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OS X 10.9: Siri and Maps may be ported away from mobile
Siri remains in beta, nearly two years after it was first announced. Apple's voice assistant could emerge as the front-runner in the race among intelligent assistants, particularly as the voice command services heat up across the mobile industry.
We could expect an increase in data sources, international support and a deeper integration across iOS-based devices — all with better overall accuracy.
It's also hoped that third-party apps may also see developer support. Apple could offer a number of APIs that developers can hook their apps into, in order to enhance app experiences but also help generate additional revenue for events, restaurants, travel and so on.
Maps has also suffered, partly as a result of it being rushed to completion by Apple bosses ahead of iOS 6's release. It was an unfinished product and Apple chief executive Tim Cook publicly apologized for the mess. But over time, the mapping data has improved but is still a long way off until it can call itself a rival to Google Maps — arguably the best and most used mapping service.
Analysts have also predicted that Apple may branch out into other key ecosystem areas, such as mobile payments and other subscription services.
iRadio likely to be announced
Thanks to a range of leaks and software investigation, rumors began to swirl last year suggesting Apple was working on a radio-like product — or iTunes streaming — dubbed iRadio. This would rival other third-party apps, such as Spotify and Pandora; both of which offer streaming music services for free and at a subscription level.
Apple still generates vast amounts of revenue from iTunes, thanks to its 30 percent cut in app downloads. Currently there are about 500 million iTunes accounts. The record labels themselves could benefit with around 70 percent of every $1 purchase in iTunes heading in their direction.
The company has also reportedly been in talks with two major music labels to bring its music-streaming service to life. Following the arrival of iTunes Match, iTunes in the Cloud, and iCloud, it could be that Apple is pushing further into the in-house iTunes market it has carved for itself in order to further expand its music offerings.
iRadio, or whatever it may be called, is expected to make an appearance this summer, likely with a later debut.
Enhancements, fixes to iCloud
iCloud remains buggy and problematic for many. "It just works," is the one tagline that those who are suffering would never associate with the cloud-based service.
It's hoped that iCloud will become more integrated as part of Apple's wider services, but focusing on getting the foundation level working properly without hassle should be a major priority.
Recent patent acquisitions could see a better navigation and file system view, while many are expecting some kind of integration with iRadio, the highly anticipated 'next move' for iTunes. But whether or not developers would be given early access to the APIs and application hooks needed to tie in with third-party applications may be one for an iPhone or iPad launch later on in the year.