10 Predictions for the iPhone in 2011

January 1st. It’s that time of the year when I make my predictions for the iPhone for the year to come. We all know we’re going to get a new iPhone sometimes around June/July, but what will this iPhone be like?

What new features will it sport? Is Apple going to surprise us again this year, or, just like they did with the iPhone 3GS, will they just come up with a slightly improved version of the iPhone 3G?

I believe 2011 will be the year of the iOS. I believe that for the first time this year, Apple will open up iOS to allow wild things we’ve always dreamed of but only the jailbreak community would provide us…

1.  Apple Maps

We know Apple and Google aren’t BFF right now. We also know that location services such as Foursquare are getting real big. Finally, we know that Apple bought PlaceBase almost two years ago, a company that we could basically label as a Google Maps competitor.

Now let’s connect the dots: Apple + Placebase – Google = Apple Maps. This won’t likely be called Apple Maps but you get the idea. I predict that in 2011, Apple will unveil its own map application, which will replace Google Maps on all iOS devices.

2. Wireless Syncing

Apple has always found a lot of its inspiration from the jailbreak community. That’s basically how the App Store, copy/paste, and multitasking were born.

I believe that in 2011, Apple will allow iOS to wirelessly sync your device with your iTunes library, exactly like the jailbreak application Wi-Fi Sync already does.

Even better, Apple might also allow over-the-air updates of iOS, just like it does for the Apple TV.

3. A Different Antenna

With the whole antenna debacle in 2010, I really doubt Apple will make the same mistake twice. This mistake of course is to have the antenna as the bezel. For what I know, Apple might implement the idea described in this patent application, in which they want to include the antenna as part of the Apple logo on the back of the device.

The bottomline is Apple know they messed up with the iPhone 4 antenna and what they dubbed as an amazing idea was just terrible. If they decide to keep the antenna bezel, I think it will be covered with some kind of rubbery coating.

4. A New Design

The previous point leads me to think the next iPhone will be different from the iPhone 4. If not in shape, it will differ in the materials it will use.

For example, I doubt the next iPhone will get a glass-covered back. It sure is beautiful, but it also sure doubles your chances of really damaging your phone. I believe Apple will go back to more “traditional” materials such as the one used on the iPad.

5. New Notifications System

One of the big disappointments when Apple first introduced iOS 4 in 2010 was the lack of improvement in the way notifications are handled. For the last 3 years, we’ve had the same lame SMS notifications, virtually nonexistent notifications in the form of “badges” for new emails. Zero support for RSS reader, weather, tweets, Facebook updates, etc…

Sure there are some awesome jailbreak apps for that. LockInfo is the one that comes to mind but there are also a couple other alternatives.

Apple knows the iPhone is lacking a good notification system and I’m pretty sure this will be a huge part of the iOS 5 announcement this year.

6. Tweaks & Extensions

What’s the difference between a stock iPhone and a jailbroken one? A zillion tweaks and extensions!

Let’s be honest here, the real reason why we jailbreak the iPhone is to take advantage of all these amazing tweaks and mods the jailbreak community is constantly working on.

A way Apple could win the battle against jailbreakers is to allow those tweaks on the iPhone, without having to jailbreak. I predict that in 2011, Apple will allow developers to submit extensions. Just like developers can have their apps in the App Store, I believe that Apple will finally open the gate to tweaks and mods, slowly putting an end to our need to jailbreak.

7. Theming

This goes along with the previous point. Just like I believe Apple will allow extensions for the iPhone, I predict that Apple will allow developers to submit themes to be available in a sub-section of the App Store.

Not only Apple can satisfy their customers’ desire for customized iPhones, but they can also make a ton of money selling these themes.

8. Better Speaker

Here is an area where the iPhone needs to be beefed up a bit. Have you tried playing music through your iPhone speaker lately? The sound is terrible and definitely not at the quality level you would expect from such an amazing device as the iPhone.

I’m sure Apple will finally take care of this in 2011 with a more powerful speakerphone that will give the iPhone the decibels it deserves.

9. A White iPhone

The white iPhone 4 is Apple’s own unicorn. Even though the company says it will be available in the Spring of 2011, I don’t think this is going to happen.

What I believe though is that Apple is working day and night right now to make sure the next iPhone will also come in white on launch day. No more delays. No more bad excuses for their failing.

10. The Name of the Next iPhone

Last but not least, here is my prediction for the name of the next iPhone… Drum rolls… I predict the next iPhone will be called the iPhone V. V as in the Roman numeral 5. This prediction is based on absolutely nothing but my wild guess.

Wildcard: No Verizon iPhone!

What kind of crazy man would say such a thing when the evidences of a Verizon iPhone have been piling up for months now? I’m that kind of man. Since 2007 there have been rumors about a Verizon iPhone, and since 2007 I’ve said that this will not happen until 2012. I’ll stick to my words.

So these are my predictions for the iPhone in 2011. They’re not what I would want for the iPhone. They are what I think is going to happen. Of course, I might be way off, but who cares?

What are your predictions for the iPhone in 2011? Make sure to share them by leaving a comment below.