Five years ago I worked as an intern for a mid-day Chicago sports radio show. One of the shows more popular segments was called “I Predict,” where the host would take a slow news day and run through some of his predictions for the upcoming season of whatever sport was about to begin. It was a pretty good way to turn nothing into something, so I’m going to borrow the idea for myself here and play my own game of “I Predict,” and see if I can’t forecast a look at the future of iOS apps in 2012.
I Predict… in six months we’ll all look at back at the Facebook Messenger app and laugh.
When Facebook merged its chat and messaging systems into one space, the concept seemed like some digital housecleaning that wasn’t altogether unwelcome. At least you’d never be confused about whether someone left you the link you were looking for in a chat or a private message. But creating a special app to receive these messages accomplishes the opposite effect by creating additional app clutter. Why would you use this instead of just opening up your Facebook app? If this app still exists as a standalone companion to the Facebook app by June, I’ll be very surprised.
I Predict… an app will come out this year to replace Angry Birds as my go-to app recommendation.
My favorite part of someone getting an iPhone (who isn’t particularly tech savvy) is the first time they ask for app recommendations. My mom picked one up months ago and after she ran through some Mahjongg and Solitaire apps, I told her to give Angry Birds a shot, and she’s been hooked ever since. The game works so well because it’s easy to understand but difficult to really excel at. It is the gaming equivalent of a digital gateway drug.
But I think this is the year a game comes out that finally takes the crown as the go-to casual gaming entry. You’ll have a hard time getting an app to play any better for newcomers, but iPhone visuals have come a long way since Angry Birds debuted and something that plays as well with a little extra visual flair might just steal the spotlight in 2012.
I Predict… more creation-friendly apps a la GarageBand are on the way.
It’s no secret that I was terribly smitten with GarageBand in 2011. It crammed a desktop-worthy program into a handheld app and barely lost anything in translation. I hope this emboldens some daring app developers to take more creative risks in bringing more real production tools to the iPhone. A digital workshop just sitting at the ready in a creative person’s pocket could bring new meaning to the idea of instant entertainment.
I Predict… cloud-friendly music apps will put a serious dent in radio station music apps.
I cut my teeth on the likes of iheartradio and AOL Radio when I first picked up an iPhone. These worked well enough, and having dozens of radio stations to play on a whim made lunchtime at work much more interesting. But recent apps like Spotify and Rdio have changed the game. Now, I can listen to curated playlists from friends and critics. I’m not stuck listening to a single second of a song if I don’t want to be. As Spotify, Rdio and other entrants take hold, I think we’ll see and hear a lot less from apps that don’t conform or don’t allow their users more freedom of choice when it comes to the tunes they’re listening to. 2012 might not be the end of iheartradio, but you can hear the death rattle in the distance.
I Predict… we’ll get closer to playing an iOS game on our TV this year.
The upcoming Nintendo Wii U intends to feature a controller that looks a lot like a little iPhone. It’s an interesting idea, bringing the gaming action to a big screen while using the handheld touchscreen as a supplemental device. Depending on the success of the endeavor, I don’t think we’re too far away from seeing something similar for iOS devices. Who wouldn’t want to play some of their favorite iOS games on their huge flat screen TV? It’s pure speculation on my part, but I think we’ll see some real movement on this idea by this the end of 2012.