After nailing a bunch of tech predictions for 2010 I'll admit that I've been strutting a bit, especially after tanking so badly the previous year. The trick was learning to make predictions based on what is likely to happen rather than what I would like to see .
Here are a few of my big predictions for 2011:
Apple - Expect their App Store for home computers to be a modest success. Sales of the iPad have flagged lately, probably because of rumours of a second-generation model with more storage and a front-facing camera - which I suspect we'll see sooner rather than later.
A few years ago I predicted an iPod watch, and that more or less came true with the next generation iPod nano and accessory watchbands - expect to see a range of small apps for these things, like different styles of watch faces, alarms, a calendar app - maybe even a newer line of nanos with built-in wireless to keep the clock accurate and send you push alerts for email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. They'll also need a speaker to work as a watch. As for the iPhone, the big news will be its release on other networks in the U.S., including Verizon and T-Mobile.
The other big Apple news (and this is a long shot) will be touch screen iMacs and a huge price drop for their MacBook Pro laptops.
Microsoft - Expect Microsoft to roll out the Kinect for home computers, as well as a line of peripherals to go with their revolutionary motion-sensing device. Games will also improve hugely over the launch lineup, using some of the clever hacks that have surfaced over the last few months - like playing World of Warcraft entirely using gestures.
The news I would most like to see is the confirmation of the Microsoft entertainment platform Zune Pass for Canada. Right now Canadians can use the Zune store to buy individual movies and songs, but not the subscription-based download model that I've been waiting for. That would sell a lot of Window Phone 7 devices in Canada, including one for me.
Windows 7 and Microsoft Security Essentials are due for an update, but will continue to do very well. My out-on-a-limb prediction is a specific version of Windows 7 designed for tablets that every hardware company out there is scrambling to produce.
Google - Google's attempts to diversify into hardware aren't going so well. Logitech apparently halted production of their Revue Google TV player because of slow sales, and their Nexus line of phones was discontinued. However, expect Google to be back with a better, simpler and cheaper phone, as well as a more stable version of their Android operating system that clears up all the version and compatibility issues and comes with Flash 10.1 support. Google TV will do just fine as well once a few bugs are ironed out.