Two things I’m watching for in 2010:
Android puts the lie to iPhone assumptions, or doesn’t: The limitations on the iPhone SDK and the App Store aren’t just nefarious skullduggery: there are stated reasons, in the self-interest of Apple, users, and developers for them. But how valid are they? Would background processes really drain the battery? Would un-reviewed apps really lead to a swarm of malware and network degredation? We can’t know. But if Android is going to eschew these limitations, it could provide a great experimental test. If the Android world is beseiged by garbage, villainy, and 30-minute battery lives, then Apple’s restrictions will be vindicated. But if that doesn’t happen, then it might be time to petition Mr. Jobs for an redress of grievances.
Snow Leopard needs to deliver the goods: OK, a lot of us have upgraded to Snow Leopard, with its internal clean-ups and no new features. We’re promised that the this will give us better apps as developers adopt features like Grand Central Dispatch, which makes multi-core programming more viable. But until that happens, what we’ve got is a promise and a bunch of broken device drivers (and, at least for me, a sleep mode that usually wakes up immediately after going to sleep). So, is this the year Snow Leopard pays off? Right now, fast QuickTime exports is about the only place I see my 8 cores really flying, and it doesn’t make up for the feature loss in the QTX player. And booting into 64-bit mode is a total festival of breakage (my mouse and keyboard drivers still lack 64-bit KEXTs). So I’m really waiting and hoping this pays off in a big way this year. Or at least gets better with updates: my iPhone can connect to my current client’s Exchange e-mail, but SL’s Mail.app, allegedly with Exchange support, still can’t.