6. Map attack
Having ditched Google Maps data, Apple rolled its own mapping solution for iOS 6. The results were problematic and error-strewn. Tim Cook apologised, Scott Forstall in part got the boot for the mess, and Apple doubled down, yet still didn't fix things fast enough for the Australian state of Victoria's police force, reportedly concerned about people becoming stranded. (That last story was a tad overblown, as it turns out, with only one person actually stranded. Still, it showcased the system's inability to make sensible assumptions when two places have similar names.)
Apple's pretty hopeless when it comes to online services, but maps are an area in which it cannot afford to fail, and so we've two predictions: first, Apple Maps will improve at a rate of knots; secondly, the service will be under close scrutiny, and so will ostensibly appear to remain broken but will in reality be less so as time moves on.
7. Super Siri
Siri arrived on more devices through iOS 6 and also learned some new tricks in 2012. Although it doesn't yet do everything people want, the voice-control system is a little more intelligent regarding finding information, and it can now launch apps. Apple needs to up its game to compete with the impressive Google voice search, though, and so 2013 will see major enhancements to Siri, primarily in terms of speed, but also regarding the information it can access. Also expect Apple to increasingly use Siri to circumvent the need to search online — much to the chagrin of Google.
8. Release cycle changes
For a time, Apple's release cycle was like clockwork, especially when it came to iOS: new iPads in the spring and an iPhone in late summer. The iPad 4 changed all that, arriving a mere six months after its predecessor. Expect competition from rivals to further disrupt Apple's release schedule, with some devices moving to six-monthly rather than annual updates, and others shifting from previous cycles. Also, given Apple's launch/shipping misses regarding the new 27-inch iMac (which launched alongside the 21-inch new iMac) and iTunes 11, we won't be surprised to see the company revert to simply not announcing future products unless they're pretty much ready to ship that day.
9. More profits and less market-share
We don't think we're in for a repeat of Windows/Mac OS when it comes to Android/iOS, but cheap Android tablets and smartphones will nonetheless continue to have an impact on Apple's market-share during 2013. Figures will, however, continue to show iOS has the lion's share in terms of ongoing usage and profits. Another prediction: pundits will fail to realise Apple's stalling or falling share of a rapidly growing market nonetheless equals growth, and continue to lump Android into a single group, despite, as Ian Betteridge recently noted, it being "a set of semi-compatible platforms, built around the same technology".
10. Baffling survival of the iPod Classic
We last year predicted the iPod Classic's luck would run out in 2012, given Apple's shift to the cloud, its focus on iOS, and dropping flash memory prices potentially enabling larger-capacity iPod touch devices. Amazingly, it survived. Therefore, we're going to predict the iPod Classic will bafflingly remain in play for another year, in part because we were wrong last time, but mostly in an attempt to dare Apple to do otherwise.