to 2008 pre-downturn spending levels) and focused in on two broad themes for this set of predictions for 2010: The obvious one is the theme they called “recovery” but the other had a more interesting take on what IDC called the “transformation” occurring in technology.

Apple Tablet: In my view, the “sexy” prediction they made is related to the Apple iPad, essentially a big iPod Touch rather than a compact Macintosh. By sporting a bigger screen, an Apple tablet would be ideal for watching videos, surfing the Web, keeping tabs on ones social media accounts, playing online games, and reading more traditional publications like books, magazines and newspapers. It’s this sort of multiple platform capability that will make this device an outstanding platform.

Of course, we'll have to see if an Apple tablet has a place within K-12 education, but it's likely these sorts of form factors will.

Mobile: Mobile devices in general are another transformative device type that is quickly gaining on the installed base of personal computers worldwide. Projecting that over 1 billion mobile devices will access the internet in 2010 — compared to the 1.3 billion PC’s doing so around the world — the most strategic portion of the market will be with so-called “converged” devices or smartphones like the iPhone, Google Android or Windows Mobile devices.

The Apple iPhone, IDC states, is set to have an available base of 300,000 applications, up from the current 100,000 (which is up from 10,000 one year ago!) while the new Google Android platform will have 50-75,000 applications available for it, fewer since it’s open standards capability, and requirement to support multiple phones from different manufacturers, means compatibility will be less than what is achieved with the iPhone’s closed architecture and the fact that this device comes from a single manufacturer.

Cloud Computing: Cloud computing is another major theme in this predictions report touting the software, services and platform interaction of applications hosted on the internet in disparate data centers. With more of us accessing the internet — and cloud services delivered over the growing broadband and growing wireless connections we each have access to — this is a category which will see many innovations in dozens of areas.

Networks: IDC predicts the “4G” superfast wireless networks will be overhyped, they do acknowledge that it “...is certainly one of the most important network transformations for the next 10 years...”, they believe the impact in 2010 will be “miniscule.”

What is most intriguing is the acceleration in to extremely fast fiber technologies by the fixed broadand providers and they’re predicting that in 2010, 2 million more homes will connect to the internet via fiber which will then hit 10% penetration of consumer broadband connections (more significant, they state, is that these 2M new fiber subscribers represent 40% of net-new ones, meaning people want to go faster, heh?).

Lastly, more wireless services will go “invisible”. Similar to what you see now with Amazon’s ebook reader Kindle “Whispernet” — which sports a built-in wireless connection for purchases, subscription downloads and more — IDC predicts many more providers will build in wireless connection capability to their devices in 2010.

There is significantly more within the report and I’d encourage you to download the PDF and skim through its 17 pages. Well worth the read.

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It's always fun to go back and read people's predictions. You were pretty spot on about the iPad and iPhone.

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