IDC: Apple Tablet a No-Brainer, 4G Lackluster

Research firm IDC has looked into its crystal ball for 2010, and says that the Apple tablet is a “no-brainer.” 4G however? Not so much, for now.

“We predict that Apple will finally introduce this new device family, which is more of an oversized iPod Touch (8 inches, 10 inches) than a downsized Mac — and if you look at the developer energy around the iPhone/Touch platform, this should be no surprise at all,” the report from analyst Frank Gens reads. “This prediction is a no-brainer: there’s enormous appeal in sizing up the iPhone/Touch for a variety of applications and activities that people already use those devices for but would jump at the chance to have a larger screen — watching videos/movies, reading books/magazines/newspapers, surfing the Web, videophone, and online gaming.”

IDC, which has dubbed the device the “iPad,” says to expect it by the end of next year.

Gens added: “Oh, and don’t be surprised to see Microsoft also announce its own device in this space.”

The research firm isn’t just busy predicting Apple Tablet appearances, though. It also believes that 1 billion mobile phones will ship in 2010, with 16 percent of those being smartphones. It adds that the mobile device sector will overtake PCs as the most common way to connect to the Web. That in and of itself represents one of te most significant platform shifts we’ve ever seen.

Accordingly, there will be an explosion in developer activity. We’ll see 300,000 apps for iPhone, and 50,000 to 75,000 for Android devices, Gens thinks, with Android being the most viable competitor for iPhone in the marketplace.

Also, over 40 million netbooks, up from 30 million in 2009, will ship next year.

Meanwhile, 4G will continue to languish in the early days of its deployment, the firm believes, with only 125,000 4G phones to ship in 2010.

The IT industry will bounce back, growing 3.2 percent to total $1.5 trillion in global spending. Mobility strikes again: the recovery will be led the expansion of cloud-based services, demand in emerging markets and infrastructure improvements here at home. The IDC expects there to be a 15 percent penetration of smart meters and a 25 percent penetration of electronic health records in the United States next year.

“The emergence of enterprise-grade cloud services will be a unifying theme in this area, with a battle unfolding in cloud application platforms — the most strategic real estate in the cloud for the next 20 years,” Gens predicted.

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