What does 2011 hold in store for Apple?

Perhaps it might be best to be asking what Apple holds in store for 2011…   Coming out of an exceptionally strong year, Apple seems well on its way to repel the assault of Android onto the smartphone market and to consolidating a very strong lead in the tablet market it created with the iPad.

The new CDMA version of the iPhone 4 will probably play a big role in helping to restrain the growth of Android competitors in the US as consumers will no longer be forced to use AT&T’s network in order to be able to use the device.  Apple has been consistently delivering a new iPhone model a year, since the device was introduced in 2007. This means that we will probably see a new iPnone model coming out about six months after Verizon starts to sell its version of the current generation phone.

Because of the consistency that Apple has shown in releasing a new iPhone model in one year cycles, everyone expects that Apple will be announcing the second generation of the iPad fairly soon, probably in February,  The rumors around this started up in force around November and have grown into a franzy over the past couple of weeks. There are rumors about changes in size, changes in ports and even about a new display with an incredible resolution.

Whatever is true about the next iPad, the current version of the device has already proven itself to be of great interest to home and business users as Apple sold almost 15 million of them in just 9 months. If the iPad 2 has just incremental updates such as a more powerful processor and more memory, along with the front facing camera necessary to use FaceTime, it will probably be more than enough to ensure that Apple retains a comfortable lead in the tablet market.

During this year Apple will be introducing the next version of OS X: Lion.  This version will bring to OS X several graphical elements which are derived from those of iOS.  These visual features combined with the Mac App Store that Apple introduced this past January 6th, will help make users of iOS devices feel right at home when using a Mac.   The impact on the PC industry of the migration of iPhone, iPod and iPad users to Macs, when the time comes to replace old PCs, should not be underestimated.  I can already see a clear trend within the group of my personal acquaintances.  People who have always been Windows users are making the switch t0 Macs, after one or two years using an iPhone.

When all things are considered, 2011 will probably turn out to be another extraordinary year for Apple.

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