Just been reading engadget and they’re inviting readers to make their predictions for 2008. I love predictions (even if I’m no expert), so here goes…
New Portable Mac
I know, it’s hardly a new tip. It’ll probably have flash-based memory, around 32GB+, which to be honest, would be enough for me – although 64GB would be just brilliant as it could double as a video playback device. Although flash is not definite, Apple might not want to limit its appeal with skimpy storage, but flash memory would mean instant boot-up and speed up the system generally.
Adam Curry claims to have inside knowledge that it’ll be a tablet (i.e. no keyboard with the screen as the interface), possibly using some sort of light-pen technology that Apple owns a patent for. I’m lukewarm on the no-keyboard idea. I’m a writer after all. But if you think about it, Apple’s new Bluetooth ultra-thin keyboard would make an excellent partner for a tablet screen sat on a fancy clear plastic stand… lovely. The only pen-based system I’ve enjoyed is the Nintendo DS Lite, so I’m unsure about how Apple would make it work. I’m thinking a large iPhone type look. There is clearly more to Leopard than meets the eye (if not, why did Cupertino bother?), so maybe tablet technology is already hidden somewhere…
That all said. I want to see an 11.1” MacBook Pro. With a black aluminium option. Oh and you can save space by dumping the internal DVD drive, I’ll use an add-on.
Further improvements to the iPhone
It’s a no-brainer that the iPhone will get 3G in ’08, but I also think it’ll get a memory boost, maybe a better camera with Xenon flash, and the platform will be revolutionised by 3rd-party applications, with Google remaining committed to the device, regardless of its own cellular dreams. It will be a stellar year for iTunes, too, as further iPhone features are rolled out.
Linux to go mainstream
With the absolutely awesome ASUS EeePC doing great business and the OLPC project underway, more and more people will discover life after Microsoft. Sony also seems committed to salvaging its PS3 by opening up the platform, so more users may begin using the PS3 as a kick-ass Linux PC. One in the eye for the outgoing Mr. Gates.
If all you want from your machine is internet, desk-top-publishing, music and photo processing, then it’s hard to see why you’d look beyond a stable Linux distribution like Ubuntu (or Novell’s Suse). It’s free, secure, and arguably easier to use than Windows, not to mention the extra performance you’ll get from your system if you ditch Vista. Ubuntu users also have access to hundreds of software titles for free – via the installer. I predict more and more users will trial Linux in 2008. Maybe the format will get decent video-editing software too, but I doubt it.
Microsoft to get back to basics and Google Linux?
Facebook, search, web advertising and online music libraries, they all represent one thing: Microsoft’s desperate attempts to ape Google. It has failed and the biggest impact was on its core market: operating systems. Vista is a car-wreck mainly because it feels cobbled together, which is astonishing considering the time Redmond spent on its gestation. XP will get its service pack 3, and Vista may even get a major update too.
This is not to say that all Microsoft’s lateral market extensions have failed. XBOX 360 may not yet be profitable, but its penetration is good and the games are beginning to excell. It’s also worth noting that the 360’s OS is tiny and incredibly thrifty with the system’s hardware – allowing coders to use the juice for games. Maybe the Windows team could learn a lesson or two about efficient programming from the 360. Just a thought.
With Google entering the PDA OS market, in direct competition with Windows Mobile, it’s not beyond imagination that Google could incorporate their ambitions for desk-top integration in a Linux-based desktop operating system. One wonders if Google would be over-extending itself, and itself taking its eye off the ball, but it would open new doors for advertisement delivery, which is right up Google’s street.
On demand TV to take off
I’m a huge, huge fan of podcasts. Why? Because they’re free and I can listen to/watch them whenever I like. This is why I think new advances in content delivery and faster internet connections will make on-demand film and television more assessable. I want to watch episodes of the Wire, South Park, and QI when I want. Here in the UK the BBC will be instrumental, as will BT and other bandwidth providers, but advances are possible. Lower costs will mean leaner content providers, putting ITV under more pressure unless it can get its online act together.
PS3 sales to rise
If it can nail its online gaming portal, and if rumours of programmer-unfriendly architecture are disproved, Sony may well salvage the PlayStation3. Another price drop and further public awareness of its PSP integration, could mean that Sony can return to a position from where it can attack Microsoft and Nintendo’s Wii platform.
Blu-Ray players crack the £100 mark
High Definition TV is becoming ubiquitous as prices tumble, and with Blu-ray appearing to be the winner in the HD format war, more consumers will plump for a high-def player. Plummeting marginal-costs for manufacturers will be passed onto customers, so expect to see HD players – which also upscale std-def DVDs – cheaper and more readily available. Blu-ray in your local Tescos by June, don’t bet against it.