2012 Predictions: Macworld's annual forecast of the year ahead

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Pie-in-the-sky wish: I’d like to see an explicit way to run full-screen Mac OS X apps on an iPad. It would use the Mac’s built-in Screen Sharing feature, with a little extra sophistication on the iPad side. Yeah, it’s a pipe dream to think that we’d ever get to run iOS apps on the Mac or vice-versa, but this would be a nice convenience for those many times when there’s just no adequate analog for a Mac app on the iPad.

Bonus predictions, because it’s Andy: I believe we’ll be seeing more of Sir Jony in 2012. Apple will find it difficult to let go of its self-image as an “auteur” company, and as an institution, I think Apple gets a sense of security from the presence of That Guy Who Totally Gets It. We won’t see His Royal J-Ness taking up Steve Jobs’s public role, but he’ll do enough on-camera interviews with mainstream news programs and other shows that he’ll become the new face of Apple. Out with one legend, in with a new one.

I believe that before construction of the new Apple Spaceship campus gets fully underway, Tim Cook will be walking around the grounds of the former HP campus hunting rabbits. A shot will miss its mark, and then up from the ground will come a bubblin’ geyser of printer ink. He will then load up his beat-up old 2011 Mercedes SL5 AMG and move to Beverly Hills with his delectable niece and his doltish nephew.

Arnold Kim, founder and senior editor, MacRumors.com

Last year’s score: Mac OS X, 0.75; iOS, 0.75; hardware, 0.5; pie, 0. Total = 2.0/4.0

Mac OS X: Retina-display support. Boom. No one’s actually ever seen one, but we just can’t stop thinking about a 300-dpi laptop screen. It’s so exciting because it would be something new in the Mac product line that’s not just an incremental improvement. Beyond that, I don’t think we’ll see much in the way of major OS X changes. Apple typically follows an every-other-year release cycle for the Mac OS and we just got Lion in 2011.

iOS: I said it last year, and I’ll say it again: Apple is working on some kind of massive custom-mapping solution for iOS. The pieces are in place already. Apple’s acquired companies, hired engineers, and basically said it’s working on mapping and traffic. I suppose this feature could be more than a year off, but mapping and directions remain one of the big discrepancies between Android and iPhone, so I think it has a high priority at Apple.

Hardware: I fear the poor Mac Pro is doomed. It’s not something I say lightly, as I’ve long been a Mac Pro user—nothing would make me happier than a killer desktop rig from Apple with a beautiful, new industrial design. And it seems just a few years ago that a redesigned Mac tower was the ultimate in drool-worthy rumor mongering. Now we all drool over a new iPhone, and I think Apple is well aware of that shift. The company isn’t one to cling to the past, and I think the time of the Mac tower is coming to a close.

Pie-in-the-sky-wish: A brand new Mac Pro with radically different industrial design and lower price tag. It will finally incorporate Thunderbolt, a few PCI slots, easy to open interior, and a sub $2000 price tag. It will revitalize the Apple desktop market and show Apple’s commitment to professionals.

The Macalope, pundit-skewering mythical beast

Last year’s score: Mac OS X, 0.5; iOS, 0; hardware, 1.0; pie, 0. Total = 1.5/4.0

Before offering this year’s predictions, the Macalope will point out that a generous interpretation of his predictions from last year would be that he was about half right. [As you can see, we judged it as 1.5/4.0. Hey, put down the antlers, my friend.—Ed.] So, feel free to pick between flipping a coin or reading what he thinks will happen this year.

Mac OS X: Not much. Having delivered Lion in mid-2011, Apple will probably show some new features at WWDC, but heck if The Macalope has any idea what they should be. You know, sometimes if you have nothing to say it’s better to just say nothing at all rather than make things up. But it probably wouldn’t be a stretch to speculate that Mac OS X will take on more aspects of its diminutive sibling [We assume "diminutive sibling" means iOS here, but knowing The Macalope, it could be a subtle dig at...something.—Ed.].

iOS: Despite calls by silly pundits for a complete makeover of iOS, Apple will realize the best-selling smartphone’s needs are more evolutionary than revolutionary. iOS 6 will be denounced as a ho-hum upgrade that fails to somehow magically bring 4G to older phones, etc., but what it will bring are features that appeal to users rather than technologists. iPhones and iPads will continue to sell briskly.

Hardware: The next iPhone will feature a new form factor and the world will heave a great sigh of relief that Apple finally delivered the phone they should have in October 2011. And then we’ll go through the whole “alternate-year Apple device disappoints spec-crazy nimrods” rigamarole, as if the entire class of technology pundits suffered blows to the head as small children and can’t remember anything from more than six months ago. Come to think of it, that would explain a lot.

Pie-in-the-sky wish: An Apple TV set. Sure, the rumor mill has this down as so solid you can bet the kids’ college fund on it but, seriously, who’s going to take your Transformers comic books as collateral in a bet? Oh, bagged and boarded you say? Mint condition? Go on… Anyway, even if Apple is working on a television, there’s no guarantee it will come in 2012. But while others scoff at where Apple might provide value in this category, the Macalope believes there is more in Heaven and Earth and Cupertino than is dreamt of in their philosophies.

What are your Apple predictions for 2012? Let us know in the comments.

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