Tech To Watch 2012: Apple’s iPad 3, iPhone 5, and an iTV

How do you top a year in which you became the biggest company in the world, had the best-selling smartphone and tablet, and inspired an entire category of MacBook Air copycats called Ultrabooks? You keep pumping out hit products—while forging completely new categories.

Expect the iPad 3 and iPhone 5 to hit store shelves in 2012 (potentially in February and September, respectively). Additionally, rumors of an upcoming voice-controlled Apple iTV for Summer 2012 are growing increasingly loud.

“Apple needs to refresh [its] products,” says John Jackson, vice president of research at CCS Insight. “Every year—and it’s their own fault, really—they have to outdo themselves.”

Why It’s Important

According to its Q4 earnings, Apple raked in $28 billion revenue and $6.6 billion profit. And even though the iPhone 4S sports the same design as its predecessor, Apple sold 4 million handsets in its first weekend.

Michael Gartenberg, an analyst for Gartner, stressed that Apple’s continued success will rely on delivering a compelling user experience. “Ecosystems are important. Consumers are looking at things like services, applications, cloud functions, synchronizations.”

This is where Apple has excelled, thanks to iCloud and Siri.

How It Will Change Your Life

Details are scant, but the iPad 3 is expected to feature a class-leading 2048 x 1536-pixel display, double the iPad 2’s resolution. Also, look for a new 4G chip from Qualcomm for those models with integrated mobile broadband.

Meanwhile, rumors point to the iPhone 5 having a larger screen, multiple color options, and a 10-megapixel camera. We also wouldn’t be surprised to see a quad-core processor.

Due to the company’s secrecy about new products, it’s almost impossible to paint an accurate picture of Apple’s future. However, Jackson expects a change in design during the next year. “The iPhone is due for a design overhaul,” he said. He also acknowledged the possibility of a voice-controlled iTV, saying there was great potential to be found in Siri.

Outlook

Now, Apple’s task is to continue out-innovating the competition, especially since Amazon has started to encroach on Apple’s turf with its ecosystem-centric Kindle Fire.

Gartenberg wouldn’t share any predictions, but he emphasized that Apple will continue to forge its own unique path. “The market said that the lack of Flash was a weakness for iOS devices and Apple said, ‘We don’t think it is.’ Then we saw Adobe abandon [its] mobile Flash efforts. People said Apple needed to build netbooks, and the company said it didn’t. It sort of ignores conventional wisdom.”

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